Foie De Vivre Breathes Life Into a Forbidden and Forgotten Favorite

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Tamara Palmer
Foie de Vivre's foie gras torchon, served on asphault.
The statewide ban on the sale and production of foie gras was enacted nine months ago to the day, but that wasn't the end to the delicacy being served in San Francisco. Savvy patrons have gotten used to seeing inflated salad and "supplement" prices on fine menus, and connected diners have continued to receive foie freebies on their dinner plates.

But it took this long for a smart person to really explore the loopholes in the ban and see if there might be any way around it. Enter Roger Vivre, proprietor of the new food cart Foie de Vivre.

See Also:
- 14 Days Left: Where To Find The Last, Craziest Bites of Foie Gras Before The Ban

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14 Days Left: Where To Find The Last, Craziest Bites of Foie Gras Before The Ban

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Tamara Palmer
Chaya Brasserie's foie gras beignet in cinnamon-port wine reduction.
Like sands through the hourglass, the foies of our lives are slipping away. There are just fourteen days of foie for all left before the statewide ban on production and sale of the controversial liver takes place, and chefs are losing their minds coming up with the most ridiculous -- and ridiculously delicious -- ways to say goodbye.

With so many restaurants hosting final foie gras blowouts, it can be difficult to decide where to take your last bite, so please allow us to make some fashion mag-inspired recommendations on where to go:

If you want to drink foie gras:
The bar at Alexander's Steakhouse is mixing up a cocktail called Daffy's Slur with foie gras infused vodka, hazelnut liqueur charged by nitrous oxide, strawberry balsamic gastrique, green chartreuse, muddled Thai basil and sparkling wine; it's available until July 1.


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Where to Eat Foie Gras This Week: Campton Place and Prospect

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Gyorgy Barna/Shutterstock
Just look at all the things you can do with foie.
Counting down the meals before July 1, when California's foie gras ban takes effect.

While Wolfgang Puck is urging restaurants to get used to the forthcoming ban on foie gras, San Francisco chefs are taking this time to honor the foie:

At Campton Place Restaurant, Srijith Gopinathan is serving foie gras au torchon with berry chutney at the bar ($19), and then in two foie dishes on his dinner menu: For an appetizer, he's preparing variations -- how many? we don't know -- of foie gras with Concord grape jus, cocoa nibs, and wild arugula ($24). And for those diners who need two courses of duck liver to feel as if they've truly eaten, there's an entree of Liberty Farms duck breast with fuyu persimmons, purple chanterelles, and foie gras ($36).

At Prospect, chef Pamela Mazzola is plating up a foie gras au torchon with citrus marmalade, Rutherglen muscat gelée, and pink peppercorns, as well as a few slices of toasted multigrain bread to spread it on ($12). She, too, is adding foie gras to a duck entree, matching up Liberty Farms duck with a foie gras sauce and embellishing the plate with smoked oats, baby leeks, a rhubarb-fennel relish, and caramelized rhubarb glaze ($29). If you've just stopped in at Prospect's bar for a cocktail, you can order up a plate of crostini with duck liver, foie gras, and bacon pate for $7.

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Foie Gras Countdown: Here's What Restaurants Are Still Serving the Not Yet Illegal Delicacy

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Patrick H./Flickr
A rabbit loin stuffed with foie gras from One Market.
Counting down the meals before July 1, when California's foie gras ban takes effect.

In a rare treatment of foie gras that doesn't pair the rich liver with fruit or other sugary elements, One Market's chef, Eater-designated hottie Mark Dommen, is currently serving pan-seared foie gras with wakame, wood-ear mushrooms, and bonito consommé ($18.75) as an appetizer. If that's perhaps too light for your tastes, the entrees on the dinner menu include a roasted duck breast with duck-and-foie-gras sausage, farro, nettles, and Earl Grey jus ($29.50).

Over in the Marina, Isa is serving a springtime-sounding appetizer of Hudson Valley foie gras with strawberries, rhubarb, and brioche ($22).

And 5A5 Steak Lounge is offering foie gras several different ways: seared, with sous-vide apple, streusel, and sauternes-duck jus ($24); or foie gras au torchon with assorted fruits, red-wine reduction sauce, and parsley purée ($22). If neither of those is to your taste, you can always add a hunk of seared foie gras to any entree -- say, a 12-ounce boneless ribeye with brandy-peppercorn sauce and shiitake mushrooms ($31) -- for an extra $20.

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Who's Serving Foie Gras? Palio d'Asti, Le Charm, and BayWolf

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Yuichi Sakuraba/Flickr
Le Charm.
Counting down the meals before July 1, when California's foie gras ban takes effect.

At Palio d'Asti, which weathered its first anti-foie protest on Valentine's Day, chef Daniel Scherotter serves an appetizer of hazelnut-encrusted seared Sonoma foie gras with balsamic glazed cippolini onions and shredded radicchio, as well as an entree of slow-roasted duck leg and foie gras with Savoy cabbage, baby carrots, whole-grain mustard sauce, and mostarda de cremona. He only charges a $5 supplement to the restaurant's prix fixe dinner menus. For an extra $10, Scherotter will add a little foie gras to any dish on the menu. Skip foie-ing up the pizzas, where the fat will just melt away, in favor of the gnocchi with braised duck and mushrooms or the porcini ravioli with turkey sugo. After all, there's no point in having foie for foie's sake. Oh, wait...

For a more classic -- aka French -- version of foie, Le Charm, the SoMa bistro, offers a slice of foie gras terrine with apple confit and brioche, for $16. Add another $10, and they'll serve you a glass of Sauternes with the foie gras, a pairing so hallowed Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin mentions serving the two together in his 1825 masterpiece, The Physiology of Taste.

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Pot Your Own Foie Gras, or Just Order It at Benu and Burger Bar

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sjsharktank/Flickr
The foie gras soup dumplings at Benu.
Counting down the meals before July 1, when California's foie gras ban takes effect.

Today, noted foie gras booster Russell Jackson of Lafitte filed a Chow Tip on how to preserve foie gras. All you have to do is buy a lobe and "pot" it in a sealed glass jar, preserving the liver under a layer of its own fat. "You can store them up in the thousands and thousands and thousands and have them to eat for up to a year," Jackson says. Now that's foiepocalypse thinking!

For a more immediate hit, the cooks at Hubert Keller's Burger Bar, on the top floor of Macy's, will slip a lobe of foie gras onto any burger for $12. High rollers may prefer the Rossini Burger, an American Kobe patty topped with foie and shaved black truffle. For only $60! They'll even throw in a dessert burger with that, for free.

For those of you in search of a less crass more delicate treatment of duck liver, Benu's current $180 tasting menu includes foie gras xiao long bao (soup dumplings). In addition, Corey Lee's à la carte menu, available Tuesdays through Thursdays, offers foie gras steamed in sake, with green apples, poppy seeds, sorrel, and brioche ($18).

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Eat Foie with Blood Orange at Jardiniere, Tournedos Rossini at Baker Street Bistro

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mhaithaca/Flickr
A foie gras terrine with toasted brioche and figs from Jardinière.
Counting down the days before July 1, when California's foie gras ban takes effect.

Here are two more excuses to eat foie gras this week:

On its à la carte dinner menu, Jardinière is offering a terrine of foie gras with blood orange, Riesling gelée, and hazelnuts ($23). The $120 chef's tasting menu currently posted online also includes loin of venison with chanterelles, wild nettles, and a foie gras crêpe. Or grab a cocktail in the Hayes Valley restaurant's lounge and order a terrine of foie gras with quince conserva and marcona almonds ($24) alongside.

Baker Street Bistro is expressing its Gallitude with an appetizer of pan-seared foie gras with apple compote and figs ($19.50); a salad topped with smoked duck breast, duck gizzard confit, pine nuts, and seared foie gras ($16.50); and a proper Tournedos Rossini ($29), a 19th-century classic from Antoine Careme that places a fat coin of seared foie gras atop pan-roasted beef tenderloin, and rings the beef with red-wine reduction sauce.
 
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Foie With Scallops, Prunes, Jelly: Two More Places to Eat Foie Gras This Week

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A Las Vegas version of the foie with scallop Michael Mina serves.
Counting down the days before July 1, when California's foie gras ban takes effect.

This week, Baker & Banker is offering a foie gras torchon with port-poached prunes and grilled housemade brioche ($18). (Incidentally, if you were wondering what "torchon" meant, Michael Ruhlman shows how to make foie gras au torchon.)

Michael Mina's affection for foie apparently knows few bounds. On the starters side of his eponymous restaurant's dinner menu is a foie gras PB&J ($16) and seared day boat scallop and foie gras with persimmon, sunchokes, and red-ribbon sorrel ($28). If you'd like a little more with your entrée, there's a Liberty Farms duck breast with seared foie gras, miso-pear purée, and duck shu mai ($38).
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Foie Gras Countdown, Week 2: Eat at La Folie, Ana Mandara, and Txoko

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johnnymd314/Flickr
Seared foie gras and foie gras soup, a past preparation from La Folie.
Counting down the days before July 1, when California's foie gras ban takes effect.

Three more restaurants where you can eat foie gras this week:

La Folie offers two foie gras preparations as part of its three- ($80), four- ($90), or five-course ($100) menus: A Hudson Valley foie gras torchon with smoked apple barbeque-glazed squab and blood orange marmalade, or seared Hudson Valley foie gras with spice-poached apple and apple consommé (a $10 supplement).

Txoko, which recently changed up its menu to a more traditional appetizer-entree format, now offers foie gras a la plancha (i.e., seared) with Pink Lady apples, sherry gastrique, duck prosciutto, and pan de mie ($18), as well as scallops with hen-of-the-woods mushrooms and a foie gras sauce ($26).

And at Ana Mandara, Chef Duong is serving a dish he calls "Heavens' Reward" ($18), seared Sonoma foie gras with sliced mango, plum sauce, and crispy rice cake.

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The Foie Gras Ban Countdown Begins

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Calvin W./Yelp
A foie gras gyoza from Alexander's Steakhouse.
You have five and a half months left to eat foie gras.

Back in 2004, Governor Schwarzenegger signed into law SF-1520, which banned the sale and production of foie gras. The law was simultaneously hailed and condemned by animal rights groups because it gave restaurants and the state's only foie gras producer, Sonoma Artisan Foie Gras, seven and a half years before SB-1250 took effect -- on July 1, 2012. Restaurants and many diners decried the law, but then most of us forgot about it. SFoodie suspects that won't be true for much longer.

While we're waiting to see if San Francisco's restaurant community will organize a campaign to overturn the law, we'll be surveying local restaurants still serving it on their menus. For instance:

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