Tuesday, May 10, 2011

The French Laundry

Dinner at The French Laundry is a special experience, with a very formal atmosphere and excitingly beautiful food.

It started with amuse bouche of a delicate, beyond creamy gougere, and a lovely miniature cone of salmon sashimi.

The first of the official 9 courses was the well known "oysters and pearls", with two tiny treasure cove oysters, white sturgeon caviar and buttery sabayon of tapioca pearls.

One of my favorite parts of dinner wasn't a course - it was this lovely presentation of 3 salts in antiqued silver cups.

Back to the menu - next was a choice of the moulard duck foie gras with rosewater, pink lady apple, red walnuts and a black truffle gastrique or the gnome sized carrots (below) from the French Laundry garden across the street with medjool dates, cilantro and madras curry.

The Columbia River sturgeon was light and served with a smear of baby beets, and my favorite - cucumber dill gelee cubes, with a scoop of mild horseradish cream.

The butter poached main lobster tail was incredible; but most interesting with the ramp covered "subric", a spongy cake, topped with English peas, Tokyo turnips and Perigord truffle.

The Liberty Farm pekin duck stole the show for me - incredibly crispy on top, completely tender inside, with rich flavor; crispy beech mushrooms and savoy cabbage.

The tete de cochon was molded into a lovely cylinder and was as tender and flavorful as it should be with a hen egg, asparagus, cornichons, frisee and Dijon mustard.

The "calotte de boeuf grille" was beyond belief - a juicy, tender slice of beef with a red butter, melted green garlic, spring onions, and potatoes.

The mousse au chocolat blanc was a deliciously smooth dessert, with morello cherris and marcona almonds.

To finish off, there were small sugar doughnuts and a trayful of chocolates.

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