Have you ever wondered what it’s like to treat yourself to a $600 meal at one of the world’s best restaurants? While clearly no substitute for the real thing (the crucial senses of taste and smell cannot be replicated over the internet… yet), Imgur user Hoptail has allowed us to eat vicariously through her graphic descriptions and photos from a restaurant in San Francisco.
“So I got sent to San Francisco for work and I always make a habit of visiting the best restaurants when I travel. I’m not well-off by any means – I’m a college student. But I love good food and I save up for this shit. So please enjoy living vicariously through these photos of my dinner for 1 at Saison,” she said.
Taking us on a mouthwatering tour of the meal, which included an astonishing array of courses, Hoptail manages to convey her fine dining experience beautifully and without a hint of the snobbish tone usually reserved for such reviews.
Despite this, the young Aussie still copped quite a bit of flak on the net (inevitably) for her apparent extravagance in choosing to spend her money in such a fashion while a student, from vegans and from those vigorously opposed to the rampant restaurant photography that seems to have become the norm these days. “Documenting your food is becoming more and more acceptable now, even in high-end restaurants,” she explained. “I’m aware that I looked like an instawhore, but.. well, firstly, I don’t have Instagram, and secondly, if I’m going to spend that much on a meal, I want to be able to appreciate it later and share it with people who would find it interesting.”
Helpfully, Hoptail added a short FAQ at the end of her post, which she used to address some of these concerns in a satisfyingly forthright way. “For those of you with the disparaging comments about this endeavour not being worth it, or that I shouldn’t be spending my money on stuff like this if I’m not financially well-to-do. Kindly shove it up your arse. It’s my money, and this is what I like. I could be strung out on cocaine or have a crippling meth addiction. Cut me some slack. Go to Wendy’s if you WANT to, ain’t nothing wrong with that – you do you.”
Fair enough, Hoptail. Scroll down to check out her pics and descriptions below, and feel free to share your own fine dining experiences in the comments. Also feel free to discuss the merits or otherwise of spending a ton of cash on a single meal. Is it worth it for the experience? Let us know what you think!
“The most heavenly tea I’ve ever had in my life. 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”
“Up next, baby spinach, roasted kelp cooked in clarified butter (compliments of their jersey cow Bella) and topped with caviar”
“Turbot fish – 2 ways. Sashimi was amazing. The second preparation was grilled with a light soy glaze. Came with little heirloom tomatoes and some sort of deepfried flower”
“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 was, hands down, my favourite course. Fresh sea urchin on grilled bread that was basted in a sauce made of the off-cuts of the bread. It was SUPER creamy.. like the butter of the sea. So amazingly fresh and the sauce in the bread was incredible”
“That’s sliced radish on top (again from their farm) with Bella’s clarified butter”
“Underneath there was a sort of radish jelly vinegar reduction, the radish tops and cubes of marinated radish. It was super fresh and tart and a really good transition from the richness of the previous 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”
“Second preparation was pumpkin hung over their in-house fire and slow roasted for like 8 hours with a buttermilk cream. Caramelisation was incredible”
“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”
“This is antelope. It came with stuffed radicchio, herb salad and really nice biscuits and honey butter that tasted like pancakes”
“It was well-seasoned and had the texture of a cross between venison and beef and was perfectly medium-rare”
“Antelope bone broth with sage. It was actually really nice, but I needed to move on from Bambi’s relatives”
“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”
“Accompanying assortment of candied toppings (walnuts, peanuts, cacao nibs and pine nuts)”
“Dessert, yes. The best part. Praise Jesus, my palette has been blessed. Amen”
“Orange buttermilk creamsicle”
“Super smooth, really creamy and had hidden segments of candied oranges at the bottom”
“Blueberry sorbet on top of brandy macerated blueberries. Topped with more brandy. Good if you like brandy. I don’t”
“The Saison “Snickers” bar. This is an off-menu item that comes if you befriend the right waiter. Some sort of dark chocolate and nut brownie base, salted caramel centre, chocolate ganache and topped with 24K gold”