After making a day trip to eat an, uh, light four-course lunch at Bouchon while visiting San Francisco, my brother, his girlfriend and I walked around the tiny Thomas Keller town of Yountville, trying to work down the pile of meat passing through our insides and remember what it felt like to not be moaning over fullness. (If the clean plate club had a national conference, my five-day jaunt to California might have earned a medal of outstanding achievement, but more on that later.)
With its freshly painted storefronts and uncomfortably quiet road, the entire area feels like a low-key version of that Ye Olde Western portion of Six Flags, only more small-town suburban. Which is why I couldn't believe my heavy-lidded eyes when, during our post-binge stroll, we stumbled upon the unbelievable French Laundry garden.
I once got a personal tour of the American Apparel factory; this was better. There were raspberry plants, rows upon rows of beets, and small strawberries with an even smaller "seriously, don't eat these" sign so you'd have enough guilt to leave them be, even though the voice in the back of your head saying "Take one! Take one!" kept on ringing. I've been thinking a lot about parental guidance and how you instill the ideas of right and wrong in children since that day — Sesame Street? Cartoon plotlines? — and a small part of me thinks that, maybe if things were different and my parents did a shit job of raising me, I could have eaten one of those berries without remorse.
The spot was so surprisingly picturesque that I got a rash from one of the plants and four bug bites while there and it was the most wonderful ever. The only downfall was spotting some rich-looking Japanese homies in suits peering at vegetables before likely dining there that evening, but considering I got to pull over on the side of the road to eat cherries from a man selling them out of the back of a truck twenty minutes later, I couldn't have asked for anything more.
chicky chicky parm parm
If I were a fashion blogger, this picture would have been my lunch.
No one would have known. No one would have knoooooooown!
I am the queen of the fruits!