In California, foie gras is not something to be ingested lightly. Or, starting July 1st, to be ingested at all. So what's a foie fiend to do? Head downtown to Los Angeles' Umamicatessen while you still can.
The outsized outpost of the ever-expanding Umami Burger enterprise, Umamicatessen features several small cooking stations, each serving up something unique, but all available on the same menu in the communal dining space. Order a thick-cut pastrami on rye from The Cure, alongside a spicy Hatch Burger from Umami Burger, some crispy ears from P!GG, and a beer or three from Back Bar. But if you're really looking to kick the remains of last night to the mental curb, unslur your speech long enough to order the FG&J donut ($8) from the 'And a Donut' portion of the menu.
The J, of course, stands for jam, a dark forest berry concoction that is thick and sweet, with the tiny seeds still mixed in for texture and depth. The FG, then, is foie gras, which comes as a soft, slightly salty mousse riding shotgun with the jam. It's like a buddy cop movie inside the FG&J, with jam playing the role of grizzled old veteran and foie gras as the hot-headed donut rookie who doesn't play by the rules. After being tucked inside an airy pocket of sweetened donut dough from opposite ends, the whole thing is fried to order. It's not until you split the donut open lengthwise that the two unlikely heroes truly arrive, ready to kick ass.
You're going to need a little bit of donut, jam and foie gras all in one, so skate a crusty piece of dough around until you've got the right consistency. When the two unlikely forces join together, the flavor is pure harmony. The foie gras is slightly nutty and funky, and is helped along greatly by the thick dusting of peanuts resting on top of the donut. The jam, like always, knows what to do: stay fruity and substantial and just a touch syrupy. These two certainly play nice, because if they didn't the chief would have their donut badges.
It's not for this column to decide if foie gras really is a crime. But it would certainly be a shame to miss out on one of the best new donuts Los Angeles has come across in quite some time. Especially if you need a fatty, salty, doughy, sweet pick-me-up from the throw down you experienced the night before.
Umamicatessen 852 S. Broadway, Downtown Los Angeles (map) 213-413-8626
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