The December issue of Esquire has a great article (sorry, not online), p. 102: “The night Thomas Keller came to my kitchen” documents how the magazine writer cooked in his apartment kitchen from Keller’s new book, “Ad Hoc at Home,’ with Keller in tow. Seems like an obvious bit of PR, but Keller says no one’s ever invited him to their home to cook from one of his books. That initially sounds like an odd bit of pathos given his rich pageant of a life… but on second thought, if you write books like this, you have no one to blame but yourself. As a nonpro home cook, even a very good one, you are either an unflappable optimist or a small-time masochist if you expect to cook a whole meal from “The French Laundry;” if you also think it might be fun to invite Keller over as a witness, I might suggest that you don’t need an apron, but a hairshirt.
Anyway. Ad Hoc is not the French Laundry. Ad Hoc, however, is the only restaurant where I read its menu every day (mailing list here). My dinner at Ad Hoc was everything I hoped for/expected; I haven’t eaten at FL (yet), but it’s food executed at the very highest level — and most of us don’t live there, or even want to. Ad Hoc, however, is something like how I would cook every day given the time/money/garden/opportunity, which is another kind of highest level, which means it’s a book I am going to buy.