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realclearworld

Foie gras, anyone?

OOOOOOOOOOHHHHHHHHH! THEY ARE EXTREMISTS! Maybe they're racists, sexists, and homophobes, too! They should start an immediate investigation and put a stop to the heinous criminal act of selling serving foie gras!

Entrepreneurs will always win.

The state's July 1 ban on foie gras was supposed to prevent the fatty goose or duck liver from being served at California restaurants. Instead, foie gras has become more popular, and enforcement of the new law has been nearly nonexistent.

Sacramento chefs and others from around California are exposing loopholes in the law, making foie gras fairly easy to find in restaurants despite its blacklisted status. You can find it served at such restaurants as The Kitchen in Sacramento, where foie gras is treated as a complimentary item – not officially for sale and technically, some say, not illegal.

"There's more interest in foie gras now than ever," said Randall Selland, executive chef and owner of The Kitchen. "If you ask to try it, we'll let you have some. It won't be on the menu and there's no extra charge."

Foie gras is produced by force feeding ducks or geese with a funnel and long tube to create an engorged liver, a process known as gavage. Though foie gras has deep roots in France's culinary traditions, gavage has been outlawed in a number of European countries. The California ban was instituted in 2004 with the passage of SB 1520, and given a 7 1/2-year sunset for the law to take effect.

Some California chefs stocked up on foie gras before the ban took effect, with plans to offer it after July 1 as a complimentary item and duck the letter of the law.

"We know what the rules are, but we have enough to last a couple of months," said Selland. "We're waiting to see how this pans out and how it can be done. There's a multitude of ways to do it."

San Francisco's Presidio Social Club, which is located on former Army barracks, invoked its federal land status and sold foie gras after July 1. That practice, however, recently stopped. Some California restaurants have also offered to cook any foie gras brought in by customers.

St. Helena's Goose & Gander, which has a goose mascot named Fergus, currently offers a foie gras dish listed as "Senate Bill 1520." The $28 dish includes a "torchon of Fergus" with bing cherry jam and toast.

Other California restaurants offer expensive orders of toast that come topped with "complimentary" foie gras. That's the case at downtown's Restaurant Thir13en, which serves a $21 brioche toast that's paired with complimentary seared foie gras and a foie gras panna cotta.

"Most of the guys in town who were selling foie gras (before the ban) are selling it now," said Adam Pechal, Restaurant Thir13en's executive chef and owner.

"People are still coming in and looking for it. We've been riding that wave since before the ban and I think everyone in the state's had a major increase in sales."

The widespread flouting of the ban has outraged animal rights advocates.

"They're extremists at this point who are acting outside the law," said Carter Dillard, litigation director for the Animal Legal Defense Fund. [...]

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