Monday, September 13, 2010

French Laundry

It is arguably (isn't everything?) the best restaurant in the world, and the hardest reservation to get. It has changed the way we all dine. We went for our anniversary - we were married there fifteen years ago.

Thomas Keller, the creative genius who created this incarnation of the French Laundry (there was a restaurant there before but nothing like the one that's there now) says you don't really taste after a few bites, so that is what he serves, just a few bites.
But what delicious bites!

He has changes the way food is served. Have you noticed the beautiful stacks of diminishing plates turning up in the most elegant restaurants? This is where it started, and where it has been perfected.

Kampachi with White Sesame and Jacobsen's Farm Plums is served in a spoon. Check out the plate that holds the spoon.
This place has changed the way waiters move. Laura Cunningham had been trained in ballet. The wait staff has been trained now too. How to move with grace and style, how to float, how to be attentive and yet preserve the diners' privacy. It sounds impossible but it works. I know a few people who walk like they're stomping snakes. Wish I could sign them up for Camp French Laundry.

The salad of Hawaiian Hearts of Palm with Mangosteen, Red Radish, Cashews, Young Ginger and Mizuna is served on a stick. Sort of.
All those flavors in one bite. Tiny amounts, yet the dish would not sing, would not bring that silly smile of delight without them all.
We had thirteen courses. And a whole lot of wine. Thank goodness we walked home. A night of incredible food and incredible memories. Magic. Maybe the last reason I know to dress up. Bliss.

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