"In preparation for your next course," our server said, "I need to know if you're both comfortable using chopsticks." Of course, we both were.
This is where the rosemary centerpiece came into play. The course was three variations on lamb, served on a very hot brick (after we finished eating the course, I lightly touched the brick out of curiosity and burned my finger). According to our server, the lamb was precooked, and the brick was used only for the sizzling effect and to release the rosemary's fragrance. They put the rosemary in the hole at the back, and used the rosemary's stand as our chopstick rest -- nice touch. The heated rosemary immediately let off a strong fragrance, which infused the course.
I don't remember what the three variations were, but we ate them front-to-back. The back one was sweet, perhaps a plum jelly or jam, and the two front ones were more savory. The menu says this course contained date. I think that was in the center medallion, but maybe it was used in all three.
Incidentally, Rob's been working with Suzi at Art & Conversation to create a dish similar to this. She made him some special bricks with herb holes that he could heat to high temperatures and serve with meat. His first experiment was going to be bison and rosemary fragrance. Great minds think alike.
Thanks to Alinea, we now know that we need to precook the meat. Rob was planning to try to sear it on the brick. I think this would also be good with ahi tuna, but we haven't figured out what herb to serve with it. Perhaps something Asian, like anise.
Farina Alto – Albuquerque, New Mexico
3 days ago