Tuesday, December 16, 2008
French Laundry. Chapter One.
We weren't the only dorks taking our picture out front. Tourists that weren't even eating there were having their portraits taken. And after you pay the bill, you too will feel entitled to be able to do anything you want on the property. Like act like a total fuckin' food nerd. But, like the Grand Canyon or the Great Pyramids, you'll want to say, "I've been there."
My birthday was Sunday, Dec 14. Tania told me some months ago that we had plans from Dec. 12-15. What those plans were, I didn’t find out ‘til day of. I knew we were going somewhere, but I didn’t know if it was by plane or car, north or south, east or west. My initial suspicions included Vegas, Palm Springs, Mexico, Santa Barbara, Laguna Beach, or maybe even Sacramento.
“Damn it,” she said when I guessed Sacto, “you ruin everything. Yeah, and we’re having your birthday dinner at Arby’s.”
My constant guessing did eventually manage to drive her bonkers. But I’ll let her tell that story.
When I woke up Friday morning, I started guessing again in my head. Then I took a step back and made some calculations. First, we have to get in the car. Then the car will leave the house and surely she’ll get on a freeway. I had convinced myself that the vacation was north, but that morning I decided we were going south. Wrong. She steered the car onto the 5N.
“So where are we going?” I asked near Magic Mountain. It was driving me crazy.
“You don’t know?” she said incredulously. No, I didn’t. “Well we’re on the 5 north, where else would we be going?”
San Francisco. We were staying downtown at the Hilton (China Banks!) and we had dinner plans for the evening. Lovely. What I didn’t know was that the next day the plans got exponentially lovelier: Tania, with the help of our friends Tom and Denise in Petaluma, had finally scored reservations at Thomas Keller’s famed French Laundry in Yountville. The four of us have tried every avenue for the last two years to get a reservation at that place, but to no avail. “How does someone like Brad Pitt even get a reservation there?” Tania asked. Because, seriously, we have tried everything, but the list is impenetrable. I gave up hope of ever dining there long ago, so I was absolutely stunned when she finally coughed up the news.
“So are you going to finally tell me where we’re going today?” I asked Saturday morning as we were getting ready. I was mostly wondering why I had to wear my goddamn suit. I hate that thing. Even when it’s freshly pressed.
She reached into her bag and pulled out a book and threw it on the bed. “There, bitch,” she said proudly. Lying on our messed up hotel bed, gleaming in the sun, was The French Laundry Cookbook by Thomas Keller.
“Oh my God,” I said. I had absolutely no problem ripping off the dry cleaner bags and getting into my suit—well, that’s not entirely true: mentally I had no problem getting into it, but physically I can’t button the pants on it anymore. “You’re the one for meeeeee, FATTY!”
So, yeah, we went to one of the best restaurants in the US—some say THE best restaurant in the US—if not the world. There is much to tell and the details of our adventure will sputter out over the next week. It was a Norcal, Food On Drunk extra-ganza!
Posted by Bozo Monkey Bear III