June 27, 2012
Final flurry of foie gras dinners

The final clock's ticking on foie gras, the fatty duck and goose liver which will be banned in California as of July 1. (On a related note, here's a look at some possible non-enforcement and loopholes in the foie gras ban that might keep this item in Calif. restaurants beyond July 1).

While foie gras has a long tradition in France's culinary history, the issue of animals being force fed to create this product has caused passionate mobilization against it by animal rights advocates. If California chefs find crafty ways to keep foie gras on their menus, there's bound to be some serious pushback from the anti-foie forces.

In any case, a flurry of foie gras dinners are set for local restaurants between now and Saturday. A full lobe of top-grade foie gras sells for about $37.25 a pound these days, so most foie-themed dinners are bound to be on the pricey end. Here's where you can get a (possibly) final taste:

* Restaurant THIR13EN (1300 H St., Sacramento; 916-594-7669): Chef Adam Pechal creates a "Drunken Duck Speakeasy" on Thursday from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Seven courses with foie gras are paired with seven international beers, with courses including pasta, plus locally sourced produce and meats. $99 per person.

* Bistro La Petite France (718 Sutter St., Folsom; 916-608-2148): Folsom's digging foie gras, too, with a five-course foie gras dinner priced at $99 per person. Dishes include a honey glazed apricot foie gras burger and foie gras ice cream cookie with local berries.

* Pangaea Two Brews Cafe (2743 Franklin Blvd., Sacramento; 916-454-4942): Chef Mike Thiemann of Ella Dining Room & Bar makes a guest appearance at Pangaea from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday with a foie-only menu. Look for special beer pairings and prices that Thiemann says will be "affordable and casual."

* Formoli's Bistro (3839 J St., Sacramento; 916-448-5699): Owner/chef Aimal Formoli teams up with partner at Pork Belly Gub Shack, Billy Ngo of Kru, for a "Black Duck" farewell to foie gras dinner. $110 for five courses, including foie pâté banh mi and foie panna cotta.

BTW, if you want to get a sense of what the foie gras fuss is about, check out the following video. It's a clip from "Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations" which shows a visit to a foie gras farm with footage of the animals being force fed (look around the 2:22 mark). This clip mirrors closely what the former president of the New Jersey Veterinary Medical Association told me about his surprise visit to a foie gras farm. His quote: "Taking the rectal temperature of a cat is more stressful than the tube feeding of these birds."

Take a look, and you be the judge:

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