French Laundry is the kind of place you never expect to actually go. It’s a restaurant that exists in glossy magazines and the neat reviews of well-regarded newspapers. It’s a restaurant that books out daily in ten minutes, a restaurant some very fine people have been trying years to get into. It is so fancy, so expensive and so wonderful, that people all over the world regard it as the best restaurant. Ever.
And we had dinner there yesterday.
How we managed it remains to be seen, but thanks go in large part to Jordy’s friend Elliot who happens to be a chef there, and my folks, who so kindly sent us some money instead of a Christmas present this year, in the hope that we’d have ourselves a nice meal on them. And how.
I can’t begin to describe the food, but I will say that it was the most spectacular thing I’ve ever eaten. The Maine lobster tail, the Thomas Keller signature ‘oyster and pearl’ (fresh raw oysters on a bed of silk-like tapioca with sturgeon caviar), the hand rolled tagliatelle with shaved truffles which were grated over - fresh, heady, woody truffles - at the table. They were my favourites, and I could say more, but I couldn’t near do it justice. It would probably go without saying that the service was impeccable, but I have to say it because it was impeccable but charming and personable all at the same time. The linen and table settings and open fire were a picture, and the wine… THE WINE. If the bottle of French champagne on arrival wasn’t enough, the local Konsgaard chardonnay was. It is above all else the loveliest thing I’ve ever drunk. We finished with a California pinot, a rather fine port for Jordy, and a ’97 Sauternes for me. Obviously.
The very idea of decadent and spoiled and blessed doesn’t begin to cover it. We were so full and so happy we slept most of the next day away, rising only to inspect the amazing gardens that feed the French Laundry, just over the road from the restaurant. Most of their vegetables come from their own garden, and the menu changes daily, depending on what is in season and on hand. Their head gardener posts some of the amazing home-grown fare on his Instagram feed, and it’s a must-follow in my book.
I have a feeling it’s an evening both Jordy and I will remember for all our days.