Foie Gras is Back on the Menu in California. That dream of a white Christmas is over and of course, here in Southern California it didn’t come true but this morning I woke up dreaming another reoccurring hunger. That dream, the one where foie gras gets re-legalized in California did come true. Even though I count myself as one of the lucky few who was able to get foie during the drought, almost a year ago, I traveled and one of my missions was to find foie. Now, thanks to some hard working lobbyists it will begin to reappear on menus across California. My foie finding trip last year took me to Lake Tahoe, right on the border to Nevada and every day, I found my way to at least one rich decadent fork of foie; the perfect vacation mission for a gourmand.
As many of you know, select restaurants have continued to serve foie since the ban in July 2012 but they had to find creative work arounds in order to satisfy their guests’ hunger. Last month local Chef Chris Tzorin participated in an underground dinner in Los Angeles hosted by record company Fake Music and received lots of flack from the haters. This month it wouldn’t have been an issue. His menu included a flash-seared chunk of duck liver mousse pate flecked with black truffle placed on a balsamic reduction accompanied by bull’s blood beet micro greens and seared foie gras on top of a carrot puree next to roasted asparagus that had been drizzled with lemon buerre blanc.
Chef Kenny Raponi of Tabu grill plans to incorporate Foie Gras back into his sweet and savory menu. “The best artery clogging goodness is back, California.”
Prior to the ban, local Chefs David Coleman, Greg Daniels, Pascal Olhats, Paul Buchanan, and Chris Tzorin joined Ken Frank of Napa and other chefs from the state to fight to keep it legal and responsibly produced but to no avail. Big round of applause please.
The ban was lifted at noon Wednesday, January 7 and by early evening, many restaurants had foie on the menu includingChef Yvon Goetz’s pan-seared “La Belle” Foie Gras with caramelized strawberry gastrique and 25-year-old balsamic on toasted brioche at The Winery Restaurant & Wine Bar (pictured here) or Chefs Greg Daniels & Craig Brady’s Foie Gras Ice Cream with truffled french toast and blueberry-thyme syrup at Haven Gastropub in Orange (pictured below).
Executive Chef Geeta Bansal of Irvine’s Clay Oven is featuring Foie Gras in two new dishes.
Foie & Sour Cherry Samosas, a crisp pastry withfoiegrasfilling served with sour cherry chutney (Pictured here).
Foie Gras & Bone Marrow, savory custards with freshly baked naan is also on the menu (Pictured here).
Chef Aaron Anderson of Harlow’s Fine Cuisine and Crafted Cocktails is one of many local chefs to quickly place his order for Foie Gras. “It’s great that chefs have another option for the plate. I think we shouldn’t be censored from what we serve. I will be serving served foie with brown butter fried brioche, and a blueberry gastrique. Just waiting for the delivery…”
The Golden Truffle’s Chef Alan Greeley also plans to add Foie Gras back to the menu in the near future.
Local suppliers including our source West Coast Prime Meats were inundated with calls as soon as the news broke of the ban being lifted yesterday and by end of business today, estimate that at least 75 lobes with a street/restaurant value of approximately $4500 will be ordered. Locally, only a few restaurants served foie prior to the ban so 75 lobes (a lobe weighs 1/5 2 lbs which makes 8-14 appetizer portions) from just one of the many local suppliers is a large buy of this delicacy.
Order quickly the haters on the other side of the issue are working hard to get the ban reinstated by overturning the new legislation.
Judge Stephen V. Wilson on Wednesday blocked (we hope permanently) the state attorney general from enforcing the law that took effect two years ago. Wilson found that the federal government’s authority to regulate foie gras and other poultry products supersedes the state’s, following pressure from The Hermosa Beach restaurant Hot’s Kitchen, the foie gras farmers in Canada and New York who sued. Their attorney, Michael Tenenbaum, called the ruling a victory “not just for foie gras but for freedom.”
The Humane Society of the United States President Wayne Pacelle said the state has the right to ban the sale of products of animal cruelty and is asking the California Attorney General to appeal the ruling.
The Associated Press, the Orange County Register, Much Ado About Fooding and Duc Duong Photography contributed to this report.