A Very Korean 1st Birthday

Yesterday was Karina’s 1st birthday. It’s amazing to me how much she has grown and how much has happened since then. I’ve spent the last two weeks making all the preparations for her birthday party. We decided to have a Korean 1st birthday (Doljanchi). Thomas, my husband, is half Korean and he had a traditional party when he was 1 and so did our son. This time around though, I got to plan everything and I think I went a little overboard.

karina birthday

I’m a perfectionist, ambitious, and very type A person. I have always had a hard time saying no to projects, because I want to be the best at everything. Having two children has definitely taught me that just because I want to be the best at everything doesn’t mean I can or have time to, I mean unless I want to neglect my children completely. This was a special occasion though, so I decided to indulge in my perfectionism and plan an amazing party. 

karina birthday

karina birthday

There is a lot of symbolism in a Korean Dol. Some of the symbolisms we used are:

Dress: Birthday babies wear a hanbok (traditional dress) and a jobawi or gulle (traditional headgear) for baby girls and a bokgeon or hogeon (traditional headgear) for baby boys. We purchased the dress at Kim Mehee in LA.

Dol sang (birthday table) with banner backdrop and customized dol go im or dol towers. Food is stacked high to symbolize a long prosperous life for the child.

Dol towers were traditionally used in 60th/70th dol parties to signify lifetime achievements; they have come to represent future accomplishments. I found a great tutorial on how to make your own towers.

Dduk (korean rice cakes) represents purity and a long lasting life. The rice cakes should be colorful since the colors will represent a bright future. Rainbow rice cakes represent a dream come true. We purchased our rice cakes and kimbap at Zion Market in Irvine. 

Food stacking food is stacked high to symbolize a life of prosperity for the child.

Ceremony The highlight of a doljanchi is a ritual where a child is placed in front of food and objects. The child is urged to pick one, and the item the child picks is believed to foretell the child’s future. This ritual is called Doljabi. Guests are urged to guess what the child will pick and to submit their guesses. A raffle is then held and the winner receives a prize. I made a doljabi poster on Canva and then had it printed for the raffle.

(Source: littlelotusparty.com)

doljabi poster

The party was a success and you can check out the video below to see what Karina chose in the doljabi ceremony. I do have to say that the best part of the celebration was being able to play and spend time with our friends. We are blessed to be a part of a wonderful community of people who we love and care about very much. We hope to share many more birthdays together. The one thing that was missing, our family. They all live far away and couldn’t attend and they were missed dearly. 

 

 

dol birthday

dol birthday

dol birthday

dol birthday

Unfortunately, we didn’t take pictures of the food, so no food pictures or recipes this time. I’ll be back to posting soon. Happy Easter!

 

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Meal Planning Tips – How I do it

How does a professionally trained cook meal plan at home? You would think it would be a breeze, and that said chef would wouldn’t even think twice about it. Ironically, it took me a little bit of time to set a system that worked for our family.

Mostly because there’s a couple of major differences between cooking at a restaurant and cooking at home. To start with, in a restaurant you would have a dishwasher (person) who would take care of all your dishes, pots and pans; you would also have at your disposal a great variety of high quality ingredients and some of them would be prepped already for you (already peeled garlic, chopped fresh herbs, already was he produce and fish already cut into portions); finally, you would have at least 3 hours to prepare your food before service.

At home you have to think about what meals will use less pots and pans, because inevitably you will be the one washing the big stack of dishes. You also have to juggle children and maybe work. (Cooking with a kid stuck to your leg can get pretty frustrating.) Also, the average person has to plan meals on a limited budget and does not have quality ingredients in abundance.

Here are several tips that will hopefully help you develop your own meal planning system, with meals your family will actually enjoy, and that will cut your stress and time in half.

Meal Planning Tips: How I do it

Read more

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Letting Others Cook for You

Sometimes it’s hard letting others cook for you, especially when you’re a chef, but being stuck in the hospital has left me no choice. It has been a pretty rough month for us. I spent a total of 12 days in the hospital, and our baby girl was in the NICU for 14 days. We are finally home and enjoying the sleepless nights and the inevitable routine that comes with having a newborn. Yes, we’re actually enjoying it! After watching our tiny baby being poked, prodded, and stuck in an incubator for two weeks, her cries are as sweet as honey.

Sometimes it's hard letting others cook for you, especially when you're a chef, but being stuck in the hospital has left me no choice.

My mom flew in from Mexico to help out and she has graciously been taking care of all of our meals and other household duties. After almost 2 weeks of hospital food I welcomed my mom’s cooking with open arms. There’s only one problem, my mom is a little out of practice when it comes to cooking. She did cook for us when we were little, but once my dad opened the restaurant there was no longer a need to cook at home, growing up we ate most of our meals there.

I find that a lot of people are intimidated when they find themselves cooking for two food professionals, but honestly, you shouldn’t be. Do we have high standards when it comes to food? Of course we do, but all of us food professionals have something in common, we love to eat. This means we love to eat anything and everything, or we’ll try it at least once. Also, most of us have some manners and won’t really tell you your food sucks, unless you ask for our honest opinion, which would then sound something like this: ” The chicken was slightly over cooked, I like my rice with a bit more salt, and I prefer vegetables on the crunchy side.”

Sometimes it's hard letting others cook for you, especially when you're a chef, but being stuck in the hospital has left me no choice.

 

Sometimes it can be hard letting others cook for you, because it means giving up control. It means that the carrots won’t be cut into perfect small dice, and the beef won’t be cooked exactly the way you like it. However, I think that we, more than most, know first hand all the work that goes into cooking and are able to recognize and appreciate a good meal when we taste one. That’s why I am so grateful for my mom and her cooking. Even though she might be a little rusty in the cooking department, the love and care she is putting into our meals is something not easily replicated, even if it’s something as simple and comforting as chicken soup.

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Making Hospital Food Look Good

This is my 6th day in the hospital. My water broke on Monday and I’m stuck here until this little one is born. It was a bit scary at first, but now we’ve kind of settled into a hospital routine. I miss my family terribly, but I’m trying to keep busy.

While stuck in the hospital, what other choice does a professional cook have than making hospital food look good with a little bit of help.

Can we talk about hospital food please? I have to say the food here is not that bad, but the options are limited and a lot of it is processed food, canned peaches, boxed mashed potatoes, and stuff like that. It’s funny how it takes something like this to happen so you can appreciate the things you have at home. I don’t cook fancy or complicated meals all the time, but almost everything is done from scratch, and boy does that make a difference!

While stuck in the hospital, what other choice does a professional cook have than making hospital food look good with a little bit of help.

Since I have all this time on my hands I’m making hospital food look good. It’s amazing what a little food styling and editing can do! Hopefully we’ll be out of here soon with a healthy baby girl and a renewed motivation for cooking good, healthy, and fresh food for our family. Please keep us in your thoughts and prayers.

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5 Things to Know Before Marrying a Chef

Working in F & B (food and beverage) is not for the faint of heart or body, but marrying a chef or someone who works in F & B is not a piece of cake either.[When I say food and beverage I mean chefs, cooks, servers, managers, anybody really who works in a restaurant, hotel, or food establishment.]

An article appeared recently in the Huffington Post about the things you should know before marrying a chef, and the article had some good points, but there are much more relevant things you should know if you are already madly in love and are planning to get married to someone in the industry. Here is my version.

5 Things to Know Before Marrying a Chef

1. You will struggle financially. Unless your husband/wife is already a celebrity chef or a high payed hotel manager, you will struggle. Most jobs in f & b are not well paid, so it is definitely not a life of luxury, especially if you have children.

2. There is no such thing as work-life balance. Work always comes first, except in matters of life or death, but otherwise your significant other will be going to work on holidays, weekends, whether they are sick or your son has a soccer game or your daughter has a dance recital. Which means, your spouse will inevitably miss out on almost everything, weddings, births, funerals, first words, first steps, and family gatherings. This can be especially hard on your relationship and your children. Days can go by without the children seeing the parent who works in the industry. If your spouse works the night shift he/she will be asleep when the kids go to school and when he/she gets home the kids will have already been asleep for several hours. It is hard for children to understand that the parent can’t simply take the time to be with them. However, there are some employers more flexible than others, so your spouse might make it to a thing a or two.

3. Expect to be on the move. If you want to be successful in the industry you will need to find the best job, even if it means moving across the country more than once. This may not always be the case, but it is a likely possibility.

4. You will be in charge of the household, and I mean everything. You will be taking care of the children, doctor’s appointments, home repairs, paying bills, cleaning, meal making, etc. When your partner in crime works 12 – 14 hr days the last thing they want to do is cook, clean, fix, or worry about anything other than sleep.

5. Communication with your spouse will need to be short and sweet. Do not try to communicate anything important to your spouse after their shift. It’s not that they don’t care what you have to say, but after a long day of work and dealing with a thousand things at the same time, the time after work is for decompressing. If you do need to inform them of something make it short, ” I need ….., I want….., give me ….., this happened….” It is even better if you do it by text message, that way there’s evidence that you did indeed asked them to do something, or informed them about something that happened at home.

Every couple and every job is different, but these are only some of the realities of a very demanding business. Is it worth it? It will only be worth it if your spouse has real passion for food and beverage, if this is what he/she loves to do, otherwise the sacrifices you and your family will have to make will be pointless. Is it possible to have a long lasting marriage? I don’t know, ask me in about 20 years! However, when I asked my mom, who has been married to restauranteur for 36 years, she emphasized that it was very important that you know that IT IS POSSIBLE, but that it will require two things: sacrifice and genuine love for your spouse.

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Remembering Kihong Stone

When Dora first approached me about writing a piece about my mother, Kihong Stone,  I had some serious apprehensions.  Her passing in May of 2010 is still a fresh wound.   Last year Dora put up an altar of her grandfather in the Mexican tradition.  It was a little bit of an uncomfortable experience watching her set up his favorite foods, ornate sugar skulls with gold leaf, candles, marigolds, rainbows of paper skeletons and other objects connecting the dead to the living world so they can find their way back.  The last thing I wanted was an omnipresent relative in the house watching everything we said and did.  But growing up a son of a first generation immigrant, we had traditions in my house that were not considered ‘normal’.   Growing up I got to experience a culture and a world view outside of the one I was going to school and playing with friends in.  I don’t want my son to miss out on anything that was a part of who he is or where he came from.  So I embraced this bit of culture at arm’s length.  Literally, I didn’t get too close to the altar because I swear his eyes were following me.

A touching tribute to an amazing woman, Kihong Stone, on the Day of the Dead. The blending of two cultures and honoring the dead.

A touching tribute to an amazing woman, Kihong Stone, on the Day of the Dead. The blending of two cultures and honoring the dead.

This year Dora asked if she could put up an altar of my mother.  I sighed and gave in because I knew what Dora was trying to do is considered very kind, but her death seemed so final the more we spoke of her in the past tense.  There was and still is this tiny part of my mind that says she might call tomorrow with a  dumb joke or that if I fly back to Annapolis she will be there waiting to give me a hug.  Hence, I don’t talk about my mother much.  So Dora started assembling the altar; putting up the sugar skulls and the delicate paper cutouts from last year that she painstakingly saved from several ant invasions and a much-too-curious three year old.  She started to ask me what my mom’s favorite foods were, what was her favorite color, what kind of personality she had, etc.  So I started to remember the good things, memories that should and must be preserved and passed down especially since my son was only an infant when she was alive.

A touching tribute to an amazing woman, Kihong Stone, on the Day of the Dead. The blending of two cultures and honoring the dead.

A touching tribute to an amazing woman, Kihong Stone, on the Day of the Dead. The blending of two cultures and honoring the dead.

My mother was a hardworking, intelligent, tenacious, brutally honest, well-traveled person that only accepted the best.  She would take French fries back to fast food restaurants because they were cold.  My first car was brokered with me outside the dealership because she didn’t want the salesman feeding on my emotions raising the price.  My favorite story is the time my mother went to Venice and checked in to her hotel.  She didn’t like the view so she came to the front desk and said there was a ‘smell’.  The front desk agent told her the hotel was sold out and there was nothing he could do.  So my mother waited until he could do something,  she stared at this poor, unsuspecting man for two hours while he checked in guests and tried to go about a normal day at work while this 5’6” Korean woman eyed him down.  First mistake, don’t underestimate my mother; she will outsmart you, outwit you, outclass you, and out will you into submission.  But I’m using the present tense when it should be the past. She got a room with a balcony overlooking the canal.

A touching tribute to an amazing woman, Kihong Stone, on the Day of the Dead. The blending of two cultures and honoring the dead.

All of these memories came back when we started her altar and now I’m so glad Dora asked.  I created a list of items I would like on my altar for when I pass into the next world; green decorations, a bottle of tequila (Clase Azul Reposado), a bottle of burgundy (DRC Richebourg), kimchi (gaktugi, moowoo malaengyee), Dr. Pepper, my grandmother’s rosary, my cowboy boots, Dora’s Chiles en Nogada, my son’s Thomas the train, and my father’s pocket knife.  We can and should mold traditions from the past to our lives in the present.  It keeps where we came from connected to where we can and should go.  It’s going to be the strangest looking Mexican Day of the Dead altar ever but that’s the benefit of combining traditions and cultures.  After all, it’s my altar and I’m watching you.

A touching tribute to an amazing woman, Kihong Stone, on the Day of the Dead. The blending of two cultures and honoring the dead.

 

 

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Day of the Dead Festival Oceanside

There’s a Day of the Dead festival in Oceanside every year, and no, it’s not a convention of the Walking Dead or related to Halloween at all, as you might think. The Day of the Dead is a Mexican celebration of life and a mocking of death. Aztec beliefs fused with that of their conquerors have made this day one full of symbolism, both pagan and Catholic at the same time. It is shouting in death’s face: “You might have taken our loves ones, but they are not forgotten.” And so we celebrate, dance, make altars for the departed, eat, and rejoice in the triumph over death brought by the Resurrection of Jesus Christ.

There's a Day of the Dead festival in Oceanside every year, and no, it's not a convention of the Walking Dead or related to Halloween at all, as you might think. The Day of the Dead is a Mexican celebration of life and a mocking of death. Aztec beliefs fused with that of their conquerors have made this day one full of symbolism, both pagan and Catholic at the same time. It is shouting in death's face: "You might have taken our loves ones, but they are not forgotten." And so we celebrate, dance, make altars for the departed, eat, and rejoice in the triumph over death brought by the Resurrection of Jesus Christ.

 

There's a Day of the Dead festival in Oceanside every year, and no, it's not a convention of the Walking Dead or related to Halloween at all, as you might think. The Day of the Dead is a Mexican celebration of life and a mocking of death. Aztec beliefs fused with that of their conquerors have made this day one full of symbolism, both pagan and Catholic at the same time. It is shouting in death's face: "You might have taken our loves ones, but they are not forgotten." And so we celebrate, dance, make altars for the departed, eat, and rejoice in the triumph over death brought by the Resurrection of Jesus Christ.

If you are interested in learning more about the symbolism and origin of the Day of the Dead, I wrote about this in greater detail last year, you can find the article here.

 

The Mission San Luis Rey, where the festival took place, set a beautiful stage for this celebration. There was food of course, tamales, tacos, tortas, aguas frescas, pan de muerto, and many more Mexican classics. There was also face painting, in the Day of the Dead fashion, for adults and kids alike. The munchkin got to decorate his own sugar skull, while donating the proceeds to the American Cancer Society. My favorite part of the festivities was the altars, and there were so many. Some representing various Mexican states and built by whole communities, and some were built by families honoring their loved ones.

David Lozeau at The Day of the Dead Festival Oceanside

There was also a large section of artisanal paintings, sculptures, hand made jewelry,  Mexican linen dresses, and religious images. I was able to talk to an artist that I have been wanting to meet, his name is David Lozeau. His work is full of bright colors, bold lines, and death; it is a modern rendition of Jose Guadalupe Posada’s skeleton images of the early 1900’s. David is American, from the East coast, he was raised Catholic and grew up with the idea that death equaled sadness and pain. It wasn’t until he moved to CA that he discovered that death could be joyful and so it became his inspiration. Some of his depictions of skeletal figures mirror traditional Mexican art, but others are infused with pop culture and his unique view of death. He sees the world with a Day of the Dead filter and his art reflects it. He does not limit himself to paintings, thus his work can be seen on motorcycles, tattoos, murals, and instruments. David attends the Day of the Dead festival in Oceanside every year, and can also be seen at various SoCal events and festivals. Thank for taking the time to talk to me David! Here is some of his work:

After a long day, we left the festival tired and happy. This was a very joyful event filled with music, color, and flowers, but the hundreds of pictures of those gone reminded us that just like death, this celebration is bittersweet.

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Road trip to Ensenada & Rosarito

My sister just left, and as I try to hold back the sadness that threatens to engulf me I realize I’m just really glad she came. She got here about a week ago, but instead of spending a whole week in OC, we met her in Tijuana for a quick road trip to Ensenada and Rosarito, Baja Califorinia, MX. The hubby and I have been wanting to go there for a while, since we live so close, but we had never made the time.

An amazing road trip to Ensenada and Rosario with the family. Great food and friends made the trip one to remember.

An amazing road trip to Ensenada and Rosario with the family. Great food and friends made the trip one to remember.

We walked across the border, where my sister and her boyfriend picked us up. We decided to skip Tijuana and went on to Rosarito, we stopped for breakfast at Los Pelicanos Restaurante. The restaurant is supplied by their own farm where they raise quail, deer, and lamb. In season you can find these items on the menu cooked over an oak and mezquite wood fired grill, served with warm tortillas, and homemade jams. After a a breakfast of crispy chilaquiles, fried quail eggs, and refried beans we drove off to Ensenada.

An amazing road trip to Ensenada and Rosario with the family. Great food and friends made the trip one to remember.

An amazing road trip to Ensenada and Rosario with the family. Great food and friends made the trip one to remember.

We decided to take a detour and visit el Valle de Guadalupe, which is Mexico’s wine country. We only visited one winery, L.A Cetto. We had a wine tasting led by a Chef Iker, who shared his knowledge of the local wines and gave us some recommendations on where to eat. Honestly, we weren’t too impressed with the wines or the winery, but we did just come back from a trip to Napa, so it’s not really fair to compare.

An amazing road trip to Ensenada and Rosario with the family. Great food and friends made the trip one to remember.

While driving back to Ensenada, on a last minute whim, we decided to go to ” La Bufadora”. “La Bufadora” is the site of one of North Americas largest blowholes, and one of the many tourist attractions in Ensenada. The site is surrounded by shops selling all kinds of hand crafts and souvenirs. There are also small food stands offering fresh seafood and cold drinks to quench the summer heat.

An amazing road trip to Ensenada and Rosario with the family. Great food and friends made the trip one to remember.

An amazing road trip to Ensenada and Rosario with the family. Great food and friends made the trip one to remember.

An amazing road trip to Ensenada and Rosario with the family. Great food and friends made the trip one to remember.On our return to Ensenada we stopped for tacos before checking into the hotel. Did you now fish tacos are said to have originated in Ensenada? So naturally I just had to have some. I can’t seem to remember the name of where we ate, I’ll have to get back to you in that one. The tacos were simple: battered and fried fish, a chile ‘guero’ stuffed with smoked marlin, topped with pickled onions, cabbage, and salsa verde. Quite unique and delicious.

An amazing road trip to Ensenada and Rosario with the family. Great food and friends made the trip one to remember.

Finally we arrived at Hotel Coral and Marina and spent the rest of the day at the pool. In the evening my sister watched the munchkin so we could go out for a drink. Well at least that was the plan, but after a whole day of travel and activity all we could muster was to stop by the hotel bar. I like Mexican hotel bars. They have plenty of tequila, and are generally “old school”. The bartender was an older gentleman dressed in a classic waiter’s uniform, bow tie and all. We had margaritas, no sour mix (thank goodness!), and peanuts.

An amazing road trip to Ensenada and Rosario with the family. Great food and friends made the trip one to remember.

The next day, the guys went deep sea fishing while we walked around the center of town, stopped at Sanborns for some caldo Tlalpeño (spicy chicken soup), and paid a visit to the Mercado Negro (local fish market).  On the drive back to Tijuana we stopped at Puerto Nuevo to feast on their famous lobster dish: broiled lobster, refried beans, hand-made flour tortillas, and Mexican rice. All in all, for such a short trip we had a wonderful time. With our bellies full and our hearts content, we walked across the border pondering how two worlds so different can be so close, and yet the wall that claims to separate them cannot keep them from blending into each other.

An amazing road trip to Ensenada and Rosario with the family. Great food and friends made the trip one to remember.

An amazing road trip to Ensenada and Rosario with the family. Great food and friends made the trip one to remember.

An amazing road trip to Ensenada and Rosario with the family. Great food and friends made the trip one to remember.

An amazing road trip to Ensenada and Rosario with the family. Great food and friends made the trip one to remember.

An amazing road trip to Ensenada and Rosario with the family. Great food and friends made the trip one to remember.

An amazing road trip to Ensenada and Rosario with the family. Great food and friends made the trip one to remember.

An amazing road trip to Ensenada and Rosario with the family. Great food and friends made the trip one to remember.

An amazing road trip to Ensenada and Rosario with the family. Great food and friends made the trip one to remember.

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Road Trip to Napa

Our daily routine is back in place, the familiar faces and places of Orange County surrounding our thoughts and our lives. Yet, the sweet memories of our road trip to Napa still flood my days.

This road trip to Napa has created so many sweet memories for our family. Dinner at the French Laundry, wineries, a dinner with friends.

That’s what vacations are for right? To get away from our lives even if it is momentarily. So here are the best pictures of our trip, the places we visited and where we ate, just in case you were thinking of planning a trip to Napa.

Road Trip to Napa: The Pictures

This road trip to Napa has created so many sweet memories for our family. Dinner at the French Laundry, wineries, a dinner with friends.

This road trip to Napa has created so many sweet memories for our family. Dinner at the French Laundry, wineries, a dinner with friends.

This road trip to Napa has created so many sweet memories for our family. Dinner at the French Laundry, wineries, a dinner with friends.

This road trip to Napa has created so many sweet memories for our family. Dinner at the French Laundry, wineries, a dinner with friends.

 

This road trip to Napa has created so many sweet memories for our family. Dinner at the French Laundry, wineries, a dinner with friends.

 

This road trip to Napa has created so many sweet memories for our family. Dinner at the French Laundry, wineries, a dinner with friends.

This road trip to Napa has created so many sweet memories for our family. Dinner at the French Laundry, wineries, a dinner with friends.

This road trip to Napa has created so many sweet memories for our family. Dinner at the French Laundry, wineries, a dinner with friends.

This road trip to Napa has created so many sweet memories for our family. Dinner at the French Laundry, wineries, a dinner with friends.

This road trip to Napa has created so many sweet memories for our family. Dinner at the French Laundry, wineries, a dinner with friends.

This road trip to Napa has created so many sweet memories for our family. Dinner at the French Laundry, wineries, a dinner with friends.

Note: I promise this is the last post on Napa. The next one will have a recipe for sure!!

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Dinner at the French Laundry

So I mentioned before this trip to Napa is our first real vacation in 3 yrs, due mostly to the birth of our son and the ‘living on one income’ thing. It was also about that time when we stopped going to fine dining restaurants. We still manage to go out to plenty of restaurants, but the Michelin starred ones are way out of our budget. So when the opportunity and the funds became available for this trip, you can only imagine how thrilled we were to finally be having dinner at the French Laundry.Dinner at the French Laundry where the service was exceptional and so was the food. Course after course, nine of them, the food was perfect.

 

Dinner at the French Laundry where the service was exceptional and so was the food. Course after course, nine of them, the food was perfect.

Just like our recent visit to Chez Panisse, this was not at all what I expected, in a good way of course. I was taken by surprise by the actual dining room. It really is an old house turned into a restaurant. The service was exceptional as well as the food. Course after course, nine to be exact, the food was perfect.

Dinner at the French Laundry where the service was exceptional and so was the food. Course after course, nine of them, the food was perfect.

When we eat out we usually measure how good a restaurant is with one question: can we make it at home? Trust me when I tell you I couldn’t have made this at home. There was only one problem, the bill, all $1,200.00 of it. Was it worth it? Yes. Was it the best meal of my life? It was one of the best, but maybe it’s because I’m out of practice eating in the fine dining world, but it felt a bit stuffy, almost too formal. I usually enjoy the dance of a multi-course meal, the way the service flows, the wine being poured, etc. But somehow this time it felt too ceremonious, like I was in the church of Thomas Keller and I should consider myself lucky to be there. Let me be clear, this is not a criticism of the food or the service, just my impression of the ambiance.

Dinner at the French Laundry where the service was exceptional and so was the food. Course after course, nine of them, the food was perfect.

[My husband just brought up a good point, we’ve never dined at a 3 star Michelin restaurant before, so maybe I would have to eat at another restaurant of that caliber to be able to make a proper comparison of the service.]

Dinner at the French Laundry where the service was exceptional and so was the food. Course after course, nine of them, the food was perfect.

There’s a dreaded rumor out there that fine dining is on its last legs, that its death is imminent. The never ending recession has changed the face of elegant dining in America. Fine dining restaurants aren’t as popular as they used to be. Tapas bars, gastro-pubs, bistros, pop-ups and food trucks have taken over the dining scene by serving high quality food at a decent price. Also, with the emergence of “foodies”, a select number of people are preparing really good meals in their own homes. Meals that not too long ago they would’ve eaten at restaurants. Furthermore, ingredients that were once available only to restaurants are now available to home cooks, which only makes the preparation of high end meals at home easier and easier. Even so, fine dining shouldn’t die. It is part of the cooking craft, of its history, and future. Maybe fine dining just has to change, and adapt to the current situation and growing knowledge of those once considered amateur diners.

Dinner at the French Laundry where the service was exceptional and so was the food. Course after course, nine of them, the food was perfect.

All in all, it was a wonderful and much needed date night with my husband, but I can’t help thinking that maybe we should have used the money to buy a new computer before this one finally dies. I think I would’ve been just as happy.

Dinner at the French Laundry where the service was exceptional and so was the food. Course after course, nine of them, the food was perfect.