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Thomas Keller in the Times


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From Thomas Keller: culinary perfection personified in the Seattle Times

Early that day, over breakfast at Le Pichet, Keller likened a meal at the French Laundry to a ticket at the World Series, which fans gladly pay hundreds for. "Do you question the quality of that experience?"

When you go to a Thomas Keller restaurant, you pay to taste the culinary art at its highest level. Keller spun out ideas for furthering that experience even more. "My goal is not to have a menu at the French Laundry. You go with complete confidence in the food, the service, and the wine. What the hell do you need 850 selections of wine for? You're eating dinner."

The idea of no menu is interesting to me. I've never been to the French Laundry, but if I did (and I hope I will) I'd probably go with their wine pairings anyway. Sadly, I'm no wine expert, and I think I would trust them to make the pairing for me. I could see if I were a wine expert how I might not like someone else making choices for me, though.

M. Thomas

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The idea of no menu is interesting to me.  I've never been to the French Laundry, but if I did (and I hope I will) I'd probably go with their wine pairings anyway.  Sadly, I'm no wine expert, and I think I would trust them to make the pairing for me.  I could see if I were a wine expert how I might not like someone else making choices for me, though.

When I go to higher end restaurants, I'm always happy to take advantage of situations where I can simply eat whatever the chef wants to serve me, essentially eliminating the menu. Even if its not an advertised option, I think many chefs welcome the opportunity to do that and take it as a sign that you are serious about the food. Most people though want to be more in control of what they're going to eat and aren't comfortable with that idea.

Edited by tighe (log)

Most women don't seem to know how much flour to use so it gets so thick you have to chop it off the plate with a knife and it tastes like wallpaper paste....Just why cream sauce is bitched up so often is an all-time mytery to me, because it's so easy to make and can be used as the basis for such a variety of really delicious food.

- Victor Bergeron, Trader Vic's Book of Food & Drink, 1946

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We wish the article had said that the very successful Bouchon dinner at Union was part of The Cooks and Books Visiting Chefs Series put on by Kim Ricketts Book Events. We hope interest will be piqued when local food buffs see that we are sponsoring an event. Please, see the Cooks and Books thread for more info.

Judy Amster

Cookbook Specialist and Consultant

amsterjudy@gmail.com

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  • 4 weeks later...

I called French Laundrya few months back and got a reservation for that same day. Problem is that they require men to wear jackets and I didnt have one with me. So I cancelled and said fuck it. Call me crazy but I shouldnt have to buy a new jacket to have a meal in Northern CA.

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I called French Laundrya few months back and got a reservation for that same day. Problem is that they require men to wear jackets and I didnt have one with me. So I cancelled and said fuck it. Call me crazy but I shouldnt have to buy a new jacket to have a meal in Northern CA.

NO kidding LOL. Well, obviously in your list of priorities, food is nowhere near the top!

PS- I'd bet they probably have a few extras on hand for diners that show up without.

Born Free, Now Expensive

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So I cancelled and said fuck it. Call me crazy...

You're crazy. I've been to The French Laundry four times and it's worth the price of a jacket. Besides, as Malarkey says they probably have a few jackets handy.

Keller has been talking about removing the menu for years. I'm not sure what kind of challenges it would introduce because the kitchen is producing some 80 plus menu items a night. Somewhere in that collection will be an array of items that can construe a menu.

Drink!

I refuse to spend my life worrying about what I eat. There is no pleasure worth forgoing just for an extra three years in the geriatric ward. --John Mortimera

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A big group of 8 of us from eG went recently and I believe jackets for men were "suggested." You can get a really nice jacket CHEAP from a thrift store and have it dry cleaned if it's expense you're worried about.

"Save Donald Duck and Fuck Wolfgang Puck."

-- State Senator John Burton, joking about

how the bill to ban production of foie gras in

California was summarized for signing by

Gov. Schwarzenegger.

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From the FL site:

>Jackets are required for both lunch and dinner service.

>Ties are optional. No jeans, t-shirts, shorts, or tennis shoes please.

That said, not going to FL just because of the jacket requirement seems awfully short-sighted. Trust me on this: It's worth borrowing a coat (or buying a cheap used one). I think MsRamsey's idea is a great one... go to your local vintage/used clothing place and buy something fabulous that you'd love to wear for fun. Nobody says it has to be Brooks Brothers pinstripes.

Edited to add: One of the minor miracles of FL is that it never feels pretentious. Gracious, subdued, and joyous; never stuffy.

Edited by ScorchedPalate (log)

Anita Crotty travel writer & mexican-food addictwww.marriedwithdinner.com

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OK I LIKE the idea of dressing up once in a while and my husband has a special " restaurant jacket" that we always take along especially during warm-weather travel. It's light, comfortable and he can wear a short-sleeve shirt beneath it and get into any restaurant that "suggests" or requires a jacket.

Geez, frankly I don't enjoy dining in a high-end restaurant where the servers are better dressed than half the customers.

Yes, there are of "tons of other restaurants" but I would be hard put to come up with anything that comes close to French Laundry or a handful of others in the U.S.

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I have to say I like dressing for the occaision, any occaision. I think we've gone a little too far in becoming casual in our dress and how we view places. I would love a restaurant that required white tie for men and evening wear for women, with equally spectacular food and drink to match. This would not be an everday dining experience, but a special thing, but like I said I like dressing up. I'm the sort of person that likes the feel of a nice suit and a bespoke shirt, the decadence of a freshly shined pair of shoes, I like topcoats and gloves in the winter, linen shirts and suits in the summer, I think that something was lost when we gave up wearing hats, and cuff links became something to wear with a tux. I think that dressing nicely for a nice place shows respect for the people who work there, your fellow patrons, and also yourself. Take the time to do something special, life is too short for everything to be ordinary and everyday. I know I go on like this every time the subject of dress and reataurants comes up but I feel really strongly about it. I will often refrain from going someplace because I feel that I am not dressed for it. If I want other people to refrain from walking into a nice restaurant in ratty jeans or going to the symphony in shorts then I should practice what I preach. Okay, stopping to take a deep breath. If a restaurant asks for a certain type of dress they're trying to put together a certain atmosphere, far be it from me to make them fit my idea of what the atmosphere should be and what they're trying to achieve. Ok, rant over.

Rocky

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hear hear!!!! I'm with you Rocky! Dressing up doesn't have to be expensive either as MsRamsey pointed out. The idea is that it is a special situation and it calls for 'your sunday best'. The one thing I hate about Seattle is the lack of places where people actually get dressed up to go to.

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The idea of having to wear a jacket for dinner sounds so silly.

It's so pretentious.

They might have nice food but there are also tons of other restaurants that serve excellent food.

maybe they are trying to not be like tons of other restaurants, they want to create a certain atomosphere and ambience. I certainly do not mind putting on a jacket to dine on occasion. I do get to the t-shirt places also and love them as well. It is your choice whether you go to places that require a jacket. So please do not diss them. They have set their standards and ask all their customers to respect that code.

It is good to be a BBQ Judge.  And now it is even gooder to be a Steak Cookoff Association Judge.  Life just got even better.  Woo Hoo!!!

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The idea of having to wear a jacket for dinner sounds so silly.

It's so pretentious.

They might have nice food but there are also tons of other restaurants that serve excellent food.

Cheers to the Jacket Crowd.

Beer and BBQ rituals have their dress codes -- try wearing a suit and tie to your next backyard neighborhood shindig. Rock shows have theirs. Attaching a bit of additional ceremony to something like a great meal in a refined setting should be celebrated. Not to mention the benefits of simply getting to be in an environment that reinforces the distinctions between adults/adult behavior and children/kid's behavior, another element of the jacket ritual.

Even better, today the wearing of jackets is actually a social leveler, quite the opposite of a class (in the economic sense) pretension. These days, the greatest class pretension visible in Seattle and most of California comes from the "we're grown men, but we're rich and cool so we can dress in shorts and baseball caps all the time -- 'cause we don't care what you think!" crowd. Sadly, adolescent dress can encourage adolescent behavior. Jackets in the right setting level the playing field, at a reasonably dignified level, and encourage good behavior to boot. They invite everyone to sit at the grown ups' table, if only for an evening.

Richard W. Mockler

Seattle

I will, in fact, eat anything once.

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Cheers to the Jacket Crowd.

Well said, and this is what defines a destination restaurant.
...we're grown men, but we're rich and cool so we can dress in shorts and baseball caps all the time...
You forgot "and we can have ponytails even though we're bald on top!" :biggrin:

Drink!

I refuse to spend my life worrying about what I eat. There is no pleasure worth forgoing just for an extra three years in the geriatric ward. --John Mortimera

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The idea of having to wear a jacket for dinner sounds so silly.

It's so pretentious.

They might have nice food but there are also tons of other restaurants that serve excellent food.

"Nice food"?

trust me, there are not tons of other restaurants serving comparable food.

fanatic...

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