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The French Laundry 2006 -


Barbara Moss
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^That IS incredible, Aileen!

I was wondering if anyone could tell me how much I can expect to pay for wine at FL. I am dining with three others, and I think we are all relatively inexperienced wine drinkers by EG standards.

(Also, I'm on a budget and eating at Michael Mina the day before...I am guessing that FL does not have wines by the glass?)

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This info is a little old, but I think the by-the-glass and half bottle info is pretty accurate.

Wine pairings: Pairings are done individually, but generally cost about $150 a person for about 10 wines to go with the tasting menu

The pairings: Wine director Paul Roberts creates his pairings nightly using the 30 by-the-glass offerings and the more than 100 half bottle selections on the 1,400-item wine list. It's impossible to keep up with the kitchen, which might send out a course on a whim.

A master sommelier, Roberts selects wines that surprise and startle. With the confit of veal hearts with baby mache and turnips, he decants 1998 Vilmart "Grand Cellier de Rubis'' Brut Rose to make the wine seem creamier. Its natural astringency, however, offers a refreshing counterpoint to the meat, which in turn brings out a note of fruity softness in the wine. It's a magical roller-coaster ride.

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Edited by snekse (log)

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^Thanks for the info. I am such an inexperienced wine drinker that I don't think I'll be able to appreciate the pairings fully! (And $150US is a little steep for me). Also 10 glasses of wine, even at small tasting portions, would have me under the table midway through the meal! (My limit is usually 2 glasses with dinner.)

What would you suggest me do--ask the sommelier to choose two glasses for me?

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The list is priced well and you should be able to get a good bottle under $100 or a half at $50. When I was there and similarly when I was at Per Se, I stuck with a nice white that could last for many course (i.e. a Nicolas Joly or a Dageneau should work or perhaps a Colin Deleger or Marc Colin white burg) and on the meat course shared a glass of red. Others have confirmed that the wine pairing is not cheap (but very generous). On a budget and eating and FL is an oxy moron and adding MM also adds to the pain. Try to stay under 4 digits at FL and you will be fine. :wink:

Edited by mkjr (log)

officially left egullet....

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What would you suggest me do--ask the sommelier to choose two glasses for me?

If the others you are dining with are also drinking, you could ask the sommelier for a half or full bottle of red and a white for the table. Or you could do the same for yourself by the glass.

And if you have a budget for your wines, give the sommelier your comfort range. You won't be the first person looking to avoid breaking the bank at French Laundry.

Bill Russell

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^

I was wondering if anyone could tell me how much I can expect to pay for wine at FL. I am dining with three others, and I think we are all relatively inexperienced wine drinkers by EG standards.

(Also, I'm on a budget and eating at Michael Mina the day before...I am guessing that FL does not have wines by the glass?)

Jerry_A and I were at the French Laundry two summers ago. It was amazing!

As for wine, we had three glasses that totalled $52US (we were there for the food, not the wine - so all I can remember is that I had one glass of Sauternes and Jerry_A had one glass of white and one glass of red, not sure what they were and they're not listed individually on the bill). I would expect that prices have gone up a bit since then.

One thing we learned while there (don't laugh :huh: ), Napa Valley water is delicious! When given the choice of imported still, imported sparkling, or Napa Valley's finest, we originally opted for imported still. The smell and the flavour were so strong that we could not enjoy our food. So despite the embarrassment, we switched to the regular water after the first course which proved to be much less of a distraction.

While you're in the area, don't miss the Bouchon Bakery. Also if you have time for a burger, the WESTERN BACON BLUE RING at Taylor's Refresher (www.taylorsrefresher.com) beats anything in Vancouver.

Have a fun trip! Can't wait to read your review (and hopefully see some pictures).

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While you're in the area, don't miss the Bouchon Bakery.  Also if you have time for a burger, the WESTERN BACON BLUE RING at Taylor's Refresher (www.taylorsrefresher.com) beats anything in Vancouver.

You devil! I just visited the website and read the description... it sounds like one of the most pleasant ways to have a heart attack! :raz: YUMMY! I'll have to make sure I visit Taylor's Refresher after TFL!! :laugh:

u.e.

Edited by ulterior epicure (log)

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Molto E but not I just had to compare the WBBR in Napa to the one in Ferry Plaza Market earlier in the day just one hour before TFL :shock: He nevertheless did a yeoman's job stowing away the fine fare offered us :wink:

John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

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Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

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Thanks everyone for the recommendations!

The list is priced well and you should be able to get a good bottle under $100 or a half at $50.  When I was there and similarly when I was at Per Se, I stuck with a nice white that could last for many course (i.e. a Nicolas Joly or a Dageneau should work or perhaps a Colin Deleger or Marc Colin white burg) and on the meat course shared a glass of red. 

I will keep that in mind and suggest that at dinner. Thank-you! :smile:

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One thing we learned while there (don't laugh  :huh: ), Napa Valley water is delicious!  When given the choice of imported still, imported sparkling, or Napa Valley's finest, we originally opted for imported still.  The smell and the flavour were so strong that we could not enjoy our food.  So despite the embarrassment, we switched to the regular water after the first course which proved to be much less of a distraction.

Clarification -- Yountville water is delicious as it is from a local well. In general, Napa Valley water sucks big giant rocks. Don't assume that every restaurant in the valley has the same quality water as what you experienced as there are wells all over the valley from which the wineries have to pull for irrigation. Some are exceptional and some are quite hideous. My time living in Napa involved commercial filters and Britta water systems because my local water was undrinkable.

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One thing we learned while there (don't laugh  :huh: ), Napa Valley water is delicious!  When given the choice of imported still, imported sparkling, or Napa Valley's finest, we originally opted for imported still.  The smell and the flavour were so strong that we could not enjoy our food.  So despite the embarrassment, we switched to the regular water after the first course which proved to be much less of a distraction.

Clarification -- Yountville water is delicious as it is from a local well. In general, Napa Valley water sucks big giant rocks. Don't assume that every restaurant in the valley has the same quality water as what you experienced as there are wells all over the valley from which the wineries have to pull for irrigation. Some are exceptional and some are quite hideous. My time living in Napa involved commercial filters and Britta water systems because my local water was undrinkable.

Well, clarify all you want, but all I know is at TFL the fancy Italian bottled water tasted like my Grandmother's basement and the Napa Valley water (which is what they called it, could have been from Calistoga or Yountville or who knows where) was exceptional.

Not trying to start a water fight (unless it's a water balloon fight, those are fun) but just wanted to say that the TFL Napa Valley water we had, as well as all of the other Napa water we have had on our visits, did not "suck giant rocks" as you so eloquently put it.

Maybe they only give the good stuff to the tourists.

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When we had lunch there last May they did not do any type of wine pairings but had a great selection of both full and half bottles and had excellent recommendations for us.

I will concur. At dinner last week we were well served with several half-bottles throughout. In certain situations 9e.g. foie gras) we were served a an additional glass matched with that particular course.

John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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I'll have to make sure I visit Taylor's Refresher after TFL!!  :laugh:

This is critical. We went to Taylor's at 3 the afternoon that we had late reservations at FL. It took us about four courses before we could enjoy our FL meal.

Bill Russell

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Any secrets to getting a reservation to The French Laundry?

Yes, lots of them. All already posted, here or elsewhere. There's even an entire Web site or two on the subject. Search under "French Laundry."

That itself is a useful tip online by the way, maybe worth repeating. Of all of the advice that's available on a popular topic, most of it generally will have been posted already, available by self-service search. Of course you can always ask more questions once you know what's there. All things come to those who search ...

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Dinner tonight, though not perfect, confirms The French Laundry's place IMO amongst the best restaurants in the U.S. Details including pics will eventually follow.

We're all waiting patiently, Docsconz. Well, I am, anyway. :wink:

Nothing to see here.

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Dinner tonight, though not perfect, confirms The French Laundry's place IMO amongst the best restaurants in the U.S. Details including pics will eventually follow.

We're all waiting patiently, Docsconz. Well, I am, anyway. :wink:

I'm glad you have been patient. Now that I have finished my Mexico reportf, I am able to devote some time to my California experiences. Molto e and I met up in San Francisco for a whirlwind culinary extravaganza including The French Laundry. We are in the midst of tag-teaming our reports. Last night we did our first, for Ame at the St. Regis.. We should be getting to this within a couple of days :wink:

John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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...Last night we did our first, for Ame at the St. Regis.. We should be getting to this within a couple of days :wink:

I was not really waiting but having seen the one for Ame I will absolutely be waiting patiently. What a great job on the other thread!

Thanks. we are working on it now. :smile:

John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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I have wanted to eat at The French Laundry for as long as I can remember, but I had not planned a trip in the area so it was not to be. The expectation of my meal there could not have been greater. I have the cookbooks, read the articles, saw the interviews, love the food of the disciples and have seen all the pictures, but now I get to see it for myself. It is like going to the Mecca. We pulled up early to get a glimpse.....

Across the street from the restaurant is The French Laundry garden

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A glimpse of the front...

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We encountered many groups taking a variety of pictures out front including Doc's favorite of a lady taking a picture of her shoe.

There are three menus offered and after I ruled out the possibility of eating all three :huh: There were things on the other menus that I wanted to try so I asked to change it up a bit and like everything else at TFL-your wish is granted

The first tasting was:

Grilled "Pave" of Japanese "Kanpachki",

"Hon-Shimiji" Mushrooms, French Laundry Garden Radishes and "Yuzu" Glaze

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Hand Rolled Yukon Gold Potato "Agnolotti",

Young Fava Beans and Flowers, New Crop Potato "Chips" and Perigord Truffles

OR

Moulard Duck "Foie Gras Poele",

Belgian Endive "En Ravigotte", Royal Blenheim Apricot "Puree",

Yountville Mustard Blossoms and "Sauce A La Moutarde En Grains" $30 supplement

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Sauteed Fillet Of Line Caught Atlantic Striped Bass,

Caramelized Sweet Parsnips, Wilted Arrowleaf Spinach, Red Onion "Marmelade" and "Sauce Soubise"

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Medallion of Elysian Fields Farm Lamb "Et Son Plate De Cote Glacee"

with Eggplant "Caviar", Piquillo Pepper "Socca" and Nicoise Olives

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"Persille De Beaujolais"

With Braised Celery Heart And Poached "Pruneaux E'Agen"

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Jacobsen's Farm Meyer Lemon Sorbet,

Yogurt "Mousse", Almond "Nougatine" and "Frascati" Biscuit

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Field Rhubarb "Torte",

Jamaican Gingerbread, Tahitian Vanilla "Mascarpone" and Green Cardamom Syrup

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Mignardises

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Tasting Of Vegetables

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"Puree" of Garden Sorrel Soup

with Toasted Almonds and Poached Sultanas

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Slow-Roasted Heirloom Beets,

Grilled and Shaved Fennel Bulb, Cara Cara Orange "Confit"

and Garden Tarragon "Vinaigrette"

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Warm Salad Of Sacramento Delta Green Asparagus,

Melted Cipollini Onion Rings, Soft Boiled Jidori Hen Egg and Country Bread "Croutons"

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Young Fava Bean " Falafel",

Cumin-Glazed Eggplant, "Harissa", Kendall Farms "Creme Fraiche" and Cilantro Shoots

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New Crop Potatoes "Rissolees En Cocotte",

Savoy Cabbage "Coulis" and Shaved Black Truffles

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"Navarin" of Hen Of The Woods Mushrooms,

Thumbelina Carrots, Tokyo Turnips, Spring Garlic nd "Jus De Legumes Rotis"

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"Valencay"

Granny Smith Apple "Pain Perdu", Wildflower Honey and Belgian Endive Leaves

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"Hot Chocolate"

Jivara Milk Chocolate Sorbet, "Chocolat A La Venicoise", Tahitian Vanilla Infused Marshmallows and "Creme Chantilly"

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"Delice Au Chocolat et Menthe",

White and Dark Chocolate "Ganache", Garden Mint-Scented "Jaconde" and "Guanaja" Chocolate Sauce

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Mignardises

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Chef's Tasting Menu

"Oysters and Pearls"

"Sabayon" of Pearl Tapioca With Beau Soleil Oysters and Russian Sevruga Caviar

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Salad Of Baby Globe Artichokes,

Spring Onions, Pickled Pearl Onion 'Petals", Garden "Mache" and Perigord Truffle "Coulis"

Or

Moulard Duck "Foie Gras Au Torchon",

Field Rhubarb "Relish", Sicilian Pistachio "Mimettes", Rhubarb "Jus" and Toasted "Brioche" $30 supplement

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Grilled Fillet Of Gulf Coast Pompano, Caramelized Fennel Bulb, "Confits Des Pamplemousses" and Fennel-Grapefruit "Vinaigrette"

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"Choufleur Polonaise"

Maine Lobster Tail "Cuite Sous Vide",

"Gratin' Of Cauliflower "Fleurettes", Hen Egg "Mimosa" with Young Parsley Shoots

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I do not have the exact Rabbit dish that goes here-Perhaps Doc will-

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Herb-Roasted Sirloin Of Dry Aged Prime Beef, California Grey Morel Mushrooms, Green Asparagus, "Pain Perdu Au Moelle" and "Sauce Bordelaise"

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"Comte Saint Antoine"

Applewood-Smoked Bacon-Wrapped Yukon Gold Potato "Bouchon" and Sour Michigan Cherry "Puree"

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White "Verjus Granite" with Nicoise Olive "Nougatine"

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"Feuilletine Au Caramel"

Butterscotch "Boite", Caramel "Mousse" and Milk Chocolate- Praline "Feuilletine"

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Mignardises

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Our Tasting Begins

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Gougeres were dropped off at the table. They were very well done!!

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"Cornets"

Salmon Tartare with Sweet Red Onion Creme Fraiche

The Cornet was so delicate and buttery

Edited by molto e (log)

Eliot Wexler aka "Molto E"

MoltoE@restaurantnoca.com

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I will add a few photos of the garden and exterior to Molto's. Although it had rained rather voluminously on our drive up from S.F. in the morning, it had cleared nicely by the afternoon, so much so that we had a nice wine tasting at Plump Jack Winery. By the time we made it over to the Laundry to find where it was the lighting was marvellous.

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Broad views of the French Laundry garden and beyond.

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I really was there :wink: By no means were we the only ones with cameras. Those without were anomolous. In fact, while we were scoping the place out around 5:30 or so, guests were beginning to arrive. One woman, dining alone, stopped in front, took off her shoe, held it up in front of her as she was facing the building and took a photo of her shoe at The French laundry. We asked if she would like us to take her picture for her, but she politely refused, explaining that she does that all the time as a memento.

The gougeres and salmon tartar cones are rightly legendary.

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...but then, so are Oysters and Pearls, "sabayon" of pearl tapioca with Beau Soleil oysters and Russian sevruga caviar. This was the second time I've had it, the other at Per Se in NYC. Both were simply unctuous. Our wine pairing was champagene, Pierre Gimonet, "Brut", 1er Cru Luis XV The pairings were uniformly excellent. While I will list the wines, I will only comment further if there was something particular to comment on with the wines.

I will take a moment to compare the spaces of The French Laundry and Per Se. Both are understated elegance. TFL is country, while Per Se is City and they clearly offer the feel of each. I was actually surprised at how understated TFL is. Per Se, while in the restaurant, is much more dominated by its surroundings. While in TFL, I felt the location was secondary if not for source of much of the food.

Molto's and my menus veereed a little from each other's. After the Oysters and Pearls I had my foie gras.

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Moulard Duck "Foie Gras Poele", Belgian endive "En Ravigote", Royal Blenheim Apricot Puree, Yountville Mustard Blossoms and "Sauce ala Moutarde en Grains". This included two generous pieces of foie gras, marvellously prepared. My accompaniment was Kiralyudar, Tokaji "Cuvee Ilona", Hungary 2000.

More to come later...

John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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