Awhile back my friend Hannah wrote a post called Play Practice: Gamify Everything in which she pointed out that if you add “game mechanics” to your life, you can become a better problem solver, be more mindful, and have more fun.
I couldn’t help but think of Anuj’s advisor and his crew when I read this. They’re all sharp people and I’m sure they work hard at their respective offices. But I honestly don’t know when and how they do it, because I’m constantly receiving emails like “I need you guys to chime in on this fake Chowhound thread about self-slicing watermelons” or “See you at the ball pit party this weekend?” They’re the most playful people—well, grown-ups—I know.
So it was fun to play dress-up and have a Serious Adult Evening with them when they treated us to dinner at the extremely beautiful Blue Hill at Stone Barns.
We’re smiling through our sweat in that group shot. It was a steamy June night, so the gents headed into the air-conditioned bar pretty quickly. I walked around the greenhouse with Alissa and Amber…
And then wandered solo outside the restaurant to see what things looked like behind the scenes.
Finally it was time to eat. I wish I could show you (well, feed you) so many things. I only took a couple of pictures inside because it was dark in the dining room and I wanted to focus on savoring everything. And if I had taken more pictures of the food, they wouldn’t match what you’ll eat if you ever go, because there are no set menus at Blue Hill. The chefs create whatever they want using the freshest ingredients at their fingertips and factoring in whatever dietary restrictions you mention.
When you’re seated you receive a little booklet with pages that list the expected harvest for each month of the year. Flipping to June’s page, we were able to predict that our dinner would likely include things like asparagus, strawberries, and peas. But we couldn’t possibly anticipate all of the ways those ingredients would appear, let alone the surprises we’d encounter along the way. At one point the server brought out an “experiment we’re trying just for fun,” placing a pile of bread in front of us along with two different “single udder butters,” and named the cows whose milk they came from (thanks, Daffodil and Sunshine). I asked if she was familiar with Portlandia, but then I tasted the two butters and shut my snarky face. They were shockingly different and so good – light and rich at the same time.
All in all it was a magical night. Anuj and I have tried but there’s no way to thank these folks enough – not for the dinner, nor for the ways they brought fun and play into our lives throughout our time in NYC. Thank goodness for road trips and weddings and the internet and work conferences; we’re gonna exploit ’em all and be sure to stay in touch. We won’t always eat as well as we did at Blue Hill, but we are so happy to be able to feast on the memories.
Photos: All digital, and all but the group shot were taken by yours truly at Blue Hill at Stone Barns, June 2012.