So, yeah, I had lunch at the French Laundry. No big. One day while I was waiting on a friend, I saw via Twitter that the French Laundry had opened up some seats for the weekend before Christmas. To waste time, I went on Open Table on my phone to put in my name for a table. Surely I wouldn’t get one.
Except I did. And that’s how two days later I was having lunch at the French Laundry.
That’s our table there, in that second story window.
And this was our view. Not bad.
Yes, I stole that clothespin.
Here’s what I can tell you about The French Laundry. This is the most special of special restaurants (at least in Northern California), and, unless you are loaded (which I am not), this is likely a once-in-a-lifetime deal unless you’ve got a great-aunt with deep pockets and a refined palate. The service was the best I’ve yet experienced–friendly yet unobtrusive and of course super knowledgable about everything that was served to us. The food, of course, was perfect. But what else would you expect from a restaurant that regularly makes the top ten list of ‘best restaurants’ in the world?
Here is my honest observation: I was not blown away by this experience. It totally lived up to it’s reputation, but of course I was expecting greatness and we got it. I think that’s why I wasn’t surprised or super impressed. I’ve read so much about this place that I already knew it would be all that and a bag of chips. Would I do it again? Yes, absolutely.
Now. Are you ready to ogle my lunch?
Classic FL starter–the salmon tartare cone, filled with creme fraiche.
Gougere. Light as little cheese clouds.
Another classic FL dish–“Oysters and Pearls”. Sabayon of pearl tapioca with Island Creek oysters and white sturgeon caviar.
Bread service. Dig the bee hive butter.
Salad of Garden Radishes. Hawaiian hearts of palm “bavarois”, compressed Asian pear, komatsuna and FL garden honey.
Paupiettes of Dover sole and wild Scottish langoustine, Satsuma mandarins, crispy salsify, Sicilian pistachios and garden mache.
Stonington Maine sea scallop ‘poelee’. Sunchoke panade, toasted English walnut Royal Blenheim apricot relish and Swiss chard leaves.
Wolfe Ranch white quail ‘presse’. Celery root puree, red wine-braised apples, celery branch salad and balsamic jus.
All-day braised Marcho Farms veal cheek. Arrowleaf spinach, garden cauliflower, Italian capers, preserved Meyer lemons and ‘sauce gremolata’.
Reblochon. Forest mushrooms a la grecque, French prunes, fennel pollen lavash and toasted pine nuts.
“Assortment of desserts”. This was a pineapple ‘chip’ atop coconut foam. I think it’s compressed melon behind there.
This was the ice cream course. I guess there is always an ice cream course. Vanilla bean with angel food ‘cake’ and sesame tuille.
Oh dear lord. This chocolate cakey thing was amazing. On top there is some salted caramel and the flimsy looking thing was a banana fruit roll up thing.
Also classic FL–“coffee and doughnuts”. Above is the ‘coffee’–kind of a semifreddo thing. Delicious. I am dying by now, BTW, and ready to change into yoga pants.
‘Doughnuts’. No words necessary.
Macarons? Sure, why not. I actually couldn’t even eat these and brought them home for the next day.
Chocolate hazelnut thingys. Again–quite delicious but I wrapped them up and brought them home.
Here’s Kevin. He was our guy. At the end he brought out this fancy box. I almost thought that he was bringing us cigars. But no. More chocolate. They were so pretty! Almost too pretty to eat. They looked like tiny bowling balls–the fancy kind of bowling balls, with the sparkles and swirls. I chose a peanut butter and jelly one and I think an Irish cream. I should’ve been a hog and taken one of each. For $279 I deserve more of those chocolates.
Anyway, here we are, me and my birthday pal. A full 3+ years after our initial plan to spend our birthdays together at the French Laundry ended up being an impromptu lunch two days before Christmas. Whatever works. When the French Laundry calls, you listen.
6640 Washington St, Yountville, CA 94599