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.