The French Laundry in Yountville, CA

The French Laundry
6640 Washington St,
Yountville, CA 94599

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After several failed attempts to secure a reservation, Joe went through his Amex concierge for our last attempt and we got a reservation! Of course, the year we get a reservation is when Joe is in business school (broke grad student) and I’m still in training (broke peds resident) so we discussed it and decided that this would probably be a once in a lifetime experience since I am leaving Sacramento this year.  Although, Joe claims that every time I have used the “once in a lifetime rationale,” it was never just once and we almost always repeated whatever it was that we had done in the first place. Anywho, so after Joe secured the reservation, they called us multiple times to confirm and asked if it was special occasion so Joe told them that it was our anniversary (didn’t say anniversary of what) and even asked how to spell our names.’

Of course he didn’t mention any of this to me, so imagine my surprise when I saw our names on the menu! The chef of the evening even signed our menus (can’t tell if that says Thomas Keller but still awesome!). We were seated promptly and among the first to arrive. We had arrived early into town and did a few tasting to pass the time until our reservation.

menu

The staff was pleasant and on point with timing of courses at a comfortable pace. The only awkward thing for me was that we got new silverware with every course, and so someone was constantly reaching over me and so I would stop talking while they were doing this (not sure why I didn’t just talk over them) and so our had frequent, short interruptions. But I do appreciate the attention to detail and clean silverware. We started off with complimentary Schramsberg champagne that was created especially for French Laundry. It was bubbly and dry, a very nice way to start the night.

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We enjoyed our champagne with two amuse-bouches. One was a gougere with aged gruyere inside, which was amazing! Warm, crust on the outside and melting gruyere cheese on the inside!

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Our other amuse abouche was a salmon tartare with sweet red onion creme fraiche in a cornet. The presentation was beautiful and impressive but not as impressive as the burst of flavor with the freshness of the onion and the salmon.

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Our tasting menu started off with “Oysters and Pearls,” a “Sabayon” of pearl tapioca with Island Creek Oysters and White Sturgeon caviar. I’m not a fan of oysters because I find that they usually have too much of that salty-ocean flavor, but the creaminess of the pearl tapioca worked wonders to balance the oysters. The pearl tapioca was a perfect canvas for the caviar, and especially liked the touch of the mother of pearl spoons which kept the purity of the caviar flavor intact.

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Next is where Joe and I diverged. I am a foie gras fanatic and can never resist it when it appears on menus and so I had the Hudson Valley Moulard duck foie gras “terrine” served with Satsuma Supremes, toasted hazelnuts, navel orange confit and wild miners lettuce. The foie gras dish came out with 6 different types of salts, including a Hawaiian sea salt, a Hawaiian lava salt, and a chile red salt but my favorite was the Fleur de Sel salt which just made the creamy foie gras flavor sing. Joe said it was a little too rich for his preference, so his next bite, I gave him with a bit of the orange which he preferred more compared to the previous bite of just foie gras and lettuce. My perfect bite was the foie gras with a toasted hazelnut, that crunch and sweetness added to the richness of the foie gras for me.

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Instead of the foie gras, Joe had the Hawaiian hearts of peach palm salad, which included a coconut “panna cotta,” compressed sour apples, Brokaw avocado yogurt and garden watercress. It was beautiful to behold but Joe finished it in like three bites. It was a nice palate break from the richness of the foie gras but I was super happy with my decision.

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Next, we both enjoyed the sauteed filet of Chatham Bay cod which was served with a la ratte potato puree, garden romaine lettuce and buttered English peas.  At first glance, I was confused because I thought it was a scallop but then I realized that they just had an amazing golden brown crust on the cod from my old backyard, Cape Cod. The fish filet was white and glistening and went perfectly with the nutty, buttery ratte potato and sweetness of the English peas.

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The next course we enjoyed was the sweet butter poached Stonington, ME lobster with Sacramento delta asparagus, crispy chickpeas, preserved Meyer lemon and spicy lobster broth. I was initially fearful that the spiciness of the broth would overpower the subtle lobster flavor but it worked especially well and actually enhanced that inherent buttery lobster flavor. The crunchiness of top really helped with the mouth-feel since lobster and asparagus were on the softer texture side.

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Next was the Wolfe Ranch white quail with a Royal Blenheim apricot chutneym Chatenay carrots, garden spinach and sweet curry. We were both hesitant about this dish with strong curry and chutney flavors overpowering the quail flavor.  But to me, quail is a bit gamey and so I welcomed the strong flavors distraction. I think we both agreed this was our least favorite of the entire night, mainly because of the savory vs. sweet battle on my taste buds but it was still delicious and so moist! Also, the grated smoked foie gras on top was an amazing touch!

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We both loved this next dish! The charcoal grilled Snake River Farms “Calotte de boeuf” with red wine braised garden onion, buttermilk fried morel mushrooms, fava beans and “bordelaise sauce.” One of my biggest hold-ups for ordering medium-rare in restaurants is that bright red blood that spills onto the plate when you cut into the middle of a big juicy steak. The meat was so red but not a single drop of but juicy meaty goodness. Our guess is that maybe it was sous-vide’d first because of how even the cook was across the entire cut, and then finished on the charcoal grill. It was so tender! I could’ve had a course of just the buttermilk fried morel mushrooms, they were that delicious!

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I actually thought this was our dessert course, but it was an Andante dairy “melange” with a toasted graham cracker, picked green strawberries and marcona almond butter. The cheesecake had a bold flavor like a blue cheese but a tang like a goat cheese.

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However, our actual dessert course was amazing and super intense! 9 parts! We had a tiramisu like cake slice, passion fruit on top of a meringue, vanilla gelato with strawberry and shortbread cookie, lemon macaron, chocolate covered macadamia nuts, the big flower shaped meringue with lemon cream inside, sweet brioche donuts and a cup of what was a play on affogato. We also had several different chocolate truffles with flavors like salted caramel, s’mores, pistachio, hazelnut chocolate (my favorite!) , dark chocolate and sesame (it tasted like sesame seed oil!). We were super stuffed after our amazing meal and appreciated the staff’s attention to detail and commitment to great service. This was a very memorable night for us that we will probably never forget!

The French Laundry Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Boon Fly Cafe in Napa, CA

Boon Fly Cafe
4048 Sonoma Hwy
Napa, CA

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omelette

omelette

egg in a hole

egg in a hole

donuts

donuts

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The Pour House in Sacramento, CA

The Pour House
1910 Q St
Sacramento, CA

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Pour House on Urbanspoon

Zinfandel Grille in Sacramento, CA

Zinfandel Grille
2384 Fair Oaks Blvd
Sacramento, CA

wood oven quesadilla

wood oven quesadilla

filet mignon

filet mignon

scallops

scallops

Zinfandel Grille on Urbanspoon

Press Steakhouse in Napa, CA

Press Steakhouse
587 St Helena Hwy
St Helena, CA 94574

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Carpe Diem in Napa, CA

Carpe Diem
644 1st St.
Napa, CA

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Joe and I came here for lunch during the Truffle weekend at the Oxbow Public Market. The place was packed and we had a hard time finding a stall without a long line. Luckily, as we were walking by, we noticed that this place was new. It used to be an arepa place that was only ok, so I was pretty stoked that there was a new restaurant in its place.

slider

slider

Joe got the pulled pork slider, which was pretty good but not amazing. It was pretty expensive for a slider too.

 

 

 

truffle fries

truffle fries

I got really excited for the truffle fries, except it was just french fries tossed in truffle oil that was non-existent. I couldn’t taste any truffle flavor in these fries.

mac n cheese

mac n cheese

I think the mac n cheese had to be the biggest disappointment. It was bland, bland, bland! I was so looking forward to it, but the only good part was the crispy breadcrumbs on top. Joe and I will probably not come back here.

 

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Broderick Road House in West Sacramento

Broderick Road House
319 6th St,
West Sacramento, CA 95605

Johnny Cash Burger

Johnny Cash Burger

Joe and I were at Costco looking at the rack of giftcards and saw this one. I have been on the tireless search for the best burger in Sacramento and was starting to get bored when I came across this restaurant on Yelp. We decided to come check it out after purchasing our gift card. The first time we came was on  a Saturday dinner, and the place was super crowded and even the bar was completely full. The next time we tried was a Monday, we came a little earlier too and found the place with only a few other tables full, but as we sat down and ordered, the entire place quickly filled up!

Joe had the Johnny Cash Burger, house seasoned Niman Ranch beef, cheddar cheese, bacon, house pickled sweet peppers, onion crisps and housemade BBQ sauce. He got the banh mi fries, which has roasted pulled pork, pickled vegetables, Vietnamese style citrus caramel sauce and jalapenos. Our hands were so full with the burgers, that we had to hold them up for the other one to take a bite. We couldn’t chance letting go, for fear that our giant burgers would fall apart.

Gravy fries

Gravy fries

I couldn’t decide between getting a burger or the mac and cheese, so I got the Gold Rush burger which had the house seasoned Niman Ranch beef with applewood smoked bacon, mac and cheese, garlic aioli and onion crisps. This burger was amazing! The combination of mac and cheese and hamburger, yum! And I had the gravy fries on the side, topped with cheddar cheese which was the perfect addition to my already cheesy goodness of a burger. By the end of our meal, we were both full and extremely satisfied with our meals.

Gold Rush Burger

Gold Rush Burger

 

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Hock Farm in Sacramento

Hock Farm
1415 L St.
Sacramento, CA

pear salad

pear salad

My sister was in town which gave us yet again another opportunity to try out a nice restaurant in Sacramento. My sister has been eating healthier and so we decided to go with Hock Farm which uses lots of local farm’s ingredients. Parking in the area was a bit tricky, all these one way streets and the convention center being right in the middle of the everything makes it even harder to navigate. Hock Farm does offer to validate your parking in the nearby parking lot, as well as offer valet parking but my stubborn hubby insisted on finding street parking.

burrata

burrata

The burrata was my favorite appetizer. The combination of honey, pistachio and cheese was a warm, soft taste. Very pleasing to the tongue!

pork sliders

pork sliders

The pork sliders were marinated in Fanta soda! My sister and I drank Fanta soda all the time during our summer in Korea in the 7th grade, and this reminded me of that summer. Joe really enjoyed the pork sliders.

NY Steak

NY Steak

My sister had the NY steak. She told me that most restaurants will cook to a temperature a little higher than ordered and so she ordered her steak medium-rare but told the server to tell the kitchen to aim for rare.

burger

burger

I am on a search for the best burger in town. This burger was quite good, maybe in my top 10 in Sacramento.  But mainly for their meat patty, I’m anti-flat-patties.  Their meat patty was also delicious!

chocolate caramel tart

chocolate caramel tart

To end our epic meal, we had the salted caramel chocolate tart which was yummy. A very nice blend between sweet and salty.

We recently came here for restaurant week (Dine Downtown week), and our experience was much different than coming here for their regular menu. For $30, you get a 3 course meal which is a great deal except for when the courses are super tiny. Also, the quality was lower than their usual menu. My risotto was undercooked, and my chicken was tiny. And to rub salt in our wounds, our tiny entrees came out on their usual large plates, making them look even smaller.  Our table was talking about Taco Bell at the end of our meal here, not a good sign. So for future reference, I will come back for their regular menu but not for their restaurant week.

my tiny chicken

my tiny chicken

 

 

Joe's tiny pork

Joe’s tiny pork

 

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Ella Dining Room and Bar in Sacramento

Ella Dining Room and Bar
1131 K St.
Sacramento, CA

 

mixed tomato salad

mixed tomato salad

When my sister comes to town, we like to treat her to nice restaurants in town. Ella, being one of the nicest restaurants in town, was at the top of our list. My sister is a good influence on me and Joe because she tends to order more vegetables then we usually would such as this mixed tomato salad.

roasted cheese

roasted cheese

CHEESE! This is what I’m talking about! This was a cedar plank roasted toma cheese, it was served with bread and a red onion marmalade. This was my favorite of all the appetizers.

steak tartare

steak tartare

We also had the steak tartare with garlic popovers. The popovers were amazing! We wish there was more steak tartare though to go with the popovers. We were practically eating the popovers alone because they were so delicious.

 

scallops

scallops

My sister ordered the scallops which she said were very good. My only issue with ordering scallops at restaurants is that you get so few. But one time, I tried making scallops at home and thought I would cook to my greedy satisfaction. But scallops are so rich, your taste buds can really handle a few at a time.  So I concede, the restaurant industry is not hoarding their scallops! They are protecting my taste buds from dying from super rich scallops.

mixed winter vegetables

mixed winter vegetables

These were roasted root vegetables covered in a chili hot sauce. The hot sauce wasn’t that spicy, but at least the root vegetables were good. Joe actually ate all of his vegetables, I wonder if this is a breakthrough for how to get kids to eat their vegetables. Pour chili sauce over it!

beef tenderloin

beef tenderloin

Joe had the beef tenderloin in a bordelaise sauce which he said was delicious. I had a bite and the beef was nice and tender, and I agree the sauce was mouth-watering good.

filet mignon

filet mignon

I had the filet mignon which was extremely good. My filet practically melted in your mouth. And the crispy onion on top was a nice texture contrast.
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