Monday, December 20, 2010

Kaito Sushi: Encinitas, CA

seasoned seafood salad

I don't consider myself an avid follower of Chowhound. I've tried in the past to regularly follow threads and get involved but honestly I just don't like the thread format as I easily stray into the tangents. I thinks its suppose to make it easier to follow discussions that stray from the original question/topic but I just don't like it. I do give it props for aggregating quite a bit of recommendations and I do find the recommendations to be a bit more on the credible side than Yelp

Anyways... I'm feeling like perusing Chowhound a few weeks ago and I come across a lot of trash talking about my beloved Sushi Ota. I see a lot of mentions for Kaito Sushi and how its far superior. So EHK and I decide to drop in and see what's the big deal. We had originally thought of ordering an omakase but weren't feeling terribly hungry so we decided to order some things we really wanted to try and maybe an item the chef would really like us to try.

Promptly after sitting, we were each presented with a small plate of the house seasoned seafood salad. Alright, we are off to a good start with a gratis nicely seasoned refreshing salad.

salmon belly

The first thing I was jonesing for that evening was the salmon belly. I heart just about any type of belly. What's not to love about flavor and fat? The fish itself was quite fatty and flavorful as usual but the real downer was the rice. I feel that with nigiri, the rice should be packed in a fashion that I can easily pick up the piece and season with some soy sauce/wasabi if I choose and deliver to my mouth where it tenderly breaks. This wasn't exactly the case as the rice broke almost immediately when I picked it up. EHK had the same experience. I wouldn't consider us barbaric with chopsticks as its a eating utensil we both remember using in our earliest childhood memories and we are both regular sushi eaters. Something must be wrong with how the rice was packed.

salmon skin hand roll

Then EHK ordered a salmon skin hand roll... an item he orders to test the skill of the sushi chef. We were both disappointed that the nori was not toasted and the salmon skin was a little on the chewy side. I was even more disappointed with the behavior of the chef. I truly believe it's a sushi chef's duty to figure out what it is the customer likes especially when sitting at the bar since there's a chance for discussion and deliver it to the best of his ability. Instead he pokes fun at our salmon choices and comments on how much salmon we are eating and how its very un-Tokyo like. Uhm... if you tote yourself as a Tokyo style sushi place and you want customers to eat in that fashion then maybe you shouldn't carry the fish in the first place? Also, it's only been two order and I'm paying for this meal when I'm done. If I like salmon then it's my prerogative and just make the order with a smile. If you want to educate me than maybe suggest something else along that flavor and texture that I may equally appreciate instead of making me feel self conscious for ordering it.

kohada - gizzard shad

So the next order we let the chef decide. The guy kept going on and on about how he's got kohada and its the shit and how he's the only sushi joint in San Diego county to carry it. Once presented, I was almost certain I've tried this before at Sushi Ota. The look, flavor and texture was so familiar to me but the chef refused to believe our claims that we've tried this in this county before. There was no breaking this man of his ardent conviction that he was the sole vendor of this prized fish in the area. The fish itself wasn't bad but the rice again was a disappointment. What's with the poorly packed rice. Very disappointing to pick up the piece and have a giant clump of rice just fall off :(


EHK had developed a little crush with oayko-don lately. Requesting it whenever he got the chance I kid you not. When done properly, I can't help but feel all warm and happy when eating it. It reminds me of a mom's food... homey and filling.  It really is a simple dish with few ingredients but seemingly can go very wrong as it did here. Way too salty and the chicken was on the rubbery side. Should have known when we saw it on the menu and asked about it. The chef said, "uhh" then paused and said "yea... we make that". Way to build some confidence.

pork katsu-don

Since I didn't want to get the same rice dish as EHK,  I got the pork katsu-don. The breading didn't even have a little crunch when it arrived. To me it honestly tasted like it was made ahead of time and then reheated in a fashion other than frying (a la microwave) when we ordered. EHK claimed that he even tasted a little funk in the piece of pork that he sampled. We should have probably known better than to order the oyako-don and pork katsu-don at a sushi joint. But why put things on a menu if you don't make them well? Is it for the sake of filling a half empty page?

I swear I'm not dogging on this place because we are Sushi Ota lovers. Those of you that somewhat follow this blog or are acquainted with EHK and I on a regular basis know of our eternal fondness for Sushi Ota. We've actually had pleasant sushi experiences outside of our regular spot such as at Kasen. We just expect a little more quality and service-wise for the amount of money we spent that evening. Maybe we really need to give it another try or go with the chowhounders that swear by this place? Perhaps we simply ordered the wrong stuff?

Kaito Sushi 
130-A N. El Camino Real
Encinitas, CA 92024
(760) 634-2746

Friday, December 17, 2010

Foodbuzz Tastemaker Program: Wendy's Natural Cut Fries w/ Sea Salt

EHK and I were recently invited to go try the new Wendy's natural cut fries with sea salt as part of the Foodbuzz Tastemaker Program.  We both ordered value meals but I'll just talk about the fries since that's what we came for initially. We should have known better than to order fries with salt. We always order without salt so we can control the salt content ourselves. This experience just affirmed that we really are fries without salt folks. It was nice that they made a fresh batch of fries for us so it was straight from the fryer. However, the salt was overpowering. I might as well have been eating straight out of the Morton salt container. The texture itself tasted reminiscent of McDonald's fries. Are they trying to go for that? EHK actually said he missed the softer texture of the old fries. We both found that the skin left on the fries didn't really do anything for it. Maybe if it was a thicker cut like steak fries I'd notice something different? Maybe we need to give this another run?  I don't know. Its a franchise and if anything consistency should be key. So should I brave overly salty fries again?

As part of the Foodbuzz Tastemaker Program, we received a Wendy's gift card

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Ubuntu: Napa, CA (Roaming Napa, Part 6)

Last post from my Napa trip finally! LH had been hearing good things about this place for quite some time and wanted to go. Since we had to pass through Napa to head back to the City to catch our flights, why not stop by for lunch? To be honest, I was a little hesitant about a vegetarian place. I'm not a carnivore in the sense that I need a giant slab of meat to call it a meal but I do like a little meat in a meal.

We told Kathleen at the Oleander House that we'd be paying a visit here on our way back and she told us we'd be in for a treat. She said everybody thinks they'll miss the meat but the flavors and textures are so inventive that you won't even notice missing meat. I've always had fears that vegetarian food meant food that's just missing meat. Hopefully Kathleen is right...

An Ubuntu Steam Bun Stuffed w/ Burrata and Coated with Sunchoke Dirt
Sunchoke tostones, roasted and raw fuyu persimmon, smoked green tomato

The waitress that helped us told us that patrons normally order 2 dishes per person at the table.  That just sounded like so much food so we decided to go with 1 each and see how we felt after that. The one thing that caught our attention was the Ubuntu steam bun stuffed with burrata. Looks like such a pretty dish right? Oh it was as good to eat as it was to look at. I really enjoyed tasting the bun stuffed with cheese. It reminds me of the steamed buns I grew up eating like bbq pork bun or custard bun... only stuffed with burrata. What an awesome idea! The bread offered to us at the beginning of our meal provided a wonderful vessel for delivering the purees and raw persimmon. So far Kathleen is right... love the dish and haven't missed meat yet.

Alubia Bianco Bean and Fermented Green Fig Ribollita, Parmesan Cracklings
ruby streaks mustard, cavolo nero, smokey dried pears

Another lovely dish arrived. The beans provided a hearty element to this dish but the star was the Parmesan cracklings. I hadn't had Parmesan prepared this way like chips before. I felt like a kid discovering something new, happily crunching away.

Organic Arbuckle Grits, Whipped Chicken Egg and Crispy "Skin"
Goat's milk ricotta, hong vit, chanterelle and green tomato chow-chow

This was my pick for our table. What got my attention was the "skin". I totally forgot to ask what the skin was and how its made. This ended up being a really rich dish. Thank goodness there was picked vegetables hidden in the grits like little treasures as it helped to cut some of the richness. I really liked dipping pieces of "skin" into the whipped egg and grits. Smooth, buttery, rich, crispy, sour, crunchy all in one bite. I alway enjoy a bite that hits so many tastes and textures at one time.

A Simple Plate of Blackberry Leaf and Potato Pillows
Rainbow chard, loopy sunchokes, midnight moon goat's gouda

EHK picked our ending dish. Potato pillows sounded so inviting. This dish was so perfectly named. Gnocchi-like but definitely more fluffier and pillow-like than any gnocchi dish I've tasted. The light broth that the pillows and other components rested on was so flavorful and inviting for some more bread sopping.

The dishes we had here were so pretty to look at and equally a delight to consume. It just shows that presentation is as important as taste. Not to say that I wouldn't eat a dish clumsily put together. Presentation can make a great dish that much more special.  The presentation and flavors were definitely strong enough to stand on there on and wow me. I'd definitely recommend a visit to Ubuntu if you are like me... likes meat but looking for a place that will surprise you with dishes that don't need it at all.

1140 Main St.
Napa, CA 94559
(707) 251-5656

Friday, December 3, 2010

Ad Hoc: Yountville, CA (Roaming Napa, Part 5)

After a long day of roaming around Napa and tasting some very fine wine, we were ready to get our grub on at Ad Hoc to continue our Thomas Keller eating trip. At one of our stops before dinner, the guys at Elyse Winery looked up our meal for the evening and told us if we finish our food, we could always get more. We didn't really know what that meant. EHK wanted to ask if it was an all-you-can-eat. We knew it was a set price for the dinner but didn't know what we were getting ourselves into portion wise.

Upon arrival, we were greeted with a vastly different atmosphere from dinner the previous evening at The French Laundry. Where The Laundry was formal without being too intimidating, Ad Hoc was on the opposite end of the spectrum and trying to be very casual from the way the food was served family style to the way the staff was dressed.

Albondigas Soup
TFL garden cabbage, babby carrots, braised radish
San Marzano tomato conserva, Calasparra rice

A glance at the evening's menu revealed a very Spanish or Latin inspired menu. The first dish to come out was an albondigas soup. It was a very nice treat to be getting some vegetables from the Laundry's garden in this soup. There was some inconsistencies regarding doneness of the meatballs. Some were a little under and some a little over so my dinner party had different reactions to this dish. I enjoyed the abundance of saffron and al dente rice at the bottom of the fragrant broth. It was actually quite soothing and perfect for the chilly temperature.

Herb Crusted Lamb Sirloin
brava potatoes, haricots verts
wild mushrooms with slow cooked egg yolk

I was actually already satisfied after the soup as it was a more than generous serving. The next dish came out and I was feeling overwhelmed. Lamb was nicely seasoned and enjoyed the way the potatoes were prepared but it was just too much for me. I think I only had 1/3 of the portion I was suppose to eat.

Herb Crusted Lamb Sirloin
brava potatoes, aricots verts
wild mushrooms with slow cooked egg yolk  (cont.)

The real star of this dish was the slow cooked egg yolk. Looks like a raw egg yolk right? Wrong!!!! It's an en sous vide egg yolk. When broken it slowly spreads out into a thick custard much like the consistency you would get when you break a nicely poached egg only except this consistency is all the way through.  This custard coats the other elements of the dish in its yolky goodness and just adds that touch of richness. I've become a huge advocate of en sous vide egg yolk because of this dish. Now... if only I had the equipment and time for such a decadent preparation.

roasted baby beets
candied almonds (not pictured), petite greens

By the time this came out I was already bursting. Thank goodness it was a rather small serving. I would have preferred to skip the beets as it tasted rather plain to me. The cheese tasted delicate and slightly nutty. Good thing it wasn't overpowering or else I'd only be able to take a bite of it.

Basque Cake
ruby red grapefruit
pomegranate gastrique

What makes a basque cake... basque? We were told it's made with a layer of pastry cream. Mmm... what a genius idea. The flavors of the cream seemed to permeate throughout the cake and made the overall cake very moist. I honestly didn't really taste the gastrique but enjoyed the pairing with the grapefruit.

So would we have been ready for more food if they brought it out? Uhm... no! The servings are so generous. I think this is a great option if you find yourself in the area wanting some Thomas Keller food but don't want to drop the $$$ at The Laundry or can't get in. I know its a different concept but I actually really enjoy the homey relaxed feeling of eating a family style meal... though elevated.

Ad Hoc
6476 Washington St.
Yountville, CA 94599
(707) 944-2487

Monday, November 29, 2010

Oleander House: Yountville, CA (Roaming Napa, Part 4)

This being our first adventure to Napa, EHK and I were a little naive about accommodation prices for the area. To say that we were shocked at what rooms were going for in the area would be an understatement. I'm used to shelling out for a room in the big city and I was expecting not to out here. Since we'd be doing most of our activities north of Napa, ML and LH convinced us to stay at the Oleander House, a French style B&B within the Yountville town limits since they had fond experiences there. 

OK... when I think of B&B's I think little old lady, cats and floral wallpaper. I guess thats why I thought this place was overpriced at first glance on their website. However, our friends vouched for her breakfast and the location was awesome for daytime activities and quick returns for resting before evening activities so we decided to place our fate in their hands.

I've never been a person so awed by breakfast until now. We stayed for 2 breakfasts and honestly I was very impressed by the selection for both days. I really wasn't expecting much but Kathleen, the inn-keeper must have been reading my mind and pulled out the stops to blow me away with her morning spreads. I left wanting more and thinking about her made from scratch croissants slathered with orange butter. The oatmeal  crème brûlée was also a treat too. I failed to take a photo of the dish broken into to demonstrate the loveliness of this dish. Its essentially a layer of oatmeal topped with a layer of crème brûlée and all topped off with fresh fruit. It was truly a delight in a spoonful. Like having dessert for breakfast but I didn't feel at all guilty because of the oatmeal and fruit component.

After assessing the convenience of the location due to our traveling back and forth all day I give this place a thumbs up but the breakfast totally won me over and this deserves 2 thumbs up! A definite recommendation if you are looking for a nice, convenient place to stay that will also satisfy your tummy in the morning.  OK... enough of me talking. Here are the photos from breakfast over the 2 days...

1st breakfast spread

fruit salad

croissants made from scratch

oatmeal crème brûlée topped with fresh fruit

chicken apple sausage

chicken frittata topped with olives, tomatoes, feta and basil

sour cherry coffee cake

I stole the first slice of sour cherry coffee cake
Oleander House
7433 St. Helena Hwy.
Yountville, CA 94599

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Bouchon Bakery: Yountville, CA (Roaming Napa, Part 3)

Happy Thanksgiving!

I've got a few hours before I gotta take off to the airport so I thought I'd work on sharing this post before I head home for some much needed time with the family.

So EHK and I woke up early the next morning hungry even after our monstrous meal at The French Laundry. Not wanting to wait around for the B&B breakfast, we headed into town to continue our homage to Thomas Keller and find something at Bouchon Bakery that would tide us over till the breakfast. We were greeted by a respectable line so we were expecting something good. Well something at least as good as Tartine since this is a Keller establishment. I kinda think that Tartine has ruined us for other bakeries. Every time we try a pain au chocolat or quiche or other comparable pastry we compare it back to our experiences at Tartine and I can't really think of a bakery that we've tried that measures up.

We finally make it in and we notice all these flies flying over these beautiful pasteries. Everybody seems to ignore this. We've been waiting in line and famished so at this point I'm willing for the attendant to give me anything that a fly hasn't landed on. Usually I'd walk straight out. I don't really understand all the flies. Tartine is several times over cleaner and its in the middle of the Mission. I'd be very forgiving if I saw a few flies around given what they've got to work with. Bouchon Bakery ... hmm I don't really see any transients or gross looking gutters with stuff I can't make out. What's with the flies!!!

So Its finally our turn to order and we first ask for a gougère for ML since she requested one. The girl looks at us blankly and asks us, "what's that?" Are you serious? I expect employees at Keller establishments to be familiar with the offerings at the other restaurants (especially when it's just down the street) even if they don't serve it under the roof they work in. So we decide to order a cheese danish and a slice of quiche. Ugh... cheese danish tasted like stale pastry with a dollop of slightly whipped cream cheese.The quiche was equally as disappointing as the crust was soggy like they had just stuffed it into a microwave to warm it (photos of the danish and quiche can be viewed at the end of these photos).

After such a spectacular meal the evening before, we had high hopes for an early morning snack here. Boy were we let down. Am I grading this place too hard since it's got Keller's name attached to it? Maybe we ordered the wrong stuff? I've heard some really good things so I was hoping these recommendations would translate well. I had really wanted to come back and try the macarons later in the day but I just couldn't forget about the danish and quiche. Maybe next time when I'm in the area and have forgotten a little about this experience.

cheese danish

slice of quiche

Bouchon Bakery
6528 Washington St.
Yountville, CA 94599
(707) 944-2253
7am-7pm daily

Friday, November 19, 2010

Private Dinning Room at The French Laundry: Yountville, CA (Roaming Napa, Part 2)

Ok I have to give props to LH and ML for arranging this "holiday party" weekend featuring The French Laundry. Definitely the best holiday party I've attended so far. It probably would  have been several years before EHK and I tried to brave the reservation circus as slots generally fill up STAT 2 months to the date. LH was a genius for rounding up a party of 5 couples so we could bypass that silliness and grab the private room. The room takes reservations with a deposit up to a year in advance so its a pretty good option if you can gather a group of friends wanting to go. Minimum for this room is 8 people and max is 10 people fyi.

This meal was definitely everything and more than I expected. The food overall was amazing. There were definitely some dishes that I really wanted seconds of. I can say that I was honestly blown away by the overall flavors. Execution? Excellent! Attention to detail? Nothing left amiss. The courses that really did it for me were the courses up to the kitchen tour which you can view below. Courses after the tour were excellent as well but I find courses before much more memorable.

Service was phenomenal. I appreciated Matt, our sommelier who would come out with the introduction of a new wine to tell us a story about it. Shannon our waitress was also wonderful about coming in right after dishes were set down to introduce the dish in her seductively breathy voice. It made the course I was about to eat sound that much sexier. Was her voice for real? I'd like to see her use it outside of the Laundry. 

Even the delivery and pick up of dishes had an element of showmanship. 5 servers would come out and circle the table then pause in between each couple to signify something was about to happen, all placing one plate down at the same time and then the same thing with the plate in the their other hand. There was this same level of showmanship even when picking up the plates. I think this is where coming with a large party comes into play. It's hard to appreciate this level of detail in a smaller party but you can see the glory of this act of unison when sitting in a large round table and having a full view all around you.

Pierre Gimonnet, Blanc de Blancs, "Cuvée Deux Cotes," 1er, Champagne 2005

The party got off to a great start with a toast. Then pours 2 and 3 came of this champagne... and I think we were all getting into the holiday spirit. I know I was!

Salmon Tartare with Sweet Red Onion Crème Fraîche

These two starters were a nice way to being eating. I did prefer the cornet as the salmon tartare paired with the crème fraîche inside the cone were a delight on the tongue and just the right size.  The gougères were tasty and bursting with cheese but I did find them on the small side and wanting something slighting larger or maybe a handful to make an accurate assessment haha.

Gruyère Cheese Gougères
Alzinger, Grüner Veltliner, "Loibner Mühlpoint," Federspiel, Wachau 2008

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

A rich and flavorful course. I thought the pearls for this course were referring to just the caviar but was surprised by the tapioca pearls in the sauce. The sauce was lick the plate good. So much that I saw T take her spoon and run it around R's bowl because she didn't think he did a good enough job of cleaning up the plate. You know its good s*** when someone other than yourself is willing to clean the plate for you.

 White Truffle Oil- Infused Custard with Black Truffle Ragout and Chive Chip

Shortly after the removal of the 1st course, servers came by to place delicate mother of pearl spoons down. Everybody was wondering what they were for and then it all made sense when these delicate eggs came out. infused with alluring white truffle oil and topped with a ragout... this custard was to die for and my absolute favorite of the evening. Shannon noticed me snapping photos and gently warned me to hurry up since the paper thin chive potato chip wouldn't last too long in the custard. I don't know if diners outside of the private room got this course that night as it actually wasn't on the menu for the night but I do hope they were able to taste this as well.

Pain Au Lait

Salted Butter from Animal Farm in Vermont

I'm all for local but in the case of these 2 butters, the Vermont butter wins out. The pain au lait didn't really need butter as it tasted quite buttery already but who can say no to more butter especially as velvety and rich tasting as the Vermont butter?

Local Butter from Sonoma

Salad of Yukon Gold Potato
Cipollini Onions, Mâche, Burgundy Truffle and Mustard Crème Fraîche

The thing I find most appealing about this dish is the array of colors. Its a feast for the eyes before you even take your first bite.  Vegetables were well cooked and flavors again fresh... reminding me of a garden.

Château Rieussec, 1er Cru Classé, Sauternes 1989

I really liked how Matt introduced this Sauternes that would go with the foie course. "Its the most classic... heavenly combination in history." Well Matt... I have to say that I do agree after tasting this pairing.

Moulard Duck "Foie Gras En Terrine"
Huckleberry Relish, Endive, White Honey Glaze, Arugula and Aged Balsamic Reduction

When LH was planning this dinner for us he asked if we all wanted this supplement to the dinner. I guess some people said yes and some people said no so LH talked with the coordinator and it turned out if we wanted it then the whole table would have to order it. I think we were very happy with this add on despite our bursting tummies by the end of the night. I didn't really taste the honey glaze or balsamic reduction and normally I prefer a seared preparation to the terrine preparation but I'm happy to report I'm a believer in the terrine now. I'm a sucker for foie so I order whenever I see it on a menu and this course didn't fail to bring a smile to my face. Sumptuous and rich... and I think I could have eaten this alone without the brioche and choice of salts offered for this course.

Brioche Toast
Choice of Salts

Zind-Humbrecht, Riesling, "Clos Saint Urbain - Rangen de Thann," Gran Cru, Alsace 2006

Sautéed Fillet of "Onaga"
French Laundry Garden Turnips, Navel Orange and White Sesame

I really appreciated the simplicity and bright taste of this course after the heavy courses before. Fish was perfectly flaky and I'm a fan of making it easier to eat citrus :)

Brick House, Pinot Noir, "Les Dijonnais," Ribbon Ridge 2007

 New Bedford Sea Scallop "Poêlée"
Musqée de Provence Pumpkin, Celery and K&J Orchard Chestnuts

EHK normally doesn't like scallops or pumpkin.... here's a dish where its combined and I'm happy to report that he ate it without complaint and actually really enjoyed it. I really enjoyed this as well and again eating with my eyes first... I just adore the vibrant color of the pumpkin. 

After the 5th course, Shannon whisked us away downstairs for a kitchen tour.  It was quiet and zen like despite the cramp space and heat.  I really liked how clean and immaculate everything looked despite the fact they were cooking. My kitchen looks nothing like this when I'm cooking.

Apologies for the graininess of the following photos. Our camera died out after our visit to the kitchen and JWL was nice enough to let us snap the last few dishes with her camera. Problem is that you should always read the manual to learn about your camera and this new camera was foreign to us so we had no idea what we were really doing with it. At least you can get an idea of what we ate.

Unfortunately the kitchen tour signaled a divide in the dinner in many way. One being my camera dying but also the level of impression the dishes left on me changed. Before the tour I was literally blown away by every dish that came out. The dishes that followed the tour were excellent in their own right and would be superb at most restaurants but I was expecting more... to be blown away but these didn't quite do that for me.

Clos Saint-Jean, Châteauneuf-du-Pape, "Combe des Fous," Rhône Valley 2006

Sirloin of Devil's Gulch Ranch Rabbit
Hobbs' Bacon, Brussel Sprouts, Young Red Beets and Truffle- Madeira Reduction

The rabbit was well seasoned and cooked but like I said it didn't wow me at all. This was actually my first time tasting rabbit. Does it taste like chicken? Hmm... I don't know... tastes like rabbit to me. I was shocked at how small the bones were... do they have miniaturized animals back there?

Alban, Syrah, "Seymour's Vineyard," Edna Valley 2005

Rib-Eye of Elysian Fields Farm Lamb
Butter Beans, "Pain de Campagne" Croûtons, Jingle Bell Peppers and French Landry Garden Cavalo Nero 

A lovely lamb preparation but again not overly impressed with the overall dish.

"Abbaye de Taimé"
 Royal Blenheim Apricot, Chanterelle Mushrooms, Marcona Almonds and Watercress

I'm a soft cheese lover but I can't stand stinky cheese. I know the saying "the stinkier the better" but I don't follow that belief. I took one bite just to try and passed it on to EHK to finish up since there was a little too much funk for my taste.

Bartlett Pear Sorbet
Pomegranate, "Pain d'Épices" and Tahitian Vanilla Bean 

Desserts and I go way back. I inherited my sweet tooth from my mom so I tend to grade desserts rather harshly. I wasn't impressed particularly with the dessert offerings. I tend to like fresh, bright and clean flavors especially after a long and overall rich meal. So this sorbet was just what I was thinking, unfortunately I found it on the underwhelming side. It could have used an umph in pear flavor. I expected it to be bursting with pear in every spoonful.

"Peanut Butter and Chocolate"
Maple Toffee, Valrohna Ganache and Gros Michel Banana Sorbet

This was my least favorite of the desserts. I don't even like the combination of chocolate, peanut butter and banana naturally. Even though I don't normally like this combination of flavors, I expect the Laundry to compose the dish in such a way that would turn me as it did to the earlier scallop and pumpkin dish for EHK. Too heavy a dessert for me when I've already had heavy all night.

Lemon Cream Tart with Whipped Cream

Just when I thought the meal was over. I was presented with a lovely lemon tart and choice of truffles from a large shiny plate. I'm a big fan of citrus in desserts and would have preferred having this over the last dessert. By now I'm terribly stuffed so I managed to take a few bites out of this tart and the truffles.

Choice of Truffles
After dinner we were each presented with a souvenir menu and wine list in a fancy folder and sent off with shortbread cookies to take home.

Wow... that was a long post. I'm really happy I finally got a chance to dine here and I look back on it with fond memories despite some of the misses. It was definitely a worthwhile experience and impressive meal when viewed in the overall sense. I would definitely recommend a visit here if you can manage to land a reservation.
The French Laundry
6640 Washington St.
Yountville, CA 94599
(707) 753-0088

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