This is a post I've put off writing for a week. Because the more people who knew I was heading up to This Restaurant, and the more people who told me they were excited to see my pictures from the meal, and the more people who said they wanted to read about my dinner, the less inclined I was to write about it.
My dirty little secret, though, is this: I never intended to write about it. It was a birthday dinner, yes, a big, round, fat one, but I never planned to write about it. And I still don't.
It's kind of like when you're 8.72 months pregnant, and then you're in the hospital, and your feet are in the stirrups, and the ceiling starts spinning, and you're hyper-aware that you're experiencing something very important, something you've waited for and anticipated for a long while. Honestly, when that's happening, when you're on the cusp of giving birth, I really, truly, from the bottom of my heart, hope you are not composing an internal blog post about your birth experience. Because that would be phenomenally sad. Mostly, of course, for the baby, but also for you.
Because if you're truly going to be present at an experience of this magnitude, you've got to forget about the future storytelling possibilities. You've got to focus on your partner, and your breathing, and the mind-altering nature of what is happening, and you really, in my very humble and completely personal opinion, shouldn't be taking notes or reaching down between your legs to photograph the slippery life form fighting its way outside you.
And let me just say this: eating at The French Laundry has almost nothing in common with giving birth. It's cleaner, for one. And much quieter. And there are suited men and well-coiffed ladies in there, and perfect little breads with creamy, fleur de sel-topped butter, and high heeled shoes, and amuse-bouches, and a tremendous variety of stemware, and little vegetables cut in such precise brunoise you marvel that any human could produce a dice so microscopic, so consistently cubic. And there are meats, and cheeses, and sauces, and handsome French servers named Ludovic, and palate-cleansing sorbets, and a nearly endless parade of exquisitely plated desserts, and I don't know about your birth experience, but mine lacked nearly all of these things, most notably Ludovic, though honestly, he may have been there and it's possible I was just distracted by, you know, my BABY.
So my point isn't that eating at TFL is so Important that it's akin to giving birth. It is decidedly not. Not even remotely close. Not at ALL. What it is, though, is an experience that a person in the food world has to enjoy fully, and without the distraction of a notebook, or a camera, or even a silent, internal memory card.
You know what I remember about my meal?
Two things: the face of my husband across the table, and the feel of his hand on mine.
The dinner, though wonderful, was secondary.
And that's why I'm not writing about it.