Well this is a long overdue post about Napa! We did not go to the French Laundry as we had planned due to some unforeseen circumstances and I was pretty devastated. However, some lovely people swooped in and got us a reservation at another Thomas Keller Restaurant, Ad Hoc in a pinch.
Ad Hoc is more casual and the meals are served family style. There is a fixed menu, with some add ons (supplements as they call them) and a vegetarian option. Jen, our trip planner, did her internship while in culinary school at Ad Hoc, so it turned out to be a very special part of the trip for her and for us. She is also a vegetarian so we got the vegetarian option in addition to the normal main course. The main course was lamb. Lamb is on my short list of foods I hate (shrimp, scallops, pickles, mayo, salmon, blue cheese and lamb) so I had to be the picky lady and insist we get the supplement of Chicken Katsu. Then the waiter alerted us that there was a New York strip option instead of lamb. I jumped at my chance!
In the end I tried the lamb. I spit it out and said, "ew, that tastes like lamb!" My friend Laura tried the steak after and could not understand how I could tell such a difference between the two. I explained the fact that I have a crazy palate. I can tell when there is a bay leaf in something even if you take it out! We also were lucky enough to get a kitchen tour at the end of dinner. It made Jen nostalgic and me regretful that I never went to culinary school. I know there is still time, but I like my day job and that is why I blog!
Without further adieu, one of the bright spots on the non vacation, Ad Hoc. Sorry for the dark iPhone pics.
|We had drinks at the hotel before. Check out our Target fashion finds!|
|Ad Hoc was supposed to be a temporary place but people liked it so much it stayed!|
|This menu concept hit the lawyer in me a little too close to home!|
|This was the day we went.|
|That is all beer in the wall. Our beer lovers had some and bought some to take home.|
|Our menu for the evening. Except the ice cream was different.|
|Since we were with a celebrity guest, we got an amuse bouche in the form of a cocktail. It was yummy. I don't remember what it was.|
|First course: Sunchoke soup. This was my least favorite part of the meal (well except for the lamb). I chalk this up to never having a sunchoke before. I was not expecting it to be so earthy and burpy.|
|This warm farro salad was so good! Farro is my new go to grain these days when I allow a grain.|
|Here is the lamb. The lamblovers loved it.|
|Cauliflower and celery root with pomegranate, I never thought to put that together!|
|The Chicken Katsu reminded me of my childhood. I need to make this soon.|
|Don't worry, I had seconds!|
|Next was the cheese course. The cheese was good, but the onion marmalade was better!|
|Finally the brownie, but with tres leches ice cream not the one advertised. Yum!|
|Then we toured the kitchen! Apparently this is a Thomas Keller thing to have a clock like this.|
|So shiny and new!|
|Ah one day I will have separate fridges for separate things!|
While it was no French Laundry, it was still a great experience. The service was top notch, the music and lighting really set the mood and the company was unreal. But, I will say that I have had many better meals here in my home town of New Orleans. We have no Michelin Star restaurants, but that is not our fault. I am lucky to live in what I think is the best city in the world, but I also think the fact this place is so great spoils me. The problem with this trip as a whole was that I built it up so much in my head, it was sure to disappoint, even if I didn't lose about 7 grand of stuff before even getting there. I certainly need to do Napa again, but this time I will approach it how I used to approach blind dating...no expectations.
Have you been to Ad hoc? What did you think? Have you ever had a trip where there a difference from what you had in your head to what it was? Have you been burglarized on vacation?