Foie Gras for Breakfast in Bed
Here’s the scene from yesterday morning, when I ate the last of the Terrine de Foie Gras de Canard (duck liver) and the two epi baguette‘s my waiter packed up for me the night before. Can you think of anything more fabulous than sitting in a Las Vegas hotel room eating fois gras with a fresh baguette from Thomas Keller’s Bouchon Bistro while watching re-runs of Sex and the City?
I stopped by Bouchon Bakery when I visited Napa Valley with my mom and Jane last year, and we picked up some macarons to go. They were delicious. We also walked through the beautiful gardens at the French Laundry and even toured the kitchen, but opted out of eating there due to the expense.
Thursday was Bastille Day, and in the morning, my friend and colleague Cat and I took a cab from our hotel at the Mandalay Bay to the beautiful Venetian, to check out the restaurant that fellow food bloggers Michael Chu and Shefaly Ravula had raved about.
The minute we walked into the lobby, we felt like we had been sprinkled in magical fairy dust.
We took the elevator up to the restaurant, located in the Venetzia tower, and walked down a gorgeous hallway filled with gas lanterns and the soundtrack to Phantom of the Opera.
We asked to sit outside where we could enjoy views of the garden and fountains. This was the first place in Vegas that was beautiful, quiet, and immediately relaxing. Everywhere else I went in the previous five days was filled with techno music, bright flashing lights, and crowds of people.
We were content.
Cat ordered a hot chocolate and I fed my coffee addiction. She ordered the Bouchon French Toast which is actually soaked layers of brioche alternating with cinnamon apples.
I ordered the baked eggs in a creamy sauce with veggies and ham along with a side of breakfast potatoes.
We headed back to our hotel for the final day of our conference with a box of their famous pastries to take back to our colleagues that included a to-die-for chocolate croissant, an almond chocolate croissant, a strawberry croissant, and an almond pastry.
We finished work at around 7:30 p.m. that evening and while I was exhausted, I found my second wind after a quick shower, and decided to organize another outing to Bouchon. This time I was joined by Francois, who moved to the U.S. from France a little over a decade ago, and Kellie, who spent three weeks in France last year.
Our reservation was at 9 p.m. and the waiter tossed a handful of epi baguettes on the table, along with their wonderful butter and a small cupful of warm pistachios. I asked the waiter what the significance of the pistachios was and he answered, “Chef Keller loves them.” Simple enough.
We ordered a bottle of Sancerre and then proceeded to push Kellie’s buttons (she is from California) , by telling her that we never order Chardonnay from California because it tends to be over-oaked. My father taught me from a young age that when ordering white wine, ABC (anything but chardonnay) goes. Kellie swore that she would bring a bottle of California chardonnay into the office that we would like. Later in the evening, Francois told us he would bring a bottle of $15 Napa valley sparkling wine. My addition to the party will be cheeses from Antonelli’s.
Back to the meal….Kellie ordered two oysters to start, I had the heirloom tomato salad, and we all shared the foie gras. The dressing on the tomato salad was too sweet for me, but the foie gras was absolutely wonderful.
For a main course, both Kellie and Francois ordered mussels steamed in white wine, saffron, and mustard with French fries on the side. I had the trout almondine with haricot verts.
None of the main courses totally blew my socks off but everything tasted good. I especially loved the almond crust on my fish and the green beans. Francois poured vinegar all over his French fries and I ordered ketchup to dip ‘em in.
We chatted about our favorite French restaurants in Austin and Francois and I agreed that the atmosphere at Chez Nous and the prix fixe menu make it rank highly. I also really like Justine’s. Francois recommended that both Kellie and I check out Artisan Bistro in Lakeway where the owner is the chef. He said that the menu is simple but that everything he has eaten there is wonderful. It’s been on my list for a while but just jumped up a few notches in priority!
For dessert, Kellie and I had coffee and I ordered a wonderfully light lemon mousse tart. Francois ordered a stinky cheese that came with Bouchon’s house-made raisin bread and honeycomb with pears.
We walked away full, happy and ready to dive into bed with satisfied smiles on our faces.Tags: bakery, bouchon, French, las vegas, thomas keller