This past Friday, I had the privilege and pleasure of dining at The French Laundry, one of only a handful of times I have dined at a restaurant rated Michelin-anything, and certainly the only time I have eaten anywhere in its league. I don’t know if I will ever have the life circumstances between time, money, and proximity to ever go back, but I am really happy I went once.
Getting Reservations: Upon telling anyone that we had secured reservations there, their first question was almost always how we got them. I had been kicking around the idea of going there ever since living in the Bay area and securing gainful employment, but it wasn’t exactly clear what the process was. A few years back, I had tried using the concierge service of my Amex Platinum card, but they pretty much told me no and directed me to Solbar instead (also a great restaurant, but not in the same league). This year, MrsWookie and I were kicking around anniversary ideas, and, figuring it wouldn’t work, I decided to put the concierge service of Chase Sapphire Reserve to the same test. They had the decency to not only try, but they also explained what the process was. There is one website on which to book reservations, and that is the only thing for anyone to use. They release dates for a whole month at midnight on the first of the month two months prior to the month in question. Best of luck, be fast, know what days and times work for you. For us, it was currently mid August, our anniversary was in October, November would be the first availability, and we have two very young kids who would need to be cared for. We were able to secure grandparents for child care, so we gave the concierge a few days where we could work a weekend day or an adjacent day at a dinner-ish time. If it were to work out, we figured we’d just postpone our celebration a month. Then we didn’t worry about it until the morning of September 1st, when I got an email from Chase saying that it had worked, and an email from The French Laundry saying the same and that we had paid in advance, bout tree fiddy each (not knowing how much it would cost, it was about a hundo or so less than I was thinking). November 15h, 8:45 pm, a Friday. Not bad! Bottom line for people wanting to do this, I would recommend the Chase concierge, but if you don’t have the card (which is great even if you don’t do this), the website system does not seem that bad as long as you are awake for it.
We worked out that we would take a long weekend, Friday to Sunday, in wine country, doing one night at a B&B that wasn’t terribly remarkable except for the fact that it was the shortest of walks from the French Laundry and the second at another nicer B&B we had stayed at 7.5 years ago that is just outside of downtown Napa.
Posting this now so I don’t lose it, food porn to come.