Monday, September 24, 2012

LA FOLIE - Countdown to Foie-hibition...

It begins...
When it became increasingly apparent that the forces determined to outlaw the sale of the fantastically decadent "fatted liver of the goose," otherwise known as foie gras, were going to be successful, we made a series of reservations for as many meals as we could afford (and digest) in the months leading up to the fateful date: July 1, 2012.

The Upside:

The impending legislation did have some unanticipated benefits. Chefs were up in arms and madly preparing their best versions of this delicacy in countless special menus. There were dishes of seared foie, chilled torchons and country patés. The precious lobes had been grilled, seared, baked, frozen, flaked and liquified. These months we spent eating before the spectre of the long arm of the law and it’s restrictions on commerce, were a whirlwind of foie, in a cornucopia of flavors, textures and presentations.

The Downside:
Foie, truffles, and some other delicacy
(who notices after the foie?)

Months later, I find myself reminiscing about these meals, missing the spectacular and inventive preparations of this fatty delicacy, and wishing foie were more readily available. It’s hard to say how long the eagerly misinformed will continue to prevail. I know that while they have succeeded in shutting down one major California foie producer, (a small tragedy in this economy), they have not succeeded in turning anyone away from it who is so inclined. Foie will continue to be raised and to be eaten. While it may have to be purchased by the consumer before the Chef can prepare it, or given away by some establishments, it will not disappear. Prohibitions don’t work, they simply force people around the rules. That which comes from imposing one’s will on another without real purpose, always falls away in the end.

The Meals:

Of our many excursions (or as one waiter called them Sa-FOIE-ris), the one at which we almost cried uncle was one of the early outings. When one is looking to experience a true French delicacy, one has to head to the French,, and Chef Roland Passot was accommodating. He was more than accommodating, he just about buried us in foie.

The piece de resistance
 We thought we were badasses. We were "ready" for what he had to offer up. The man who was flitting about his kitchen like a whirling dervish in the kitchen had nothing on us. We had appetites for foie that could never be sated. The waitress warned us. We laughed. "Ha ha, we thought, we can eat all the foie you can throw at us." And we began. Appetizers of foie gras. Mains of foie gras. Foie gras specialities. There were only three of us, and the fact was I have never seen such large servings of foie. It was like this man had decided to feed the world, not just our little table of three. We powered through the appetizers, sailed through the first and second courses of foie laden delights, but by the time we hit the giant lobes of seared foie in a sea of tart summer cherries, the best among us were beginning to slow down. 
Foie Sliders

The plates kept coming, and we kept eating, but it was slow-going toward the end of our meal. We’d been beaten into sleepy comas of bliss, having been served mounds of the most delectable dishes I’ve ever eaten. Forced to admit to our waitress that we’d maybe, just maybe, had eyes a tiny bit bigger than our stomachs. But only a bit.

 The portions were massive compared to other fine dining establishments, but I can’t say we were sorry. Looking back, I’m delighted Chef Passot indulged our cravings so thoroughly. With no immediate foie on my horizon, I can at least, remember that night of bliss.

Chef Passot skills are legendary for a reason. Check it out for yourself, make a lasting memory of your own.

La Folie
2316 Polk Street
San Francisco, CA 94109

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