One of my favorite parts of Post Ranch is the trail that starts by the pink peppercorn tree at the North end of the ridge and winds into the redwood forest. Deep in the redwood forest it is dark and giant logs lay covered with moss and ferns. As you reach the edge and walk out into the meadow there is a whole eco system thriving below the tree line. With just enough light and a supply of fresh water dripping from the trees above, wild strawberries, wood-mint and yerba buena fight for a spot between stands of native grass.
The redwood forest is an inspiring landscape and I have done my best to pay tribute to it in one of tonight’s appetizers. To begin, the course is plated on a dish made by Eefj out of an impression made from an ancient Post Ranch redwood. I took the very young, fluorescent green redwood tips that have been popping out the last few months, and steep them in 20-year balsamic to infuse the vinegar with a refined pine/forest aroma. We make strawberry chips by roasting the wild strawberries, pureeing them and then drying them on pieces of acetate. The chips are seasoned with sea salt and Balinese long pepper. Since finding wild strawberries in any quantity is a challenge, I added local strawberries to the dish also. We take the freshly harvested strawberries and put them in the dehydrator for three hours, just long enough for the berries to slightly shrivel and take on a custardy texture and intensified flavor. When I did this I was thinking about how satisfying freshly picked strawberries are when they are still warm and fresh off the vine. I would like to imagine that our strawberry preparation mimics the texture and flavor of berries that were picked and then left in the sun for a few hours. The dish is finished with yerba Buena, wild mint blossoms, Charlie’s goat cheese and pistachio puree.