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Last night marked the return of Foie La La, the brainchild of Boundary Road’s Brad Walker. Nine H Street Northeast restaurants placed a special foie gras dish on their menu through December 25. Walking up and down the H Street blocks with Walker and meeting with the participating chefs, you really feel the kind of camaraderie that has built on H St. over the last decade as they bond over a dish as savory and decadent as it is misunderstood. Of course, it’s not just to celebrate the holiday season and good will towards all restaurants. Graig proudly gripped the Foie La La Golden Duck trophy at every spot we hit and dropped one off to 2013’s co-champion, Graig Glufling, at Liberty Tree. Tasked to try every dish, I had to call in reinforcements for this one: local spirits distributor and “Aggressively Unfancy” Chris Schmid.

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Boundary Road – Brad Walker

“It’s the perfect bite of Thanksgiving leftovers: rutabaga bread, Brussels sprouts, foie gras poached in chicken fat and sage, a crispy oyster, and cranberry gastrique.”

“I went in the fridge the Friday morning after Thanksgiving and grabbed a bowl of leftovers and took a big spoonful, took a bite. I thought, “This is the most delicious thing I’ve had in my life.” This is the third iteration – we started working on it about two weeks ago.”

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Driftwood – Executive Chef James Duke and Chef de Cuisine John Leavitt

“First is a torchon of foie gras with rhubarb, pickled mustard seed and syrup with a foie gras crostini. Second we have a ‘meat and potatoes foie gras’ which is seared foie gras served with celery root, duck demi, and chanterelle mushrooms and white truffle. Then we have the foie gras of the sea which is a monkfish liver torchon served with fresh seaweed, ponzu, and hydroponic watercress as well. We’re serving these as a flight to show the versatility of the product and also some creativity and what we’re capable of doing with it. We also wanted to show how similar monkfish is to foie gras as a little surprise at the end”

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Liberty Tree – Graig Glufling

“My inspiration? The holidays. I think the flavors are very traditional: apple cider, there’s some toasted, spiced walnuts, it has some toasted cinnamon, star anise, clove. We toasted all that then we poached the foie gras torchon in apple cider. After that we took that poaching liquid, reduced it down to a glaze, and put it on top of the torchon and some granny smith apple slaw with the nuts on top of toasted brioche.”

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Granville Moore’s – Teddy Folkman & Jeremy Kermisch

JK: “Honestly? I am not a big fan of foie gras. I don’t really like it, so I was trying to find a way to come up with something that we would actually eat ourselves.”

TF: “At the same time, we wanted to be in the spirit of the block in doing Foie La La. We definitely are supportive of foie gras, so, this is a dish we had done previously on a much smaller scale for an event in October and it was a huge success so we decided to recreate it, offer more of an appetizer size, and have fun with Foie La La. It’s an open-faced duck sandwich. The duck is seared rare and chili rubbed and left overnight. Foie gras mousse is used as the spread as opposed to a mayonnaise or mustard or cheese, we top it with pickled cherries and a nice earthy parsley.

JK: “And then there’s a sour cherry balsamic reduction sauce.”

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Ocopa – Carlos Delgado

“Foie gras on top of sweet potato and a chalaquita of onions mixed with lime juice and cilantro. Then these red peppers drops which are sweet, dehydrated onions, green apples, and also green apples on top of the sweet potato next to the foie gras. It’s a balance of sweetness with the green apples bringing lightness, it’s citrusy, and then rich. It cuts back every time from the sweetness then also rich from the foie gras.”

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DC Harvest – Arthur Ringel

“Grilled foie gras served on a whole grain crouton drizzled with a sweet red wine reduction, homemade pear butter, accompanied by a pea shoot, gala apple salad dressed with a vinaigrette. It’s not too sweet because some people, when they put fruit in foie gras, it’s almost dessert. I wasn’t going for dessert, I still wanted that savory element for an appetizer so there’s plenty of salt and pepper in the salad. We seasoned the foie gras and finished with sea salt on the foie gras itself too.”

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Micho’s – Michel Dawaliby

“This is sautéed foie gras with cilantro, onion, garlic, and olive oil wrapped in one piece of bread so you don’t waste any. We wrap it really tight, toast it, put some herbs on top and then toast again and chop into 4 pieces. It comes with garlic paste, fresh mint, turnip pickles and cucumber pickles.”

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Some more delicious photos:

Driftwood

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Liberty Tree

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Boundary Road

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BYT

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