Thursday, August 27, 2009

Napa: French Laundry Attempt #2

Napa Valley - a culinary haven for adventurous foodies and wine connoisseurs. Marc and I grew up in Northern California, yet we've never stepped a foot at this food & wine mecca. Why? At one point in my life I didn't like cooking (shocking!) and I hated wine ever since I got a sip of it at church. Times have changed and now I'm a full on foodie with culinary aspirations.

Anyways, one day while at work I decided that we had to go to Napa (so random!). It's just one of those things that you do. Besides, I'm still trying to land that darn French Laundry reservation. I'm not sure if it would top my experience at Alinea but for the fact that the French Laundry called a day before my 30th birthday to offer up a reservation just haunts me 'til this day. I didn't bother calling back because it was too painful to bare to decline a reservation. Awful experience, yes, but I'm still determined to go there at least one time (to get it over with).

After mastering the FL phone system (see details below), we are on the waiting list for FL on the weekend of Sept 26-27 (I didn't call two months on the day). I do have a back up plan in case we don't get the reservation.

Here is the line up:

[image by V. Sattui Winery]
V. Sattui Winery

[image by bunrab]
Pastry snacks at Bouchon Bakery
Owner: Chef Thomas Keller

[image by USA Today]
Dinner at Ad Hoc Restaurant
Owner: Chef Thomas Keller

Opus One Wineries

[image by solano mag]
Light lunch at Dean & Deluca

Schramsberg Vineyards

[image by sf]
Dinner at La Toque
Owner: Chef Ken Frank

How to master the French Laundry phone system:
  • Make sure you are on a LAN line and have two additional lines available (e.g. second LAN line and cell phone).
  • Program the French Laundry number on your phones. Make sure you know the functions of your phone for redialing.
  • Open up your computer clock. Begin to speed dial the French Laundry number 5 seconds before 10:00 AM. Basically 9:59:55 AM.
  • At exactly 10:00 AM, call the number again with another line. If you get a busy signal, call the number again.
  • You know you've got into the queue when the phone rings and you get the recorder. Select 1 to make a reservation.
  • If you don't get a live person, STAY ON THE LINE. If the phone starts ringing as if you've been cut off, STAY ON THE LINE. This means you're the next call waiting to be taken by a live person.
  • All of a sudden, you hear Jessica's voice and you've made it.
  • Fastest time I got on the line: 7 minutes.
Things to know:
  • The French Laundry no longer takes walk-in reservations. You have to call or go online at OpenTable.
  • Weekend reservations are hard to come by. If you don't get a reservation, request to be put on the waiting list. Be sure to give them a reliable phone number such as your cell number.
  • Don't give up :)
French Laundry
6640 Washington Street
Yountville, CA 94599


phi-style said...

GAH I did so much research on this too!

When I graduated from grad school in 2007, my (ex)bf tried to make rsvp for French Laundry everyday for several weeks. By the time it was well w/in the one-month period and he knew he wasn't going to be able to make the rsvp, he told me what his original plan had been, but that he just couldn't land the rsvp.

just out of curiosity, i made a single attempt at making a rsvp via while i was at work. after checking a couple of saturdays, i found one! i couldn't believe it! someone must have JUST cancelled it.

Anyhow, that's another possible way to get a rsvp. =) I hope you get off that waitlist!

And yes, I'll be doing a separate Alinea post. =)

Post a Comment