by David Donalson
This is one of the best experiences of my life. Perfect service, fantastic food, great wines. Words can hardly describe it so I won’t use many. Just imagine sitting down and being served this meal:
Amuse 1: Gruyere “Cheese Puffs” – gooey, gooey goodness
Amuse 2: Fresh Clam Spoons
Course 1: “Oysters and Pearls” – “Sabayon” of Pearl tapioca with Kumamoto oysters and White Sturgeon caviar. My wife’s favorite course. Great with the champagne.
Course 1: Royal Osetra Caviar – Asparagus, Hen Egg omelete, crème fraiche and fine herbs. The caviar had an black olive taste after the pop of sea foam. Amazing.
Course 2: Salad of French Laundry Garden Beets – Asian pear, Haas avocado, radish, mizuna and ginger gastrique
Course 2: Moulard Duck Foie Gras – My friend had it seared instead of in a terrine and I had to fight him for a bite. Also came with different salts. My friend did not stop talking about this course for the entire trip. Literally.
Course 3: Grilled Fillet of Atlantic Cobia – Globe artichokes, San Marzano tomato compote, grilled melba and parsley
Course 3: Florida Everglades Frog Leg “Boudin” – Marcona Almonds, Young Fennel, Fava Bean tendrils, Jingle Bell Peppers and Burnt Lemon “Aigre-Doux”
Course 4: Sweet Butter-Poached Maine Lobster “Mitts” – Wild Nettle Ravioli, Tokyo Turnips, Piedmont Hazelnuts and Sea Urchin Emulsion. All I can say is use your imagination and multiply it by at least 10. The key to the dish was that sea urchin emulsion tying the bitter green taste of the ravioli with the sweetness of the lobster.
Course 5: Four Story Hill Farm “Cuisse de Poularde” – “Pommes Puree,” Braised Kale and Mustard “Jus”
Course 5: Salmon Creek Farms Pork Belly – Yukon Gold Potato “Gnocchi,” English Peas, Petite Lettuces, Red Onion Marmalade and Black Truffle Sauce
Course 6: Marcho Farm Nature-Fed Veal Tenderloin – Nantes Carrots, Black Trumpet Mushrooms, Cauliflower “Fleurettes”, Cilantro and Madras Curry
Course 7: Andante Dairy “Nocturnes” – “Short Stack,” Royal Blenheim Apricots, Walnuts, Watercress and Perigord Truffle. One of my favorite cheese courses ever. So creamy good.
Course 8: Gros Michel Banana Sorbet – Medjool Date, Pine Nuts, French Laundry Muesli and Toasted Oat Milk. This is the course that I have thought of the most since the dinner. The best cereal I have ever had.
Course 9: “Delice Au Chocolat a La Menthe” Crispy “Feuilletine,” Mast Brothers Cocoa Nibs, Brown Cardamom and Garden Mint Ice Cream. Even after all that food, we could not resist devouring every morsel.
Mignares: Aka extra sweet goodies like truffles and chocolate and powdered sugar macadamia nuts.
I can hardly express how wonderful this experience is. For those interested, a few things you might want to know when visiting this restaurant Mecca. The meal takes roughly four and a half hours, so you may want to have some conversation points. Secondly, the wine list is 103 pages long. The French Laundry has sommeliers on staff for a reason or you could spend days like me perusing the list for the perfect wine. Finally, realize just how awesome this experience is and savor every last bite.
Thank you French Laundry for an amazing experience.