Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Yountville: The French Laundry, Part 2

We were given a personalized menu of the day's menu. We selected the Chef's Tasting menu.
Canape: Salmon Tartar Cornet
salmon tartare, chives, and red onion crème fraîche

Canape: Gruyère gougères

"Oyster and Pearls"
"Sabayon" of Pearl Tapioca with Island Creek Oysters and White Sturgeon Caviar 

Unsalted butter and salted butter

Brioche and Pan au lait roll 

French Laundry Garden Tomato Salad
Hawaiian Hearts of Peach Palm, "Pain de Campagne" and Garden Dill Mousse

Sautéed Fillet of Pacific Thread Fish
Hobb's Bacon, Compressed Garden Cucumbers, Slow-Roasted Beets and Brokaw Avocado Puree

Sweet Butter-Poached Maine Lobster
Yukon Gold Potato "Confit," Mokum Carrots, Tokyo Turnips, Arrowleaf Spinach and Sauce Bordelaise

Poached Four Story Hill Farms Poularde
Marinated Black Mission Fig, Petite Garden Onions and Sauce Perigourdine

Herb-Roasted Elysian Fields Farm Lamb Saddle
Eggplant "en Persillade," Garden Squash, Haricot Verts and Stewed Sweet Peppers

"Ossau Iratry"
K&J Orchard Peaches, Young Fennel Bulb and Sicilian Pistachios

Fruit dessert
Huckleberry gelatin, pear

The French Laundry Chocolate Cake

Mignardises: Assorted chocolates

"Coffee and Donuts"
Espresso ice cream semifreddo

Fried cinnamon beignets

Cheesecake and lemon

Caramelized macadamia nuts

Takeaway snack: Shortbread cookies

Two words: Food coma.

While this meal was solid, it was overdue and past it's prime. I definitely had favorites over the years but this experience will go down as the one that almost got away but I should have let it go. Had we gone here before El Cellar de Can Roca or even before Joel Robuchon, it would have been a different story otherwise, it simply can't compare to what's going on halfway across the globe in Japan, Singapore and Spain.

I guess we both hoped each course would be like a hit record and the entire meal would be off the charts but it wasn't. Every dish was plated beautifully, the ingredients were as fresh as it can be but I thought the highlight of the meal was the desserts. By then, a food coma had arrived and we literally left most of the mignardises on the table. I didn't have the heart to take them home.

Note to self: Don't drink a half bottle of wine by yourself. I was drunk halfway through the meal. I even forgot to take photos of the second round of bread service. Most of the course descriptions were forgotten or I stopped paying attention.

I was a bit distracted. Why? I kept staring at a server that looked just like the one who I met at Alinea in 2011. Could it be him? No way. But damn he looked so familiar. It has to be the wine. I probably should have stopped drinking. Then I had enough courage to ask him, "Did you use to work at Alinea?" And he replied...Yes. Plus he remembered me from two years ago.


That was the highlight of the day. Hubs thought I was hardcore for knowing someone at the French Laundry and formerly from Alinea. Alex will be permanently imprinted in my memory. Same goes for the other servers I've met in Tokyo (Sylvan), Hans (Monaco) and Jonathan (Singapore).

Until we meet again.

The French Laundry
6640 Washington Street
Yountville, CA 94599


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