Archive for the 'French Laundry – Yountville' Category

French Laundry

We were extraordinarily lucky to be invited to the 20th anniversary of the French laundry. We have been going to the French Laundry for over 19 years and have had the pleasure of tasting the cuisine of each executive chef. This special dinner featured French Laundry classics. The letter Thomas wrote to us at the dinner speaks volumes – what a wonderful person. This is why the French Laundry is our go to restaurant in the States and why we will continue to be supportive clients and more importantly friends.

Thomas 20th Letter

I will let the photos tell the story of our incredible evening.

F- Champagne

Champagne to start

F- Cornet

Cornets

F- Gougeres

Gougeres

F- Oysters and pearls

“Oysters and Pearls”- Sabayon of Pearl Tapioca with Island Creek Oysters and White Sturgeon Caviaar

F- Salad

Salad of Hawaiian Hearts of Peach Palm – Brentwood Corn, Garden Radishes, Pickled Chanterelle Mushrooms and Wild Purslane

F- Bread after salad

Bread Service

F- Wine after salad

Next wine

F- Skate

Atlantic Skate Wing “Poelee”, Caramelized Savoy Cabbage and Whole Grain Mustard Emulsion

F- Lobster

Not a great photo – half eaten!

“Peas and Carrots” – Butter Poached Maine Lobster, Pea Tendril Salad and Sweet Carrot Butter

F- Wine after Lobster

Next Wine

F- Ragout

Another mostly eaten dish – my photographer was enjoying himself and eating instead of snapping!

“Degustation de Pommes de Terre” – Ragout of Garden Potatoes, Romaine Lettuce, Strauss Butter and Shaved Australian Black Winter Truffle

F- DuckF- Duck 2

Wildflower Honey Lacquered Liberty Farm Pekin Duck – Poached Brooks Cherries, Garden Turnips, “Foie de Canard” and Watercress

F- Beef

Charcoal Grilled Snake River Farms “Calotte de Boeuf” – Crispy Bone Marrow, Garden Beans, Oregon Cepes, and Blanquette de Champignons

F- Gateau

Gateau de Bleu D’Auvergne – Stewed Blueberries, English Walnuts and Cutting Celery

Not pictured: Photographer quit!

Strawberries and Cream – Mascarpone Sherbet with Tellieherry Black Peppercorn and Strawberry Syrup

Il Flottante – Thaition Bean Creme Anglaise, Poached Swiss Meringue, Valrhona Chocolate Cremeux and Spun Sugar

There is no way to convey what this evening meant to us. We feel like we are a member of the French Laundry family and we never take that for granted. We consider ourselves blessed.

French Laundry

From a meal in early December.

Champagne – not pictured

Fr-cornet

Salmon Cornets

Fr- gougere

Gougeres

SOUP

FR - soup 1

Parsnips chips, Piedmont hazelnuts, cranberry, burgundy truffle

FR - soup 2

Celery Root Veloute poured on top

Fr - Oysters and Pearls

Oysters and Pearls – Sabayon of Pearl tapioca with Island Creek Oysters and White Sturgeon Caviar

FR wine 1 after oysters

Wine

FR - sea urchin

Maine Sea Urchin Chiffon (mousseline of uni) – Kendall Farms Creme Fraiche, Sour Apple Relish, Finger Lime, Cilantro

FR- langoustine

Wild Scottish Langoustine en gelee, smoked steel head trout roe, preserved tomato, horseradish, celery, oyster crackers

Fr - Snapper

FR - snapper 2

Gulf Coast Snapper gently cooked in olive oil, snapper brandade, remoulade, watercress, Spanish saffron, young fennel, picholine olives, saffron broth poured on top

Fr - Hen Custard

Hen Egg Custard with a ragout of Perigord Truffles

Fr wine after custardd

Wine

FR - canape of meat

FR - canape of meat 2

“Tour de Canapes de Viandes” 1.Duck pastrami, hearts of palm, raisin puree   2.Braised Quail leg, Onion Marmalade, Dijon

Fr - salad of palm

Salad of Hawaiian hearts of peach palm, compressed Jacobsen Orchard Persimmons, Sunchokes, toasted Piedmont Hazelnuts and Black Winter Truffle Puree

Fr - lobster

Sweet Butter-poached Maine Lobster, La Ratte Potato Puree, Garden Celery, Pommes Maxim’s and Razor Clam Chowder

FR wine after lobster

Wine

Fr - white truffles

White Truffles Presented

FR - risotto

Carnaroli Risotto Biologico – Castelmagno Mousse, Beurre Noisette

FR - risotto with truffles

The Risotto with the White Truffles from Alba shaved on top

Fr wine after truffles

Wine

FR - beef

Charcoal-grilled Snake River Farms Calotte de boeuf, Short rib Croustillant, Garden Broccoli, Nantes Carrots, Black Trumpet Mushroom Coulis and sauce Bordelaise

Fr - birthday cake

Birthday Cake

Fr - dessert plated

“Passionate about Vanilla” – Vanilla custard with green tea biscuit and passion fruit mousseline

FR - desseertss more

More desserts!

David Breeden is now chef de cuisine at French Laundry and he showed his skill, expertise and finesse with this meal. It was excellent.

French Laundry

This was our second meal at the French Laundry in July! It has been quite some time since this meal so I will have to let the photos tell most of the story. Enough to say, it was quite a story! (At least I did keep my detailed notes).

Champagne to start

Salmon Cornet

Gougeres

Soup being poured

Sweet Brentwood Corn Veloute, Baby Corn,Truffle Vinaigrette, Lovage and Truffle Relish

First Wine

Oysters and Pearls – Sabayon of Pearl Tapioca with Island Creek Oysters and White Sturgeon Caviar

Seafood Canape – Santa Barbara Uni (in the spoon), Cucumber, Lychee, Yuzu, Garden Blossoms, Ginger Sake Granite

Second Wine

Mediterranean Lubina, Razor Clams, Mussels, Dehydrated Eggplant Chip, Cauliflower, Micro Cilantro, Thinly Sliced Fennel, Lemon Vinaigrette

Hen Egg Custard with a Ragout of Perigord Truffles

First Bread Service – Brioche, Pinwheel Pain de Mie

Butter Service

Summer Salad – Summer Melons, Hearts of Palm, Baby Radish, Garden Cucumbers, Watermelon Sorbet, Yuzu Puree, Black Sesame Nougatine, Mountain Mint and Finger Lime Vinaigrette

Grilled Fillet of Atlantic Halibut, Hobbs’ Bacon, Green Tomato Relish, Demi Sec Tomatoes, Black Strap Molasses

Third Wine

Next bread service

Sweet Butter Poached Lobster Mitts from Stoney Point, Haas Avocado, Romaine Lettuce Spears, “Piperade”, Meyer Lemon Creme Fraiche

Australian Black Truffles Presented

Hand-Cut Tagliatelle, Black Truffle Beurre Monte, Australian Black Truffles (The truffles were shaved table side – no photo)

Fourth Wine

Four Story Hill Farm Poussin Presented

Four Story Hill Farm Poussin, Cracked Bulgar Wheat, Fairytale Eggplant, Moroccan Olives, Cilantro Shoots, Poussin Poularde Reduction

Marcho Farm Nature-Fed Veal (sous vide and roasted), Creamed Morel Mushrooms, Caramelized Cipollini Onions, Nantes Carrots, Chives, Red Wine Vinegar Sauce

Reblochon – French Laundry Garden Pole Beans, Frisee, Fennel, Summer Truffle, Summer Truffle Vinaigrette

We never do a full dessert course at French Laundry so …… for John his favorite “Coffee and Donuts”

donut holes

Cappuccino semifreddo

Macademia Nuts

What a fantastic meal!!!!!!!

French Laundry

French Laundry is always a special experience. We are very lucky in that we have been to The Laundry many times over the years and both the front of the house and the back of the house know what we like – a front-loaded menu with many canapé-type courses. We never look at a menu and just let the chef decide our meal.

What was interesting about this evening at the Laundry, it was like a “party!” Many people feel that the French Laundry is like dining at a temple –  focused diners who speak in hush tones. This was not even close to that. We all were laughing, enjoying meeting each other – a lovely couple from Australia and a Chinese family tops our list and engaging the staff in a lively conversation about food. To say the least it was quite an evening.

As for the food, I will let the photos tell the story.

Champagne to start

Gougeres

Salmon Cornets

New Holder for the Cornets

Dungeness Crab Arancini

SOUP – First the Iberico Ham Foam and Korean Chili is presented

Then the Brentwood Corn Veloute is added table side

White Wine

Santa Barbara Uni, Sea Beans, Lychee Granite, Royal Oscetra Caviar

Island Creek Oyster, Tokyo Turnip, Champagne Gelee, Royal Oscetra Caaviar, Edible Gold leaf

Tartare of Pacific Kanpachi, Hass Avocado, Pink Lady Apple, Squash Blossom, Cucumber and Ginger “Aigre-Doux”

Hen Egg Custard with a Ragout of Perigord Truffles

Salad of Hawaiian Hearts Of Peach Palm, Santa Rosa Plums, Black Sesame Nougatine (the crumble), Spruce Tips, Mizuna and Yuzu-Tofu Emulsion – the hearts of palm were presented 3 ways – baton, ring and diced

Red Wine

Sauteed  (pan-fried with skin on) Fillet of Mediterranean Lubina, Brentwood Corn Pudding Puree, Popcorn Crust (the popcorn had been ground up and sprinkled over the pudding), Black Eye Peas and Blackstrap Molasses Gastrique

Sweet Butter Poached Maine Lobster Tail (the lobster from Ingrid of Maine), Oven-Roasted Pancetta, Globe Artichoke, Picholine Olives, Oven Roasted Tomatoes tossed in French Sea Salt, Greek Basil from French Laundry’s Garden, Spicy Lobster Broth and Foam made with Bird’s Eye Chili from China

Truffles presented

“Campanelle Carbonara” – Guanciale, Dungeness Crab, Jidori Hen Egg, Snap Peas

The finished dish with Shaved Australian Black Truffle – truffle puree was on the bottom and the crab was underneath the yolk

Red Wine

Liberty Farms Pekin Duck, Royal Blenheim Apricot, Broccolini (from The French Laundry Farm), Marcona Almond, Crushed Almonds Puree, Tarragon, Garden Blossoms, Natural Duck Jus

NO PHOTO:

Snake River Farms “Calotte de Boeuf Grillee”, Marble Potatoes, Nantes carrots, Breakfast Radish, Young Fennel, Ice Lettuce and “Sauce Chevreuil ( demi glace that you break with a herb vinaigrette)

“Monte Enebro” ( goat cheese from Spain), Baby Beets, Brooks Cherries, Radicchio, Mustard Seeds, Dijon Mustard

It is our choice not to have sorbet and a parade of desserts.

My husband however does insist on his doughnut holes!

As always a special place with incredible ingredients handled with finesse and served with grace and precisian.

French Laundry

When we go to Yountville, our approach is to have 2 meals at French Laundry – over-indulgent yes! Again, we never look at a menu or the wine list. I will let the photos tell the “story.”

Champagne to start

As always we began with Gougeres.

Followed by Salmon Cornets

Soup – first a bowl is presented with pine nut milk foam, oxalis and black truffle

Then a puree of poached Hubbard squash and sun choke is added – a lovely beginning soup

The piece de resistance, however, is that is served with a pine nut and cherry wrapped in feuille de brik

“Oysters and Pearls”

Reisling for the next courses

Starting from the left, crumbled dried olive oil, Granny Smith Apple Granite, Santa Barbara Uni, Verjus foam and blossoms from the garden

Presentation of the next dish – a bit of drama is always a part of a French Laundry meal

Bone marrow cooked confit, pickled beet, topped with Royal Ossetra Caviar from China – this dish was created by Chef Mike Wallace (meat station) minutes before being served -what a wonderful and novel combination of flavors

Grilled Cod Collar being presented

Plated – Grilled Cod Collar, Cod Tripe, Cassoulet of Spring Pole Beans and Green Garlic, Tomato Compote, Pain de Campagne Croutons

Pinot Gris

Presentation of next dish

Truffle and Cauliflower Custard, Coddled Egg, Sauce Perigord, Brioche Soldiers

Winter Chicory, Melted Belgian Endive, Turnips, Poached Michigan Sour Cherries, Frisee, Chocolate/Coffee Puree

Sauternes

Foie Gras presented

Hudson Valley Foie Gras, Roasted Salsify, Mache, Bergamot Jus, Pain d’Epice topped with Dehydrated Bergamot Orange

Lousy photo of the Puligny Montrachet

Alaskan King Crab “Oscar” – Ris de Veau, Sacramento Delta Green Asparagus, Herb Salad, Bearnaise “Mousseline”

Maine Lobster Tail poached in sweet butter, black trumpet mushroom duxelle, pommes maxim’s, fava bean veloute

Vosne-Romanee

Jidori Hen Egg Tortellini, Prosciutto, Watercress, Castelmagno Cheese

Black Truffles Shaved Table Side over the Tortellini

Guinea Hen, Petite Onions, Grilled Okra, Black Strap Molasses Sauce and Ranch Dressing

Calon-Segur

Elysian Fields Lamb Rib-Eye, Merguez, Swiss Chard, Jingle-Bell Peppers, Endive, Saffron Chip

Goat’s Milk Cheese, House made Granola, Toasted Pecans, Napa Valley Honey with Rosemary

Pecan Pie, Maple-Brown Butter Gastrique, Grains of Paradise Ice Cream

“Coffee and Donuts”

What a marvelous meal! I hope the photos conveys it all!

French Laundry

We are not the typical French Laundry diner in that we have been many many times since 1995 – 17 years ago. We never look at a menu or the wine list – everything is orchestrated for us. Our only responsibility is to just sit back and enjoy and let the magic of French Laundry cast its spell.

A welcoming sight – the French Laundry Clip

Krug champagne to start – no photo

Gougeres – the standard FL beginning

Salmon Cornets – the other standard beginning

Soup – first a bowl is presented with puffed grains granola, barley, black rice, Medjool dates and Miner’s lettuce from Tucker Taylor’s farm from across the street (Refined Palate’s letterhead above is the the French Laundry Garden in its earlier days)

Then warm cauliflower veloute is poured on top – a lovely start

The signature dish of “Oysters and Pearls” – “Sabayon” of Pearl Tapioca with Island Creek Oysters and White Sturgeon Caviar – as good as always

First Wine

Sashimi of Cured Australian Hiramasa Belly, Eggplant, Jingle Bell Peppers, Nicoise Olives, Arugula and Piquillo Pepper Marmalade – this was as beautiful to look at as it was to eat.

The eggplant had been shaved paper thin and covered the sashimi

Presentation of the next dish – a bit of drama!

Shad Roe “Porridge”, Hass Avocado, Finger Lime, Cilantro Shoots and Diane St Clair’s Butter – what a unique preparation of shad roe. There was a hint of applewood smoked bacon from the steam in the first photo.

Another signature French Laundry dish – Hen Egg Custard with a ragout of Perigord Truffles

Corton- Charlemagne

Ash-Baked Holland White asparagus, Petite Lettuces, Rhubard, Kendall Farm Creme Fraiche studded with Black Truffles, Black Truffle Coulis – an asparagus never had it so good

Sauterne with the next course

Moulard Duck “Foie Gras au Torchon”, Cara Cara Orange, Celery Branch, Marcona Almonds and Juniper Yogurt

What made this dish extraordinary was that it wasn’t served with the customary Brioche, but instead “Hoe Cake”

The Hoe cake being presented. It was then cut into squares for service – no picture of the foie with the hoe cake, though as my photographer was too busy devouring it!

With the foie there is also a salt service:

Sel Gris (France), Fleur de Sel (France), Pangasinan (Phillipines), Jurassic (Montana). Alaea (Hawaii) Molokai (Hawaii)

Gulf Coast Cobia, Hawaiian Hearts of Palm, Young Fennel, “Maltaise Mousseline,” Blood Orange and “Sauce Japonaise” ( think mirin, sesame and soy) – the different components of the dish plus the meaty fish was a lovely combination. The mousseline approximated a very rich blood orange flavored hollandaise.

Sweet Butter-Poached Maine Lobster Tail, Fava Bean “Raviolo,” Sunchokes, Fava Beans Blossoms, Sunchoke Chips, Black Truffles and a sauce that was based on Noilly Prat – another delicious combination with tender lobster

Echezeaux

Hand-cut “Tagliatelle”

Black Truffles shaved table side – to say this is a generous shaving of black truffles is an understatement!

Chateau Canon

Buttermilk-Fried Wolfe Ranch Quail, Tomato “Pain Perdue,” Braised Swiss Chard, Pickled Green Tomato and “Barbecue Sauce” with Black Strap Molasses  – who needs to go to the south

“Roncal” (sheep’s milk cheese from the Basque region), Piquillo Pepper Marmalade, Royal Blenheim Apricot Puree, Red Walnuts, Arugula and Garden Blossoms – an elegant composed cheese course

“Coffee and Donuts” – now donut holes! My husband’s favorite ending

A French laundry meal is a special event – it is magical – every person there from the back of the house to the waitstaff, the managers, the sommeliers are part of an extraordinary team that goes out of their way to make each and every guest from the first time visitor to the “old timers” feel special.

French Laundry

This was our second meal at FL – July 31, 2010. We decided to do a wine pairing. I am  basically going to let the photos tell the story, even though some of them are iffy.

Wine: Champagne – Moet and Chandon Vintage

Gougeres

Salmon Cornets

Chilled Cucumber Soup, Red Radish, Frogs Hollow Peaches, Red Ribbon Sorrel, Adante Dairy Yogurt Foam – a light refreshing start

Crispy Fried Okra from the FL Garden, Demi-Sec Tomato Compote, House-made Ranch Dressing – again notice the Southern influences in Tim’s cuisine.

“Oysters and Pearls” – Sabayon of Pearl Tapioca with Island Creek Oysters and White Sturgeon Caviar – always a favorite

Wine #1

Santa Barbara Uni,  Eureka Lemon Granite and Perilla – The uni was highlighted without a lot of extraneous ingredients -“less is more” with just the right balance from the lemon granite

Japanese Big Fin Squid, Akita Komachi Rice, Cashews, Arugala and Madras Curry – my notes say Kashu Miette. The combination of the squid and rice was perfect with an Asian flair.

Grilled, lightly scored Toro, Tokyo Turnip, Hen-of-the-Woods Mushrooms, Broccolini and Umeboshi Puree – another blurry photo. This also had an Asian sensibility, particularly with the addition of Umeboshi (plum) puree. The mouthfeel of the toro was full and fatty in a good way.

Wine #2

Uni “En Feuille de Bric,” Yukon Gold Potato and Shaved Summer Truffle – unfortunately the photo doesn’t even come close to doing this dish justice. This was a perfect bite of food – the potato was wrapped in the feuille de bric so you had smooth with crunchy, the uni was pristine and topped with one shaved summer trufffle.

Japanese Blowfish Wrapped in Bacon, White Sturgeon Caviar Creme Fraiche, Chive – I love how Tim combines bacon with caviar.

Wine #3

“Ris de Veau a la Grenobloise” – Glazed Sweetbreads, Cauliflower, Sultana Raisins, Pine Nuts, “Pain de Campagne” Croutons, Spanish Capers, Parsley, Brown Butter Jus – this was absolutely superb. A much better picture of the sweetbreads is on Bunrabs here:

http://www.bunrab.com/dailyfeed/2010August/dailyfeed_august-10_p1.html#aug0110

Wine #4

Salad of Compressed Watermelon, Galia Melon, Hass Avocado, “Ficoide Glaciale” and Pink Peppercorn “Aigre-Doux” – an excellent transitional dish

Wine #5

“Toad in the Hole” Iberico Ham,  Jidori Hen Egg “Poelee,” Brioche Toast

Australian Truffles shaved on top – The Toad in the Hole with the Truffles was in a word A+

Wine #6

“Beets and Leeks” – Maine Lobster Tail “Pochee au Beurre Doux,” King Richard Leeks, “Pommes Maxim’s,” Potato Puree, Red Beet Essence, Red Beet and Horseradish Ravioli – Tim took the signature dish of “Beet and Leeks” and altered it to his style by adding the ravioli.

Four Story Hill Farm Milk-fed “Poularde” – Crust of Apple-Smoked Bacon, Brentwood Corn, Corn Pudding, Swiss Chard, Black-Eyed Peas, Black Strap Molasses Gastrique, Veal Jus – again this had a definite Southern influence.

Wine #7

Montgomery’s Cheddar, Michigan Cherries, Hobbs’ Bacon, “Pain Perdue,” Braised Cipollini Onions, Dijon Mustard

Royal Blenheim Apricot Sorbet, Toasted Barley-Brown Sugar Streusel and White Apron Ale “Nuage”

“Coffee and Doughnuts”

Tim’s cuisine has become very self-assured and he is definitely putting his own personal style on a FL meal. Obviously, our meals are not the standard FL meal as we have eaten there many, many times and they tend to tailor our meals to our taste – more canapes and more small courses – what I call a front-loaded meal.


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