My best friend Holly and I took Friday off and drove up to Yountville in Napa Valley, for a lunch at the famed French Laundry, considered by many to be the finest restaurant in the country. I tried very hard not to expect the best meal of my life - just a good meal well worth the experience. And I figured that if anything would turn out less than wonderful, at least I would be able to say I'd been there, and now I knew what it was like.
But you know what? It really WAS the best meal I have ever had, and I have a hard time trying to tell you what the best thing was, or which course I liked best.
It was the most expensive meal I have ever had (it's a ten-course prix fixe meal, and costs $240 per person), but it was honestly worth every penny. The service was impeccable. Classy and not snooty at all. Everybody made us feel welcome, and the staff took such excellent care of us that I wanted to marry at least three of the gentlemen on the spot. We showed up at 11am, were led gently and professionally without a rush through all the courses, and left full (but not overstuffed) and happy around 2:30.
The dish in this picture is well worth mentioning: Santa Barbara sea urchin with black truffle "pain perdu", tokyo turnips, granny smith apple (those pale green pearls), mizuna, and sauce périgourdine. I keep thinking of how this tasted. I've never had fresh sea urchin before, which was one of the reasons I picked this course over the other fish option, the bass. The orange bits are the urchin, and oh wow, it was like a mouthful of ocean become flesh. It was wondrously delicious, and this alone was worth the drive.
What a meal!
I'm still swooning. [Oh, and here's more pornographic pictures and details for all you foodies.]