And it was all wonderful. That first course was what all the heat over hoof and snout eating is all about--flavors of a richness we too often tend to deny ourselves, out of meekness, squeamishness, politeness, silliness. Just eat the whole thing. If you admit you're a carnivore, it seems silly to elevate some parts of an animal over others. Plus if you want to be a considerate carnivore (is that like a compassionate conservative?), it makes more sense to eat as much as you can, to honor the beast, to avoid the waste. Promise, if cooked correctly (and what else would Dylan Fultineer do?) there's nothing awful about offal.
Otherwise, so much lamb-y heaven. That pasta course, with pasta brilliant enough by itself. The perfect break of the salad, with the tiny apples sliced so thinly they appeared to be radishes, but then deliciously were not. And "The Tender Stuff" was just that, probably the best traditional lamb I've ever had, probably because the folks at Windrose are so good they treat their animals well. And guess what, that caramel in the dessert course? It largely consisted of lamb stock cooked down till syrupy.
Another amazing evening from the folks at Hollister. Here's hoping Eric gets well soon.
Then, just this past Monday Amy and I drove to LA for dinner. Yes, after work. Somehow the traffic just flew (it can happen in LA, no snickering) and we were in Hollywood in no time. (In CA driving, an hour and a half is no time. Your mileage may vary.) We'd been wanting to try Lou for about a year, especially one of their Monday night 3 course, 5 wine dinners, especially for cassoulet, as we are cassou-holics, as you all learned if you read about the last Hollister Beer Dinner. Here's the menu and the amazing, almost all from a stone's throw from Toulouse (they grow the rock-throwers big and strong in that region):
Salade de gésiers confits
Chateau Laffitte-Teston Pacherenc du Vic Bilh Sec “Cuvée Ericka” 2007
Cassoulet with house-made pork and duck confit
Tasting flight of rustic red wine
Domaine Le Roc Fronton “Folle Noir Amblat” ‘07
Domaine Matha Marcillac Cuvée Lairis “07
Domaine des 2 Ânes Corbières “Premier Pas” ‘07
passion fruit gelée, toasted almonds
Chateau Laffitte-Teston Pacherenc du Vic Bilh Moelleux ‘07
All crazy yum. Yep, that first course is all about the duck gizzard, but it's not over-powering at all, a pleasing gaminess that played off the walnut vinaigrette wonderfully. The cassoulet was very very good, but as a personal thing, I like a bit more of a sauce. Still, that house-made duck confit was some of the best I've ever had, meaty and rich with duck fat, crispy skin, completely moist. And now it seems I like Fronton, and I never even had heard of the grape before. The dessert was brilliant, the vivid citrus flavors shooting through the previous richness like a laser. They also serve killer Monkey and Son coffee, which I must now search out.