The best seared foie gras ever (and an interesting discussion of Boccioni)


Above: The best seared foie gras I’ve ever had, last night at Tesar’s in the Woodlands (Houston). Chef Tesar sears it so aggressively that the outside is charred while the inside becomes gelatinous. Before searing it, he studs it with a vanilla bean. Paired with Château Les Justices 2005 Sauternes, served by the glass by my friend Scott Barber, top sommelier AND art historian.

My line of work brings me into contact with some pretty interesting folks.

Yesterday afternoon, I headed down from Dallas toward Houston and met cousins Joanne and Marty at the relatively new and much-talked-about Tesar’s Modern Steak and Seafood in the Woodlands. Chef John Tesar is one of those young buck celebrity chefs who’s done it all: New York, Vegas, the Mansion on Turtle Creek in Dallas (the most ostentatious city in the world)… And now he’s branched out on his own with a high-end namesake restaurant.

My friend sommelier Scott Barber had been raving about the food and man, I gotta say (and ya’ll know I don’t say this lightly), the food was kick-ass good.


Above: Mediterranean-style octopus can be harder to prepare than it looks. Scott agreed that the secret (after tenderization) is patience: it simply takes a long time to achieve the desired tenderness. It was off-the-charts good, I gotta say.

But the star of the evening last night was Umberto Boccioni. Before getting into wine, Scott studied art history in Italy. The funny thing: neither of us were into wine at the time, but we both lived and studied in Italy during the same period (literature and paleography in my case). He has seen my post the other day where I incorporated one of my favorite Boccioni paintings, “La rissa in galleria” (“The Riot in the Galleria”).


Above: The fetishization of beef. One of the signature dishes at Tesar’s is “side-by-side” where you taste grain-fed and grass-fed beef side-by-side. One could argue until one is black and blue in the face about which is better!

Boccioni is such an interesting painter and his work is fraught with tension — historical and aesthetic. I was THRILLED that someone appreciated the reference and why I made it. Our conversation drifted to the significance, cultural and sociological, of the painting’s backdrop, the Galleria of Milan, the famed 19th-century domed arcade of the Lombard capital. Marty pointed out that the Galleria lent its name and its arched dome to Houston’s consumerist mecca, the Houston Galleria.

But I digress… Food and wine are just a pretext to discuss aesthetics, no?

Tesar’s is not cheap but it really delivered: would you like a little Boccioni with your Fixin?


Above: The 2004 Fixin by Mortet showed gorgeous, unexpected acidity and paired swimmingly well with house-made garganelli tossed with Parmigiano Reggiano and grated black truffles.

Thanks again, Joanne and Marty, for a wonderful dinner. And thanks again, Scott, for the Boccioni and the Fixin!

In other news…

The best news is that today I’m headed home to that super fine lady of mine… This lonely heart’s been away two days too long!

Yesterday, driving in the rain from Dallas to Houston, “Heard it in a Love Song” by Marshall Tucker Band came on. Man, what an awesome song. Can’t be wrong…