The sigh, to me, is an indication that my body is responding to what I’m eating on some level beyond my intellectual appreciation of it. It’s involuntary, the sigh. The sigh can’t be forced; it either happens or it doesn’t.
The place where all the sighing occurred was in The Dining Room at the Ritz-Carlton. I've been wanting to eat there for a very long time, and last night, I finally did. We had the seven-course tasting menu (the six-course menu plus something we were eyeing from another part of the menu that they graciously added to ours).
I won’t go through a blow-by-blow of our gorgeous meal, but let me tantalize you with this: a tray came out bearing two small glasses, each covered tightly in plastic wrap in which a small hole had been punched. Wood smoke was trapped inside the glass, creating a swirling, whitish fog. On top of the plastic wrap sat a quivering oval quail egg, softly poached, and a mound of Osetra caviar, with a sprinkling of miniature brioche croutons. The server instructed us to scoop up everything at once, passing it over the wood smoke, and eat it in a single bite.
The blue fin tuna sashimi with Dungeness crab, cucumber gelée and a tart lemon terrine? Sigh. The quail with foie gras and sweet carrot puree? Sigh.
And though this won’t be a popular opinion, I have to report that my recent dinner at The French Laundry simply wasn’t sigh-worthy. I realize that TFL is the holy grail. I know that to admit that I was underwhelmed is tantamount to sacrilege, but there you have it. While technically perfect, it didn’t make me sigh.
That’s not to say that I’m complaining. Such fine distinctions are not expressions of displeasure, but rather simple observations.
I’m a lucky girl; I’ve had a wonderful birthday month. I’m sad to see March go.