Napa, California March 2009
This meal would not have happened if R had not stayed awake until 2am for two work nights two months to the day that we’d be in Napa Valley. And we were thrilled on the 2nd night when he managed to secure a table at French Laundry! Thank you R (for calling and sponsoring)! 🙂
Armed with a rather sketchy map, we navigated through the tiny vineyard towns of napa and ventured into Yountville – home to 4 Thomas Keller establishments, Ad Hoc, Bouchon Bakery, Bouchon and The French Laundry. Our first night in Napa we settled in on Ad Hoc and had breakfast at Bouchon Bakery the next morning. Our 2nd night’s dinner was to be spent at The French Laundry – the wait was over!!
Dinner was scheduled for 5.45pm, pretty early for Singaporeans, but as we found out – very necessary as our entire dinner took 4 hours to complete! All the food was Amazing, how they pair all the finest ingredients assemble it to make a dish and truly an art! there’s so many textures and tastes for your tongue to suss out 🙂 No complaints about being overworked here! I will write less and let the food speak for itself!
Our Maitre’d was a dashing young man who’d driven across the US from Miami to Yountville the moment he was offered a job at TFL – it would have been insane to pass the opportunity by!
There are always two menus to choose from, a Chef’s Tasting menu and a Vegetarian menu of 10 courses each.
Menus change daily and many of the ingredients used are harvested from TFL garden just across the street
“Sabayon” of Pearl Tapioca with Island Creek Oysters and California Sturgeon Caviar
Front to Back: Bread from Petaluma shaped in a cheese cloth, Bread with fleur de sel produced in Vermont.
Gathering Ingredients from le TFL Garden
Let’s get back to dinner!
with Granny Smith Apple Relish, Heirloom Beets, Watercress and Dijon Mustard
This was my selection for this course. Foie Gras Au Torchon literally means Foie Gras in Dishcloth
It was to be eaten with
(Anti-Clockwise from Front) Grey salt, Salt from the Philippines, and Pink salt from Montana
I liked the Grey Salt best!
R had the Poached Asian Pears and it was served with Warm Brioche (i love the word brioche it makes you feel like getting cosy on your couch and sip on a cup of cocoa). And when TFL says warm they mean warm, after a while of having the bread on the table they noticed that we hadn’t touched it and would have turned cold and promptly brought a fresh one!
So the thing about these tasting menus that some restaurants have (Iggy’s [Singapore] and Tetsuya’ [Sydney] do it in a similar manner) is the graduation of tastes and types of food used (it goes from light to heavy and the crescendoes and then you start on a slow descent from the height of flavour from the heaviest dish)
with Chorizo, Sunchokes, Fava Beans, Meyer Lemon Gastrique and Nicoise Olive Essence
When they served this dish, I was super thrilled cos I’d learnt how to cook lobster in such a manner in a class conducted at Raffles Culinary Academy (in a mixture of butter and water called Beurre Monte) This mixture helps to retain the moisture in the lobster meat while it cooks.
Super tender meat within the not-too-thick raviolo skin – Italy’s answer to dumplings!
This was cut from a whole roast of saddle lamb, succulent and to R’s relief without the smell of lamb
Appenzeller cheese is a hard cow’s-milk cheese produced in the Appenzell region of northeast Switzerland.
I love the way they scoop the sherbet – not your typical ice cream globe shape, very classy eh? They’re known as quenelles 🙂
An Amedei Chocolate Mousse – award winning chocolate with a brand of chocolate considered to be the most expensive in the world. (Check it out here) The wonderful folk at TFL found out from R that we’d recently gotten engaged and added the finishing touch of a lil congratulatory chocolate sign on our desserts.
I had no idea what the Buddha’s Hand was but looking for it on Wikipedia (Check it out here) and boy does it look weird! Nonetheless it was INCREDIBLY SOUR! the same goes for the Lemon Snow
After our dessert, our maitre’d presented each of us with a rectangular metal plate and the first thing that came to our minds was WOW invisible food! But it turned out to be a cold plate for our Mignardises (tiny bite-sized desserts) they were really tiny
Before we left, our Maitre’d presented us with a folder of the day’s menus signed by everyone on shift that day and a little bag of Shortbread cookies for us to remember them by. And our last treat for the night was a visit to the kitchen! I was thrilled (dumbstruck literally – R ended up asking all the questions while I took pictures)
At The French Laundry, as Thomas Keller says, It’s all about Finesse!
The French Laundry
6640 Washington Street
+1 707 944 2380
Reservations Recommended at least 2 months to reservation date