My food morals are well-defined, but also extremely negotiable when the right animal part comes along: no red meat unless it’s a famous, notable or special occasion cut; no veal, unless it’s in a particularly awesome sounding ragu; and no foie gras, except in extreme circumstances. So really my principles are mostly meaningless. But still, I try. And when it comes to foie gras, I’m not sure my experiences with the plump and fatty delicacy were ever rewarding enough to justify force feeding a goose with a hose.
But on our first night in Portland Mrs. B and I ate at Le Pigeon, and woah (!), a foie gras donut. Definitely extreme circumstances. Le Pigeon (translation: The Pigeon) is one of the best restaurants in Portland; part of the new casual – and heavily tattooed - fine-dining scene. And there it was, under Starters: a $16 foie gras jelly donut. We had to.
It arrived glistening like a glazed on the beach and knocked me out with the force of a dozen Krispy Kremes. Mrs. B - who once referred to garnishing a grilled cheese with tomato slices as "too exotic" - had bailed so I was going at it solo.
So over the top. The soft light dough was stuffed with thick and tart homemade pickled strawberry jam and the top surface smeared with foie gras powdered sugar (not sure what this means), coagulated from the massive piece of seared foie gras balanced precariously on top. We watched the slab slide slowly to the plate and land in a pool of aged balsamic vinegar and more jam, a dose of acidic sweet to balance the intense savoriness. Together the whole thing was unbelievably rich and fruity and dominated by a pleasing gamey, fatty, funk.
Honestly, I’d take a Voodoo glazed any day. But, in terms of memorable donuts, this was up there with the bacon maple bar (more on this in Part III) and the Dominic donut. My meat guilt was sky-high. Damage done. I ordered the steak with duck fat potatoes and bone marrow, which was outstanding.