My iPhone has grown into an extension of my hand (see: day job). So when I first stepped inside Thomas Keller's famous French Laundry in Napa Valley, I wanted badly to Tweet my amazement, to Flckr the restaurant's discreet filigreed sign, to update my Facebook status to “French Laundry — see you in 4 hours bitches.” (Yes you heard right, 4 HOURS.)
Descending from a line of people whose culinary contributions lean more toward 24 hr Diner than fine dining, it actually took me some living before I got to eat at a “real” restaurant (let alone one of the world's Top 50) — you know, one where the servers aren't in costume and/or the dinner doesn't involve a “tournament.” Somehow between the ages of 24 and 27 I went from being the gallery assistant reading about these things in a pilfered copy of her bosses' New York magazine to being able to act the part of the well-heeled lady sitting across from the most gentlemanly of gentlemen at The French Laundry in Yountville, thinking I could go satisfied if Death decided to take me at the end of this lunch.
But even with churches — the most sacred of sacred — getting in on the Twitter action these days, I asked myself how could one process a nine-course, Michelin three-star meal in 140 characters or less? It's true that I, a relative food novice, offhandedly live-tweet Top Chef whenever the family gathers to watch it on HD on Sunday nights. But I've never done a whole MEAL social-media style, let alone something as serious and once-in-a-lifetime as a Thomas Keller menu.
And so, I posted my last somewhat forlorn update to Twitter, resigned: “French Laundry — I will not be live-tweeting this.”
Of course the Twitterverse had other ideas. I immediately received an onslaught of Tweets: “WHY NOT?” came the resounding response. The most surprising “Why Not?” of all turned out to be mine.
I couldn't bring myself to actually live-Twitter through lunch, but afterward, I found that the best way to describe my awe-inspiring French Laundry experience was through these hypothetical Tweets:
1st amuse bouche is gruyere ball and then little salmon coronet (cone) full of awesomeness #mouthfulofheaven #frenchlaundry 1:16 PM Apr 4th from TwitterFon
@laweekly Lol amuse bouche means literally to pleasure the mouth #nsfw? 1:16 PM Apr 4th from TwitterFon
Cauliflower panna cotta with caviar — an emotional experience. 1: 45 PM Apr 4th from TwitterFon
Chris, our extremely polite server, introduces himself as our “water source.” 1: 49 PM Apr 4th from TwitterFon
Salted & un butter from local dairy — goldenrod butter (un) is my favorite on the best dinner roll ever had in life (from Bouchon Bakery). 2: 03 PM Apr 4th from TwitterFon
Crazy divine Foie Gras Torchon comes with 3 different salts, white grey and pink and most delicate brioche — Pink salt is the best). 2: 23 PM Apr 4th from TwitterFon
I could eat Foie Gras all day even though still can't pronounce it. 2: 28 PM Apr 4th from TwitterFon
Japanese Bigfin Squid and Chorizo is impressive – squid needs to be cooked for 8 minutes exactly, anything more or less and FAIL #notfail 2: 45 PM Apr 4th from TwitterFon
@veektor got Devil's Gulch Rabbit not the Tete De Cochon (pig's head) guess I'll have to save that one for another time #foodthatcanalsobeaninsult 3: 11 PM Apr 4th from TwitterFon
@laweekly now entering beginning stages of food & wine (2006 Domaine du Pegau – a white chatauneuf du Pape from Rhone Valley) coma #wishyouwerehere 3: 30 PM Apr 4th from TwitterFon
@kevinrose eggplant cilantro pastilla (meat pie) and crisp apple beet salad #diggbait 4: 07 PM Apr 4th from TwitterFon
@tonyadam SRSLY a Banana Hazelnut Gateau, after the sour cherry yogurt and then lemon ice cream (parfait au citron)?! #bakethis 4: 24 PM Apr 4th from TwitterFon
the “mignardises”small chocolates in a chilled silver container worthy of Frank Gehry — a beeline for the peanut butter cup & salted caramel 4: 33 PM Apr 4th from TwitterFon
Wow shortbread cookies #Frenchlaundry 4: 44 PM Apr 4th from TwitterFon
SHORTBREAD COOKIES (?!?) #Iamnevereatingagain #ever 4: 46 PM Apr 4th from TwitterFon
@answers Um, how much do you tip a 'water source'? 5:01 PM Apr 4th from TwitterFon
Because so many of you thought live-tweeting The French Laundry might be cool, Squid Ink contacted the restaurant directly, and a representative for Keller was refreshingly (and surprisingly) open to the notion of live twittering the ultimate gustatory experience, cheerfully remarking, “While not something that we've done in the past — we try our best to respect the fact that many people are there for a special occasion — it's definitely an interesting idea.” (#whose time has come).
Reservations to The French Laundry must be made two months in advance and the phone lines open at 10 a.m. Save us some shortbread (um, on second thought…)!
The French Laundry, 6640 Washington St., Yountville, CA, (707) 944-2380 or www.frenchlaundry.com.