We had lunch today at the French Laundry in Yountville, CA. Therestaurant takes reservations sixty days in advance. We decided inOctober that we wanted to eat at the French Laundry on December 15. Assuch, I started calling the restaurant at precisely 10 AM PDT on October15. I finally got through to a reservations agent at 10:20 AMPDT. At that time, all dinner reservations were already booked. So, I booked us a lunch time reservation of 1 PM PST. We drove up tothe restaurant (coat and tie required) and were promptly seated as we walkedin the door. We got a pleasant table on the second floor of therestaurant with a beam of sunlight, fresh flowers, cloth table cloth andnapkins, the works. We chose to have the nine-course prix fixemenu. The menu we had, by courses, was:- Cauliflower “Panna Cotta” with Malpeque Oyster Glaze andOsetra Caviar
- “Confit” of Red Beet Salad with Summer Truffles, GardenMâche,and Beet Vinaigrette
- Filet of Florida Pompano, Melted King Richard Leeks, and Preserved MeyerLemon Syrup
- Sweet Butter Poached Maine Lobster with Carmelized Fennel bulb and Sauce”Noilly Prat”
- Spice Crusted Sirloin of Columbia Crest Farms Young Rabbit with Roasted Quince and Toasted Farro
- All Day Roasted Elysian Fields Farm Lamb with a Yellow Corn Polenta Cakeand Globe Artichoke “Grenobloise”
- “Camembert” with Honey Roasted Golden Delicious Apples and BayLeaf “Gastrique”
- Ruby Red Grapefruit Sorbet with Grapefruit “Marmelade”
- Preserved Apricot Cake with Spiced Apricot Sauce and “CrèmeChantilly”
Those of you who read the preceding menu closely might have noticed thatrabbit was on the menu. Yes, probably the finest restaurant in Americaserves rabbit to their clientele. By pointing this out, hopefully thenaysayers who questioned why I might shoot a rabbit to eat it will bequieted to a certain degree.
The meal itself was great. The service was superb. We were atthe restaurant for just short of four hours. During that time we wentthrough two half-bottles of wine (a great Riesling and a merelyaverage merlot), some water, and a over a pot of decaf coffee.
While Sarah had the apricot cake that was on the menu, I substituted”Coffee and Doughnuts” off the regular menu for the finaldesert. This was a really great decision. The “coffee”was caffe semifreddo, or cappucino that had been frozen into something likeice cream. What made the dish, however, was the doughnut. Neverin all my days have I had such a perfect doughnut. The doughnut was warm,crusted with cinnamon sugar, crunchy on the outside, and melt in your mouthsoft on the inside. Until I had that doughnut, I was thinking ofgetting doughnuts tomorrow morning for breakfast. After eating thatdoughnut at the French Laundry, however, doughnuts purchased from the localshop would seem a pale imitation of what doughnuts could be.