Whoaa this is old. but i wanted to brag since i just got back from napa
No... didn't get to go to The French Laundry, but I did go to Bouchon, and Ad Hoc, both great restaurants owned by Thomas Keller. Both excellent restaurants, and reasonably priced. They could possibly change your perception of food, as they intend to.
Yea I know I didn't eat both these restaurants in a day, but too bad.
First Course - French Onion Soup
This soup was wonderful because it was seasoned just right and the broth was so rich and deep, without all the sodium that usually gives french onion soup its flavor. Can't really explain it, but just think, a simple french onion soup with GREAT flavor, but not in the form of sodium. Can't you just imagine what flavor that amounts to?
Appetizers - Mussels in some sauce with tomatoes
I've never had mussels cooked this perfectly; they were almost sushi like, and not tough and chewy like how most restaurants do it. Wonderfully tasty as well. Mussels are mussels, mm!!
- Lobster and Dungeoness(sp?) Crab salad.
Expecting a leafy salad with skimpy amounts of seafood, I was pleasantly surprised that this salad was the opposite; it had a generous portion of seafood, and actually a skimpy amount of greens. Chilled seafood mind you, mixed in with some sort of herb oil. Simple and delicious!
Main Course - Steak Frites with maitre'd hotel butter. Thomas Keller explains that this dish was not a melt in your mouth steak; it is meat and potatoes, so the texture is full and beefy. The dish uses a flatiron steak cut, from the shoulder, an unusual cut but wonderfully flavorful one. Fries were delish. It seemed so simple and i almost didnt want to order this dish from such a renowned restaurant, but i did anyway and i did not regret it. Excellent beefy taste that lingers in your mouth with the herb butter. So good.
Dessert - Chocolate Mousse
A rich mousse that had delightful texture; not too whipped but not too hard. Just right, and not to sweet. Good rich chocolate flavor. Came with cookies that were in the shape of spoons to scoop up the mousse. My dad actually thought it was a spoon and did not eat it until i told him that it was a cookie! Wonderful dish to finish dinner on.
Highly recommended restaurant, but this is NOT the French Laundry. The food is different, and should be perceived more as simple french bistro food.
Went to Ad Hoc for sunday brunch.
Another spin on perception of food, except this time, surprisingly, it is a take on extremely simple home cooking. Whether for brunch or dinner, Ad Hoc serves a 3 course fixed menu family style to share. Any food allergies/requests will be taken into consideration, for example meat can be substituted by fish if one is a vegetarian.
1st Course - Mixed Baby Greens Salad
So simple, so good. A variety of vegetables picked FRESH from the French Laundry's garden accompanied by garlic croutons (made from fresh bread from the Bouchon Bakery) and drizzled in extra virgin olive oil (for taste). On the side a lemon vinaigrette could be used. Initially, I was hoping for more from such a pricey restaurant ($38 per person, but worth every penny if you think about how much It'd cost you to buy such FRESH and ORGANIC and QUALITY ingredients to make these things at home, not to mention the skill it takes to cook it to perfection), but the salad impressed me more and more as I ate it. First time I had such fresh greens, so tasty that I almost liked the salad better without the vinaigrette.
Second Course - Smoked Pork Tenderloin with fresh picked garden tomatoes and scrambled eggs. Accompanied by a polenta topped with sweet peppers and fresh cheese.
What? this meal cost $38 per person? Yep. Pork so juicy and perfectly cooked, MMMM. A tad bit salty actually, but when eaten with the tomatoes, polenta, and egg, it's PERFECT. The tomatoes were the sweetest I have ever eaten. Subtly sweet mind you, but WONDERFUL tomato flavor. F those market tomatoes that are artificially reddened. These tomatoes were the real deal. Scrambled eggs were cooked to perfection. Polenta had such a subtle flavor and melty texture... so good. My brother got a kids meal and they served him french toast. French toast for $38?!?!?! Nah hahah his menu cost $15. But still, this french toast wasn't your normal french toast... Instead of soggy and overly sweet, this was perfectly savory and CRISPY on the outside while fluffy on the inside! Wow! Asked the waiter how they made it, and they told us they used paladin bread (mixture of ciabatta and baguette). But the secret was to leave it out for 6 hours to stale a little, so it would soak up the eggs better and have a better texture. Nice staff I'd say.
Mmm, I'm stuffed by now, shit do i have to blow up my waistline on dessert?
3rd Course - Peach Parfait
Organic fresh farm picked peaches mind you! Perfectly light yogurt that wasn't too sweet. Topped with granola and sunflower seeds, mixed with a little peach jam. Nice and light to finish off a great meal. Mmm...
Another highly recommended restaurant that will help you rethink home cooking! Supposedly for dinner, they have a fried chicken night (once a week) that is supposed to be the BEST FRIED CHICKEN EVER. So if you ever want to visit, give them a call and ask them for fried chicken night.
Thomas Keller is the man. Next time I'll see you at the French Laundry.
If I could ever afford it...
so, anyone else ever eaten at these places?
P.S. Bouchon Bakery has wonderful goods too. Probably gained 5 pounds in 4 days. But well worth it.