Ilan Hall to Open Tapas Truck in L.A.; Chefs Keep on BloggingTop Chef champ Ilan Hall’s rumored L.A project is now a restaurant truck that serves tapas and has a foldout bar. [MSNBC]
Related: For Ilan Hall, a Taco Shack of One’s Own
The president of Westland/Hallmark Meat Co., the California beef company responsible for the largest meat recall in American history, acknowledged yesterday the illegal slaughter of sick cows at his plant after a congressional panel forced him to watch the undercover video depicting the abuse. [WSJ]
Chefs’ blogs keep getting better and better, and there are increasingly more and more of them. At what point are they all just going to leave the kitchen and become full-time bloggers? [LAT]
What Can’t Pichet Ong Do With Foie Gras?We checked in with dessertologist Pichet Ong recently and found him inordinately pleased with one of his newest creations: a foie gras Chantilly “taco,” created for the Valentine’s Day tasting menu and now served every day at P*ONG. The shell is made of chocolate and hazelnut, the filling foie gras Chantilly, with a little bit of red-chile jam for heat. “It has that creamy, melt-in-your-mouth feel that people want from foie gras, with the crunch from the taco. Everyone loves it.” So says Ong. And there’s more foie in the future!
Duck Liver = Romance at Valentine’s Day Foie Gras Dinner
If you’re anything like us, nothing says “romance” like ingesting eight courses of duck liver. And so there’s probably nowhere you and your Special Friend would rather be than at the D’Artagnan foie gras dinner being held at the Astor Center on Valentine’s Day. PETA public enemy Ariane Daguin, the founder of D’Artagnan and the nation’s most conspicuous pro–foie gras activist, has put together a dinner of foie gras accompanied with different vintages of Chateau Y’quem, the Sauterne wine prescribed by tradition to accompany foie gras everywhere. The dinner will start out with foie gras canapés, followed by foie gras terrine, pan-seared foie with port reduction, then foie-stuffed quail with black truffle shavings and a grape-and-black-truffle sauce, followed by – what else? — foie gras beignets. What libido could be unmoved by such a feast? And isn’t that worth $1,300 a couple? We think the question answers itself.
Perfect Pairings: D’Artagnan Foie Gras & Chateau d’Yquem - A Dinner
with Ariane Daguin [Astor Center]
Back of the House
Bourdain’s Duck Farm Was No Potemkin VillageThere’s been some buzz the last few days about Anthony Bourdain’s Holiday Special, a likable, perverse piece of holiday programming recently on the Discovery Channel. (It’s like A Charlie Brown Christmas, except with foie gras, instead of a spindly tree.) The highlight of the show is Bourdain’s visit to a Hudson Valley foie gras farm, where he finds that ducks really don’t mind being force-fed and that foie gras is (surprise, surprise) all right to eat after all. Having visited the same farm ourselves, we can testify that the birds don’t seem to mind a periodic forced-stuffing; their long throats are built to handle whole spiny fishes, so a smooth tube going in for three seconds doesn’t bother them any more than a drunken handful of tater tots would you or me.
Win a Date With Thomas Keller; Year-end Lists AboundMix up your holiday charitable giving by entering a raffle for a coffee date with Per Se’s Thomas Keller or Ferran Adrià of Spain’s El Bulli. [NYT]
Related: Ferran Adrià, Molecular Gastronomist—Who, Me? [NYM]
On his No Reservations holiday special, Anthony Bourdain spoke with a veterinarian who explained that foie gras production is not the demonic act it has been portrayed as by animal-rights groups, so eat up! [Eat for Victory/VV]
If Amy Sacco didn’t convince you of the growing synergy between restaurants and real estate, consider that Centovini has just struck a deal with luxe condo Soho Mews that offers not only delivery to the building but also the option to have executive chef Patti Jackson provide in-home cooking. [NYP]
New Momofuku(s) Opening Next Week; Meryl Streep to Play Julia ChildMomofuku Noodle Bar 2.0 is set to open Tuesday, which by David Chang’s accounts should mean Ko will be raised in one night and ready by Wednesday in the original’s former space. [Eater]
Related: Keeping Up With the Momofukus
Food & Wine questions whether Meryl Streep can carry the role of their “Patron Saint” Julia Child, though they have hope from a scene in The Hours in which the actress “deftly separated egg whites from egg yolks by letting the whites run through her fingers.” [Mouthing Off/Food&Wine]
Hudson Valley is the largest foie gras producer in the country so even though 15,000 breeding ducks were killed in a fire this week, it “shouldn’t seriously affect production,” says Frank Bruni. [Diner’s Journal/NYT]
The Annotated Dish
Falai’s Left-Field Trio of Foie Gras TreatsIacopo Falai impressed a lot of experienced eaters when he opened Falai, his small, eponymous restaurant on the Lower East Side, catching them off-guard with his very modern take on Italian food. This foie gras appetizer, rare enough on Italian menus, comes from out of left field. “There are more contrasting flavors and textures in this dish than any foie gras dish on the planet,” Falai boasts. “Start with the croquette and go clockwise. It’s warm and should be eaten right away. The chocolate I’d like to be last, because it gives a strong, savory end to the dish. There’s so much interaction here for the customer to discover.” As always, mouse over the different elements to read them described in Falai’s own words.
Merkat Busts Out Its Own Secret Room; Red Hook Vendors Safe Through FallMerkat has its own secret, PDT-style back room, Merkat Negre, with a chalkboard menu and a “young, pleasantly noisy crowd.” [Restaurant Girl]
A typical weekend for a Red Hook soccer-fields vendor involves endless prep work, setting up by 7:30 a.m., cooking all day, and breaking the stand down at night … [NYT]
But the vendors’ rituals are safe until October 28, thanks to the intercession of Senator Chuck Schumer. [Serious Eats]