Some years back, at the original Umamiburger on La Brea in LA, I had half a conversation with Adam Fleischman, the restaurant founder, who was very excited that they were about to start selling ice cream sandwiches, bought in from Cake Monkey. I had never heard of Cake Monkey, but it did cross my mind that a restaurant with ambitions would make its own desserts rather than buy them in. The burger was fine, and the place was crowded but somehow I never thought Mr. F was going to be the next LA entrepreneurial food superstar. How wrong can you be?
The Umami empire now stretches far and wide, and there’s an outpost in downtown LA named Umamicatessen, which is actually a kind of upmarket food court, a collection of various food enterprises under one roof, including an outfit that sells $8 foie gras doughnuts – jelly and foie gras mousse fighting it out in there together.
Well, as they say, if that’s the kind of thing you like, then you’re probably going to like it a lot. Although evidently a lot of people don’t like the idea of it at all. When a Brooklyn restaurant named Do Or Dine served foie gras doughnuts earlier this year it “sparked outrage,” and indeed protests. Here in LA we await developments. Gotta say the LA version (above) looks a little more elegant that the Brooklyn one (below).
As for whether jelly doughnuts and foie gras go together, well we all know that somebody somewhere will eat just about any combination of anything, and it just so happens I’ve been reading a short story by Arthur Machen titled “A Fragment of Life” in which a late 19th century London suburban couple, not poor, but concerned about money, fret that their maid is illicitly cutting slices off the week’s roast mutton joint, then eating them “in her bedroom with bread and treacle in the dead of night, for the girl has disordered and eccentric appetites.”
“Disordered and eccentric appetites.” Sounds just a little like LA, no?