Girl + Fire = Food



Tuesday, June 26, 2012

One Last Hurrah for Foie Gras

We've been on a bit of a hiatus lately. Indulging in the pure enjoyment of food and not the constant recording of it. But later this week, the California ban on tasty duck liver goes into effect. No more foie gras for Californians! We had to get our last taste in before it goes away for good, and found some at Umamicatessen.

It's a controversial debate, this banning of food. But will it spawn a black market for the delicious pâté, replete with an underground network of distributors? Will the privileged few hold hush-hush dinner parties behind bolted doors that you can only access blindfolded and with a password? Are we in for another Prohibition era? Bathtub gin and duck liver, mmm!

What is it about this buttery pâté that is so delicious? Cow liver tastes like mushy black death, and I know this because my mother made me eat it once as a child, and it was the most revolting thing ever. Nothing I've eaten since has ever been that bad. The memory still haunts me to this day. Some people like it; I'm not one of them. Eww.

Duck fat is highly prized, called liquid gold in some circles. Peking duck, which I had for the first time in San Francisco's Chinatown (a resplendent city center of chaos and divine odors wafting through the air as I walked through it, wide-eyed and entranced) defined what Chinese food should be for me at as a young teenager. So it's no wonder that duck innards, in this case the delectable liver, are equally as popular.

Popular, but not inexpensive. When Grub Street, reporting on the looming ban, listed several places at which one could steal a final mesmerizing duck-filled feast, we opted for the most economical: Umamicatessan's foie gras doughnut. That such a high-end food product could be found in a piece of fried dough was perfectly incongruous. It was also an excuse to check out the Umami chain's downtown locale.

What we found was a full service restaurant and bar, which we walked into right at the start of happy hour. An auspicious beginning! The bar menu boasted many offerings but all I saw was a truffle slider. It was no contest: a truffle slider with a Belgian-style wheat ale and foie gras donut for dessert! The perfect last meal.


The burger was exceptionally juicy, my mouth is watering at the mere memory. With a trademark U seared into the bun. Cute.

Then came dessert. A jelly donut, the insides sharing space with a creamy foie gras mousse. A teesy weensy amount of foie gras mousse. About $8 worth of mousse. I ordered 3.

I know you're asking yourself how I could spend $24 on a mere three doughnuts. Am I insane? Can I write it off? If you've been reading this blog for any length of time I don't need to answer that because the answer is, clearly, when it comes to food, a resounding duh. (And no, I can't write it off.)

I had to devour one and save the other two for your photographic pleasure, obviously. And also my breakfast pleasure.

So how does one feel after savoring $24 worth of FG&J doughnuts? Not well. That's a lot of fried food. And NOT a lot of duck liver. Would I have preferred the foie gras sushi at the prohibitively expensive neighborhood restaurant n/naka? Absolutely, but the rent is due.

Though you might find me at Tasting Kitchen at some point in the next few days, like an addict, looking for one last score.

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