On July 1, it will be illegal to sell foie gras in California. Before I get into my post, here's some context.
- The Humane Society says the manner in which ducks for fed is cruel.
- Chefs, forming a coalition called Coalition for Humane and Ethical Farming Standards or CHEFS, tried and failed to get the ban overturned, saying that the ducks don't have a gag reflex, so it's not cruel.
- Celebrity Chef Jose Andres said that the ban is "something kind of very dark," and wonders what food will be banned next.
- The 60 year old immigrant from El Salvador who owned the one farm in California who produced foie gras has to liquidate his business. This was his family's only means of income.
- The one other foie gras producer in America in New York believes they produce foie gras in a more humane way and therefore aren't subject to the ban.
With time runing out to eat the delicacy, many restaurants have created elaborate foie gras tasting menus, often costing more than $100 per person. The Sac Bee's Blair Anthony Robertson compiled a few of these opulent meals.
But I know that I don't have that kind of budget, and if you're reading this happy hour blog, you may not either. If you want to try foie gras before it becomes illegal at the end of the month, here are three places in and around Sacramento where foie gras is served an appetizer or standalone small plate. Most of these dishes aren't cheap -- usually $20 or $25 -- but they're affordable luxuries, especially if you split it with a friend.
Here are three places to get cheap(er) foie gras in and near Sacramento.
Chef Billy Ngo is a genius. At his sushi restaurant we had two separate foie gras dishes on two separate occassions. Both were magnificent and well worth the price. Neither were on the menu, but if you sit at the sushi bar, you can make a special request from the chef.
The first is a shaved, frozen foie gras on a sacallop nigiri. This dish was by far my favorite foie gras dish of them all. The foie gras melts onto your tongue. The second (not pictured) is a more traditional seared foie gras on a seared scallop. It was great, but not amazing like the first.
This $20 appetizer was a foie gras terrine (similar to pate), served on toasted brioche and with a side of fresh strawberries. This week, they've started an expanded foie gras menu, adding it to the Hawks Burger.
This $22 appetizer was Foie Gras prepared hot & cold. On one side, there was pan-seared foie gras with port-balsamic glaze and toasted brioche and on the other side was a foie gras torchon with red wine-poached pears.
I really enjoyed the richness of the foie gras in each of the dishes, and you can't go wrong with any of these choices. If I had to choose one, though, I really loved the creativity and complexity of the dish with the frozen, shaved foie gras at Kru.
I also contacted some of the other usual suspects to see if they were serving foie gras. Mulvaney's has it on their menu, but when I called last week, The Waterboy and Ella didn't.
Do you have a favorite place for foie gras? Let us know in the comments so we can give it a try before the end of the month.