Tuesday, February 28, 2012

V-day at L'Étoile

Elizabeth wishes there were 2 more.  They were yummy.
Because we're high rollers, we decided to have a fancy prix-fixe Valentine's Day dinner at L'Étoile (you DO pronounce the last 'l' - saying "L'etoi" sounds TOO pretentious).  For our first course, Elizabeth had the raw oysters, and Ben had the foie gras au torchon (talk about pretentious!) with marmalade. Elizabeth was a little disappointed at the paltry number of oysters she got - probably because, compared with Ben's foie gras, it was puny!  But honestly, Ben's appetizer was quite large, particularly by fine dining standards.  There was a large slice of foie gras and a bunch of other fun things.  Apparently torchon comes from the French for "dish towel" and is made by putting the foie gras in a towel and then poaching it. By the way, Elizabeth bought Ben the French Laundry Cookbook, which describes how to serve foie gras au torchon.

No trip to a nice French restaurant would be complete
without a little (or a lot of) foie gras.
Okay, just look at the pictures. My text description has gotten ridiculously pretentious ridiculously fast.

In the foreground is Elizabeth's filet.  Off in the distance is Ben's delicious
duck breast.  By the end of the night, after foie gras and duck breast,
Ben was quacking.
Crème brûlée.  Another classic.
Ben had the cheese plate to mix things up.  He'd never done
a cheese plate before.  Good choice. 
Elizabeth had crème brûlée for dessert (with all the accents, this paragraph might be the most pretentious one in the post).  Her words: "Whenever I crack the top, it always reminds me of the movie Amélie.  Well, actually I'm not sure I've ever had crème brûlée before. But I've cracked a lot of fictional crème brûlées in my head, and all those fictional crème brûlées remind me of Amélie."  It seems reasonable that a dessert as delicious and fun as crème brûlée could inspire dreams and fantasies like these.

Neither of us really think much about French food, and while L'Étoile is a fantastic restaurant that we planned on visiting eventually, it never really our short list of fancy places to try until recently.  (You have to pick and choose when you're on a law student budget - also, ordering that extra glass of wine or dessert can feel a little wrong when we're staring at almost $300,000 in combined law school debt in only a few short months.  Can't wait!)  But L'Étoile did not disappoint.

Perhaps, given the cost of dining there (we spent over $200 on this meal), we may not be back before we leave.  And it's hard to fathom eating this decadent, rich cuisine more often than just special occasions.  But maybe you will see Ben try out a few recipes from the French Laundry cookbook.  We will be sure to share our successes (or failures) with you.

C & D

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