Monday, May 3, 2010

The French Laundry Dining Experience

The French Laundry in Yountville, CA owned by Thomas Keller; a nine-course meal and then some, complete with a 2 month in advance reservation policy for an incredible 3-hour dinner; the ultimate dining experience begins with this clothespin attached to your white cloth napkin.  We were there to begin the celebration of my husband's 60th birthday - a restaurant that he dreamed of dining at.  they offer 2 menus - mainly meat and vegetarian.  BTW, service is included in the price.

Oysters and Pearls
  Thomas Keller's signature dish to start.  "Sabayon" of Pearl Tapioca with Island Creek Oysters and White Sturgeon Caviar.  His restaurant in NYC Per Se also begins with this amazing dish. 
 Thomas Keller believes that all you need are 3 bites, the first one being the best, 2nd and 3rd tasting more of the flavors, and probably the next bite (which wasn't there) the diner would be getting bored with the dish.  This wasn't the case for me, I wanted more, 
Tartare of Japanese Bluefin Tuna
Candied Kumquats, Fennel Bulb, Green Almonds, Garden Blossoms and Black Truffle Coulis 
The flavors burst in your mouth with each bite, and the flavors melding together to create a masterpiece of concoctions
Beets and Leeks
Main Lobster Tail "Pochee au Buerre Doux," King Richard Leeks, "Pommes Maxim's" and Red Beet Essence.
When I finished this course, I had a biggest urge to lick the plate.  That shade over the leeks and lobster was a fan of thinly slice potato that was like a potato chip - oh so yummy.  The leek portion was in the shape of an egg.  The flavors together were more than amazing and one of the best dishes I've ever had the pleasure to eat.
Salmon Creek Farms Pork Belly
Asian Pears, Tokyo Turnips, Watercress and Szechuan Peppercorn
Elysian Fields Farm Lamb Rib-Eye "En Persillade"  
"Collier d'Agneau," White Bean Puree, Green Garlic, Jingle Bell Peppers and Parsley Shoots  not my favorite course because with every bite of the lamb, I tasted liver, and that little round piece of meat on the right is a lamb neck.  The visualization of that got the better of me.
"Scharfe Maxx"  
Hen Egg, Sacramento Delta Asparagus, Pickled Ramps and Dijon Mustard Emulsion
Coconut Milk Sherbert 
Vanilla-Roasted Maui Gold Pineapple, Madjool Dates, Cashew Nuts and Candied Ginger
Peanut Butter "Bavarois" 
Crunchy Feuilletine, Milk Chocolate "Whip" and Gros Michel Banana Sorbet
An assortment of chocolates and a jar of chocolate covered macadamia nuts were served to bring a close to our once-in-a-lifetime dinner experience.  We were given the menus, the nuts, shortbread cookies and chocolate for Steve's birthday at the end of our meal.  Our bill came on a vintage laundry tag complete with the hole at the top, string and perforated portion at the bottom to tear off.  We all got to keep our wooden French Laundry clothespins.  And to top off the evening, we got a tour of the kitchen, probably because we were in the last seating (9:15pm reservations) and we were in the kitchen by 12:15am.  I am still in awe of this dining experience.  p.s.  I did forget one course, but with this new Blogger, I haven't quite figured out to insert it in the lineup, but it was a salad of compressed English cucumber.


  1. Beautiful food and it looks delicious. So glad you had a perfect evening.
    I hope to dine there some day. It seems like just the right place to celebrate an important milestone. Thanks for sharing!

  2. We recently received airfare to Napa as a gift. You have inspired me to try for reservations at this restaurant this time.