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Liver Let Die, Foie La La Ducks Controversy


The second annual Foie La La competition is under way on H Street Northeast, with nine establishments going beak to beak for the hearts and minds (and livers?) of diners with a taste for foie gras.  

The eat-off, which started on Dec. 15 and runs through Christmas, has attracted attention from the folks at PETA, who aren’t too keen on the consumption of animal protein, much less duck livers, much, much less the sense of humor the organizers have employed in publicity material. Under the subject heading “D.C.: Tortured Birds Need Your Help!” the animal welfare organization sent an email to supporters imploring them to take notice. “PETA just received word about Foir La La, a promotion of foie gras cruelty in which nine H street eateries in Washington, D.C., will offer the diseased livers of tortured birds to restaurant patrons from December 15 through 25, concluding with a voting contest for ‘best’ dish,” the message states.  

Continuing, the email signals its disapproval of the contest’s light tone, in bold typeface, before unbolding and shifting to italics: “The Foie La La website says, ‘Come share the greatest gift a duck can give this holiday season!’
Seriously? ” The message then encourages recipients to contact the establishments to discourage, politely, what the organization calls the “delicacy of despair.”  

Brad Walker, chef and owner of Boundary Road, sent a reply to attempt to calm the roiling waters, stating that, while the restaurants and PETA aren’t going to agree on the consumption of animal protein, there is some common ground.  

Contrasting the production of “commodity beef, chicken, and pork,” with the “hormone-free meats and poultry, and sustainable seafood,” Boundary Road serves, Walker argues that the producers he utilizes for foie gras are responsible actors and it is important to have context for how it is produced. He offers up the website of his supplier, Hudson Valley Foie Gras & Duck Products , as well as a clip from Anthony Bourdain’s old “No Reservations” show, wherein the chef/icon/author/tv personality visited the facility.  

“I think most importantly, I would like to speak to the reverence we have for this, and all, proteins. We are not scarfing utility beef in the form of a drive-in burger while driving down the highway. We are treating this modest portion of a specialty meat with the utmost of respect. That’s really what the argument is all about, isn’t it? Respecting where our meat comes from and taking the utmost care to prepare and enjoy what is truly precious. … We respect your opinion and hope you respect ours as well,” Walker writes.  

The nine establishments partaking in Foie La La form a nice straight line down H Street.

  • Driftwood Kitchen — 400 H St. NE
  • Boundary Road — 414 H St. NE
  • The Big Board — 421 H St. NE
  • Micho’s — 500 H St. NE
  • Le Grenier — 502 H St. NE
  • DC Harvest — 517 H St. NE
  • Liberty Tree — 1016 H St. NE
  • Granville Moore’s — 1238 H St. NE
  • Ocopa — 1324 H St. NE

One could almost use say, a trolley? or streetcar? to get from one to another. Too bad we don’t have one of those.  

Bon Appetit, or Viva Le Resistance, whichever suits your fancy.  

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