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Foie Gras Faux Pas: Anniversary Tales

I like to take risks and try to step out of my comfort zone whenever possible. That's how I found myself in a bit of a conundrum on Sunday night...

FabHusband and I were out to dinner, celebrating our 8th anniversary (a couple of days early) at a super-swank restaurant on Cape Cod. This five-star place had an amazing view of the water (complete with nearly-full moon and bobbing boats), a menu of culinary wonder (lobster in beurre blanc sauce), and impeccable service.

It also offered a 4 course "Chef's Special" tasting menu. As our waiter explained, if we chose it, we could tell him our preferences/allergies/restrictions, and the chef would create a dinner for us that was off the menu but featured the freshest seasonal ingredients. Every course would be a surprise--two apps, an entree, and a dessert.

It was too good to pass up. Both FH and I decided to go for it. Now, FH is essentially a true omnivore (minus a few green veggies and excessive dairy), but I am a bit more judicious in my food choices: I eat any vegetable you can put in front of me, plus poultry and fish. Eating other mammals is not my thing. So we order the tasting menu, and I tell the waiter my customary, "I don't eat beef or pork," and the chef is cool with that--after all, we're essentially at a seafood restaurant!--and we start speculating about what's to come.

First Course: German Potato Salad
...but not just ANY potato salad. The runner put the plate in front of me and grandly pronounces, "German potato salad dressed with foie gras and a 5 minute egg!" and walks away. Foie gras, if you've never had the "pleasure," is goose liver. But said liver has been made extra fatty because the poor goose has been force-fed his/her diet and kept in a low-mobility environment. It's the poultry equivalent of veal.

I blanched. Although foie gras is technically NOT beef, pork, or mammal, I find it kind of morally awful to eat. And, in my pregnant state, I'm pretty sure that both it and the very runny egg are not on the "preferred" food list. But, as I told FabHusband, "it's my own fault. And it IS poultry, so it's not like the kitchen made a mistake. I'm not sending it back." So I gamely picked up my fork and went for it.

Foie gras? Not my thing. Kind of game-y and super, super rich. But the egg and potato salad with it balanced it out. I picked around some of it, and gave the rest to FH (who loved it, BTW).

Second Course: Seafood Surprise!
FH and I were still chuckling over my bad luck with course #1 when appetizer #2 arrived. Our runner grandly placed our places and announced, "Seafood medley: seared tuna sashimi, haddock, and swordfish belly!" Now, as I said, I love seafood. LOVE IT. And will eat anything that comes from the water. However, when one is in a pregnant state, one is not supposed to eat raw fish, let alone high-mercury raw tuna and...you guessed it: swordfish.

"Oh man," I said. FH shook his head. I picked up my fork. Considering where we were, I felt confident in the quality of the fish (and the tuna looked damn fine). I dove in. My concession: I nibbled at the swordfish and gave the rest to FH.

Course Three: Entree- Boo
After the seafood explosion, I turned to FH. "Seriously, what could they POSSIBLY give me for an entree?" I was sure I was in the clear--I mean, what are the odds that two non-beef/pork things that I shouldn't /typically wouldn't eat would show up on my plate? Besides, the majority of the menu was seafood based, and the waiter said that the chef was using ingredients off the menu. 

Runner, plate, grand pronouncement: "Lamb medallions!"

I couldn't stop myself, I threw my hands in front of my face and started laughing. I don't eat lamb...but it NEVER would have occurred to me to tell the chef that. What are the odds that LAMB would show up on my plate at a SEAFOOD restaurant?! I don't even think it was on the menu. FH was sympathetic: "You can't eat that," he said. I shook my head. "I know."

The waiter came over. "You don't eat lamb," he said flatly. I shook my head and apologized profusely. "It never occurred to me to specify...I'm so sorry...please apologize to the chef..." Waiter took both of our plates away, generously saying, "it's not a problem...no big deal..." but I watch enough Food Network to know that the chef would be annoyed/hurt/upset.

He returned a few minutes later with fish for me, the lamb for FH, all smiles. But I still felt terrible.

Course Four: Chocolate Relief
"Nothing can go wrong with dessert, right?" I asked FH, worried. But no...it was a chocolate tasting plate, with a rich chocolate brownie smothered in sauce and chocolate ice cream. Sweet relief.

All of the food--whether it was something that I'd usually eat or not--was fabulous: meticulously prepared, presented well, and delicious. And although I ended up kind of bumbling my way through the meal, I'm glad I took the risk and went with the blind menu. I certainly learned a few things: being more specific, communicating clearly, and never making assumptions based on what's in front of you. And I got a great story out of it.

We had a wonderful night, and laughed a lot as we celebrated our anniversary. Tonight is our "official" anniversary date: we're ordering Indian take out and will show CC our wedding photos (she's very in to "brides" right now). It's not foie gras and lamb, but it will be wonderful and special in its own right.

And I'll eat it all.

Site Meter


Oct. 11th, 2011 09:54 pm (UTC)
Congratulations on your anniversary--and on your pregnancy! So glad the dessert was extra fabulous. :) Cheers to another year of wedded sweetness.


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