Anyone who lives in the city knows that every once in a while, for the sake of your own sanity, you have to leave. You have to get out and get away for a bit, preferably somewhere quiet, clean and where you can bask in the glory of doing nothing at all.
My good friend Hilary lives in Connecticut, a conveniently short train ride away, and has always invited me to visit when I need a break from the city, so last weekend I took her up on the offer. There was lots of lounging around in our PJs, quality time spent on the couch, Girls reruns (cause they’re freakin’ hiiiiiiilarious), and because she doesn’t live above a bar like I do, there was sweet, delicious silence. I was basically a new person when I got back to the city.
But we weren’t bums the whole weekend. One day we actually jumped in her car and drove to Pocantico Hills, back on the New York state side of things, and visited Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture where we toured their sprawling farm, learned about crop rotation, composting, and greenhouses and saw my favorite, farm animals like pigs and sheep.
Stone Barns is also home to the beautiful and renowned Blue Hill restaurant, where I definitely want to eat some day, but because we were working with a smaller budget, Hil and I stopped by the Blue Hill Cafe instead. It was there that I came across and unexpectedly crazy good sandwich.
Actually, I don’t even know if it was a sandwich, but more like a few awesome ingredients with the most wonderful, perfect bread wrapped around them, almost like a loaf that had been sliced really wide and the doughy inside replaced with speck, wheatberries and pickled cabbage. Aside from speck, a cured pork meat, I wouldn’t have thought that cabbage and wheatberries (which I had to Google to find out are the entire wheat kernel except for the dry outer cover) could make for such great eating. Smushed together and hugged by the soft, coarse salt-flecked bread, they made for a tasty surprise. It seemed exactly like the simple yet healthy, comforting, delicious food you’d eat on a farm.
There’s already talk of us going back out to Stone Barns in the spring (Sheep Shearing Festival what what!) next time I visit Hil and when that happens, we’ll have to drop by the Blue Hill cafe again for more great food to enjoy in the clean, quiet peace afforded by farm life just far enough away from the city.