The French Laundry — Yountville (4/2017)


A friend from out of town asked if I was interested in going to The French Laundry in several weeks. I said that if we could get in, absolutely! He managed to secure a reservation for an 8:30pm on a Sunday, leveraging the concierge benefit at American Express Platinum Card to get us in. The French Laundry is one of the two 3-star Michelin restaurants located in the Napa Valley. We were staying in downtown Napa, so we gave ourselves plenty of time to get to the restaurant. We ended up walking into the restaurant more than a half-hour early for our reservation. They did not seem to have a problem seating us so early, so we were led upstairs to the smaller dining room.

They offer two menus – the standard menu and a vegetarian menu.

The standard menu had some options, where on the first and second courses, you could upgrade to a different course for a supplemental fee. Additionally, for the main meat course, they offered a substantial upgrade. There were 10 courses listed on the menu, but there was an amuse bouche course and a final offering of chocolates. The vegetarian menu had no upgrade options available. Both basic menus were the same price.

The wine cellar holds 60,000 bottles. The wine list is on an iPad and is quite amazing. There is a list of wines by the glass. And just as a sample, I took some photos of a few of the Burgundy wines.

For the full write-up, click here.

42 grams 12th Visit — Chicago (3/2017)


This visit was my first with their new format for 2017 with just one seating for the evening. Timing-wise, it worked best for me as dinner probably wasn’t going to run as late as the late seating used to run. However, the price went up with the new format and the experience was no longer BYOB (for free).
With the new format, there were going to increase the number of courses, upgrade the course ingredients and slow the pace of the experience. Also, they recently received their liquor license and now had a wine list (by the bottle only). It wasn’t going to work for me to buy one of their bottles, so I just opted for tea. I ended up being seated next to another solo diner who did order a bottle, and he shared a glass with me, which was very nice.

The menu is not normally presented at the beginning. I just placed the photo up front to allow viewing of the wine choices and food at the same time.

For the full write-up, click here.

It is also with a great deal of sadness that I have to report that 42 grams is now closed.  It was one of my favorite restaurants anywhere, and I will miss the food and the people that made each dining experience an enjoyable one.  There is an independent film that made its premier in March called “Courses” that documents the history of Sous Rising/42 grams.  See it if you can.