Chez Papa

Chez Papa

Appetizer. Le trio de foie gras de canard poêlé au pain d’épices, au vinaigre balsamique et à la fleur de sel (Guérande).

Feast. Salad, (Boyarde + 2 oeufs au plat). Spécial Cassoulet Papa gratiné à la chapelure.

Another amazing meal in Paris. My sister and I took an unknowingly, accidental late night excursion into the red-light district area of Paris, near the Sacred Heart. We wanted to grab something to eat, as it was our last night in Paris; we kept on passing restaurants, hoping we’d hit something “better,” all the while walking past some super-shady alleyways. We eventually made it back to our hotel, empty handed (er…empty-stomached?) The streets were fairly dark, except for one very lit corner. The sign was “Chez Papa.” It seemed popping, especially it being 11 at night. I don’t quite remember us even walking in. Our stomachs made the decision.

My sister actually wasn’t particularly “hungry;” I on the other hand, was starving and hangry (hungry + emotional need for food), and my hangriness was holding my sister’s stomach hostage. After seeing the menu and the dishes of foods coming out of the kitchen (and the completely cleaned out plates going back), we mentally emptied any absurd thoughts of being un-hungry and prepared to feast. Our first appetizer was a trio of foie gras, one with gingerbread, one with a balsamic reduction, and one with fleur de sel. My sister ordered a gargantuan salad with poached eggs and prosciutto, and I ordered the cassoulet (white bean stew). I’m a sucker for cassoulet ever since I had it at Lucques (Hollywood, LA) on a special  Sunday cassoulet night.

Pretending to read French like a boss. Or sleeping?

So what makes organ meats like liver (fois gras) much more palatable than texture of normal muscle meat? Let’s consider this, fat content aside. I’d have to say it’s pretty agreeable that there’s a sandy texture that’s provided by organ meats. I did write a previous post about the processing of fatty duck liver, how it’s made, and how it’s sort of? unethical (keeping my neutral stance here…standing in a minefield) but it got me thinking about why in particular liver and kidney meats within the animal were so different from muscle meats. Granted, this is important enough, as there is a time and place when I’d rather have a warm, flavorful, sandy meltdown in my mouth, than perhaps, a steak. But they’re all considered protein, right? We explore.

Oh you glistening fatty.

Offal has…in no particular order,

higher levels of cholesterol. Cholesterol is biochemically very helpful. Do not fear it. Don’t go bat-shit crazy and eat a ton of it, but don’t avoid it either. Definitely don’t avoid offal just because it contains higher levels of cholesterol. I don’t believe cholesterol affects the texture at all… The last three sentences probably don’t even belong. Oh well.

higher levels of iron and vitamins. Increased levels of vitamins…don’t affect the texture. The taste, however, may be different. Increased level of iron. I suspect it doesn’t directly contribute to meat texture, but iron’s ability to be oxidized (losing electrons) may catalyze unwanted radical reactions and affect storage times. Increased lipid oxidation (fats goin’ bad) can contribute to off-smells. No significant

smaller sized cells, thus more cell membranes. This is where particle size begins to have an effect on the ultimate “feeling” within the mouth. There’s a certain size limit between a texture that still needs an amount of physical breakdown, versus textures that are essentially a paste. Therein lies a thin line. Particles of larger sizes will obviously confer less of a grainy texture, and definitely not a pasty consistency. Dial down the cell size, and ultimately the particle size, and graininess here we come!

little connective tissue between hexagonal cells. The liver and kidney are obviously not doing much physical work. They’re not involved in running, flexing, or heavy-lifting. (You might want to check with your doctor if they are…). Thus, there isn’t a dire need or an evolutionary basis for having collagen support for your organs. Yet. Perhaps in the future there may be Olympic events detailing how much one can lift their kidney or something.

thrown a party in your mouth, when done right. No replacement can be found for chicken livers or beef tongue.