"If you're tired you take a Napa, you don't move to Napa."

Ev and I have tried going wine tasting in Napa for the past four years or so but something always interferes. Alas, we finally took the drive up the California coast to commemorate our four year wedding anniversary. While the Napa Valley thrives in the wine industry, our main objective was to try Thomas Keller's French Laundry, a renown Three Michelin Star restaurant.


image from nosaladasameal

Our first attempt at making a reservation did not fall in our favor due to calling an hour after opening. Tables book within 20 mins - two months in advance. Please have credit card handy. Oh yeah, and if you choose to cancel a reservation please do so in advance so you won't have to pay the $100 per person penalty. With such requirements, we knew, or thought, we were in for an exceptional treat.

I'm by no means a food critic nor do I consider myself a foodie, but I am a food fan and I was a bit disappointed. The 30 minute wait might have put a damper on the experience but nonetheless, I wasn't  blown away by either of the nine courses.  The Island Creek Oysters were a bit fishy, the froie gras was cliche and everything seemed heavily salted. I'll most likely go to culinary hell for remotely criticizing a legendary establishment and chef, but this critique comes from the experience and service I've received from Two Michelin Star restaurants.  I do applaud the Maitre d' who asked the kitchen staff to come up with a soup-type concoction to clear up Evan's stuffy nose and the pastry chef who surprised us with this:

Pictured is Evan's dessert. My dessert had mango-chile relish which was really good, actually. But I didn't enjoy it as much because I was focused about not receiving the coffee and doughnuts that everyone else benefited from. By the time our turn came to try the aforementioned delicacies, the kitchen had run out of dough. And yes, we called ahead of time and asked to make note of saving some for us. Grrrr.

To compensate for not having this additional course, we were given a tour of the kitchen. It was indeed a great kitchen but it didn't come close to sinking our mouths into some cinnamon-sugar doughnuts and frozen mousse cappuccino.

Said reasons detracted from the greatness that is The French Laundry.  I'll have to try Bouchon in order to give Thomas Keller the credit he deserves.