Monday, January 15, 2007

Reservations at French Laundry...IMPOSSIBLE?

I recently got to thinking about French Laundry after discussing the restaurant with a friend of mine who I got the Bouchon Cookbook for as part of a secret santa exchange. We both dreamed of going there someday and so I thought what were the possibilites of getting a reservation there. Unfortunately, to my dismay - the response was dismal all over the place. Short of going there in person, it seemed impossible to do over the phone or otherwise. Impossible is what I thought. And then I came across this post:
OpenTable hints
At the moment, there are 2 tables available every day: a table for 4 at 5:30pm, and a table for 4 at 9:00pm. There has not been a dinner table for 2 offered at all for quite some time, contrary to this page. On Friday, Saturday, and Sunday there are three lunch tables available also: a table for 2 at 11:00 am, one at 11:15am and a table for 4 at 11:00am. For Per Se, there's a nightly dinner table for 4 at 5:30. I haven't seen anything else available. Dinner is the most competitive table. If you go straight for lunch you'll have a much better shot.
The tables open up exactly at midnight (Pacific Time, French Laundry and Eastern Time for Per Se) and are gone quickly. You have to know when the OpenTable clock will strike midnight. The OpenTable servers seem to be synchronized, so you can tell when their clock will change by visiting and clicking on the appropriate timezone. Be ready. The first person to click the link gets a few minutes of peace to fill out the form. You have to click first! Once you see the page where you fill out your credit card, you've locked the table for a few minutes.
Go to this page(French Laundry) or this page (Per Se) earlier in the evening. OpenTable actually limits reservations to between 59-61 days ahead, which sometimes isn't quite the same thing as the 'over-the-phone' reservation rules of 2 months to the day. On this page, enter the earliest date that OpenTable responds with "Your requested date exceeds the maximum advance reservations limit for The French Laundry (Per Se)" For the time, use 7:15 pm. OpenTable will look two hours before and two hours after for a suitable reservation. I've seen 5:30 and 9:00 tables available, so 7:15 is right in the middle. Keep your browser window on this 'Your requested date exceeds ... ' page. Watch your webpage. When 11:59:55 strikes, click 'reload' in your browser until you see either available tables show up or you see a 'No tables are available' message. If you see 'No tables are available,' sorry, but you lose. Try again tomorrow. Do NOT click so fast that you don't process what appeared on the screen. If you click reload with reckless abandon, you might get the option to book a table and then lose it with the next reload. If you are lucky enough to see a time appear, quickly click the time you are offered.
Good luck!
link to hints page

Maybe there is hope afterall. If you ever try it - let me know if it worked for you!

"It's been a long time since I left you..."

Wow - I have not been back to this blog since the month before my wedding. I apologize deeply (not like I have tons of readers anyway) to those who were as passionate about food as I was and looked forward to seeing what new thing I was either eating or making that week. Though my posts were on hiatus, my baking and eating habits were not. :)

It's been a busy 5 months since my last post. Of course, there was the issue of a wedding that I'll need to post about since there was tons of food. The pictures didn't come out as nice, which was a little disappointing, but it was good none the less. There were crab and holiday dinners with my favorite San Pedro gang and a cookie exchange to show you too. I also tried a couple dessert recipes since then...a couple turned out great and a couple not so great. But you never know until you try, right? Anyway, all that baking was also an excuse to try out all the new wedding kitchen gifts.

Well, it is a new year and maybe with the new year comes a new leaf. Hopefully I'm able to provide more posts in honor of food this year and hopefully there will be lots of new things to talk about!

Here's to a happy 2007!