The French Laundry




If you never read my review of The French Laundry, you can read it HERE.  I personally cringe when I read my blog, especially the old posts so you've been warned.:)




The afternoons around here are quite slow and I don't hate that at all.  I'm coming to terms with the reality of our situation but that is another conversation.  If it's too hot outside to work in the garden I come in and pull an old favorite from my bookshelf to read.  The French Laundry is an old favorite.  It makes me want to be a better cook.



It's a beautiful book full of gorgeous images and fascinating recipes.  Have you read it? x

The French Laundry

37 comments

  1. No I haven't read it -- but will now! I'm curious, Janet - do you still work as an esthetician? Love your new chair in kitchen and how tidy everything is! AND SIMPLE! xxxxx Jen

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  2. I have not read the book. I think I know that the restaurant was/is (?) in Napa and that the author/chef has written two or three other books, too.

    By the way, I love ALL your posts; I've referred to the old ones for recipes MANY times; it's all valuable.

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  3. Hello Janet,
    My husband has the book and I've only thumbed through it. I think I will pull it off the shelf and read it. I have been very, very, very blessed to have eaten at The French Laundry, on my honeymoon, nearly 13 years ago now. My fiance was working in restaurants and loved books and kept talking about Thomas Keller. Someone gifted us a condo in Napa Valley for our honeymoon and the conversations began about Yountville, Thomas Keller, The French Laundry, etc. I suggested we try to eat there. My fiance said it was impossible, and we'd never be able to afford it (we are pretty low income and had a bare bones wedding). I took on the challenge, did my research, and at precisely 10:00 a.m. two months to the day we wanted to eat there, I began to call. I got the busy signal, hung up, pressed re-dial, got the busy signal, hung up, pressed redial, and did this over and over and over for what seemed like forever (5 or 10 solid minutes!). And then suddenly I didn't get the busy signal and someone answered! I made a lunch reservation because I thought it would be less expensive (it wasn't) and from that point on I knew I could do ANYTHING! Two months later we dressed up in our best outfits with our best manners and went to The French Laundry. I still remember our server, Martin. He was gracious and kind to us. We were already splurging but splurged even more with non alcohol drink pairings ($45 each, and often times the bottle of soda was shared between us). We had the most fabulous non alcohol wine from Anderson Valley as well. My new husband and I soaked up the experience for everything it was and lingered as long as possible, even taking a walk in the garden between courses. We had 13 courses over 4.5 hours! The bill was nearly what our monthly rent was but I'm so glad to have spent that money on that experience! (A few years later I mentioned to an older lady at my work (who is very polished and whose husband worked as a chef at a very exclusive country club) that I had eaten at The French Laundry and her response was, "How did YOU get in?". Determination is all it took! I'm off to find my husband's cookbook now. (Thomas Keller wasn't there when we went but we did get his girlfriend/business partner's autograph!)

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    1. What a wonderful story!

      Renee

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    2. This is just the best! I'm so glad you shared that story with us.

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    3. thank you for sharing your lovely story. i have only driven past the restaurant many times so hearing your first hand experience is so sweet. xoxo

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  4. I have not read it but I will do so now that you recommended it! Janet- I LOVE all of your blog posts, particularly the oldest ones, and read them over and over again. They are absolutely perfect and still very inspiration to me!!

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  5. Janet I love re-reading your older posts...your blog was one of the first that I discovered and has remained one of my all time favourites.
    I have never read that cookbook and I am planning to put it on my must read list.
    Its been hot there the past few days too hot to work in the garden and really too hot to walk for any length of time...
    XO

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  6. I'm not at all interested in cooking (I fed my family on simple home-cooking, but never learned to love it), but I do like to look at cookbooks for some reason. The ones with the beautiful photographs are like art books! Your kitchen looks so peaceful.

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  7. I am not familiar with this cookbook, but was intrigued, so I followed your link to amazon. Then I looked on my library's website and they have it! I'll definitely be checking it out. :-)

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  8. I come from a line of great cooks but that gene was lost on me. However the book does look beautiful!

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  9. My husband & I dined at the French Laundry back in the 1990's - I think the restaurant was acquired by Thomas Keller about 2-3 yrs. before we went. We had called & called,finally booked a reservation & then planned our trip up to the Napa Valley (we live in Huntington Beach, CA). As we had booked weeks in advance & did not know what the menu would be like, I was very disappointed when duck, veal stock & rabbit were on the menu! (I am not a vegetarian but could never see myself eating a darling bunny or duck!!) The staff were understanding & even though it was not being served in the restaurant that day, they made me the most wonderful salmon with citrus zest & pea shoots, I believe, which was delicious. My husband ate everything & loved it. I don't have the cookbook but may check it out of the library. I have heard many of the dishes are very labor intensive.
    I do have to say that some of my favorite cookbooks are Ina Garten's! She is so delightful, I just love reading her books. Like giving yourself a big, warm hug in the kitchen!
    Janet, I do have to tell you that I came across your recipe for Chocolate Cake by accident & often make it for my daughter & her boyfriend! They love it!! I also use the chocolate glaze for the cake as a hot fudge topping which is wonderful! So I must thank YOU for those yummy recipes!!
    As always, sending you & your husband much love & healing thoughts. You are in my daily meditation every morning.

    Kathy Bunge

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  10. Love the new table and black chair!!

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  11. First, I love the simplicity of your kitchen. Even though I usually cook very simple meals I love reading cookbooks.(actually it is more like throwing some veggies together for a salad) My new favorite is "Dinner" by Melissa Clark. I was attending a book reading of three authors, one of them being Melissa. there was a raffle in which the winner got a copy of each of the books being presented that evening, and I was the lucky winner! I have made a couple of the recipes, vegetarian ones, and was quite pleased. And there are quite a few vegan ones too. I once knew someone who had a wealthy relative who flew her and her partner from New York to California to celebrate his birthday at the French Laundry. Next time I am in the library I am going to see if they have this book. You and Larry are always in my thoughts.
    Darby

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  12. I'm glad you're having some enriching experiences in the midst of the trials.

    I really like reading books about food, as well as cookbooks. The ones about food (I'm reading the new biography of Patience Gray, and started M.K Fisher's The Art of Eating, but put it down when the Patience Gray book came in to the library). I just skip over the parts about animal flesh, but with cookbooks, I find only the vegan ones interest me.

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  13. I haven't read the cookbook or been to the restaurant. But my favorite gluten-free flour, Cup4Cup, was developed by Thomas Keller at The French Laundry. You can read about it here: https://www.cup4cup.com/about-us/. It really is an amazing product that produces baked goods very close to the real thing. I'm so grateful!

    You and Larry are in my thoughts. Wishing you both the best,
    Claudia

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  14. I honestly can’t see how this book can be as beautiful as your kitchen. I love reading cookbooks. I can’t remember if I read this one or not. I’ll definitely check it out. And what a nice son!! Refreshing isn’t it?

    Don’t you just love the texture bamboo shades add to a room?
    Hugs
    Kathy

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  15. You're in my thoughts and prayers everyday. I enjoy your posts and often go back when I'm feeling low and need some inspiration.

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  16. I love a good cookbook and will check this out!!! Keeping you all in my prayers.

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  17. Yes, cooking gene passed me by completely but I do love to produce simple meals in one bowl with some lovely bread and butter - I still have your bread recipe and you gave me the idea of giving loaves as presents :-))

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  18. This is a cookbook I haven't read but thank you because I really need some inspiration in the kitchen right now, I just wrote a blog post about this! I'm sitting here with a blank mind about dinner and we have a houseguest coming, I need to get it together.
    Thinking of you and Larry every day. I'm so happy you have your interests in the garden and kitchen for comfort right now. You have such a beautiful home and I can feel the peace just by looking at your kitchen photo. Your kitchen is one of my all-time favourites.
    Love to you xx

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  19. I love looking through a cookbook even though I don't love cooking. But, it has to be done.
    Sending prayers and live to you and Larry. XOXO

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  20. Lovely pictures of your kitchen Janet ❤️
    Haven’t read this cookbook, would put it on my reading list .

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  21. Janet,
    Always so happy to see that you have posted! I also like the old posts and completely agree with your reasons for liking Thomas Keller! Thoughts are with you always and hoping for moments of grace and light.

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  22. I just love looking at your cottage (so more please) I am trying to do my kitchen and dining area in white and pale grey and give it the Hygge look if you know what I mean. Hope everything is going well.

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  23. Janet,

    I hope that you continue to find the beauty. I have such an admiration for your ability to see "everything"....The good, the not so good. I know that this is a difficult time for you and Larry, and it makes me sad for both of you. Reading (and re-reading) is so comforting, isn't it? I think your recent estate finds are wonderful! xo

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  24. Janet,

    I am so sadly touched by your current battle. I hold Larry in my heart, and send both of you kind and loving thoughts. You see beauty in so many things Janet. I think this is one of the reasons I have followed you for so many years now. Your recent estate finds are lovely! May you continue to find the light in such a difficult time. XO

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  25. I am over the top in love with this post...as it spoke to me on many levels. I did first read your old post & can find nothing that would make you cringe to read them. It was wonderful. Cooking is not a real love of mine...I am not what I would call a "foodie", plus I feel cooking for others brings quite a bit of pressure. I will eat almost anything & love it...because I appreciate the effort the cook has gone to. I would rather garden, decorate the cabin for company or even clean toilets before I want to do the cooking.

    But your description of this book makes me want to read it. I am a book lover, though, & have a book that also gives me chills when I go through it for the 200th time! My book is Seasons at Seven Gates Farm, which follows Jimmie Cramer & Dean Johnson through the seasons at their historic Maryland farm. I would describe it as a mix of gardening & decorating. I've had the book for over 20 years & it continues to inspire me!

    The pics of your home are always like a beautiful still life...serenity is the only word I can find to explain them. I read this phrase in a devotional this morning, which spoke to me...I have had many trials in the past 6 years & always tend to look for meaning in everything. The author said that in the end we should say - "This is not without significance."

    As always, praying for you & your dear husband...God speed!

    Anita ~ the cabin on the creek
    ...all is grace!

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  26. Hello Janet:

    My thoughts and prayers are still with you and Larry. I hope he heals fast so your life can get kind of back to normal.

    I do not understand why you cringe at your past posts because you have the most beautiful blog to me. I have a folder in my bookmarks just for your posts because no matter what is going on, just reading them is calming to my soul (organizing, cleaning, etc.) I am sure that others feel the same way.

    Here is a suggestion! Why don't you post pics or make a video of you washing your dishes and putting them away? That would be peaceful. It may sound nuts but I think it would be therapeutic.

    This world is a lot smaller than I realized! My new DIL works for a company based in Redlands. The office she works at is in NC.

    Sincerely,
    Debra of SENC

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  27. Oh, did I miss that new table and chair in your kitchen? It's just lovely. Seriousy, you have such an effortless gift. Wishing days of hope and peace for Larry and you.

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  28. Beautiful picture of your summer kitchen ...love the fern!
    I love reading through your older blog posts like a good book.
    I've watched Chefs on Netflix's talk of working at the French Laundry and the great training it was for them.
    Continued prayers for your husband.
    Look forward to future blogs.

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  29. I have made the parmesan crisps from the French Laundry cookbook, they are so good.

    Your kitchen is so charming and welcoming.

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  30. Janet, your blog posts are so calming and welcoming. I so appreciate you continuing to blog, even during this difficult time. All my love and prayers to you and Larry.

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  31. I agree with Julie @ Creating This Life and everyone else who has commented. Amen!

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kindness is never out of style.

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