Garden Tour – The French Laundry – Napa Valley, California

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As we were driving through the Napa Valley, we took a wrong turn on the way to dinner.  Okay, we took several wrong turns actually {the HH was driving}.  And at some point we drove by what I thought was a community garden and thought, “how cool is that?”

After a few more wrong turns, we finally ended up at our dinner destination.  But all throughout dinner, all I could think about was the garden we had passed.  So as we were leaving, I told the HH I wanted to go back to the garden and snap a few photos.

As I started walking the paths I suddenly realized the signage. Holy Crap!  We just stumbled upon the gourmet gardens of The French Laundry.  What luck!

In a nutshell, The French Laundry is one of the top 50 restaurants in the world. It’s a gourmet restaurant that charges $270 pp for a 9 course meal.  Some people wait years to get in.  Now, I can’t imagine paying $270 for dinner, let alone paying $270 a month for groceries these days, but holy cow, the gardens are amazing.

The greenhouse was pretty amazing too.  I’m not sure how high the ceiling was in there, maybe 12 feet {?} but it was really neat to see how they had strung the tomato vines all the way to the top.  Maybe I should give it a try.

Anyway, if you are ever near Napa Valley, California, make sure The French Laundry is on your “to do” list.  The gardens.  Not necessarily the dinner.

Mavis wants to know…

Would you ever consider paying $270 for dinner?

Save about 90% off the cost of dinner and buy the The French Laundry Cookbook instead. Amazon currently has it in stock.

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Comments

  1. Mary Ann says:

    Since becoming a serious couponer, I’ve found it hard to pay even normal prices for restaurant meals! (Except for lobster every few months at Captain Jack’s in Sunset Beach, CA — I don’t cook lobster at home )

    I’ve discovered the food cooked at home is every bit as good, if not better than at restaurants and it makes me feel good to be frugal (after a long period of a really stupid extravagant lifestyle).

    I went to Vegas at least once a month for 8 years and gambled quite a bit. I held the highest tier card in the Harrah’s system and was given a $500 comp for a meal as part of the “rewards”. I took my sister to Bradley Ogden at Caesar’s Palace and we both had the 9 course tasting menu with wine pairings. That ate up the whole $500 comp, and, even though it was outstanding, it was not even worth $500 in comps (or the $150 tip!).

  2. The most expensive meal I ever had was at Le Bec Fin in Philadelphia, a splurge I promised myself when I finished my degree. Dinner, wine and tip were around $500 for the two of us and worth every penny. The economy was different then than it is now so I know it’s a luxury I’ll not indulge in again.

    Georges Perrier, who owned Le Bec Fin since it opened in 1970, sold the restaurant earlier this year. It reopened this month and is now being run by Nicolas Fanucci, Walter Abram and Jennifer Smith who are all from The French Laundry. It’s a small world we all live in. :)

  3. I need to check my Lotto numbers…then I will let you know!

  4. Leanna Thompson says:

    Nope. Never.

  5. victoria says:

    Hi Mavis,

    I am a new somewhat-new reader. I LOVE your blog! I first heard about it on The Prudent Homemaker’s facebook page. Thanks to your awesome tip about the Albertson’s giftcard catalina, I got $60 in free groceries today! I am a reader for life. Please keep the great posts coming, especially the shopping trips.

  6. I think I like reclaimed produce brought home and cooked out in the Big Green Egg barbecue. I think I’d be nervous the whole time having a $270.00 dinner, even the recipes in their cookbook are pretty fancy. It is very beautiful though.

  7. I couldn’t do it. The other night, we went out for dinner to celebrate the end of our school year and talked on the way home about how the amount we spent on one meal ($40 for 5 of us) was more than the average field worker makes in a month in India ($30) where we sponsor a child. A little bit sobering.

  8. gasp! I don’t think so!!!! :) But I wanna see the gardens, too – they are perfection.

  9. Yes. At French Laundry I would. It’s been on my list for years. Typically what comes with fancy food is great service (usually) and an occasion to dress up and have a special night out. I love the experience of nights like those. I also love seeing how restaurants innovate with fresh food and make little masterpieces on our plates. So yes, for the experience I would. For me, those are experiences I save up for.

  10. I would absolutely pay that to eat at FL. Thomas Keller is THE quintessential chef guys. Eating there is an experience you will never forget and years after the meal is over you will still recall the amazing combinations of things that elevated your palate to heights you thought not possible. I love the idea of growing your own food, but if you are an overachiever you will want to grow that which is superior, the best of the best. As Americans we really don’t embrace this motto, but if you love food and want to taste what previous generations enjoyed you have to expand you palate. Thomas Keller has taken the time and energy to consider and grow things we may have never heard of let alone tasted. He will use culinary techniques that require equipment and creativity we do not have as home cooks. There is a price for it, and $270 is totally fair! Jeez for many folks that’s a car payment, how much enjoyment does get ya?

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