Small portions, big prices (sometimes totally worth it)

I will fully admit that there are times I go to a fancy, small-plate restaurant and walk out thinking, “OK, so when’s dinner, really?”

Last month for Seattle Restaurant Week, D. and I took advantage of the prix fixe $25 menu at a certain Madison Valley French-inspired stalwart. The food was beautifully plated, tasty, etc. But even after three courses and drinks, we left still feeling peckish. Maybe if we had paid full price, we would have gotten more. Fair. But we were awfully glad for the folks at the delightful new-ish speakeasy Knee High Stocking Company who plied us with happy hour $3 punch, fresh baked pretzels with rarebit, and a rum drink called the Powder Keg that is a fiery dessert in itself.

I’m not advocating gluttony, but I do like to leave my meal out feeling satiated. Too much to ask? Not at The Herbfarm, which might be the epitome of tiny and wonderful dining (on a totally epic scale).

The cutest ice wine vinegar semifreddo I've ever seen.

This summer I bought a $75 gift certificate to the restaurant from Living Social. The Herbfarm is my own sort of foodie Mecca that had never been to because the hefty price tag had been daunting. I’ll be honest, even with the gift certificate, the bill was far from tiny. But the experience was so worth it I’m going to start an Herbfarm piggy bank so I can go once a year.

The nine-course, five-hour extravaganza begins with a tour/restaurant history (ours was indoors because of the chilly weather) and meanders through some of the most creative, inspired, delicious morsels I have had the pleasure of putting in my mouth.

Our table's wine-fueled spud creations.

Menus change often: ours was inspired by the potato, and the creations ranged from whimsical (a poshed-up curly fry made from blue potatoes, fried in duck fat, with paddlefish caviar) to just plain mouth watering (a delctable dollop of salmon). The portions were the perfect size. Enough to give you a full taste, and adorably petite. But at the end of nine courses (with six wine pairings) I was perfectly full.

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