Friday, July 29, 2011

Whim Dinner at Smolak Farms with Andy Husbands of Tremont 647

When Gilt City popped up a while back with a feature of Whim dinner at Smolak Farms I was immediately excited.  Nick grew up about 5 minutes from the farm, and me only about 15, so we were excited to see what Smolak was up to.  Upon further review, the Whim dinners are held every Wednesday night at Smolak farms during the summer months and each dinner was going to feature a different chef from some amazing Boston and Cambridge restaurants.  We selected the July 27th date not only because Andy Husbands from Tremont 647 was the chef for the evening, a place we have been wanting to try but have not made it yet, but the date is also Nick's birthday - perfect!

So off we were in our Zipcar to the north shore in perfect weather for an outdoor meal.  Traffic was easy so we made it in about a half hour.  We arrived at the farm, turned down the dirt road and were greeted by large fields, apple trees and a beautiful pond.  We parked our car and were directed down a small path lit with tea lights in small white bags  and tiki torches all along the apple orchard.  

Not a bad walk to dinner
The walk to the tent just confirmed we were in for a treat for dinner.  After we crested the small hill we saw the tent set among the trees.

Tented Dinner
The tables were set for groups of about 16, and we were seated in the center of a long table with a very friendly group from Virginia who made us laugh numerous times throughout the night.  When we sat, there was a large bread basket with some yummy rolls to tide us over before dinner.  Each place setting had a different piece of china, the table runner was a burlap material and raffia tied the silverware roll-up, all of which added to the rustic farm-like experience.

After settling in with some wine, the dinner began!  The first course was a Massachusetts striper sashimi on cucumbers with a delicious sauce made with peppers, lime juice and sugar.  The striper was so fresh - it was literally caught that morning.  Having never had or thought to have a striper sashimi I was curious to see how it would taste and it was amazing!  The citrus in the sauce just set off the flavors of the fish so well.  Along with the fish was a great pork dumpling.  I thought that it may have too much roll on the outside, but it was so delicious and really did not overpower the pork held snugly within. 

First Course
In between course, Chef Husbands got up and spoke to the crowd about the meal but first let us know that a portion of the proceeds went to Share Strength - a charity with the aim to end childhood hunger by 2015.  It was nice to know this great evening was benefiting a fantastic cause. 

Centerpiece with Queen Ann's Lace and other wildflowers and Lettuce!
Our main course was BBQ ribs with a secret sweet glaze, collard greens, corn bread and a "Jersey" corn mixture with chipotle.  Now, being next to a group of Virginians we were curious to see how these ribs from New England would hold up. 

During Chef Husbands speech he told us that these ribs actually won in a world champion BBQ contest, even against some skeptical Texans!  These ribs were amazing!  They were seriously some of the best I have had - sweet and delicious and literally fell off the bone.  I actually lost my knife after the first course, and did not even need to ask for another because the meat was so tender.  The corn and the corn bread were both great.  The bread was so moist and the chipotle corn was tasty and had a good kick.  The best thing on this plate surprised me - the collard greens!  I normally do not care for them, but these were out of this world.  They were cooked in brown sugar, cider vinegar, and chili flakes and a whole bunch of other goodness like bits of pork.  I basically could have had a huge bowl of these and been just fine!

Tent at night
As you can see, the atmosphere only improved as the evening wore on - plenty of twinkle lights, great music and drinks just added to the great food!  Finally, for dessert we had butter cake, and this was unlike anything I have had before.  The cake basically consisted of an obscene amount of butter, and the batter was put into the cake pan and then topped with a cream cheese mixture prior to being put in the oven.  Talk about amazing richness!  This was sweet buttery goodness that was not thick or heavy at all.  The cake was topped off with fresh currants, raspberries and some blueberry jam all from Smolak Farms.  It really was a great way to top off the meal.

Great food and drink throughout the night made for such a fun night!  It was something completely different than our typical norm.  Eating out in the tent on the farm on a perfect summer night really was just fun and a great way to celebrate Nick's birthday.  They were having hay rides but they were not starting for a bit so we ended up heading back to the city and missed out on the ride - another time, I hope.  We will have to head back to Smolak Farms soon because we did not have a chance to really explore the farm and everything it had to offer.  (Nick says we need to go back for their apple cider donuts.  Yes please!)

One thing I do know: I am sure we will be seeing a lot more of these types of dinner at other local farms because this one has been so successful.  The caliber of chefs cooking for each dinner is impressive and even though there are only a few left, they are basically sold out.  If they aren't you should buy tickets soon - you won't be disappointed.


  1. I thought of buying that from Gilt too - looks like such a fun experience! I love the first photo.

  2. I love the idea of farm dinners but have not been to one yet. This looks like the perfect evening! And I'm so intrigued by that butter cake!

  3. I wanted so badly to go to this but was away that weekend. The dessert looks so good.


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