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Got my Goat

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Bill Spohn

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Got my Goat

by Bill Spohn » Mon Apr 01, 2019 2:27 pm

La Quercia in Vancouver is an Italian restaurant I hadn’t visited previously. We went there with friends recently and I was quite impressed with a couple of dishes. The name means ‘the oak’, which I was able to decipher from a couple of years of Latin plus a long time horticultural hobby and it is small, only holding around 40 people.

Having perused the menu I chose to start with vitello tonnato, an old favourite of mine but one that I rarely make as it takes a fair bit of time prior to assembly, You need to slow braise some veal top round, chill it and slice it very thinly the next day before serving it with a freshly made mayonnaise made with anchovy, tuna and capers. Their approach was a bit different – not to braise but to lightly sear the outside of the veal, and then I expect they froze it lightly and sliced it very thin with a very sharp knife, the way you would do carpaccio. The slices were twisted a little and arranged in rosettes on a round serving plate, topped with a generous supply of the tonnato sauce in the centre. A bit different from the normal prep method but delicious.

The second course was what really impressed me, though. It was braised goat served with garbanzo and diced red peppers served with braised fennel. For those not into goats, the breeders keep the females as milk producers for the cheese trade, but the male goats are surplus (except the odd one for breeding purposes) and are therefore a side product. Accordingly they sell them at under a year old when they are still quite small (and tender) and they are used locally mostly in Indian and Persian cuisine but also as capretto in a few Italian restaurants.

They had obviously lightly seared the meat first before slow braising it as the skin was crisped up. The amazing part was the meat, though, which could literally be cut with a fork. It was one of the tastiest meats I have ever put in my mouth – tender and savory. I offered it around for tasting to the others at the table that would likely never order goat on their own and everyone was astounded at how good it was.

I had a decent Falanghina with the veal and a Teroldego Rotaliano with the goat. I intend to return in future.
The point of this write up is to encourage those who tend to be timid about trying new things – you never know what you may be missing. I am a fan of goat, but after that dinner there were about four others that will possibly try goat in future.

Any other goat fas out there? I may have to reconsider my plans for y terrine event this year and possibly include a goat terrine....
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Re: Got my Goat

by Jeff Grossman » Mon Apr 01, 2019 9:44 pm

Yes, I like goat, young and tender, as you had. There are Jamaican and Trinidadian restaurants that sell goat roti, so I have access to braised and heavily-seasoned goat. Yummy through all that.
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Re: Got my Goat

by Jenise » Tue Apr 02, 2019 2:30 pm

I've eaten goat a few times when I couldn't avoid it, but I don't seek it out. After an encounter with a pygmy goat in Australia, who climbed into the car with me like a dog when we slowed down to check it out, it is now in the pet realm and not a protein source.

Like the sound of the vitello tonnato. I've actually had it both ways, and as well I've made it with sous vided pork loin, cooked to a pale carnation pink at 135. Best of all worlds.
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
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Re: Got my Goat

by Bill Spohn » Tue Apr 02, 2019 4:18 pm

So you wouldn't be into a Billy Ballotine for terrine day?

I seem to be surrounded lately by people that swear off eating anything that is cute. Problem is that this is the path to either vegetarianism or a constant menu of jackal jerky, snapping turtle soup, banana slug succotash and warthog bacon (guess monkfish gets in both as being tasty and for being ugly).

A goat just doesn't seem as cute as a puppy somehow, nor does a sheep or a young calf. And it tastes sooooo good!
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Re: Got my Goat

by Jenise » Tue Apr 02, 2019 5:20 pm

It's not really defensible, it's just how it is. It's not being political or even feeling like a choice. I'm nauseated before I can stop myself, so how it tastes is unfortunately immaterial. Eat cats or starve? Starve.
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Re: Got my Goat

by Bill Spohn » Tue Apr 02, 2019 5:30 pm

So what else if off the menu? Lamb, veal, rabbit?
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Re: Got my Goat

by Jenise » Tue Apr 02, 2019 5:34 pm

I'm not a fan of rabbit. I have eaten it to be polite but never prepare it. I once had one in the freezer at the same time I read Watership Down. Totally did me in.

But I have eaten a monkfish sperm sac. So there.
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Re: Got my Goat

by Bill Spohn » Tue Apr 02, 2019 5:47 pm

Jenise wrote:But I have eaten a monkfish sperm sac. So there.


Hmm....perhaps better to eat it than work on the harvesting line - the mind boggles!
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Re: Got my Goat

by Jenise » Tue Apr 02, 2019 5:51 pm

And I ate smoked puffin in Iceland. Talk about a crime against cuteness!
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Re: Got my Goat

by Bill Spohn » Tue Apr 02, 2019 6:23 pm

I've heard that puffin is a bit fishy - understandable given the diet.

Icelandic cuisine is conditioned on being a small community far away from traditional food sources, so they had to eat what they could find. That doesn't really account for stuff like fermented shark and sour lamb testicles.

So - may one ask how the monkfish sperm tasted?

Having no close Newfoundland friends, I have never tried cod tongues or blubber. Have heard that the smoked puffin is excellent though.
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Re: Got my Goat

by Jenise » Tue Apr 02, 2019 6:34 pm

The puffin was indeed fishy. I've tasted blubber both raw and cooked, both were awful. But, the most vile thing ever? Seal. You need a stronger word than 'fishy' to describe how fishy that was.

The sperm sac was a small round bubble, grayish green, about the size of a nickle. It was the Japanese chef Masa at his Beverly Hills location before he moved to New York. He only takes like 9 customers per night, and he personally cooks everything. Best I can recall he cooked the sac on a hot rock (which is what made it balloon), then set it afloat on a egg-cup sized cup of broth. It wasn't objectionable at all--and they didn't tell me what it was until after I'd eaten it. There's only one per fish and one fish per night, so to be the guest selected to receive it is considered quite an honor.
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
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Re: Got my Goat

by Bill Spohn » Tue Apr 02, 2019 6:42 pm

I can just hear the Japanese chef saying to his assistants - "Not only can I charge these gaijin ridiculous prices for our food - watch me make them eat sperm from the ugly fish - try not to laugh too loudly when they do it!"
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Re: Got my Goat

by Jenise » Tue Apr 02, 2019 6:52 pm

Bill Spohn wrote:I can just hear the Japanese chef saying to his assistants - "Not only can I charge these gaijin ridiculous prices for our food - watch me make them eat sperm from the ugly fish - try not to laugh too loudly when they do it!"


Believe me, I'd have happily let someone else have it.
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
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Re: Got my Goat

by Bill Spohn » Mon Apr 08, 2019 1:44 pm

One thing that I always gave Tony Bourdain credit for was his willingness to try just about anything before deciding whether he liked it or not. Even if he knew what it was.

You get a silver star for eating the monkfish jizz - it would have been a gold star if you'd know going in what it was and went ahead anyway!
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Re: Got my Goat

by Jenise » Tue Apr 09, 2019 2:41 pm

Believe me, Bill, such was the occasion, the meal, and the reputation of Masa, that I knew what was being prepared for me was something I'd never in a million years want to eat. Though sperm sac itself was a surprise since I never knew such a thing existed, that it was something of this caliber weirdness was not.

Btw, I also ate the famed poisonous fugu fish at that meal.
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Re: Got my Goat

by Jeff Grossman » Tue Apr 09, 2019 10:07 pm

Jenise wrote:Btw, I also ate the famed poisonous fugu fish at that meal.

Did you find it tasty or merely thrilling?
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Re: Got my Goat

by Jenise » Thu Apr 11, 2019 10:28 am

Neither. The whole meal was a progression of ridiculously extreme delicacies of a type mostly lost on me (I don't even like caviar, but had to eat several types that night). The friend who took us there was over the moon about the food, which I truly believe was more about the fact that the meal was so expensive and the ingredients so rare (she went often enough that Masa even kept a few bottles of wine for her so she didn't have to bring wine from home) than it was that they were so good. That is, were these things commonplace and cheap, neither she nor anyone else would bother.
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Re: Got my Goat

by Jeff Grossman » Thu Apr 11, 2019 11:06 am

Jenise wrote:That is, were these things commonplace and cheap, neither she nor anyone else would bother.

I have often found this to be true. For example, I am totally left cold by most "wild boar". Tastes like regular old domestic pig to me. Ditto most of the exotic meats... if rattlesnake tastes like chicken then why am I risking a poisonous bite to eat it?

(Of course, there are some good rare things, and good people will have divergent opinions about which those are. For example, I like fish eggs.)
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Re: Got my Goat

by Robin Garr » Thu Apr 11, 2019 11:20 am

Mary gave two thumbs up to this goat dum biryani at a local Indian spot the other day ...

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Re: Got my Goat

by Bill Spohn » Thu Apr 11, 2019 11:30 am

There is a big difference between farmed 'wild' boar, which does indeed taste so much like regular pork that one wouldn't comment on it if they didn't know there was supposed to be a difference, and really wild boar, which is definitely gamier - I expect from the difference in diet - no Purina Porker Chow for the angry looking wild ones.

Farmed:

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Wild Sanglier:

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Re: Got my Goat

by Jeff Grossman » Thu Apr 11, 2019 11:37 am

Robin, is it possible to post a survey in here?
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Re: Got my Goat

by Robin Garr » Thu Apr 11, 2019 1:29 pm

Jeff, yes, but only on a new post, not on replies. (I don't know why, it's just set up that way. :) )

Start a new post, and look under the message entry window. You should see
>Options< >Upload attachment< >Poll creation<
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Re: Got my Goat

by Jeff Grossman » Fri Apr 12, 2019 11:36 am

Under "Upload attachment"? OK.

Thanks, Robin.
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Re: Got my Goat

by Robin Garr » Fri Apr 12, 2019 12:03 pm

Jeff Grossman wrote:Under "Upload attachment"? OK.

Thanks, Robin.

Not under but next to, Jeff. Once you find "poll creation," click and go! :)

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