The French Laundry

French_Laundry_01Everything changes after you eat at The French Laundry in Yountville, CA. Your expectations for fine dining at nice restaurants are completely obliterated, forever.

I have been lucky to eat at The French Laundry on several occasions, and every time I have left completely satisfied. And poor. A meal at The French Laundry costs upwards of $270 per person for a tasting menu that changes daily.

Reservations are taken two months to the day on which you wish to dine. Alternatively, you can see what tables are available via OpenTable, which is how I scored my reservations. On the morning of my 32nd birthday I wondered what it would be like to eat my birthday dinner at The French Laundry. I logged on to OpenTable and saw that there was a table available at 8pm. I immediately booked the table and prepared myself for the best birthday dinner. Ever.

Here’s what a tasting menu at The French Laundry looks like.


Amuse Bouche: Gougeres

Amuse Bouche: Salmon Cornets

Amuse Bouche: Salmon Cornets

A play on an ice cream cone. A delicate scoop of salmon tartare served on a cone filled with creme fraiche and chives.

Oysters and Pearls.

Oysters and Pearls

“Sabayon” of pearl tapioca with Island Creek Oysters and White Sturgeon Caviar. I don’t like oysters, and I like caviar even less, but I would eat this particular dish every day if I could. Seriously, every day.

Foie Gras Terrine

Once upon a time, we were allowed to eat Foie Gras in California. And then someone passed a law and now we can’t. If memory serves, this is served with a trio of tasting salts. One was from the time of the dinosaurs, one was a french salt, and the last salt came from a volcanic field in the Philippines.


The brioche bread is just one of a variety of breads that are served throughout the meal and baked fresh every day from Bouchon Bakery (the other Thomas Keller restaurant/bakery down the street).