As part of the ongoing "birthday month" of December, I was taken to a very special dinner at The French Laundry by anne, Dave, and Tim.
For anyone living under a rock, The French Laundry has been wining awards, hearts, and minds in the food community since 1994 (if my memory serves). I was lucky enough to go there about three months after opening, and this makes my third visit. It was every bit as memorable and wonderful as the first time. It is difficult to talk about The French Laundry and say something that has not been said a million times before.
Three things stand out from this time:
- We got to shake hands with Thomas Keller himself, because he noticed us looking into the kitchen. He just came outside for a brief moment to say hi.
- I was able to have "Oysters and Pearls" (one of The French Laundry's signature dishes) for the first time. I'm not overly fond of either tapioca or caviar and yet this ranks as one of my favorite dishes of all time!
- I was able to wrangle us an extra desert. anne had been wanting "Coffee and Doughnuts" (another signature dish) and didn't have it the first time she and Dave went there. We also noticed that a) it wasn't on the menu and b) another table had it delivered. A few courses before desert, I called over our main waiter and stated that "The young lady is concerned that she did not see 'Coffee and Doughnuts' on the menu." "I'll see what I can do, sir."
Tim writes up and provides great photos here. He did an amazing job with low lighting and a tiny camera without flash.