5 years ago, (with the support of our wives) Jason and I decided to take our FND ritual to a new level, and we started the FND trip.
The FND trip is where we dedicate one week to enjoying food, wine and as Jason says “seeing cool shit“ — experiencing.
The FND Trip begins on a Friday and ends 8 days later on a Saturday … thus, we get to enjoy two Friday night dinners.
Over the past 5 years, on our various trips we have traveled by car and train all around France, Switzerland and Italy to enjoy great food, drink great wine, see “cool shit,” but most importantly, to experience.
The FND trip began in 2006…
Jason and I took a week to drive from Monaco through Tuscany (a region of Italy famous for food and wine)…
We took the rural back roads and we stopped whenever we wanted.
Once we stopped at a tiny vineyard in Tuscany.
The owner appreciated our visit so much that he brought us cheese, italian ham, and several glasses of their wine.
We sat in cheap plastic chairs in their backyard facing their vineyard … drinking their wine.
The experience was like something out of a movie.
Over that week, we traveled through Sienna, Pisa, Milan, Florence and many small Italian villages and vineyards along the way, we experienced.
In 2007, we met up in Paris …
In Paris, we went to cafés, smoked cigars, ate lunch or dinner at some of the best restaurants in Paris, and of course saw “cool shit” ….
After a few days, we rented a car and drove from Paris down through Burgundy to Lyon to the south of France … we stopped whenever we wanted.
On that trip, we enjoyed dinner at 4 of the 5 top rated *** Michelin restaurants in France…
an unforgettable week — experience.
In 2008, we met again in Paris…
That first Friday night, we didn’t like the “tiny” table we were given at the ** Michelin restaurant so we left the restaurant before we even sat down …
It was around 8pm and Jason challenged me to pull off the unthinkable: to get us a table at “Le Cinq” without reservations on Friday night …
“Le Cinq” is a *** michelin, arguably the best restaurant in Paris, certainly the most famous…
30 minutes later….
Although “Le Cinq” was fully booked, I talked my way into getting us a table.
That year, we began our FND trip with an incredible meal, but more importantly, a great story (getting the best table at the best restaurant in Paris on a Friday night without reservations)
Neither of us will ever forget that dinner experience.
The next day, we rented a car and drove from Paris to Cognac, stayed at a friend of Jason’s in Cognac for a night … and then spent a couple of days driving through Bordeaux and then back down to the south of france — the entire trip was on the rural back roads …. like the two years before, we stopped frequently in small French villages, vineyards … ate great food, drank amazing wine, saw “cool shit” and experienced.
In 2009, we met in Zurich…
We enjoyed an FND at Zurich’s top rated *** michelin restaurant then we took a few days to drive from Zurich down to the south of france … once back in Monaco, we used my home in La Turbie as our base camp and spent 3 days doing day trips, driving to several small medieval villages in France and Italy and experienced.
Two weeks ago, we met up in Rome …
We enjoyed a great FND at what many consider the best restaurant in Rome. After the dinner, we spent a few hours walking around Rome at night.
We spent two full days in Rome eating great food, drinking Italian wine and seeing “cool shit.”
We especially enjoyed visiting the sistine chapel.
After two days, we took the train to Venice and spent a couple of days in Venice eating, drinking and seeing more cool shit …
then we took the train to Bologna.
The only reason we went to Bologna was to have dinner at a restaurant we had read about – although the dinner was good, the lunch we had earlier in the day at a small, mom and pop style of restaurant was exceptional.
The next morning, we rented a car and drove from Bologna towards Monaco.
As we were driving through the back roads in the middle of gorgeous Italy, we decided to drive to Portofino, (a small St Tropez like village along the Italian Riviera) we went there for the day and stayed for dinner …
Portofino is maybe the most beautiful place I have ever experienced.
These trips are not about spending money … and for the most part are not as expensive as they sound.
Like the FND, we have several rituals which give us consistency:
- We journal each trip – both in written words, and also in pictures
- I bring two boxes of cigars for the week – Epicure #2 for Jason and Cohiba siglio V for me
- We use the Michelin guide as our source of inspiration and our only guide for the week
- We have no schedule and stop when either one of us wants to stop to eat, drink, take photos, or see cool shit
- When we drive, we must travel on the back rural roads and avoid as much as possible the highway
- Jason is in charge of making the trip music CD which we listen to when we are driving — the trip CD always begins with “Thunderstruck” by AC/DC
- When we take the train, we must travel standard class where its most animated, very crowded and uncomfortable, thus the journey provides a more interesting experience. (1st class is far better, but less crowded, thus not as interesting )
- We buy 1-2 cases of various wine from the region we visit for the wine cellar which we are expanding in my home in La Turbie
- The next FND trip destination is decided at the final FND of the trip — next year we will go to Sicily.
- The forehead shot* is always taken in front of the most iconic scene/site of the trip (see below for more details)
- The last FND of each trip, we write down 3 goals for the next 12 months – and keep them in the journal to be reviewed the next FND trip.
The FND trip became our way of experiencing everything we have talked about since that first FND in Tokyo back in 1998….
“one day, I’m gonna…”
has turned into
Instead of just day dreaming about what your “gonna” do one day…
Make your dreams become an experience.
Friday night dinner (FND) blog: http://7hn.11e.myftpupload.com/?p=3716
*the forehead photo started back in 1999 when Jason and I were on a safari in Africa – before digital camera’s.
I took a photo of Jason in front of a gorgeous view.
Ten days later, when we got the film developed we discovered the best photo of the trip was one I accidentally took of Jason’s forehead, but the photo was ironically, a great shot.