foie gras obsession
- Monique L.
Ever since I tried seared foie gras at Andre's in the Monte Carlo in Vegas, I have been craving more. I did follow through on a tip from another chowhound a while back who recommended "Joe's" in Venice for a seared tuna & foie gras appetizer. It was very good but there wasn't enough foie gras! Any advice? By the way I am looking for a savory preparation not sweet (not with fruit and stuff) Also, should I feel bad about eating foie gras? I heard there is some controversy about it.
I am so with you -- specifically requested, my Christmas present last year from my boyfriend was the coffee table-style cookbook "Foie Gras, A Passion" by Michael A. Ginor and a full lobe of AA foie gras. We had purchased 3 lobes three years ago for a dinner party I gave. Back then, it cost about $33 a lobe. This year, it was almost $80 for a single! Without going on too long on this topic, I've cooked it several times and am happy to offer cooking recommendations privately (since I don't think this list is much into recipes).
I don't think you should feel remotely guilty. It is, after all, part of the Holy Trinity of French Haute Cuisine (rounding out with Caviar and Truffles, of course).
I, too, had foie gras at Joe's in Venice -- last Thanksgiving's dinner started with a demitasse of pumpkin soup that had foie gras cubes floating in it. Absolutely heavenly!
I have two "inexpensive" recommendation: the Foie Gras Terrine available at Bristol Farms is truffled and is pretty darn fabulous with a nice Sauterne. The other is on the lunch menu of The Depot in Torrance -- they have a type of club sandwich: a shrimp cake, apple-smoked bacon, and a slice of foie gras all served a tad too high on sourdough rounds.
Lastly, there is a restaurant I went to for a Valentine's Wine-Tasters' dinner called Frenchy's in Long Beach. I have been dying to go back because one of their appetizers is "homemade fresh foie gras and duck breast marble, port wine/orange sauce." (Yeah, I tend to keep menus lying around as well...)
Its true -- I'm obsessed with foie gras.
re: Carolyn Tillie
Thanks for all the good advice. FYI ~ I was just at Surfas, a gourmet supply store in Culver City, and I saw they have flash frozen lobes of foie gras. They were grade A and sizable and went for $45 each. I don't think I am ready to purchase such a big hunk right now (My cholesteral is already through the roof) But to indulge at one of the places you mentioned is definately going to be a plan! By the way since you are apparently a disciple of the holy trinity, any tips on restaurants with good truffle dishes? That is also a new found obsession. (those french sure know their food!) Just picked up some truffle butter from Surfas. I can't stay away from the stuff... divine! anyway, thanks again!
re: Monique L.
Right now, Pinot Bistro in downtown on 5th and Flower has a Summer Truffle Risotto on their menu that is definitely worth the trip. They are part of the Patina group but I believe it is Pinot's chef's concoction so I don't think you'll see it at the other Pinots...
I know Surfas well -- in the "religion" it is LA's Mecca for supplies.
There are numerous things you can do on the truffle front (although it IS a bit more difficult since they really aren't available fresh until December). Trader Joe's has truffle oil. DO NOT buy it. It is incredibly dull. The absolute best is called "Gocce di Tartufo Biano" which is a white truffle oil that is splendid on fresh tossed pasta. Also, look for tubes of truffle paste -- I serve it to friends on Sunday mornings in scrambled eggs with fresh sauteed mushrooms and grated cheese. The other amazing product on the market is White Truffle Honey, bottled for Lulu's restaurant in San Francisco (look for a yellow label). I serve it drizzled over gorgonzola with crusts of baguette. Lastly, Dean and Deluca sells truffle powder. At $40 a can, I haven't gotten around to trying it, being pretty happy with the oil and tube method.
My last comment on truffles was that I asked my boyfriend for a fresh white one for last year's Christmas (the year after the foie gras...). We found out that they were running over $200 an ounce. He jokingly suggested I take up cocaine -- its a cheaper obsession! He DID buy me a pretty coffee-table style cookbook called "The Joy of Truffles" by Otward Buchner which is usually mistakingly put in the dessert section. Unfortunately, it is really written towards those lucky folk that can get the fresh ones.
Being fully initiated in the Secret Society of The Holy Trinity, I am free to tell all the secrets I know... I'm here for you if you want to know anything else.
re: Carolyn Tillie
Thanks again for your response. You are a true chowhound! You are right about the truffle oil from Trader Joe's, I have a bottle that I rarely use ~ rated G! I was trying to save some $ but it wasn't worth it. I have tried many of the little jars of truffle products at Surfas. They're the ones that turned me on to the butter with truffles, as it is has the best true truffle flavor and nice little chunks of black truffle. (I think you would like it.) However, i just picked up a new item from there, the "Tartufina" Sauce. It's a mix of things (shrooms, black truffles, olive oil, anchovy, olives) but has a nice flavor. I haven't tried the powder or the tube stuff but I will look into it. I added Cafe Pinot to my list of restaurant to try and will seize the opportunity ASAP. Thanks again, and keep the postings coming!
If you're going out for foie gras, having it at home, or even having a pate de foie gras, try pairing it with a Sauternes, a real one. yes Chateau d'Yquem is over $100 a split, but get a split of Suduiraut or another one, and bring it with you to the restaurant (call about corkage fee, etc). I had it once and it was amazing with the foie gras. The textures and tastes of both changed markedly when matched, the foie gras was still moist, but lost the vestige of oiliness, and the Sauternes didn't taste as sweet.
I thought it was amazing. Maybe you'll like it too.