Like Foie Gras? Head to H Street


From a press release:

“The holidays are a time to celebrate and indulge in a few of the finer things – damn the consequences. Seven restaurants along the H Street corridor in NE Washington feel that a feast is in order, celebrating one of the finest ingredients in life – FOIE GRAS! Starting on Monday, December 16th, continuing through December 30th, restaurants participating in Foie La La La H Street will offer a foie gras special on their menus.”

73 Comment

  • Foie Gras is derived from one of the most unethical/imhumane practices of animals. I don’t eat meat, and do not judge others for doing so, but people should at least be educated on how Foie Gras is produced. Google it.

    • I agree. I eat meat, but I won’t eat foie gras. I’m actually kind of shocked at some of these establishments for promoting such a thing. And that tag line is just awful.

    • I agree. And it’s DELICIOUS.

    • I assume you’re referring to the practice of gavage, or the force feeding of the bird. You, and many of the other commenters on this topic are clearly extremely ignorant of the process of producing foie gras. First, stop trying to put yourself in the position of a bird. Force feeding may suck for humans, but unlike us, ducks don’t have gag reflexes, and so feeding them through a tube is not an inhumane, uncomfortable or even painful practice for them. They have completely different anatomies (two stomachs, for example) that allow them to ingest and slowly digest extremely large foods. If you’ve ever watched a nature show, I’m sure you’ve seen images of ducks and other birds ingesting fish nearly the length of the bird. It goes into one stomach, is ground up (with pebbles, previously ingested) and then into the second stomach for digestion. Gavage is a relatively similar process, though it requires far less work on the part of the bird.
      The issue with foie gras, and really with any poultry product whatsoever, is the conditions under which the ducks are raised. Some foie producers use factory farming techniques like the big chicken producers that I think many of us would prefer to avoid. But there are many producers who raise the ducks in cage-free, antibiotic-free, free range environments. Like any animal product, it’s important to know how it was produced. But demonizing foie gras on the basis of your own lack of understanding of the actual process is little more than ignorant.

      • Whoa whoa whoa…why let science and reason get in the way of someones outrage. Dont you know that they are better than you because they care more?

        And foie gras is amazing.

      • I think you are ignorant for calling me ignorant. I am actually very informed on farming practices in the US which is why I don’t eat meat (or wear a North Face jacket ). I think other people on this site are intelligent enough to google it and decide for themselves whether they agree with your biased view (which I am to kind to call ignorant) or another view.

        • You’re either ignorant or extremely imprecise in your writing. Had you originally written “Foie Gras, LIKE OTHER FORMS OF MEAT PRODUCTION, is derived from one of the most unethical/imhumane practices of animals” (emphasis mine), then you would have made a reasonable argument, and even I could be inclined to agree with you. But you clearly singled out foie gras as being particularly inhumane among animal production practices which, as I’ve pointed out above, it is not.

        • I’d also add that people on POP are certainly intelligent enough to make their own decision on this matter. But based on what I’ve read in this thread, they are clearly too lazy to do the requisite research to make such an informed decision.

          • Or you are too lazy/closed minded to think that your source of information may be flawed, and that Foie Gras is indeed a particularly unethical practice.

    • Please, PLEASE watch the video Doug posted. It’s got a good explanation of foie gras practices in the United States and why they’re actually not cruel and inhumane. (They’ll still be cruel and inhumane to you if you’re a vegetarian and consider all meat-eating to be inhumane, but that’s another matter.)

    • Then don’t eat it.

  • I only eat foie gras when I can be sure that the goose my liver comes from has also been repeatedly live-plucked for down jackets from North Face.

  • Wow, really? Disappointed in the restaurants who are participating and disappointed in POP for promoting it.

    • Me too. I live on H and go to those restaurants quite frequently. I wish there was a place on their website to express disapproval. This is definitely not the kind of thing that would get me to go in. In fact, I will be avoiding any participating establishments during that timeframe.

      • They all have phone numbers, I think people should call and leave messages. Especially if you’re a regular/neighbor who will be staying away because of this promo. Maybe it will keep them from doing this next year.

        • While I think educating the ill-informed on the fois gras making process is appropriate, to suggest inundating the establishment with phone calls is not. Leave it to the personal choice of the consumers to dictate whether this event will be successful. By petitioning the restaurant to not offer such an event, you are inflicting those that would otherwise attend.

          • Why not? If you want these restaurants to know WHY you’re not spending money there, you need to tell them.

          • Do they really need to know? Either the event is a success because of other people, or it’s not and they won’t do it again. Doesn’t really matter why some of us aren’t interested.

          • “By petitioning the restaurant to not offer such an event, you are inflicting those that would otherwise attend.”
            Inflicting what on whom? Or was this an autocorrect for something else?

        • Don’t be a dick. If you don’t like that they’re offering foie gras, then vote with your dollars. If you feel the need to let them know, then write an email. Don’t clog up the phone lines and harangue an already-frazzled hostess with your navel-gazing complaints.

      • gotryit

        Your disapproval doesn’t mean much unless you’ll take action on it. For example, “I disapprove, and therefore will not be visiting your restaurant for the next __ months.” – Signed, your formerly loyal customer. Money talks.

        • Someone should complain to Zagat while they’re at it. The two DC restaurants they chose to include on their “25 Most Important Restaurants of 2013” list serve foie gras.

  • Here’s a clip explaining how foie gras, pretty much all the foie we eat in the US, is not produced in an unethical fashion. Foie was discovered because geese would gorge themselves before migrating and thereby develop the fatty liver that was simply discovered and then cultivated.


      It is absolutely cruel. And this is one of the less horrific videos I’ve seen.

      • I see your biased video source and raise you another:
        I’m gonna eat extra Fois Gras this holiday season to make up for all the haters and boycotters at these restaurants.

        • Geese are the Hitler of the avian world. Nastiest animal on the planet whose sole purpose in life is to be forcefed until their livers explode into rich, delicious fois gras, to attack people in parks, and to defecate everywhere. May their calcinating bones rot in hell.

      • Someone in Spain tried to create cruelty-free fois gras. It was extremely difficult. Yes, the geese will gorge themselves if enough food is available, but they won’t do it if they feel like they’re in captivity. So you have to remove all cages and other traces of human intervention and hope enough of them don’t leave.

        • The man you’re referring to in Spain actually had a tremendous amount of success (even winning first place in the premier French foie competition). And it wasn’t extremely difficult either: the birds kept returning to his farm because there was plentiful and abundant food there, and the birds felt comfortable around the farmer. Get your facts straight.

          • I didn’t say he wasn’t successful. Yes, he created a product that was superior in taste, as one might expect. But it took a lot of trial and error (and money) to get the process right, and it’s hard to duplicate elsewhere. This American Life did a story on it a few years ago, and they don’t normally get facts wrong (or will admit when they do).

          • Until he lopped their heads off and ate their livers.

          • @Anonymous – He was the first person (at least as far as I know) to try and produce foie gras in this manner. It’s natural to assume that it would take a lot of trial and error to determine which types of foods the birds like, how to feed them, their migratory patterns, etc. He’s also set up a financially viable foie farm, albeit by charging a greater premium for his product than most foie producers. But if other farmers attempted to reproduce his methods, I suspect their costs would be lower, and they’d have to do less trial and error, because someone has already blazed that trail.
            I’d also add that there are many, many foie producers who don’t allow the birds to fly away but who keep them in cage-free, “happy” environments. Specifically, there are some great producers in the Hudson Valley in NY who produce foie in this manner (to much fanfare), though I unfortunately don’t remember their names. I’m sure there are some videos online to give you a better idea of their methods.

  • It Is disappointing that this exists, and disappointing that PoP would promote it.

  • lovefifteen

    “The greatest gift a duck can give”?! Seriously?! Look, I am not a vegetarian, but this practice is just unbelievably cruel. not matter how insanely delicious it is.

  • My biggest problem with people jumping all over POP and the restaurants of H ST, is context. Foie Gras is produced in myriad facilities and under different conditions. The video I posted is the ACTUAL facility where most of us chefs buy our Foie in the DC area. To simply pan all involved is ridiculous. In the same way one sources responsibly produced beef, or for god’s sake CHEESE is the same for Foie. No chef wants to order foie gras if the ducks are being mistreated, which is the same reason we’ve all gone to locally produced, hormone and antibiotic free, grass fed beef. People posting on here who eat corn-fed beef are the real ones to wag a finger at.

    • There is absolutely no way to make humane foie gras – no matter what the conditions. The link you are providing is self-serving – for your taste buds and the wallets of the restaurants and foie gras producers – as are all links claiming that it is not cruel or that there are humane methods. Getting the liver to the necessary size effectively makes it diseased – something that would not happen in nature. There is a reason it has been banned in many states and countries – that is not a decision that is taken lightly.: (Frankly, though this is perhaps a conversation for another day, the standard for what constitutes “responsibly produced” beef and cheese is, in your comment is vague at best, and generally much too low a bar).

      I too am very disappointed that PoP decided that this was a useful link to provide.

      • Absolutely no way… except the natural way :

      • I was actually talking about pork, chicken, egg, cheese, beef and yes, foie gras producers that I, and many in the area, have actually visited. The “bar” is seeing an operation in person. I’m just assuming you and every one else who so vehemently appose this certainly don’t buy meat, eggs and dairy from supermarket chains. That would just be hypocritical….

        • You are 100% correct. I do not buy any animal products of any sort. So no, not hypocritical – on the contrary, quite educated on the issue. Whether it be pork, chicken, eggs, cheese or foie gras, I have worked with scientists all of the world on these issues. Do you honestly think that by simply visiting a facility, you are getting the real story?

  • Isn’t H Street still kind of rough?

    Sure, if you think a Foie Gras walking tour is “rough”.

  • How does everyone become an animal rights activist on the internet when it suits them? I have no problem with this event, and I have every intention of attending. Unless you are also protesting every restaurant in DC that serves chicken, beef, pork, or any other meat from industrialized farms, and stringently ensuring every animal you deem consumable has lead a humane existence, please calm down. Or at least make space on the bandwagon, others need somewhere to sit.

    Anthony Bourdain needs a Bat Signal. He doesn’t stand for this kind of shaming.

  • At least all the humans that gorge themselves can take the street car to the next feast!

  • This is an ancient part of French culture – just like it’s part of America’s culture to force-feed humans. If you hate foie, do you also hate America? *Bites into $13 CAFO burger*

  • You can’t be an animal rights activist when you have any animal killed just to be put on your plate. This is coming from a carnivore. You can’t pick and choose. You might think your love for your dog makes you a compassionate being, but you sure didn’t love that cow. It’s throat got slit and it’s meat was placed on a bed of potatoes…

    • That’s true, but if you’re a carnivore you can make an effort to buy as responsibly sourced meat as possible (ie from local farms where you know the animals are treated well during their lifetime). Because of the way foie gras is made, it’s highly likely the animals suffered to make it (much more so than that free-range grass-fed cow at the farm).

    • The all or nothing approach to being a carnivore is misguided. There are ways to treat animals with some dignity that will make their way onto your plate and into your stomachs. I make no judgment calls on the foie gras issue as I have no honest clue how this particular foie gras is acquired. But anyone who can say cramming a chicken in a cage with 6 other chickens where it spends its short lived existence covered in urine and feces and force fed antibiotics and hormones is equal to a chicken that lives cage free on a farm and is not jammed full of drugs (and yes, is ultimately killed for its meat) is delusional.

    • You act as if a person has to choose between being a PETA activist or a carnivore who eats everything regardless of whether it’s fattened duck liver, abused livestock, or someone’s pet. Moderate viewpoints and corresponding actions DO exist.

    • Oh and that isn’t about being an animal rights activist. I can think it’s perfectly okay to eat animals while also advocating and demanding my food come from animals that are not tortured or drugged their entire lives.

    • By your definition the only people who truly care about animals are perhaps the Jain nuns who sweep the ground in front of them while walking to make sure they don’t step on a tiny insect. Even a vegan is going to end up killing an animal sometime during their lives– maybe they swat a mosquito, or catch a mouse in a trap, or accidentally hit a deer with their car. That doesn’t mean it’s worthless to try to make sure the animals in our lives aren’t treated as humanely as possible.

  • Foie gras is fatty goose liver created by force feeding the ducks. It is horribly cruel to the animals.

  • Ooooh, I LOVE FOIE GRAS! Can’t wait!!!

  • I’m a recent meat eater (veg for 10+ years) and really have no problem with this. Also years ago, I saw force feeding of ducks with my own eyes at a farm on a trip to France, and didn’t have a problem with it then, either. Maybe that means I’m heartless, but I do think there’s a lot of misunderstanding about the foie gras process. I also can’t really hang with meat eaters who get so up in arms about how some animals are treated, but not others, like some have said. Also… foie gras is freaking GOOD.

  • Viva Foie Gras! I never heard of it until Chicago banned it, it’s now one of my favorite foods.

  • Foie gras is cruel – TO ME.
    I can’t eat it, and I wish I could.
    I feel very left out of all these festivities; how abot a little sympathy for ME?

  • Humane or not, this foie gras fest (along with the news of an impending Whole Foods) is further evidence H Street is slowly turning into DuPont/Logan-East. The transformation will be complete in a few more years.

  • Foie gras is delicious. You whiny hippies can move to California where it’s banned.

  • wandafish

    I’m laughing so hard from all of these comments. DC is so full of clever, funny people.

    Oh, and foie gras is super yum.

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