Posted by: Kath Usitalo | August 26, 2009

Road Food Report: The French Laundry

Al Fresco dining (in yellow, right); Mrs. Fresco (pretty in pink) ignoring him

Al Fresco dining (in yellow shirt, right) with a distracted Mrs. Fresco (pretty in pink)

I will tell you right now that I am cheating a bit on this Road Food Report because I didn’t actually eat at The French Laundry. But someday I will. And I’m fairly certain I’ll recommend it even after eating there.

You see, last Saturday I was heading north on I-75 en route (I knew that high school French would come in handy) to Frankenmuth for a Girlz Getaway (more on that another day). It was lunchtime when I approached the exit for Fenton, home of The French Laundry.

French Laundry window_2057

So I decided to make a quick detour and grab a bite at the little eatery with the big rave reviews. Sure, I was hitting it at lunchtime, but it was Saturday in a small town off the beaten path, just south of Flint. How busy could it be?

The joint was jammed, and there was a line and who-knows-how-long wait for a table.

Although the casual spot has been there since 1997 I guess I was the last to learn of it. Mon dieu!

The French Laundry’s cheeky “Lunchtime and Beyond” menu features a range of sandwiches, each with a twist (if you can say it with a straight face, order Marionette and the Bust of Elvis and you’ll get roasted veggies on focaccia).

Snickers was the flavor of the day

The cookie bar flavor of the month is Snickers

I grabbed a tomato focaccia from the bakery counter and, as I hit the road with my carry-out, drooled over other peoples’ plate-sized pancakes, sandwiches, and incredible egg dishes.

My brunch (right)

My carry-out brunch (right) in the bakery case, waiting to fulfill its destiny

The cafe’s breads and most baked goods are from Zingerman’s, the famous Ann Arbor food emporium, so my focaccia was very tasty.

french laundry _2058

The bustling front room

But I really wanted to sit in one of the funky dining rooms and relax over Baked Eggs with spinach, bacon, tomato and Parmigiano-Reggiano, served with a butter croissant and a side green salad. And the chef’s secret recipe Bloody Mary.

I’ll just have to find another reason to visit Fenton.

Garcon! Ou est la bibliotheque?!

French Laundry Garcon CU_2061

"Garcon!" I'll say on my return visit, "Je voudrais le poulet et les frites."

This dining room houses the bar, where original cocktails, Michigan beers, wine, and Italian sodas are poured

The airy bar room, where original cocktails, Michigan beers, wine, and Italian sodas are poured


  1. Oh this looks so good, Kath. And I LOVE Zingerman’s food.

  2. So many great places, so little time!

  3. You, Paige, MaryLou and I need to go here. Looks like a neat place. Good thing you like to take those detours.

  4. And yesterday we found another town worthy of a day trip for us “girls.” Will fill you in.

  5. Wonderful food!.
    The very best Italian spaghetti I have ever had.
    Would love the recipe.
    Sandwiches are excellent.
    Have not yet been there for breakfast.
    Love the place.

    • Thanks for the recommendation. More motivation to go back!

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