The French Laundry
For the first time in its 20 year history, the French Laundry, Thomas Keller's revolutionary restaurant of note, will undergo a redesign. The Yountville institution's kitchen will get a makeover care of international design firm, Snøhetta. The renderings show a sleek and airy new space, one that brings to mind a freshly-erected SoMa loft.
Last week I had the great privilege of attending an extraordinary dinner, which highlighted special selections from The French Laundry’s new spirits collection, including The Macallan Fine & Rare. The spirits program—which officially launched in February—is made up of 51 bottles, with spirits ranging from scotch, bourbon, rum, and tequila to cognac, chartreuse, grappa and eau-de-vie. Each, of course, has Chef Thomas Keller's personal stamp of approval.
You can't go wrong with the trusted wineries of Highway 29 and the Silverado Trail, but if you’ve never discovered a dazzling new winery for yourself, it’s time to take a chance. In order to mitigate some of the risk of a day filled with the wrong wineries, we’ve unearthed some of the hottest hidden treasures for you (all appointment only):
Yesterday I climbed a ladder up to the rooftop of Nopa restaurant to visit its brand new baby bee hives. Owner Jeff Hanak has been working with Terry Oxford and Brian Linke of Urban Bee SF to cultivate a two-hive community for three weeks now. Weather permitting, its honey will surface on the food and cocktail menus below the roof as soon as June. The idea of freshly harvested honey on a menu is romantic and all, but these urban hives are really all about the bees.
Google “Thomas Keller” and you’ll turn up 774,000 results. So what can I tell you that you don’t already know about the celebrity chef who made Yountville a town worthy of food pilgrimage? Well, there’s the In-N-Out thing. Google “Thomas Keller and In-N-Out Burgers” and you’ll get only 32, 600 results. Which means, by my quick calculations, that many of you may not know that the VFC (very famous chef) who “invented” such dishes as oysters and pearls (oysters set in savory tapioca) and salmon tartare cornets (fashioned after ice cream cones) also really likes In-N-Out burgers. His standard order? Standard cheeseburger, fries well-done (“Because,” he says, “at least then they’re crisp.”).