Bird Watch 2012: Where to Spot Foie Gras in Los Angeles Restaurants
Before the foie gras ban went into effect on July 1, many speculated that it wouldn't change that much in the Angeleno dining scene. Critics believed that chefs would still serve the item as an off-menu specialty like they did during Chicago's similar ban.
Though we have yet to experience any of these free foie courses in our recent dining experience (save for a torchon brought to a Fourth of July BBQ by a somm friend of ours), Grub Street L.A. has put together a running tally of local restaurants still serving, which currently includes: Hot's Restaurant (one of the parties responsible for the counter-ban lawsuit filed this month); Downtown L.A.'s new restaurant Kitchen Table; and former Cafe Pinot chef Kevin Meehan, who just launched a series of pop-ups that promises to serve foie with every course.
The fine for being caught is $1,000 per serving, and although the Department of Public Health says that they'll be patrolling the issue, the other agencies that would have the ability to fine restaurants don't have the time or resources to be montoring restaurants right now.
In Los Angeles County, the Department of Public Health plans to investigate restaurants that sell foie gras as part of its health inspections unless told otherwise, representative Angelo Bellomo said.
But other agencies that can fine offenders do not have the means to do so.
"With budget cuts, this just isn't something we can add to our plate right now," said Marcia Mayeda, director of Los Angeles County's Department of Animal Care and Control to the Associated PRess.
The AP also reports on the various loopholes around the law. For instance, national parks, Native American reservations, and military-owned land do not have to comply with the law. Some like Presidio Social Club, which is located on a former military base owned by the National Park Service, put foie gras back on its menu on Saturday. Yet others feel it's important to comply with the sentiment of the ban.
"We felt like the general public's desire to have (foie gras) eliminated from menus in California was more significant than keeping it on the menu," Thunder Valley Casino spokesman Doug Elmets said.
No doubt the defiant liver lovers will be on the radar of protesters, so they'd better watch out for the fake ressies and demonstrations.