The French Laundry: A $240 Per Person Night of Extravagance

Last month, on August 21st to be exact, we were surprised by our family with the best anniversary present ever – a trip to the beautiful, fabulous, famous and highly-priced restaurant, The French Laundry in Yountville, California (near Napa). Here we enjoyed a once-in-a-lifetime-meal (although we hope to make it at least a twice-in-a-lifetime meal), and one that we will never forget. With over 10 servers for our one table, thirteen courses, one very expensive bottle of wine and a fear of acting like the middle-class assholes we really are, we spent four luxurious hours dining at one of the best restaurants in the world. It’s not in France and they didn’t wash our clothes, but otherwise it was an unbelievable experience.

If you have the patience, time and will, you’ll possibly want to hear about the night in detail (a lot of detail…too much detail) in our very L-O-N-G podcast below. Find out how the hell we even got reservations at one of the ‘hardest’ places to get into. Otherwise, choose to ignore our overuse of the words “delicious” and “ridiculous” (there are times when there are too few adjectives to describe food.) and just try to imagine the taste of the food by looking at the slideshow above. Apologies for the pictures – they aren’t very good. I felt weird trying to take pictures in that very low-lit, reverent atmosphere. I wanted to dig in, but I did the best I could, though even photoshop couldn’t save these!

25 thoughts on “The French Laundry: A $240 Per Person Night of Extravagance

  1. Wow! Just wow. That place looks fabulous, and the food looks so amazing. It’s always been a dream to go to a really expensive restaurant at least once in my life, but I think I’d always feel bad about spending so much money on it!

    I’m just wondering what the heck 10 servers for one table do? Do they just kinda stand around you in a circle? 🙂

  2. Don’t you love all the silverware that comes out and you don’t even know what to do with it? And just when you think it is not possible to eat another bite, three more courses not even mentioned on the menu come out? Yeah, I can’t wait to go back either.

  3. A fabulous gift and considering it’s fame, not that expensive. I think your family had to put in some good effort for the reservations…there’s the tough part.

    Congrats and a belated Happy Anniversary.

  4. I think you conveyed the experience very well, even the pictures! Congratulations on your anniversary and on such a momentous dinner.


    a fear of acting like the middle-class assholes we really are

    I still get a bit frightened when I go to a 5-star place. Eep.


    there are times when there are too few adjectives to describe food.

    How true is THAT??

  5. Our friends had their small wedding at French Laundry 10 years ago. It was beautiful and special.
    Today, we ate at The New French on Hudson in the West Village, certainly nothing like your meal, but still excellent, and both have French in the title!
    Lucky you! and happy anniversary!

  6. I think some of the photos are wonderful and I especially like the one of the candle and the menu. Like you, I was fortunate to have a fabulous meal there, courtesy of my family. My brother and sister-in-law took me for my 50th birthday. That was some weekend!
    Happy Belated Anniversary.

  7. Oh. Wow. I love the fact that you’ve shared so much with us.

    We often go back and forth on “fancy” places ourselves. We absolutely LOVE great food, but we also like kicking back and being ourselves. And sometimes, that’s just not possible. So, rest assured, you are NOT alone.

  8. Sounds like you had a great time. I had a mediocre meal (my expectations where through the roof) at FL, hopefully your’s was better (especially at stratospheric prices!!!)…Happy Anniversary to you both.

  9. wat a gorgeous meal!!!…and yeah, i experienced a lot of THAT (trying to take pictures in super low lit places – it was normally embarrassing for me as i couldn’t even focus sob sob)

  10. I clearly need a better family; I’m going to go marinate myself in jealousy now.

    I do find that an empty water glass makes for a pretty good monopod that allows for flash-free restaurant shots. But I also get caught up in great meals and never quite feel right brandishing a camera. I’m pretty sure it’s generational; the kids today are their own non-stop reality shows.

  11. what a wonderful experience! So happy that you both had this experience. You both are so deserving of eating here.

    And you both took pictures, I am in awe! I would be shaking too much to even hold the camera still. Good for you guys!!!

  12. I listened to the whole podcast, and thought it was great. I really enjoyed your stories, and how you both interact. It was very entertaining! I hope you keep on doing this!

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