|Monday, October 12, 2009
French Laundry List
Our dinner at The French Laundry was missing an ingredient that has infused their every meal for the past several years - Corey Lee. Timothy Hollingsworth has toquen over the role of chef de cuisine (since Chef Lee left to create his own coin op shop) so we were anxious to see if there was static electricity or a new spin cycle as we tumbled through five hours on the new chef’s heat-onistic setting.
The meal was front loaded with suds in the form of Bollinger Special Cuvée Champagne along with Chef Thomas Keller’s touchstones of gougers and salmon cornets.
A sunchoke and foie gras soup saturated Michigan cherries, pinenuts and a foie gras mousse. The cool mousse against the warm, rich, liver lava with a sweet tang from the fruit and crunch from the nuts was good from soup to nuts.
Green apple foam cushioned sturgeon caviar over a sake granite. The shards of rice ice were nice, but roe-wed away from luxuriating in the caviar core of the creation with their prickly presence:
Applewood smoke was captured in the fabric of kampachi belly which arrived enclosed in a glass orb. We loved this simple and sensational trifecta with Vidalia onions and Blis maple syrup:
Surf and Turf with a cube of sweetbread and perfectly cooked gulf prawn with fennel and a crayfish foam :
...rode a wave of Sauvignon Blanc before a sig-negg-ture egg custard with plenty of truffle ragu and a chive chip:
Squash had their blossoms attached like parachutes as they landed on a Nicoise olive painted field. Peeled tomatoes burst with flavor against baby basil leaves activated with a Lucien Crochet Pinot Rosé Sancerre:
The box with the white truffles opened to offer more than a marvelous perfume as they were shaved over our tagliatelle. Beurre noisette was then drizzled over to activate this aromatic arrangement which we devoured with a Joseph Drouhin Meursault:
Branzini was baked in a tonka bean and caper salt crust and served with a fennel tapenade, Globe artichokes, capers and parsley sprouts.
A 2007 Chateauneuf-du-Pape Vieux Télégraphe, “La Crau” with seared Island Creek divers scallops, applewood smoked bacon, beets, onion petals, lettuce chiffonade and tarragon may not be kosher, but it was traif-riffic in our book:
A seared lobe of foie gras was tossed in a pot with Tahitian vanilla beans and madeira before being plated with Gros Michel bananas, compressed Belgian endive, butter roasted pecans and watercress. This ducky dish was gilded with a 1986 Chateau Raymond-Lafon Sauternes.
A plummy 2007 Porter Bass Pinot Noir nested with a milk fed chicken thigh roulade and breast with Matake mushrooms, ginko nuts, brocoli raab and sauce Japonaise.
The 2006 Shelter Cabernet Sauvignon was the perfect dwelling for a perfect piece of Snake River culotte du boeuf with Thumbelina carrots, butterball potatoes, onions, spinach and a garlic sauce:
A buckwheat crepe stuffed with red cabbage strewn with house made speck and mustard greens supported wedges of Swiss cow milk cheese paired with a 1998 Dr. Von Bassermann-Jordan, “Forster Jesuitgarten” Riesling:
Creme Fraiche sorbet over toasted oats with huckleberry sauce had a creamy tang with crunchy, fruit bites to lay the groundwork for dessert.
Signature coffee and donuts woke us up with a cappuccino semi freddo and hot brioche bites rolled in cinnamon sugar.
1995 La Cave de l’Abbé rous, Cuveé Christian Reynal Banyuls reinforced the cocoa contingent of a rich chocolate cake:
...with almond mascarpone ice cream before we hit the multiple mignardises, chocolates and coffee.
The passing of the baton at the French Laundry is a success. We can’t wait to check out more of this dialed in chow (except we can’t imagine every being hungry again.)
The French Laundry Restaurant
6640 Washington St.
Mark your Calendar
For those waiting for the Beverly Hills Bouchon to open, the big day is November 18th.
Mark your Calendar (again)
Gather around the fire with some of the Bay Area’s best butchers and chefs at Primal Napa Valley.
Chefs including Chris Cosentino, Staffan Terje and Jeremy Fox will be firing up some Hudson Ranch meat and produce while Magnolia beer and Daniel Hyatt’s cocktails offer social lubrication.
Our favorite knife-wielding meat men - Taylor Boetticher and Ryan Farr will be among those demonstrating the deconstruction of a cow, pig, goat and lamb.
Guests won’t have to wait to engage in carnivorous conduct since chefs will pack along protein provisions and a hundred pounds of bones will be roasted for bread spread to sate those salivating from the porky perfume.
VIP ticket holders will partake of the Allan Benton Bacon Bar, cocktails, roasted oysters and reserve wines an hour earlier than the general admission crowd who will sink their teeth into meats accompanied by wines and beers.
Even though there is a lot to attract attendees, the organizers nailed it at “bacon bar”.
Primal Napa Valley
3 p.m. - 7 p.m. general admission $65
early admission at 2 p.m. for VIP experience $100
2252 Sulphur Springs
St. Helena, CA