We all know it’s important to treat yourself – some people do it with spa days and other people revel in a fine wine or a delicious meal.
One hard-working part-time furniture-selling college student decided to save up for a meal at one of the country’s finest restaurants and her photos from the $600 tasting course menu left people pretty fragile.
Responding to criticisms she received when she woke up the morning after posting her photos, Imgur user Hoptail said:
A lot of people reckon I’m full of crap and can’t afford something like this as a student. Sit down, I’m about to blow your mind… I saved up, yo.
I only eat out like this a few times a year, if that, and I’m very intentional about setting aside part of my pay so that I can do stuff like this later.
Some people save up for game consoles or nice clothes. I eat out.
She had some more choice words for her haters, but we’ll let you read them yourself. Let’s just say she told them to kind shove their criticisms somewhere where the sun doesn’t shine.
Let’s see what her $600 got her at the 3 Michelin star Saison in San Francisco:
Readers couldn’t have freaked out any harder when they saw this pic of a cup of tea and assumed that was the beginning, middle, and end of the whole meal.
But $600 at one of the finest restaurants in the world, in fact, buys you a whole lot more, and while the portions may look small to you, she added
The portions are bigger than you think, I was swollen up with a foodbaby that looked like I herniated something, there were way more courses than I comfortably could handle and I undertook a self-imposed food fatwa for like 24 hours after I was so full. And I am a big eater.
We’re glad she had a great time, even if she couldn’t afford to spring for the wine pairings.
But apparently this “heavenly” tea was replenished throughout the night upon her request and was the best she had ever had.
Each little bushel had douglas fir, yarrow, chamomile, lemon balm, anise and hyssop all picked fresh from the restaurant farm and steeped in hot meyer lemon water.
This is the one thing we might be able to make at home.
Up next was a solid course:
Hoptail described it in detail:
Up next, baby spinach, roasted kelp cooked in clarified butter (compliments of their jersey cow Bella) and topped with proprietary caviar – some specific type that you can only have there. Can’t tell you how buttery and melty this all was. Even though all the textures were super different, they came together so smoothly.
That Saison owns their own cow to produce butter is giving us some indication of why the food is expensive.
And world-renowned head chef Joshua Skenes also employs his own fleet of fisherman on the staff.
So, unsurprisingly, the next course was seafood:
Hoptail explained the elaborate display as:
Turbot fish – 2 ways. Sashimi was amazing. I don’t want to sound like an idiot using stupid gastronomic buzzwords, but the “mouthfeel” (nerrrrr) was like the most tender, buttery squid you’ve ever had in your life.
I shed tears knowing that I’d peaked and would never experience better raw fish after this moment.
The second preparation was grilled with a light soy glaze. Came with little heirloom tomatoes and some sort of deepfried flower.
We love a women who can make fun of herself while indulging in buttery squid. Get it, girl!
Unfortunately, the third course left her a little underwhelmed – but in a tasting menu this big, not everything can be the best.
If you don’t know what a geoduck (pronounced “gooey duck”) is, best to look it up before indulging, since it’s not what it sounds like.
This damn thing is called a Geoduck. If you’ve never heard of them before, Google it. They are freaky looking af. Honestly, it wasn’t that good. Just kind of chewy and the marinade was super overwhelming I couldn’t actually taste the meat.
This is actually 3 separate parts of the clam – the siphon (the freakish long, sticky-outty part of the clam), the abductor muscle and I think the inside bit.
We’re going to be honest here – we’re not sure how they got that dish from this sea monster, but that’s why they’re artists and we’re not. We’re just glad no one tried to serve it whole, because that’s a recipe for dirty jokes:
Luckily, the fourth course was the diner’s favorite:
Fresh sea urchin (uni) on grilled bread that was basted in a sauce made of the offcuts of the bread. Like a bread confit.
I’ve never had sea urchin before, it was SUPER creamy.. like the butter of the sea. So amazingly fresh and the sauce in the bread was incredible.
Butter of the sea? Sold. We can get on board with butter of the anything, frankly.
Course five was a radish concoction, and we know what you’re thinking – radishes are worth pennies! But not when they’re cooked with butter from the restaurant’s personal cow.
They used every part of the radish to make this dish. That’s sliced radish on top (again from their farm) with Bella’s clarified butter.
Luckily, we were provided with a second photo of this course:
It turns out that the true glory is in what lies beneath:
Underneath there was a sort of radish jelly vinegar reduction, the radish tops and cubes of marinated radish. It was actually super fresh and tart and a really good transition from the richness of the previous course.
Ok, we know you’re ready for the pumpkin octopus course:
This is roasted pumpkin – 3 ways. The first to the left is kind of like agedashi tofu except it’s torn roast pumpkin topped with octopus flakes.
And in a perfect transtion from savory to sweet, there was a second pumpkin dish:
Second preparation was pumpkin hung over their in-house fire and slow roasted for like 8 hours with a buttermilk cream. Caramelisation was incredible.
Note: carmelization is always incredible.
Also note: we’re not done with the pumpkin:
Not sure about this one. Pumpkin puree in cold-pressed pumpkin seed oil. It felt like it was kind of added as an afterthought and was way too salty. I’m not even sure how I was supposed to eat it.
Protip: a chef will never serve you something inedible without telling you, so just dig in however you see fit.
While $600 is a lot of money, we’re at least starting to see how anyone could be full after this meal. And we haven’t even hit the antelope course!
This is antelope. It came with stuffed radicchio, herb salad and really nice biscuits and honey butter that tasted like pancakes.
Sadly, our intrepid diner was a bit squeamish about eating the more adorable animals, despite probably knowing all the words to “Circle of Life”:
Objectively, I’m sure it was nice. It was well-seasoned and had the texture of a cross between venison and beef and was perfectly medium-rare. Melt-in-your-mouth-melt-your-heart amazing. The fact that it was sourced from a ranch in Texas did nothing to abate my Lion King flashbacks and my childhood sentimentality got in the way of really being able to enjoy this one.
Momentary crisis erupted when they brought out the liquid antelope:
God make it stop. Antelope bone broth with sage. It was actually really nice, but I needed to move on from Bambi’s relatives.
But never fear, dessert is here!
This is smoked ice cream. Don’t ask me the science behind how one smokes ice cream – but it’s got something to do incorporating exotic wood embers into the cream. So incredible though, and came with life-changing salted caramel.
The assortmend of candied toppings (that included walnuts, peanuts, cacao nibs, and pine nuts) are enough of a reason to dine alone and not have to share.
We’d be pretty thrilled with a build-your-own-sundae bar at any price.
Now, this is going to look like an orange, but it’s actually an orange buttermilk creamsicle:
And it looks amazing. It even had bits of candied orange at the bottom.
But Hoptail was struggling to fit in any more food at this point:
I’ll confess, I’d been eating for like 3 and a half hours at this point and picked through the ice cream to get to the wedges. I felt bad, but I was barely halfway through the dessert portion of the menu and was already on struggle street.
But when you’re about to hand over $600, you can’t give up. So, nevertheless, she persisted:
Blueberry sorbet on top of brandy macerated blueberries. Topped with more brandy.
Good if you like brandy. I don’t.
Never fear, a women rocking the solo diner look always gets a backup dessert:
The Saison “Snickers” bar.
This is an off-menu item that comes if you befriend the right waiter and mention you have a penchant for desserts.
Some sort of dark chocolate and nut brownie base, salted caramel centre, chocolate ganache and topped with 24K gold – because why not do that when you’re the second most expensive restaurant in the country.
Yes, the gold is edible, if a little uncessary.
And what elaborate meal is complete without a swag bag to mark the occasion?
Of course, no woman posts glamorous stories to the Internet without getting her share of propositions, but Hoptail took it all in stride and thanked everyone who helped her enjoy her experience.
I really enjoyed myself and it makes me very happy that somebody else enjoyed it too.
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