One of my favorite meals is champagne and pommes frites (a.k.a. french fries or freedom fries per our current administration) so I guess it's no surprise I ended up in France. Really good pommes frites, the kind that are crispy on the outside, creamy in the inside and not greasy, are extremely difficult to perfect as I can attest to destroying thousands in my humble culinary career. So when I come across perfect pommes frites, it's certainly cause for celebration. Last week at The Village Pub was just such an occasion.

When heading east from San Francisco for cooking school, champagne and pommes frites on the terrace at Auberge de Soleil overlooking the Napa Valley were my send off and while interning at Danube in New York City, I cooked chef Mario Lohninger his favorite dinner of steak poivre with béarnaise sauce and "beautiful, perfect pommes frites", as he specifically requested, every Saturday night. Cooking dinner for a New York Times four-star chef is about as intimidating as it gets, especially for a new deer-in-the-headlights culinary student! He'd look at me and shake his head as I ruined batch after batch of fries. Finally after a few months, my fries were deemed acceptable for consumption.

So last week, just before hopping on a plane heading back to the land of champagne and pommes frites, I spent an unforgettable afternoon at The Village Pub with my friend Tracy from my dot bomb days. We realized our dot com was quickly morphing into a dot bomb when they repo'd the coffee machine, but I digress… The Pub and the inimitable and gracious executive chef, Mark Sullivan, just received four stars and as Tracy declared, the fries alone earned them three of those stars. They were about as good as fries get and I held up my little bucket up in homage for a moment of silence before I quickly devoured them, washed down by a bottle of champagne.

French Fries with Remoulade, $5. Veuve Cliquot '96 La Grande Dame, $198. A wonderful afternoon of champagne and pommes frites with a great friend, priceless.

The Village Pub
2967 Woodside Road
Woodside, CA

Champagne and Pommes Frites 7 August,2008Cucina Testa Rossa

  • Sam

    You certainly know how to live.
    Now I am double-bummed we didn’t get to meet up whe you were here.
    I’ll drink Champagne with anything but I would have gone for English-style chips instead of fries, but that’s just me.
    just so you know – the village pub link isn’t working so I can’t find out where Woodside is. Good job, probably, Might save me a dent on my credit card.


Cucina Testa Rossa

After a decade in Silicon Valley, Laura traded her keyboard for a cutting board and moved to New York City to immerse herself in food and wine studies and restaurant operations. She graduated from the French Culinary Institute where she studied under Master Chefs Jacques Pépin, André Soltner, Alain Sailhac, and Master Sommelier Andrea Immer. While in New York, Laura cooked with some of the world's most highly acclaimed chefs including Mario Lohninger (Danube), Morimoto, Mark Franz & Emily Luchetti (Farallon), Michael Romano (Union Square Café), Mario Batali, Marcella Hazan, Jonathan Cartwright (White Barn Inn), Martin Heierling (Bellagio), Dave Pasternack (Esca), Richard Reddington (Redd, Auberge du Soleil), and the legendary Alice Waters (Chez Panisse).

After working as the Back Kitchen Chef of Jacques Pépin's PBS cooking show, "Fast Food, My Way", Laura moved to France to cook her way around the country. She cooked at the Cannes Film Festival, then to the northwest corner of France, to Britanny, to cook on a lobster boat, then east to Paris to the world famous Pierre Hermé Patisserie where she made thousands of his macarons every day! Laura cooked for the fabulous Olivia de Havilland and interned at 3 Michelin Star Le Cinq under Chef Philippe Legendre and Pastry Chef Fabrice Lecleir. Laura was the executive chef and cooking instructor at the DaVinci Code chateau outside of Paris where she was on set during the filming of the movie.

In Fall 2007, Laura worked on Jacques Pepin’s most recent PBS television series as prop and food stylist. "More Fast Food, My Way" should air in the Spring of 2008. “My Keyboard for a Cutting Board ~ Adventures in a French kitchen v1.0”, Laura’s first book highlights her first three months cooking in France, was published in Summer 2006. Convivialité is her second book and will hopefully be published in the fall.

Laura now splits her time between Paris and the San Francisco Bay Area doing private chefing, teaching cooking classes and leading market tours when in Paris. Bon Appetit!

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