French Laundry… The Finals

There’s More Then One Way To Slice Some Meat

Come to find out Thomas Keller is an All American Man despite his French food skills.  If you can believe it, TK was born in California and raised primarily in Florida. You may be asking yourself “did she just Wiki this?” No folks, I heard this information from the famous Food King himself. Of course I wish I would have asked something more clever.  When I got the chance to meet King TK I asked, “So where are you from?” The most plain yogurt first question EVER. Oh well, I was star struck.

Wait Let me rewind…

Not Your Average Meat N’ Potaters

Pictured above is The Liberty Farm Pekin Duck snuggled with Chanterelle mushrooms, Arrowleaf spinach, Salsify and Oregon huckleberries.

Pictured above is Snake River Farms ” Calotte Dr Boeuf Grillee” accompanied by Pommes Sarladaise, Tardivo Radicchio, Nantes Carrots and Burgundy Truffle.

Translation Please?  Sexy ivy league beef takes a joy-ride on seered potatoes rendered in duck fat and happy carrots snuggling with crisp radicchio.  It’s the happiest pile of meat and taters you’ll ever take to dinner.

Pictured above is Broken Arrow Ranch Venison, spooning with Red Wine Braised Cabbage, Compressed Pear, Tokyo turnips and Juniper Sauce.  This was my brother’s favorite dish of the evening.

What was my favorite slice of meat?…

Drum Roll…

Thomas Keller.

I got to meat the most incredible culinary master Chef in the world.  He has soft artistic hands and I got all tingly when I shook them.  Did I mention the silky smooth hands of a master?  I never thought during the 18 courses of a dreamboat dinner I would hear, “would you like to meet Chef?”

Some people dream to touch Kim Kardashian’s dreamy round booty. I dream to hold the hands of King TK sometime again. Soon real soon.

Cheesed to Meat You

Let’s be honest I could have eaten mulch for the the rest of the evening and I still would have had that entranced look on my face. I barely remember what happened after I touched the hands of King TK. Luckily, I did document.

Speaking of cheese. Pictured above is the cheese course. A smooth cheddar crisp basking in a berry compote that was as tasty as it was pretty.

This pig in the clouds is Guava Sorbet, Moscato d’Asti (a sweet dessert wine) and Young Ginger.  I like ’em young and spicy.

Pictured above is Pommes Anna Funnel Cake, Pruneaux d’Agen (stuffed prunes), Rum Anglaise and salted carmel ice cream.

That my friends was the best 30th birthday that a North Country gal could ask for and the most memorable meal of 2011.  I hope you all get a chance to feast your eyes on Thomas Keller. But save those velvet hands for me.

Happy New Year and thank you to the 16 of you who have signed up to read this saucy blog.  I appreciate your support. Cheers and may 2012 bring many pleasurable meals.

French Laundry Survival Guide… Part 3

I know, I’m really milking this French Laundry thing for all it’s worth. People, a 5 hour 18 course dinner needs the tender lovin’ care that it deserves. The posts just keep getting better, like an aging wine.  Speaking of which, you must be wondering..”What the hell did she drink with this over-the-top meal?”

Fish, Wine and Truffle Time

Tip: If you’re a wino newbie like me then trust the Sommeliers. I know it sounds like I’m trying to lure you into a white windowless van. Really, if there ever was a time to trust, it would be at The French Laundry.  I promise no sketchy vans are waiting for you in the parking lot.

My bro was my date and he’s pretty handy with wine so I had the inside scoop on everything we tasted.  If you have any younger siblings who are searching for a career path, tell them to become a Sommelier.  That way you can take them to The French Laundry with you once they achieve international wine stardom. The Sommelier was our master tour guide walking us threw the grape vines of Tuscany.  Each tasting was wonderfully paired like pearls and white teeth.

Tip:Start off with Champange or something bubbly. It’s a celebration.

Wine and Fish go together like Fish and Wine

Here is the Sautéed Fillet of Atlantic Suzuki.  Alongside this delicate fish was freshly plucked broccoli, crisp red radish, zesty navel orange, crisp cashews, Padrón peppers (Spanish pepper) and green orange Aigre-Doux

Above is The French Laundry Caesar Salad. Also known as: My Best Bite Of The Evening. In one nibble I was brought back to a rained-the-enitre-week-vacation that my family took to Maine. I remember the rain and the lobster: buttery, juicy, tender, screaming to be tasted. These sweet-butter poached Maine lobster mitts were accompanied by pain perdu (the forgotten bread), parmesan pearls, romaine lettuce and a hen’s egg emulsion. I will never look at  “Caesar Salad” the same way again. Damn You Frenchy!

Bread and Budda

Tip: Don’t fill up on the artisan bread.  This stuff is worth its weight in gold.  It will rock your pants off and will require some serious self control to avoid over indulging. Oh and by the way there were TWO choices of butter.  One local butter which was creamy and delightful. One from Vermont with a touch of sea salt and a slice of heaven. Ok, I’m bias.

Family Plug: My Dad has an in with the French Laundry butter maker, Diane Sinclair. She is my new Butter Goddess (sorry Paula Deen). DIane is a fellow Vermonter and her butter tastes as if it were churned within minutes of arriving at your table. Satin sheets of butter. Who knew butter could be so sexy. Hi Dad.

White Truffle My Palette 

Tip: If you are lucky enough to go to French Laundry during truffle season, order the damn truffle course. Order It. Order It even if it means eating Ramen noodles for the next month. Order it if it means selling your house and moving into your parents basement.

White Truffle: The Definition of Inner Beauty. I know the above pictured truffle looks like a calcified pile of cow dung. Trust me, it tastes like a piece of heaven in a gold plated hand basket.  This truffle is legit. We are talkin’ probably smuggled in by the Italian mafia legit.  The truffle lives in the sexy mahogany box and it’s keeper is Thomas Keller. Rumor has it Chef Keller sleeps next to this box and sniffs the truffles in his sweet dreams. The white truffles are white glove delivered and if you order them you will feel for 5 minutes of your life that you are the King or Queen of Spain. They shave the white truffle at your table side and yes, the whole place watches.

What I named…White Truffle Nectar Of the Gods Dish: ripples of white truffle laid to rest peacefully on top of  velvet risotto that was infused with white truffle shavings and finished with a white truffle nectar.  That’s a lot of truffle.  Tasting this dish is equalvalent to suckling the teet of a White Truffle’s ripe bosom.  If you’re into that sort of thing.

My Last Few Bites of Truffle Nectar Of The Gods.

WIne Changer: For the first time ever, I smelled something in the glass. That “something” was the smell of truffles. There is seriously a wine that smells like truffles. There is a God. Sorry yellowtail I think we should see other people. I am forever changed and will be pairing all of my meals from now on.

The wine that changed my life I enjoyed with white truffles:

2001 Fantoni Barolo Riserva “Vigna dei Dardi”
The grape is Nebbiolo (Nebbiolo means
‘grape of fog’). It was like drinking sips of truffle grapes draped in red velvet. Oy Vay. I’m salivating like a truffle dog.

Documenting my last bite of truffle and my sniffer filled with a Truffle wine scent.

Oh man, I’m crying right now. I have to go to the bathroom and get a tissue.

Speaking of bathrooms and tissues. I know you’re just dyin to see what the French Laundry water closet looks like.

Pretty sure Cindy Lauper has used this cashmere toilet paper.

On that note come back soon for Part 4.  There will be meat and Thomas Keller is gonna get involved.

*For more Wine Information visit my favorite wine blogger: Do Bianchi

 

French Laundry Survival Guide, Part 2

“We want THE FOOD!” Who gives a crap about your walk through the garden (did I read your mind?)  You’re almost there.

Some more survival tips, just to elongate the suspense…

To Shoot or Not to Shoot?

Yes, Shoot. Don’t be too cool to bring your camera/iphone.  I was the only weirdo taking pictures of my ENTIRE meal, even the bread. I can attest I have no regrets.  Those morsels will forever be with me.  Appropriately, there is no flash allowed in the dining room. I would recommend practicing some candle lit shots before you go (*wink).  Otherwise all of your photos will be frustratingly dark.

I would also brush up on your French Foodie terms.

Here are some Defining Delicious definitions to get you started:

Amuse-Bouche– A special treat with a fancy name, given to you by the Chef de Cuisine.

Chef de Cuisine– Creative culinary genius in the kitchen.  Most likely very hot, in more ways then one. Especially when he is sniffing black truffles.

French Laundry Executive Chef Thomas Keller and his Chef ... Lance Iversen / The ChronicleSabayonA silky smooth kick ass custard dream. 

Foie Gras- Don’t ask just eat. Only Americans get upset about the ingredients.  Oh and add some magic fairy salt from the sterling silver dishes.

Now sit back and enjoy the food porn joy ride.

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Our Amuse-Bouche was what I called “Salmon Mini Ice Cream Cones” (Salmon Cornets) accompanied by La Cheese Puffe (Gougeres).

After we interrogated these mini salmon cones, the kitchen served us a parsnip soup with caramelized banana. They entertained us with a particular pouring technique, the likes of which I have only seen on Top Chef. The banana sunk like The Titanic after the pouring so it didn’t make for much of a photo. I left the photo out of the blog and licked the porcelain bowl instead.  Who but Thomas Keller would come up with parsnips and banana? Genius.

Above you see the famous French Laundry dish Oysters And Pearls. Sabayon (heavens custard) and Pearl Tapioca with Island Creek Oysters and White Sturgeon Caviar.

Funny Story: This little gem of a dish is the French Laundry signature plate.  Not only is it the most exquisite caviar you’ll ever eat but they serve it with Mother of Pearl mini spoons. Mother Of F’in Pearl! I was really tempted to ask if I could take one home and make a necklace, but I didn’t. Here’s the real kicker. One bite in… ONE BITE… and my throat started closing up.  That’s right, CLOSING the F Up! I started wheezing.  My face got red.  My cheeks got puffy. My eyes watered. I was in God damned anaphylactic shock at The French Laundry.  I did what any foodie would do, I went outside, walked circles in the garden like a stalker, caught my breath, called my Dr. Husband instead of 911, drank about a gallon of water.  Somehow, it went away.  My man is quite the Doctor.  He cured me from 1000 miles away without even a drop of Benadryl.  I’m officially allergic to Caviar. Mother F’in Caviar. Who on earth is allergic to caviar? See what happens when I take off my spankz and let loose? Caviar. CAVIAR.

I must admit this is a slight food blogger’s dream come true. From now on when asked, “Are you allergic to anything?” I get to respond, “Actually, I am allergic to Caviar when served on Mother of F’in Pearl mini spoons.”

Tip: Try a less expensive version of Caviar before you head to The French Laundry. Just in case you too are lucky enough to have such a sophisticated allergy.

Divine Droplets of Saki saves the day. The japanese have done it again. After the embarrassing allergy incident I ate my slice of humble pie and dove into a beautiful Sushimi dish. I called it, “The Sushi Life Saver,” which was accompanied by a delicate Saki. Enjoying the Saki was like drinking japanese rose petals, only better. I didn’t know it at the time but the Saki was actually called: Takasago, Ginga Shizuku, Junmai Daiginjo, or Divine Droplets. For real. People I can’t make this stuff up. I think I might have to carry a flask of this Divine intervention Saki around in my purse rather then an EpiPen.

Above was what I called, “The Golden Egg.”  This hallowed egg was filled with a savory white truffle custard combined with a white truffle dream sauce. Capturing the dream sauce on camera was an epic fail so you’ll have to trust me about the flavor and the texture of this dish.  It was royal perfection.

#FAIL

The little chip in the egg was meant to allow you to taste the Truffle au Jus like a refined princess. I actually scooped the thing dry. Our server was amazed by my technique and commented, “Wow, you really emptied the egg.” No Sheet, I emptied that egg.

TIP: EMPTY THE DAMN EGG and screw the Princess etiquette.

Above you’ll see the French Laundry S’MORES: Moulard Foie Gras en Terrine, Graham Cracker, Marshmallow, Chestnuts, Oxalis (heart shaped herb) and Sour Cherry-Cocoa Nib Puree. Translation: The S’mores of your fantasises. Once you’re a few nibs into it, your dish may look like this:

Tip: Try to get the whole thing in one bite. Bonus points if you even get heart shaped herb in there.  Genius.

The Mom in me wanted to order a side of Graham Cracker and Marshmallow for my daughter. I refrained from this urge.

Tip: Don’t talk about, think about, or worry about the Kiddies. They are FINE.

Ok, I need a snack. That’s it for Part Deux.  Just like this posting, my next edition will be worth your wait.  Need I say S’More?

* Picture of Thomas Keller and Chef De Cuisine Timothy Hollingsworth photo credit /insidescoopsf.sfgate.com