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Our French Laundry Dining Experience

August 26, 2011
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Mom and Freefs after our lunch at The French Laundry

I’m not going to waste much time and am going to get right to it (if you’re interested in other Napa Valley tidbits…). Here is, course-by-course, mom’s 60th birthday lunch at The French Laundry:

Not pictured is our amuse bouche, which included a mini puff pastry stuffed with Gruyere and also an “ice cream cone”-inspired salmon tartar and crème fraiche.  

Oysters and Pearls

First course: “Oysters and Pearls”
“Sabayon” of pearl tapioca with Island Creek oysters and white sturgeon caviar.

It was warm, salty, and heavenly.

Salad of Hawaiian Hearts of Palm

Second course: Salad of Hawaiian Hearts of Palm
Compressed cucumber, mango, Hass avocado, chili and Rangpur lime “gastrique”

It was the most refreshing—and fresh—salad I’ve ever had.

Sauteed Fillet of Atlantic Cobia

Tracey’s third course: Sautéed Fillet of Atlantic Cobia
Bluefoot mushrooms, nantes carrots, cipollini onion, parsley and “Beurre Rouge”

"Tartare" of Ear-shell Clam






Mom’s third course: “Tartare” of Ear-Shell Clam
Chanterelle mushrooms, Tokyo turnips, somerset peach, and garden mint

A collection of salts, just because.

While still raving about the salty yums of the “Oysters and Pearls” our server overheard me mention how much I like salt. So, he appeared with three salts for me to try—the one in the upper left is a Jurassic salt recently discovered in a mine in Montana.

Sweet Butter-Poached Maine Lobster "Mitts"









Fourth course: Sweet Butter-Poached Maine Lobster “Mitts”
Basmati rice, cauliflower, Sultana raisins, Marcona almonds, cilantro shoots, and coconut and Madras curry.
You have never in your life tasted curry like this. It was so good, I’d rather have not even sullied it with the lobster (really, my only constructive critique for Mr. Keller).

Salmon Creek Farm Pork Belly








 Tracey’s fifth course:  Salmon Creek Farm Pork Belly
Toybox tomatoes, artichokes, Romaine lettuce, and Bottarga – hen egg emulsion

Dear Pork Belly, Marry me. Love, Freef.

Spring Lamb "Raviolini"






 Mom’s fifth course: Spring Lamb “Raviolini”
Lima beans, Brentwood corn, jingle bell peppers, and Swiss chard and Padron pepper consommé

The consommé was amazeballs in and of itself.


Snake River Famrs "Calotte de Boeuf Grillee"







Sixth course: Snake River Farms “Calotte de Boeuf Grillee”
Fairytale eggplant, broccoli, red radish, Asian pear, and “Sauce Japonaise”

It also had mini brisket cubes. So, double boeuf!








 Seventh course: “Acapella”
Bing cherry, celery, Piedmont hazelnuts, and Australian black truffle

<drool> Obviously, the cheese course. </drool>

Yellow Watermelon Sorbet





 Eighth course: Yellow Watermelon Sorbet
Basil-honey and Saba vinegar

It also has yellow compressed watermelon and red watermelon as the vessel for the vinegar. At this point, I figured we were nearly done…

Caramelia Chocolate "Cremeux"





 Tracey’s ninth course: Caramelia Chocolate “Cremeux”
Gros Michel banana, candied pine nuts, “Dentelle” and salted popcorn ice cream

I totally won on this course!

"Nectarine Melba"







Mom’s ninth course: “Nectarine Melba”
Sicilian pistachio “Pain de Gene,” Andante Dairy yogurt, “Bicotti,” and raspberry sorbet

Happy 60th Birthday, Mom!






Mom-only ten course: “Birthday Cake”
It was a soaked sponge cake and chocolate whip and then covered in cocoa

Happy 60th, Mom!!!

Megnardises (or "four more desserts after the dessert course!!)





 Eleventh course: Mignardises
Chocolate semi-freddo (looks like a cappuccino), doughnut holes, chocolate-covered macadamia nuts, truffles (from upper-left, clockwise: peanut butter and jelly, ginger, cherry, olive oil, hazelnut rum, Meyer lemon)

Four different sweet things rolled up into one course!

Not pictured: They sent us each home with a package of shortbread cookies, and mom got a package of chocolates for a birthday present, along with a fancy-pants, exclusive magazine.

After lunch, we strolled around The French Laundry garden, directly across the street from the restaurant.

I took about 50 pictures of this chicken.

The French Laundry compost pile is pretty effin' magnificent!

So, this is my mom. If you don't already know, she's kind of amazing.

It was, by far, the best culinary experience of my life and will be one of my most memorable life moments, thanks to my mom telling me emphatically at the end of the meal, “This was the best Saturday of my life!”

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Sharlene Cooper permalink
    September 6, 2011 9:05 am

    Love the pics. Looks like you had a fabulous time. I am so happy. How neat of Tracey to put this all together. Perfect 60th.


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