Soon after surviving the Rhode Island traffic disaster, I wrapped up things with my family and headed back to San Francisco. The idea is to settle down a bit and restart some semblance of a normal life. However we skipped normality for the first couple days…
As soon as I stepped off the plane, Sophie and I drove up to Napa and went to French Laundry. They provide a nine course meal; allegedly the finest in America. It was a wee bit pricey, but this was our Christmas gift to each other. I’ll give two examples of how serious this place is.
First, they have a phone number for you to call which they never answer, if you happen to be lucky enough to avoid a busy signal. This is just to remind you how exclusive they are.
Second, I don’t have a rich enough vocabulary to recount the astonishing array of foodstuffs and wine that we were served, but I remember that our waiter spoke at length about the salt. Three “finishing salts”, he called them. They were presented at the table in ceramic bowls with small spoons, each with a distinct pastel ashen hue. One salt was harvested from the coast of Brittany, one from the Sea of Japan, and one was from an estimated 40,000 year old salt deposit found in a dinosaur fossil site in Montana.
We only were able to go because Sophie met someone on craigslist a year ago who has such inside connections. We dined along with his friends and family, nine of us in all. They were very nice people. Sophie and I were certainly the riffraff of the table. I think we pulled it off, though.
A couple days later we went on a photo shoot at a high-level Google executive’s house. A friend of Sophie’s, who works as the family’s personal chef, had made an eight foot long gingerbread house for the children. It was elaborate, including interior lighting and a “working” fireplace made of a miniature LCD video screen hooked up to a DVD player with a loop of an actual fireplace. Sophie took some shots of it which I’m sure she’ll put up sometime later.
The Google executive’s actual house was nice, too.
Tomorrow I’ll post about mundane things like hanging with our actual friends.