I have to start his post by admitting that our kitchen is still about half plywood and studs. This is also the time of year that I get my annual bonus. In the two years that we have lived in our house, my bonus has helped us take nice leaps toward our vision of the perfect house with our perfect kitchen.

This year, however, something caught our eye. Something that was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Looking at the Slow Food Nation fundraiser auction, this jumped out at us.

Behind the Scenes at the French Laundry

Enjoy a tour of the French Laundry’s gardens, led by the French Laundry gardener and farmer Peter Jacobsen whose neighboring orchards provides 120 varieties of fruit sold exclusively to the French Laundry. Your stroll in the gardens will be followed by dinner for two at the legendary French Laundry. Reservations will be arranged in advanced with every effort made to ensure that Chef Thomas Keller will be in town to greet the lucky winners.

On our first family trip to the Bay Area, we were daunted by the prospect of dining at The French Laundry. There was, of course, the expense in the middle of a week of other fabulous meals. There was also the prospect of getting reservations. Reservations open two months in advance and are practically impossible to get. Chez Panisse reservations were bad enough.

Now, we had the chance to support Slow Food USA and have our French Laundry dinner. Even better, we have an opportunity to meet Peter Jacobsen, the farmer who makes so much of it possible. And Thomas Keller, the man himself, may be there. We placed our bid, and, remarkably enough, we won the auction. We’ll post more as we know more.

While we were looking at the auction, we also picked up a good deal and a great bargain. We got an autographed copy of Slow Food International founder Carlo Petrini’s new book, Slow Food Nation. For a price that makes us feel almost guilty, we got tickets to Wine over Water, an annual wine festival on a pedestrian bridge over the Tennessee River in Chattanooga.

With wine in Chattanooga and a dream dinner in Napa, our travel calendar is getting pretty full. Our kitchen isn’t getting any closer to being full of cabinets, but we’ll have the kitchen for a lifetime. Just like these memories in the making.

La Tourelle's thirtieth anniversary
Overheard at a Mexican restaurant

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