Monday, February 23, 2009

Makin' Bacon and Faerie Stars

Tania finally got her faerie star tattoo that she’s always wanted.

If you went to our wedding, you’ll know that the seven pointed faerie star was on everything. Here’s the story about it that Tania wrote in our little wedding zine. Even if you went to our wedding, you may not have read this? You were probably too busy running from the fire.

If this image looks familiar, it's because it was in our absinthe post as well.

The Faerie Star

So, maybe you’ve asked yourself, or the person beside you, what the deal is with the weird star thing. It’s not a pentagram, so don’t get all worried that you’re at some weird Satanist wedding and we’re planning to sacrifice a goat and four chickens. We love Satan and all, but we already did that before you got here because some things should just remain sacred.

The following was copy and pasted from some internet site, but it’s simple and a pretty decent explanation for the Septagram that we have chosen to personalize most of the things associated with our wedding: “Seven Pointed Stars, called "Faerie or Elven Stars," represent a gift from Faerie to humans to bridge the understanding between the Mortal human realm and that of Faerieland. The 7-pointed star is known as a gateway symbol, a Gate or entrance between our world and that of Faery, the Otherworld. Each point on the star represents a gateway or path of the Higher Self to prepare one for entrance into Faery.” Okay, once you get past the nerdy faerie business, the whole gateway thing is also pretty fitting for a wedding, no? We’re moving forward into a different world, changing our status, and entering a new phase in our lives…
I know, I know, but give us a break.

Seven happens to also be a prime number and I happen to be big on prime numbers and it’s pretty fitting as far as a wedding’s concerned, right? You know, because they’re not divisible by anything. Kind of like the couple getting married. Get it? Oh man, that’s so deep. And boy, do I get a kick out of pointing out the obvious.

So uh yeah, anyways, this star has seven points and each point of the star has a meaning, and stories about the meanings vary depending on the storyteller, blah blah blah...

There are seven wonders of the world, seven visible colors in a rainbow, and seven notes to a musical scale. You want more? Oh, there’s more… seven elements (earth, air, fire, water, heaven, earth and self), seven directions (north, south, east, west, above, below, and within), seven levels of heaven, seven chakras (or energy centers) in the body, and seven days of the week. Oooh, and “The Septagram, or seven-pointed star, was chosen by Crowley to be the emblem of Babylon, the "Great Whore" of the thalamic pantheon.” Pretty fitting, huh? I mean, if he was referring to a Lousy Whore, I’d probably have left it out, but I like compliments of any kind. Woo hoo! Alright, I could go on and on, but then there won’t be any time for the eating and dancing and we all know that’s why you came here.

So the funny geometry you keep seeing everywhere is a seven-pointed star, which is also known as the Elven Star or Faerie Star or Septagram or Heptagram or whatever. And for our purposes it is basically representative of a gateway to another world… which is corny, we know, but fitting. You’re at a wedding, after all, what did you expect?

I like Tania’s Faerie Star and all, but I really wish she had gotten this one instead. (On the walls of the shop they had framed vintage tattoo samples.) (When I told Tania I was going to make a post out of her tattoo, she said, "What does that have to do with anything?" "It's a food post," I said, "it's got bacon in it!" )

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Bad Taco, Bad!

If you look closely, you can see the tiny enchiladas, white rice, and cup of black beans. More like a cup of bullshit.

Bad tacos suck. And the tacos at LA food critics’ darling Loteria (at the Farmer’s Market) are bad tacos. Bad taco, bad. And so are the tacos at Taco Spot in Eagle Rock. Bad taco, bad!

Tania and I went to the Farmer’s Market for no real reason other than to just to kind of wander around. (We did visit the hot sauce shack, but that’s another post.) We didn’t really want to spend any money, but while we were drinking beers we got kind of hungry. “You want to get a couple tacos at Loteria?” I asked.

Tania hates Loteria. And I’m with her on this one. It’s really not that bad, but people rave about it and I tend to hate anything that people are raving about. They claim it’s “authentic” Mexican cuisine. “This is what real Mexicans in Mexico eat,” they seem to say. I can assure you they don’t. I’ve been all over Mexico and I’ve never seen “pollo en pipian rojo” (“chicken in a spicy pumpkin seed and peanut sauce”). Or how about the zucchini and roasted corn taco? Oh yeah, I was eating those every day… what the hell?

The creator of all this nonsense is Jimmy Shaw. I could rest my case right there with the name, but I enjoy talking shit too much. I learned in the LA Magazine review of Loteria that not only is he white, but his father is Scottish. You can’t get much further from Mexican food than Scotland. Apparently, though, Jimmy grew up in Mexico City. Alright, fine. But he’s still not making Mexican food.

Jimmy is a chef. And when I say “chef” I mean it in the way that it’s synonymous with “artist.” And as such, he is not making authentic Mexican food, he is fucking with authentic Mexican food and creating something entirely different. High end, artsy Mexican food? If there was a Top Chef quick-fire challenge to create a Mexican dish, he would probably do well in the eyes of the judges. He definitely scores some creativity points. But “authentic?” No way.

“In the best Mexican food,” it said in the LA magazine review, “seasonings build on one another. There is a constant interplay between the depth of flavor that comes with long cooking times and the brightness lent by herbs and the zing of chile heat. Shaw, who often works behind the counter in a short-sleeved chef’s jacket, is a master of this fundamental exchange. Many of the dishes are defined by the contrast of patient simmering and fresh salsas...The stewed chicken of the tinga de pollo, the tender carne deshebrada, the slow-cooked pork of the cochinita pibil—all have a lush, saturated quality."

yeah, saturated... uh...

Oh fuck off. To the author’s credit, however, he did acknowledge the lack of Mexican food at Loteria. Specifically, he thought it was a shame that carne asada is nowhere to be found on the menu. Which is bullshit. The reason, I’d assume, is because it’s too pedestrian? It would be the equivalent of having a hamburger on the menu at the French Laundry. Which gets to the heart of our disgruntlement: it’s a fucking taco stand, not the French Laundry.

To his credit, there are some things on the menu that sound really good. We ordered two tacos. I got “cochinita pibil: pork, slowly roasted in banana leaf, served with citrus pickled red onion and chile habanero.” Tania ordered “carnitas en salsa morita, with avocado and onion and cilantro.”

carnitas en salsa morita

cochinita pibil

Pretty normal, if not for the unnecessary flair on the menu. And they were both good. I will readily admit that those were a couple of good tacos. But they weren’t amazing and that’s where the problem is.

If Gary ate tacos, which he doesn't—it would be funny if you had a cat that only ate tacos—he would need to eat like five of these to feel full. Do they serve their beers in a thimble?

First of all, they were tiny. The tortillas in our fridge (which are handmade every day at our “authentic” Mexican grocery store, ahem) are 4 ¼ inches in diameter. They are the standard little taco tortillas. The tortillas at Loteria were about 3 inches in diameter. While I was waiting for my two tacos—actually I should mention the wait. Here’s some dipshit food blogger explaining it: “Some people are disappointed in Loteria Grill because they go expecting the best Mexican food in all of L.A., or they think it's slow, or expensive. But I like Loteria for several reasons -- they have interesting vegetarian tacos like mushroom and zucchini.” That’s because it is slow, and it is expensive, and everyone says it's the best Mexican food in LA, but it's not, you shithead. Her remark also reveals who it’s popular with: vegetarians.

I had to wait almost ten minutes for my two tiny little tacos. But I got to look at other orders coming out, all of which were microscopic. The enchiladas were ridiculous: two little taquito size enchiladas, about as wide as your thumb, covered with green sauce, served with a little bowl of black beans and a small cup of white rice. White rice? Eh? And you know how we feel about black beans—that’s Portland Mexican food. And for two tiny enchiladas you pay $9.95. When they finally called my name and pushed the plate towards me, I was like, “Are you joking?”

I took it back to the bar where Tania was sitting and she laughed at the meager offering. There were two little corn tortillas, about the size of a hockey puck, with a tablespoon of meat in the center of each. They cost $3 each. Not only were they smaller than a regular taco, but they cost twice as much. And as I said, they weren’t twice as good as a regular ole taco truck taco. Which is where I used to think you could get authentic Mexican cuisine, but apparently not? I guess they don’t have any peanuts in their tacos, huh?

Loteria is stupid. I suppose the food is interesting, but it’s not worth the price or the hype.

It just looks "white" doesn't it? More like "Taco NOT."

Taco Spot is barely worth mentioning. This place is a joke. We’ve driven past it repeatedly and always wondered what it’s like. It sucks. Actually, it doesn’t even bother to suck. It’s just blah. Of all the reviews on line, the most common complaint is that it’s “gringo food.” It’s kind of like between Del Taco and real Mexican food, but closer to the Del Taco end of the spectrum. And like Loteria, it was expensive. Except that I could get everything we got at Taco Spot at Del Taco for like $1.50.

I know, it looks like Mexican food, but it isn't.

Those are supposed to be salsas, but they're just colors. Even the straight roasted jalapenos were lacking flavor.

So there you go, two taco places that make bad tacos. What’s funny is I knew before we ate at both that I wasn’t going to like ‘em, but I couldn’t write this article if I didn’t eat at ‘em. Remember, if something bad happens, just write about it.

Monday, February 9, 2009

French Laundry. Chapter Eight.

Our Bouchon breakfast. Imagine if Keller was your dad and this was your school lunch everyday. Or French Laundry leftovers? Peanut butter and Wagyu sandwich?

I have to tell you about my shit. The shit I had after the French Laundry. It was probably the most expensive shit I’d ever taken. Not as expensive as Banksy’s elephant dung, but close. And nearly as impressive.

The next day we awoke with a strange sense of entitlement. “Let’s have lunch there again!” We were just there. We’re old friends. Plus our B&B was right behind the old whore house. (During the course of this last day in Napa, we watched our waiter, along with a large portion of the staff, parking along our street and fixing their ties in their rearview mirrors. It was kind of like seeing movie stars… if movie stars weren’t stupid and brought you awesome food.) We thought we could just stroll in, “Heyyyy! Good to see you again!” Eventually we awoke and came to our senses. We decided to make it a Keller day. There are two more Keller restaurants in Yountville: Ad Hoc and the original Bouchon. Sunday, December 14, was my actual birthday, so we wanted to make it almost as good as the day before. Unfortunately, Keller had a celebration of his own planned for December 14: his annual staff Christmas party. Bouchon was open ‘til two, but the Laundry and Ad Hoc were both closed. Dommage. “DAMN YOU KELLER!” (Tania shakes her fist in the air.)

We did go to the Bouchon bakery for breakfast, though. We enjoyed two simple, yet amazing, sandwiches: ham and cheese, and roast beef. We sat at an outdoor table and watched old rich people sip their coffee and talk about the weird shit that old rich people talk about. Then we strolled up and down the main street of Yountville and decided there was nothing to do in Yountville. Denise had suggest we visit the Culinary Institute of America. “It’s good, and it’s cheap,” she said.

Just a short drive north, the CIA’s campus is located at the Greystone Winery. And they have a restaurant there, “The Wine Spectator Greystone Restaurant,” where you’re served sub par, student food.

Kitchen Stadium at the CIA. Our view from the bar.

“The dazzling restaurant space,” it reads on their site, “created by noted designer Adam Tihany, offers a view of the chefs at work from every hand-crafted table. We invite you to relax and settle into your meal with ‘Today's Temptations,’ which is an array of delicious ‘small’ bites to be shared by all at the table. Our chef calls them temptations because they are inspired by the culinary artisans, farmers and foragers who bring their tempting products to the kitchen door everyday.”

I’m kidding, it wasn’t sub par food. It was student food, but it was good and it was cheap. We chose to sit at the bar with a front row seat to the kitchen. I’m fascinated by kitchens. And sitting at bars. I think some people look down on eating at the bar, but Tania and I prefer it at times. It has its advantages. For one, you’re closer to the booze. Second, the bartender might get busy, but at least he or she is always in earshot. And third, I don’t know, I just like sitting at bars. Next time a hostess tells you that you have to wait half an hour for a table, ask if there’s room at the bar.

My champagne flight. Mmmmm. My favorite meal of the day.

It was still early yet, so the Temptations (as gay as that sounds) was the perfect choice. They also offered wine flights. I love flights. If a restaurant offers flights, I order a flight. It’s always a good bargain and you get to sample a variety of hooch. Since it was my birthday, I went for the sparkling wine flight.

There wasn’t anything remarkable about our Temptations—I certainly wasn’t tempted to order a full meal from the menu—but they were good and they hit the spot. Totally worth the price, as well. At a “real restaurant,” that shit would have been expensive. I don’t exactly remember what they were, but I remember I liked the pate best.

This was one of the Temptations. "Pate Was a Rolling Stone."

I was, however, tempted to shit my pants during the temptation sensation. It came out of nowhere. I hadn’t shat at my normal time. It was after noon. Very late for my butt. And my butt knew it was late because it woke up and knew that it needed to evacuate immediately. “Excuse me,” I said to Tania, who was actually deliberating over the menu. “I have to go to the bathroom.”

While I was pooping, Tania was ordering more poop: French onion soup. Tania is a connoisseur of French onion soup. She gave the CIA's version a thumb's up.

I closed the stall door in the bathroom, dropped my pants, and sat down on the toilet. Suddenly I realized, “Oh shit, this shit is the French Laundry shit!” I need to document this! This is the last I will see of Keller’s food for some time! But as I frantically searched my pockets for my camera, I realized I had left it on the bar. SHIT! I thought of pulling up my pants and racing out into the restaurant, grabbing my camera, and coming back into shit. But, if you’re like me, once a shit has been put into play, so to speak—once the pants are down and the buttocks hit the toilet seat—there’s no turning back. “Shit…” I said again. So I shit.

Holy shit. Keller’s shit is as amazing as his food. “It was a remarkable crap,” I wrote in my notebook when I returned to the bar. (I had considered shitting, and then not flushing, going out to get my camera, and returning to document the crap. “Too weird,” I decided. So I wrote about it instead.) “There were big ones, small ones, and it was dark green,” I wrote. It was a very strange shit. It was like every kind of shit came out of my butt. It was runny, solid, big, small, green, brown, flaky, there was food floating around, it was weird. “KELLER!” I yelled, shaking my fist in the air. I wish I could have kept him inside of my body forever.


Thursday, February 5, 2009

French Laundry. Chapter Seven.

Keller's innovative plating style… I'm just kidding, that's Tania's abstract expressionism in huckleberry.

I was going to break this one up, but fuck it. Use your time mgt. skills. Read some of it today, some of it tomorrow. Here it is, the epic story of our epic lunch at the French Laundry. Tania's text is in blue.

Dave gets to blame the tardiness of this post on me. It’s my fault and I take full responsibility for not getting the text inserted/created so Dave could post this. You see, I have a job. A 9 – 5 office job. A job coordinating and shipping priceless pieces of art all over the world at inflated prices. A job that I absolutely abhor. A job that destroys my inner soul and basic will to live. A job that pays me money. Consistently. Bi-weekly even! And money, in this hard economic time, takes precedence over our fun little food blog. It hasn’t allowed me time to type about the best restaurant experience ever. And for that, I am sorry. But there is a big wide world out there for the taking (and eating) and you should have used that slow blog time to push yourself away from your desk, stand up, go outside, and shut the goddamn door. There’s more to life than reading about other people’s experiences. That said…

The kitchen, from the courtyard.

Let’s go in, shall we? “Finally… fuck.” Yeah, I know. We’ve been dragging this out. You would too. The reason we’re spending so much time on this French Laundry nonsense is because it’s like the last signals from a space ship being swallowed by a black hole. The future looks very dark indeed. Black metal got what they asked for. I can see us huddled, naked, in a dust strewn, post-apocalyptic, Blade Runner landscape, shivering under a tarp and clutching the tattered shreds of our French Laundry menu. “Remember when we saw Him, Tania? ‘Memmer? HIM?” Tania will be so hungry she’ll be reduced to babbling “Cauliflower panna cotta, Cauliflower panna cotta, Cauliflower p-p-panna panna panna cotta…” It was an experience I will remember forever, and, unfortunately, impossible to explain. The ineffable meal? I’m not going to get that gay.

Uh, yeah he is. Let’s just embrace it, shall we? Because it’s just that.

So let’s go in. But wait, where’s the front door? Yeah, seriously, Tania and I couldn’t find the front door. It’s a beautiful two-story building. It’s wood. It has a balcony. There’s foliage growing up the walls. There’s a small sign out front. And a stone walkway that appears to go nowhere. (It was a brothel at one time! Woohoo! Sluts!) We walked down the side street. Nothing. Then we started feeling stupid. Like someone was watching us. You show up somewhere like that in a suit and you want to look like you know what you’re doing. Maybe the stone path? We tried that and it led to a courtyard. There was a door, but there was no “Abierto” sign on it. We wandered further into the courtyard. We could see the kitchen (the kitchen that He was in the whole time. And we fucking saw Him! He was there). A man opened a door and poured a bucket of grease onto the bricks—I’m kidding. Suddenly, the sans-abierto door opened and a woman in smart business attire hailed us. “We’ve been waiting for you,” she said in an English accent.

The whole time our friends and the staff were obviously giggling at us looking around the courtyard like retards.

We walked into what looked like a dentist’s reception area. Tom and Denise rose from a couch off to the side. Perhaps they were reading US News, or Time, or even Highlights? It was good to see them. They were supposed to be a surprise, but I had already guessed they were coming. Tania is not amused by my amazing guessing abilities.

Dave guessed all of his birthday surprises about 8 hours before I was planning on telling him. Which is fine, I guess, except that I had built up all of these revelations in my head and they were gonna be so awesome and special. Like in romantic comedies where the obvious surprise party or thoughtful trinket is the most shocking and amazing thing the unsuspecting dumbass could ever imagine. Fucking Dave WOULD NOT play along. Instead, he just said “Oh shit, we’re going to the French Laundry, huh?” “Shit. Well… yes. Yes we are going to the French Laundry.” In my head I’m still imagining the tears that will surely stream down his face when I show him the cookbook in the car on the ride there. NOPE… FUCKER. Fine. I still had another surprise up my sleeve. I’m good, I plan shit, I am thoughtful and organized. Naturally, I expected more waterworks when we got there and our dearest friends were waiting to share in our special dinner. Oh, how thrilled he will be! He’ll never forget that moment. I’ll never have to get him another birthday present again. I am the most awesomest, smartest, most thoughtful wife in the whole wo... “Wow. Awesome. Are Tom and Denise coming?” FUCKER.

Tom and Denise.

“Are you ready?” the English lady asked. It’s kind of like an appointment. Not a reservation. Our table was sitting there waiting for us. And, in my opinion, we got the best table in the place: over in the corner below a couple of windows. I hate sitting in the middle.

It was the best table in the place. This is not an opinion, this is a fact.

After we sat down, we were swarmed by angels. They turned out to be waiters. Our head waiter was a David Byrne looking fellow named Guillaume. Which is French for “Bill.” “HI MY NAME’S WILLIAM BILL FOR SHORT!”

They gave us menus. I don’t know why they bothered. He could have given me anything and I would have eaten it. But unfortunately there were a couple of choices to be made. (Say “choices” with a lisp in the gayest voice you can muster.) Frankly, for the amount of money we were paying, I was like, “I do not want to have to make any decisions, just bring me the food!” Here is the menu. Study it closely.

Click on menu for larger view.

What’s weird about the French Laundry is that there are two menus, the other one is vegetarian. And the vegetarian menu costs the same as the “normal” menu, $240 per person. I’m sure it’s delicious, but what kind of an idiot would pay $240 for nine courses of vegetables? Guillaume went over the first menu, item by item for us… it was quite a process… and he was a pro… it was as if he had created the menu himself… he wasn’t reaching around in the back of his brain for the words he was taught to say, he just knew it… it was amazing… dazzling, really.

Fun Fact: The vegetarian menu has ham on it.

“Would you like me to go over the vegetarian menu?” he asked in his cute little FRANCH ACK-SANT.

NO NO NO, we all said. Fuck that menu. We want meat and booze! Guillaume found us charming.

We really did say that. That’s not even slightly embellished.

As you can see on the menu, there were four servings where a choice was necessary. In each instance, Tania and I chose opposites, so as to maximize our dining experience. When we do this, she almost always “wins.” Not on this day. My choices were, for once, superior to hers. Salad or foie gras? Foie gras. Snapper or Tuna? Snapper. Lamb or Wagyu? Wagyu, duh. Dessert? I don’t even remember, mostly because I don’t care. Dessert is bullshit to me. Want to know how to spot an alcoholic? Look for the guy that doesn’t eat sweets. He’s got too much sugar (alcohol) running through his bloodstream already.

Let me just say that just because I didn’t “win,” I was faaaaarrrrr from losing.

We started with champagne. I don’t even really know what we drank after that that afternoon, but we drank a lot. If you look at the bill (below), please note the wine cost: almost $600. We had a “keep it comin’” policy at the table. It was worth every penny. We drank mostly whites. When I talk to a sommelier, I always want to say, “Give me the best bottle of white you got that doesn’t taste like anything.” I don’t like the oak/buttery flavor of chardonnays anymore. I like the clean, crisp taste of a pinot grigio or a sauvignon blanc. “Mineral-y” is the word in their language, I’ve discovered, that corresponds with the wine I like. The language of the sommelier, incidentally, is called BULLSHIT. I think the word “sommelier” translates to “bullshit artist?” Bunch of liars. And for the record, I am not a fan of the whole tasting ceremony. “Here, have a li’l sip!” “Just pour it,” I usually say, “I’ll let you know if it’s bad.” But, at the French Laundry, I let Guillaume do his thing. Plus Guillaume had this awesome wine pouring stee. He’d stick his thumb up the wine bottle’s butthole and pour from there. It was cool.

Our sommelier was not Guillaume, just to clarify. Out sommelier was a charming fellow who I would never refer to as a bullshit artist. Dude didn’t sell us shit. He just acted delightful and chatted us up while he allowed us to order all kinds of wine that surely didn’t pair with the best food we have ever had the chance to eat.

My salmon cone picture sucked, so this is the one from the book.

After we pounded some champagne, then came the ice cream cone. I kind of wish I didn’t know about it beforehand. See, Dave guesses everything! Fucker! Because it is quite a surprise. “This is an amuse bouche,” the waiter said. He had a tray with little holes in it. In each hole was what looked like an ice cream cone. “It’s a salmon tartare with a red onion crème fraiche in a black sesame cornet. Enjoy.” I could have eaten ten of them. I said so out loud. Apparently a diner did say that out loud once and they brought him ten salmon ice cream cones. “I said I COULD EAT TEN OF THESE… ?” That shit was bommmmbbbbbbbbbbb, you guys. I don’t even like fish. I could have eaten twenty of these. If there was a competitive eating event with these things, I would OWN. “Because it was a canapé that people really began to associate us with,” Keller writes in his cookbook, “I decided that everyone who eats at the restaurant should begin the meal with this cornet. People always smile when they get it. It makes them happy.” If I had money like Bill Gates, I would want one of those on my bedside table when I wake up every morning. I would be a much happier person if I could start my day with a salmon ice cream cone.

If I had money like Bill Gates I’d have my very own monkey.

Let’s begin, shall we?

It came with a special little caviar spoon that looked like an oyster shell.

Wait! Wait! Hold on! Dave’s forgetting the breads that we got to nibble on before service. Fresh baked at Bouchon Bakery down the street. We got a variety of tasty, warm rolls and a wonderful pair of butters to spread all over them. A nice California butter that was creamy and remarkably salty despite being unsalted. And a salted Vermont (or French, I can’t remember) butter that was mild and creamy. We all chose the unsalted butter as the winner, it had way more flavor. No one knows it, but I dabbed my knife in both of them and licked that shit like it was a Pudding Pop.

Awesome. This was one of my favorite dishes of the day. It tasted like the sea. But in all caps. THE SEA. If you could slice yourself a piece of pie out of the ocean, it would have tasted like this. The good ocean, not that feces infested water off the coast of Santa Monica.

There is no way to describe how mouth-wateringly amazing this was. Seriously, one of the best things I have ever eaten, and I am including the rest of the menu in the comparison. I think about this on lonely nights.


The pink puck is the foie gras, and the little turd chips are truffles.

Awesome. Although not as awesome as 1. I’ve never had cold foie gras before. I always thought all foie gras was cold? I remember His was warm (but who the fuck cares?) and served on warm, toasted brioche. When Tom and Dave’s brioche got cold the staff exchanged those cold, old breads for warm, new breads. Nyom nyom nyom.

When Tom and I were in college, we used to eat the fuck out of toast. We were toast connoisseurs. But our toast was never this good. His toast is so good that they came and took one of Tom's away and replaced it with a brand new one. "The chef wasn't happy with the first toast," the waiter said.

It was a hockey puck made out of duck liver. (I’ll refrain from making the racist joke about real hockey pucks and what they’re made out of.) No wonder I love hockey so much. It. Is. Delicious. Thomas Keller can take a slapshot at my mouth any time. “HE SHOOTS! HE SCORES!”

When you put one in your mouth, they just explode with flavor. They're so big, and juicy, and delicious. Oh and the food on Tania's plate was pretty good, too. Wokka wokka!

Despite Dave’s declaration of winning with his menu choices this was his own, private victory. The foie gras was good and all, but I don’t care for foie gras and can never really eat more than one bite. The best part of his choice was the selection of four different salts (a volcanic salt from Maui, a couple from the oceans of France, and some crazy Jurassic salt from Montana. Dinosaur salts, dudes. 200 million year old salt! That is worth the price of the meal alone. If you don’t dig that—oh, pun!!!—we can’t be friends.). The guys sprinkled it on their foie gras, making their “choice” pretty god damned good. Mostly because I can eat salt like some people eat spoonfuls of peanut butter. But whatever, my potatoes, right? The plate was perfectly composed, every component a compliment to the other. Every bit was like a first kiss with a new lover. And the thought of that has me, seriously, getting all worked up just thinking about it.


Snapper. Nominated for best course.

Awesome. I’m a big fan of tuna tartare, but I totally fucking won round three: the snapper was definitely a contender for “best dish of the day.” This dish tasted like a cloud, if clouds swam underwater—actually I guess clouds start in the ocean? Since clouds begin in the ocean, perhaps they do taste a little like fish? Maybe clouds are fish farts? Bloo bloo bloo bloop! “Rain’s a comin’, that fart’s going to piss on us.”

All the fish are farting out loud,
wagging their tails and making clouds.

Tania’s tuna was amazing as well, but it was no match for the snapper.

This is the only time a tuna tartar could ever lose to anything.

The snapper was really fucking good, y'all. It had little to do with the tender, moist, perfectly cooked snapper and more to do with the warm chorizo. Fish is bunk, but fish with pork is fucking awesome. The tuna was nummy num num nummers on its own, but I don’t know how to describe it. It was fresh, it was elegantly dressed. It was cool and crisp and clean. It was easily the best tuna tartare I have ever even seen, let alone, tasted. But I will concede, that snapper was exponentially better than the best thing I’ve ever had.


I want to live on that thing. Have NASA build me a spaceship and send me to planet scallop.

Awesome. It should be known that Tania is not a big fan of seafood, but she loved this scallop. As did I. And I’ve eaten scallops underwater off the coast of Martha’s Vineyard. Right under the bridge that the shark eats with his mouth. DUN DUN… DUN DUN DUN! When I was eating raw scallops the song went, “NOM NOM… NOM NOM NOM!” By the way, what’s up with that little chubby dyke on Top Chef who keeps making scallops? It’s kind of like the ocean’s version of a meatball.

Dude, that Top chef bitch sucks, doesn’t she? She’s been getting a free ride because she just stays in the middle. Lame. This scallop was nowhere near the middle. I eat scallops on occasion and I like them alright. I’ve eaten them at their freshest, most flavorful, and wonderfully cooked… blah blah blah…. big deal. This scallop, however, was intense. It was genius and I can’t even begin to wrap my head around how on earth those flavors were composed. And, again, I don’t even like seafood!!


Musta made a wrong turn in Albuquerque!

Awesome. This was kind of like eating a dollhouse. Oh look at how tiny everything is! This was “awesome” on its own, but in the company it was in, it was kind of whatever. It was the only time I went, “That’s it? That’s all I get?” Still, someone had to French those little ribs. Very cute. Ahhh, dead bunny…

Dude, rabbit cooked a couple different ways? So good. Fuck being a vegan just because animals are cute. Seriously. Animals are DELICIOUS. And apparently, the cuter they get the better they taste. Baby panda paws will surely be the next, new culinary rage.

6. WAGYU and LAMB.

They actually bring your meat out on a tray before they cook it. "You don't believe us? Here!" I was getting a little more brazen with the camera at this point as well. "Wait, wait, wait, can I has a pitcher of yous?" I love this photo. It makes me think of Robert Walser and all his butler stories.

AWESOME. When it came time to order, I didn’t understand why I was the only one to choose the Wagyu. I wanted to taste the lamb offering as well, it sounded great, but I thought someone in the other couple would order the beef. It wasn’t until after dinner that I learned the Wagyu was an extra $100. Oops. But it was my birthday and it was kind of expected we were going to splurge. When you’re paying that much money for a dinner and the experience, it’s not the time or place to try and cut corners and save money. You either go all the way, or not at all. “Go big, or go home,” I think they’d say in Thrasher. Guillaume told us an interesting story about the Wagyu. All the Wagyu you get here in the US is fake. This shit was imported from Japan. It’s the real deal. Well, almost. Apparently the Japanese are very strict about their Wagyu. For one, it’s graded. And the top three grades are not allowed for export. Right, like Kobe beef. No matter how many times you’ve seen Kobe beef on a menu or on a frozen food box of burgers at Trader Joe’s, it’s false. You’re getting a lower grade Wagyu. Sorry. They don’t export that out of Japan, by law. Stop over paying, guys. So this was level four Wagyu. Not even on the podium Wagyu. “But,” Guillaume said, “I think this is the best grade. As you go higher, the meat gets fattier, to the point where it doesn’t even taste like meat anymore.” Guillaume totally sold me on the hand-me-down Wagyu. I totally believed him. Grade four Wagyu is the best Wagyu you can get. And the best meat you can even see, let alone, taste. I don’t know, and I don’t care because this was the best dish of the day. I’ve never had anything like it before. When I cut into it, I was kind of bummed. It resisted the knife. Which is not what I expected. I thought it would fall apart. But it felt like any normal steak. Until I put it in my mouth. HOLY SHIT. The best way to describe it is that it tasted, and felt, like steak-flavored butter. I would like a little hunk of this next to my salmon ice cream cone every morning.

A closer look at the Wagyu. I'll build my summer house on planet Wagyu.

The lamb was fucking amazing. I wish it wasn’t so overshadowed. It’s basically like comparing you’re cute wife next to a Playboy model. Your wife is cute to you, but nothing compared to an airbrushed, surgically enhanced, stereotype with hair extensions and acrylic nails. Get over it. And stop humoring her. I can already hear you telling her she’s more beautiful than those fake-ass chicks. Move on. she's not. This lamb was rich, tasty, and substantial… it was surely a million times smarter than that stupid Wagyu, and will take care of you when you're sick, but it still sat in the ultimate beef's glorious (more attractive) shadow. This is also the reason why I will always want plastic surgery and a sweet boob job. Don’t judge, jerks.


I'm not sure what's going on here? I think that's the cheese on a beet reduction, flanked by a bunch of alien radishes.

Awesome. I was pretty much done at this point. We were drunk. And we were high on food. I think I ordered a port. I don’t know. I was grinning from ear to ear, completely satisfied. I got buttfucked in the mouth. Yum. “Whaziss?” I said as they put the cheese in front of me. “Ohs okee, I’lls east thatsss.” It was delicious. But then again, Tania and I love cheese so much that a slice of Kraft American cheese in the plastic wrapper is amazing.

Kraft shouldn’t have even been mentioned in the same thought as the cheeses that were served to us that afternoon. Those cheeses were Valedictorians, while Kraft is the funny, retarded step-cousin. Those helmets aren’t tasty.


I was too busy playing with my food to take a picture of this course.

It was at this point I stopped caring. As I was just looking at the menu to write this course down, I realized I don’t remember this. I mean, I do, but, meh. And this is the genius of Tania: she chose a lunch sitting for us knowing that if we didn’t start this meal ‘til 8pm, I would have been wasted half way through and remembered little to nothing. It’s a little blurry at this point, but that probably has as much to do with alcohol as it did my interest in the dessert courses. Maybe Tania can tell you about it?

If you had to choose between saving your best friend and this dessert from falling off a cliff into a burning hot pool of lava, you would pick the dessert. I don’t care how much you like your friends, this was way better. WAY BETTER. I love you, guys, but I would trade all of you in for some more of this.


Did He write that? His handwriting is delicious.

Bavarois is, apparently, Bavarian cream. I remember the huckleberries were very good. This is also when I got my little birthday cake. I wonder if he wrote “Happy Birthday?”

If I’m going to continue to garner any credit for this ludicrous experience, I will continue to perpetuate the notion that He did, indeed, write “Happy Birthday” on Dave’s plate. Don’t you tell him otherwise! How many times do you get the best chef in the world to physically interact with your fucking dinner (Not ever, jerks! Shut up!!!) But that’s only fair because there’s only one Thomas Keller. And he only works in one—his own—restaurant (unlike other chefs who work in zero restaurants: Morimoto, Ramsay, Oliver, Mina, English, and Batali all have places that are nice and all, but homies don’t green-light your plates at the pass). One should earn this experience, one should work for it. I did… And I have already resigned myself to start tucking money away for a future visit. Which will be a cinch, because that visit will be in four years, when I (can hope to) get another reservation.

Tania wanted to stuff the plate down her bra and take it home with her.

I read an article in Gastronomica recently by some college student who debated (with himself) his dining experience at the French Laundry. And as you'd expect in a two sided, one person debate, there wasn't really a winner. He basically said something to the effect that, yeah, it's an amazing meal that's totally worth the money, but at the same time it's not that good and not worth it. ??? Well if you ever meet that kid, tell him to shut the fuck up because he's bullshit. It was the greatest dining experience I have ever had. And I have Tania to thank. Thank you, Tania, I love you. Oh and Tom and Denise as well. Thanks guys. We are going again for sure. And if you can swing a reservation, I'd highly recommend going. Thanks Keller.

$600 worth of wine…

…down the drain. (I've peed in Morrissey's toilet, and now His!)