The pending four-course meal began with porcini-dusted scallops over lemon beurre blanc and ended with Meyer lemon tart. The menu also promised a baked goat cheese salad dressed with champagne vinaigrette and pan-roasted Petaluma free-range chicken with polenta and roasted broccolini. Each course was paired with a California wine.
Nowakowski washed diver scallops and arranged them in skillets as we sipped Sauvignon Blanc and discovered that six of our fellow students were from Denver. Of the nine people in the class, my husband and I were the only ones staying at the inn.
Over the next three hours, Nowakowski taught us how to bone a chicken, that the creamiest polenta is made with whole milk, that Meyer lemons taste sweeter than normal lemons and originated in Asia, and that for scallops to caramelize they need plenty of room in the pan. With each course, the wines changed, moving from crisp Sauvignon Blanc to velvety Pinot Noir to plummy Claret, and finishing with a flute of sparkling wine.
At the end of the evening, we sat back in our chairs satiated by the good food and wine in our stomachs—and the recipes to duplicate it all at home in our back pockets. We'd finally done the Savory Inn justice. After a handful of goodbyes, we walked up the stairs to find our bed in Cinnamon, thankful that we didn't have to drive home.
Amanda M. Faison is senior editor and food editor at 5280.