Wednesday, February 22, 2017

The French Laundry

Celebrated my girlfriend's birthday at The French Laundry. My credit card concierge was able to get me a reservation for a table of four on president's day weekend. I inquired a while back and the timing couldn't have been more perfect.

Chef's Tasting Menu starts at 310 a person (service included), with optional supplements.

Thomas Keller's Salmon Cornets recipe
Salmon Cornets: salmon tartare, sweet red onion creme fraiche, cornet.

Cheese and crackers

Scott Palazzo 2012 Cabernet Franc. Can't have a celebration without a little bubbly. I don't even like wine, but felt I had to since I was in wine country.

Oysters and Pearls: "Sabayon" of Pearl Tapioca with Island Creek Oysters and White Sturgeon Caviar

Oyster shell spoon

Assortment of salts for the Foie Gras

Brioche that accompanied the Foie Gras

Hudson Valley Moulard Duck Foie Gras "Rillette": Hibiscus Poached Rhubarb, Garden Celery, Piedmont Hazelnuts and Wild Miner's Lettuce

Garden Kohlrabi Salad: Hawaiian Hearts of Peach Palm, Winter Radishes, Brokaw Avocado Mousse and Cilantro Leaves

Croutons that came with the salad.

Dover Sole "Rouelle": Caramalized Savory Cabbage, "Blanquette de Poisson," fines Herbs and Black Winter Truffle

Sweet Butter Poached Stonington Maine Lobster: Creamed Cauliflower Puree, Preserverd Meyer Lemon, Watercress Salad and Brown Butter Caper Emulsion

Bread and Butter. The butter was amazing, comes from Animal Farm Orwell, Vermont

Wolfe Ranch White Quail- "A La Broche": Black Trumpet Mushrooms, Hadley Orchards Medjool Dates, Garden Pea Shoots and Sicilian Pistachio Jus

Almond Wood Grilled Japanese Wagyu "Pomme Maxim's," Glazed Pearl Onions.. Wilted Arrowleaf Spinach and "Thousand Island Gastrique"

Herb Roasted Elysian Fields Farm Lamb: Globe Artichokes, Romain Lettuce, Crispy Chickpea "Panisse," Nicoise Olives and English Thyme Jus

"Gougere" with Andante Dairy "Etude"

By this time we were already 3 hours into the meal. If they portioned out the dessert like they did the rest of the meal we would have been here for another 2 hours. So instead they brought it out all at once. It was a bit overwhelming as we were so stuffed.

I don't have details on the dessert, so I'll try to describe what I can remember.

Blood orange with cake. Unsure what's in the middle of the cake.

Thin biscuit roll filled with ice cream.

The French Laundry's take on a red velvet cake.

Cappuccino ice cream

Brioche doughnut holes

Strawberry Lemonade macaroons

Chocolate covered Hazelnut

After I thought that dessert was finally done, they cleaned our plates and brought out a new set. I was like there's more!?

They brought out an assortment of chocolates. The flavors ranged from: Salted Caramel, S'more, PB&J, Hazelnut Crunch (my favorite), White Chocolate Green Tea, and I forgot the other two flavors.

After all said an done this was our total.

After dinner they let us take a peek at their new kitchen.

Thomas Keller wasn't there that night.

On our way out they gave us a parting gift that consisted of short bread cookies, a copy of the menu, and a book about their purveyors.

It was quite an experience. I had no idea what to expect, but the food and service did not disappoint.


Headed to Santa Cruz for Valentine's day. Valentine's day as real as Steak and a BJ day. It's on March 14th by the way.

It was quite empty at the Boardwalk. Only a handful of rides and food stalls were open.

We spent about 45 minutes at the Boardwalk before heading to Capitola. We had reservations at Shadowbrook so we had some time to kill before they open at 5 pm.

Mr. Toots Coffeehouse it's a quaint little coffeehouse upstairs with a nice view and they make a good cup of coffee.

Coconut Mocha with fresh whipped cream.

Next we headed to Zelda's on the Beach which has mediocre food, but has a nice view of the beach.

Even thought I got the extra $2 double, it didn't taste like a double.

Never been to Shadowbrook before, but I have heard a lot about it.

Shadowbrook is a very nice place, tucked away among the foliage. To get to the restaurant, you can either take the stairs or the hillevator. Which is the little red box seen below.

The hillevator is small and fits about 6 people max.

Artichoke Hearts. I didn't think these were that great. I have had better at festivals.

Butchers Steak. Tammy enjoyed it. I tried a piece of the French-Onion bacon tart. I thought that was pretty good. The steak was good, nothing amazing though.

Meatball Bourguignon. The server described it as a fancy Beef Stroganoff, which describes it well. the meatballs were really tender. It's made with the scrap meat from premium cuts of steak. The dish was pretty good.

Creme Brulee for dessert. It's a safe bet.

We walked around the restaurant after dinner. It's a really nice venue. I'd really like to check out this place during the day or for brunch. Lot's of trees to provide shade and they have a lot of nice outdoor seating available when the weather is better.

They have their own garden on site.

Overall I thought the restaurant was okay. The food was your typical american food offerings; steaks, seafood, and pasta. A little on the pricey side for what you get, but I guess you're paying for the view and atmosphere.

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