March 29, 2010

Guest Restaurant Review: Get a hold of yourself, it's French Laundry

Okay folks.  Brace yourself.  When my cousin told me that they were going to French Laundry, I cried a little.  I've heard amazing praises about this place, and if you need to make reservations three months in advance, I can't even start to imagine how good this place is.  French Laundry has two options - a nine course tasting menu or a nine-course vegetable tasting.  They say that no single ingredient is repeated.  Chef Thomas Keller is the brains behind this treasure cove, has received bounds of accolades and multiple America's Best chef titles, even helped with the movie Ratatouille, and per my Kathy and Carol, he didn't disppoint this past weekend!

Also, their meal lasted for FIVE hours.  Seriously?  Is this place heaven?  Okay, let's get on to their experience:  (Thanks to Kathy and Carol for these delicious pictures and descriptions so we can have a small taste of what they experienced!)

"Ok! We splurged and had wine pairings! We split 4 1/2 bottles between the 3 of us who drank.  But we started with sparkling champagne.  The glasses on the table were overwhelming! OMG, we ate and sipped wine from 11'ish - 4pm! Right across the street was Keller's farm! There were chives, greens being grown, and a green house too! sigh... (Can you tell just by this paragraph that we are related? Ha!)

So we started out with the salmon in a cone, which had a creme fraische in the center of the cone. mmm...quite yummy. So, the salmon cone's texture was interesting...squishy salmon, with crunchy cone and a tart'ish filling in the cone. Next was a pear dish with compressed pear (ball) and some sort of 'shroom reduction. Quite lite tasting. The pear peices was light, and the compressed pear was sort of firm, but not necessarily more pear flavour, if that makes any sense.
Then a cheese dish, 3 different slices paired with different parts of vegetable. The cheese! well, I love cheese, and it was a flavourful cheese, mildly pungent...of course. Then my favorite was the lobster tail with a dark reduction sauce. OMG, the best, tenderest lobster meat I have EVER tasted! I'm not sure it was cooked! ;) Mmmmm, I'm in my happy place right now, thinking about it! heehee.
Then there was peking duck. It was not what I imagined of Chinese peking duck in that it was definitely not crispy. The duck meat squares had a soft rind of skin on it and the meat was tender, not over poweringly ducky flavor, with a hint of that peking spice.  It was ok but I'm not a fan of duck.  Next, was another meat dish - the lamb! It was medium pink. I did try a small wedge of it and tasted like what I imagined lamb to taste like...I lathered up the sprigs of veggies with the lil' tender bite. I promptly gave the rest to the meat eaters of the group, who gobbled it up!  Below are some additional pictures.
Next was dessert. We all had a different one. Mine was the dark round disk on top. It was like a chocolate peanut butter goodness with a crunchy round disk on top. Not sure what the other folks had. Also pictured below is a caviar panna cotta."

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