Wednesday, August 29, 2007


The Ivy restaurant in London may be overrated, and overpriced, and overexposed, but we at FoieBlog would still go there if given the chance. We may keep a low profile, but we get giddy at the idea of rubbing elbows with celebrities while enjoying a plate of Sautéed Foie Gras with caramelised apples and a raisin jus. Who's that sitting with Sienna?
As such, a recent Bloomberg News article, Ivy Chef Hix Reveals Tips On Getting A Table, caught our attention - and kept it until the end of paragraph three. In the offending paragraph, the restaurant's Chef Director, Mark Hix, muses about what a laid back, casual experience The Ivy is, despite it's revered status. It reads:
'You can have a hamburger, you can have a Caesar salad, bangers and mash, you can eat foie gras.'' (An animal-rights group has protested outside the Ivy, saying foie gras is produced by cruel force-feeding of geese.)
This is exactly how the text appears in the article. The parenthesis are provided by Bloomberg, not FoieBlog. If you read the article in full, you will see that it is nothing more than an interview with a chef about his restaurant that neither poses the question of protests to him, nor raises the issue of Foie Gras in any context. Yet Bloomberg felt the need to include this line without giving Hix the chance to respond.
FoieBlog is not familiar with the writer's, Bloomberg restaurant critic Richard Vines, position on Foie Gras, nor do we know what Mark Hix thinks of this added line. However, it it is so off subject, so gratuitous, it can be nothing more than a political statement, whether by Vines' or the editorial staff at Bloomberg.
At the bottom of the article, as is the case with all of Vines' reviews, there is a disclaimer (also in parentheses) pointing out that the opinions in the article are Vines' own. Since the line in question isn't presented as an opinion, but is presented in parenthesis, it's hard to tell who's responsible for it.
In any case, it's not an isolated incident in the world of "journalism." FoieBlog has come across this sort of offhanded comment before in other publications, so often, in fact, that we've started to ignore it, attributing it to the uninformed masses of reporters thrust upon a subject they've only heard bad things about. To be fair, many of those articles are actually about the Foie Gras debate, but some are reviews like Mr. Vines'. We will no longer be so lax.
Irresponsible, activist, and just plain bad journalists are at as much fault as our pals at Farm Sancutary and VIVA! for misleading the public on the Foie Gras debate. Even the smallest inclusion can lead to tainting the uninitiated reader's opinion on the subject.
Please, Fourth Estate, leave that to us bloggers.
UPDATE: FoieBlog has tried to contact Mr. Vines and the Bloomberg editorial staff on this issue, but they have failed to respond to our inquiries. FoieBlog is not surprised.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007


Nice little article in the Chicago Tribune about the continued availability of Foie Gras in Chicago Restaurants - ordered and served sotto voce, of course.
Not much new info here, but a good guide on where to go to recognize the one year anniversary of the ban. There is no better way to show your support for the brave restauranteurs who have defied the ban and have been working so hard to get it overturned than to choose to patronize their establishments, which include some of the finest restaurants in the city. The article in the Trib is far from comprehensive, though, so check out for more ideas. The group's spokesperson, Didier Durand of Cyrano's Bistrot, says this about the current state of fowl affairs:
"Countless 'Duckeasies' are spreading through out Chicago, serving foie gras as a side dish! This delicacy has been pushed aside from the main stage, the position it previously held, and is now being outstaged by the formerly boring, super expensive accompanying salad."
Generally speaking, if a restaurant served it before the ban, they may still have some scraps left in the kitchen that they're looking to give away, so ask nicely and tip well.

Thursday, August 16, 2007


Admittedly, FoieBlog is not familiar with, presidential hopeful, Mitt Romney's position on Foie Gras, but as a Republican running on the requisite small government platform, we're working under the assumption that the idea of a ban on Foie Gras is about as foreign to the ultra-rich Mormon as the idea of one man, one woman - just kidding, pal, we had a great time at the 2002 Winter Olympics, nice job.
And that brings us to Salt Lake City where the Illinois based group SHARK (Showing Animals Respect and Kindness) has been trying to get Foie Gras off of area menus by trotting around the questionable activist classic DVD "Delicacy of Despair" to area restaurants, according to the Deseret Morning News. So far one restaurant, La Caille in nearby Sandy, UT has succumbed to the effort - although it's the kids at Farm Sanctuary who are taking credit for that one.
While we don't expect this most conservative of states to pass anything resembling a Foie Gras ban, Park City does attract quite a large contingent of that most despicable type of activist - the Hollywood Liberal - and, sure enough, that's SHARK's next stop, with plans to protest Grappa and Chenez this weekend (8/18-19). Since we can think of no better way to end a long day of mountain biking than by devouring a big plate of Duck 3-Ways with Crispy Skinned Boneless Breast of Duckling Served with Duck Confit and Peach Ravioli,Sautéed Asparagus, and Foie Gras Brandy Sauce, why not head over to Grappa this weekend and order yourself up a plate of this menage a troie of our favorite bird.
Heck, with Lindsay Lohan staying at a rehab clinic in Orem, Utah, maybe you can snap yourself a paparazzi photo to pay for the trip.

Thursday, August 9, 2007


For those of you who don't follow NHL Hockey (sadly, we'll assume that is most of the people who read this blog) Scott Neidermayer is a tough-guy defenseman who recently won the Stanley Cup championship as captain of the Anaheim Mighty Ducks - which took their name from a Disney film staring Emilo Estevez (we'll hope that most people who read this blog are not familiar with that.)
Well, while he doesn't mind beating up opposing players on a regular basis, it seems old Neids has a soft side for our fine feathered friends.
CBS SportsLine reports that Neidermayer recently sent a PETA-backed letter to the members of the Chicago City Council, telling them that "As an Anaheim Duck, I hate to see real ducks tortured so that a handful of wealthy chefs can serve their diseased organs...Please uphold this compassionate law," in reference to the city's Foie Gras ban.
Please, indeed.
FoieBlog can't help but question Mr. Neidermayer's sincerity or education on this issue. Hard as we've tried, we can't find any evidence of his support for Satanism during the years he was a New Jersey Devil, and we find it hard to believe his transformation into a duck is so complete that the species deserves any more of his support than the prince of darkness - or at least the flying hoofed creature that calls the Pine Barrens of New Jersey it's home. Of course we're Ranger's fans, so go figure.


FoieBlog doesn't know a lot about Mohamed Al-Fayed, but clearly he is someone to be reckoned with.
As if he didn't have enough to deal with on the 10th anniversary of his son Dodi's death by the side of Princess Diana, the owner of Harrods department store now has to put up with the crowd from VIVA! knocking on his shop door. As one of the remaining high-profile outlets that refuse to give up Foie Gras sales, Harrod's is set to be targeted by a planned national protest by the activists later this year. In the wake of Harvey Nichols' suspension of sales, The Independent reports that Harrods won't "dictate to customers what legal purchases they make," the store's spokesperson gratuitously adding that they still sell fur - which is the equivalent of saying "bring it on" to the protesters.
FoieBlog would like to attribute Al-Fayed's steadfast support for Foie Gras to his Egyptian background, his ancestors having been the first to enjoy the delicacy. Unfortunately, it's more likely this is a guy who doesn't like to get pushed around by a bunch of whiny Brits and is more than happy to ruffle a few feathers in the process.
In either case, good show.

Friday, August 3, 2007


Every time the United Kingdom is beset with adversity - like floods or terrorism or the loss of David Beckham to Spain and now, gasp, the USA - all we ever hear about is the wonderful British resolve, or pluck, if you will. As if the rest of the world just gives up whenever a little trouble comes their way.
Well, it turns out not all of the upper lips in Jolly Ol' are so stiff after all.
Harvey Nichols, the upscale purveyor of fine foods and goods, has joined a growing list of shops that can't handle a couple of protesters from animal rights group VIVA! hanging out in front of their stores. They've made the "economic" decision to do away with Foie Gras to avoid being the target of a upcoming nationwide protest organized by the group. And they're not alone. Another supermarket chain, Makro has "suspended" selling Foie Gras while it investigates VIVA!'s claims of cruelty.
FoieBlog is quite sure that if Makro's investigation comes to the logical conclusion that Foie Gras is in fact not cruelly produced and reinstates Foie Gras sales, VIVA! will not leave them in peace. We cite as example another British supermarket chain, TESCO, who also ceased Foie Gras sales, but is now being harassed by VIVA! for selling live turtles in their stores on the other side of the world in China.
The lesson? Give them an inch and they'll come back for seconds.
Asda, Sainsbury's, Marks & Spencer and Co-op have also thrown in the towel, so if you're going to be spending your hard earned pounds on some luxury eats, make sure you do it at a place like Fortnum and Mason or Harrods while you still can.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007


FoieBlog is sorry to say that we missed the CNN/YouTube debate. Not due to a scheduling conflict, but to avoid watching that idiotic snowman complaining about global warming. Duh.

Still we are fans of the website, and forever in debt to the folks at FoodTVBlog for posting Janet Street Porter's report on Foie Gras which aired on Gordon Ramsay's "The F-Word" a few weeks ago. (Until you kids start clicking on those ads, we'll never be able to upgrade our cable to include BBC and see these things first run!)

In the piece, Porter goes on a quest to find an "ethical" alternative to Foie Gras for Ramsay's restaurants, and makes her way to Pateria de Sousa in Badajoz, Spain to sample Ganso Iberico. On the way, she stops at a traditional, but unnamed, Foie Gras farm in France. There, she witnesses gavage first-hand and doesn't enjoy it too much, even though the ducks look to be very healthy. Of course she shows one pen that appears - out of context - to be avoiding the farmer and the feeding tube, but you'd expect such drama from a Gordon Ramsay production. She never tries the Foie Gras.

Pateria de Sousa, on the other hand, comes off as a luxury resort for geese. One big all-you-can-eat grassy hillside. Porter has no issues here and gives the Ganso Iberico it a try, enjoying it enough to recommend to Ramsay.

Unfortunately, the video ends here, but we understand that the show continues with Porter bringing some back for Ramsey to see if it's a worthy alternative to Foie Gras. One look at the current menus of his restaurants will answer that question for you.

It's always hard to tell if Porter truly goes into these projects cold, or merely plays the role of a nave, though we suspect the latter is the case. People in TV don't often do things blindly - believe us, we know.

In any case, it's hard for our jaundiced eyes to judge what kind of affect this story would have on the truly uninitiated viewer. Sure, some people are just never going to be able to stomach (sorry) seeing those tubes inserted into the ducks, but they otherwise look to be in a pretty good situation, and you know that cute old French couple are taking good care of them - they're straight out of the book of French stereotypes, sans the Gauloises.

FoieBlog expects it will be some time before Ganso Iberico makes it to this side of the pond, and GrasGuy dropped the ball last year when he was travelling in Andalucia, not far from Badajoz. Still, we look forward to trying it as soon as possible, so if you hear about any heading this way, or get a taste yourself, please drop us a line.

Though we suspect we'll side with Gordon.


Protesters from Central Texas Animal Defense hit Restaurant Jezebel in Austin, TX last night, once again regaling the eatery's patrons with their anti-Foie Gras diatribes...and they'll be back.
One thing FoieBlog likes about organized activist groups is that they're just so, well, organized. In CTAD's case, they've been nice enough to post a schedule of their upcoming protests on their website. Looks like they'll be out front of Jezebel's every Saturday and Tuesday night in August at 7pm sharp.
So if you're looking for a night on the town, why don't you buy one of those "Stop Tofu Abuse, Eat Foie Gras" t-shirts that often show up in the Ads by Google boxes on this blog, and head on over to Jezebel to show your support for Parind Vora and all of the Austin restaurateurs who've been standing tough against Noah Cooper and his CTAD cronies.