The French Laundry (Preview)

I had a nice surprise for Valentine’s Day. Ron told me that we were going to Napa for dinner but didn’t tell me the name of the restaurant. I had thought it may have been The French Laundry and the only reason I thought this was because since Ron and I share our Google calendars with each other, there was a note on Ron’s calendar in December to remind himself to call The French Laundry in December for Valentine’s Day. I asked him later about it but he said he wasn’t able to get a reservation. It didn’t matter to me where we went for dinner, just that we spent the day together and had a good meal. We started the day at home with eggs, bacon, and pancakes (made with Macadamia Nut Hershey Kisses!) and headed out to Napa in the late afternoon for some outlet shopping.

We left the outlets around 5:45pm and it was starting to rain. We went to find a place to maybe buy a bottle of wine for dinner but ended up driving around in vain since all the wineries were already closed. Our dinner reservation wasn’t until 6:30pm anyways so weren’t in a rush. The restaurant was in Yountville so after driving to Rutherford in search of wine, we turned around and headed back.

It was raining pretty hard so it was hard to see where we were going. Eventually we ended up in a parking lot but there was no restaurant name that I could figure out, just a brass plaque with quails on it…

As we entered the restaurant, I saw our friends Virginia & Dan inside then our friends Susan & Ken followed behind us… and I saw The French Laundry cookbook on the table! The girls were all happily surprised. We were led upstairs right away to a table for six in the cozy corner. I could hardly hold in my excitement!

They offered two menus, a chef’s tasting menu and a vegetable tasting menu. Both sounded equally good but we all chose from the chef’s tasting menu. It’s a 9 course meal and 4 courses, you choose between two items. Ron and I ordered opposite so that we could try each item.

I don’t think I can begin to describe each dish as all were delicious… so I’ll leave it to your imagination and to drool over the photos… unfortunately my camera ran out of batteries (ack!!) so I don’t have all courses photographed but the other girls took photos so I’ll get the rest from them… so hence a “preview” only… the service was excellent, attentive but not overly so, and there were lots of little “extras” not listed on the menu…

These were tiny puff pastries with Gruyere cheese.

Salmon “ice cream” cones. The cones were made of sesame and filled with a delicious cream. Those cones were so good.

First course of “Oysters and Pearls”.

They offered two types of butter for all our bread services. The first an unsalted local butter and the second a lightly salted creamed butter.

The foie gras with brioche. Interestingly they changed the brioche about 3 minutes after serving it because they like to keep it “fresh” for us. I wonder what they do with the “cold” brioche… Also, the dish is unsalted so they offered us three types of salt to our taste. The pink on the left was my favorite, it was strong but delicious.

Salad of baby red beets.

Tartare of Japanese Bluefin Tuna.

Sauteed Atlantic Striped Bass.

A mini baguette.

Sweet Butter Poached Maine Lobster Tail.

This is where my camera ran out of batteries…. so to be continued

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