Soon after my neighbor returned from a business trip to California, he invited my husband and me over to discuss the highlight of his travels: an evening at The French Laundry. Over cocktails, he recounted the meal, the wines and the service at the Yountville destination, and proudly brandished a menu that a server had given him. We soaked it in, relishing the offerings and reliving through his story an experience that he undoubtedly will count among his finest for a long time to come. As ...

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