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May 26, 2010

Dessert With A Side Of Duck Fat Fries

    Duck Fat Fries—they called my name. I was looking for a new restaurant to try and saw them on a menu. Some of you may see those three little words and think triple by-pass, or maybe just ewww. Not me, I thought ahhh, heaven served up in a paper cone! As a lover of foie gras, I made a beeline to the phone to make a reservation. Paring fancy food with the familair, succulent with simplicity and the rich with the redneck is just one of the many things that I love about food. As a certified-double-stamped foodie, I know that duck fat fries are sooo last year, but that doesn't mean that I haven't been jonesing for them for an entire year., The Big Guy, Daughter #1 and six of our best friends headed straight to Tag, a hip restaurant in Denver’s Lodo district. We all bellied up, ready to sample as many dishes as we could, even if it meant having to undo the top buttons of our pants at the table.
     We started with cocktails—strawberry-basil swizzle; jalapeno-kumquat mojito; amante picante; to name a few. Interesting but a little strange was the general consensus, so after one we switched to wine.
     We then fell head over heels for the Surf and Turf Sushi Roll (Kobe beef, lobster, shitakes, masago {which is an Icelandic caviar, for you lay folk}). Next it was love at first bite when we tasted the Taco Sushi (charred Ahi, sticky rice, mango). Then it was on to the Angry Volcano Roll, which, by the way was plenty pissed (read spicy).
     I may think of myself as a food snob from time to time (or all of the time, for that matter) but I should probably have my card pulled because I have never had pop rocks in my food. Not on purpose anyway, so I ordered us a round of the Flash Seared Hiramasa. Sitting all pretty on top of it was yuzu (a sour Japanese citrus fruit), white soy, myoga (a Japanese vegetable—I had to look that one up myself, so don’t feel bad lay folk) and get this…pop rocks. Yes, the candy from the 70’s has gone culinary! Who’d of thunk? And then finally, the real reason we were love us some duck fat fries!  Frying then in duck fat gave them a perfectly crispy outside with a silky finish. Inside they were sweet; not like sweet potato sweet, but like savory, caramelized heaven sweet. They tasted like pure indulgence. Unfortunately there weren’t enough of them and it became obvious that we could have eaten our combined weight in duck fat fries.
Troopers that we are, we  proceeded to the entrees! The Big Guy, RL and Bell had the Hanger Steak. All agreed the meat was nicely cooked, had great flavor, but wished it would have met up with a tenderizer before it hit their plates. Daughter #1 and Girlfriend went with the Scallops which were plump and therefore hiding behind some fat peas and a drape of a yummy, creamy Latin-y sauce. Mr. & Mrs. Lexus hit the dinner jackpot with the Miso Black Cod, served with edamame salsa. The second it touched the tongue it melted like butter in a hot skillet. Lady BelI and I went with the farm raised Kauai Moi, which is a fish that neither of us had never eaten before. We learned that it is usually reserved for Hawaiian royalty.  Well, well—if it’s good enough for the Queen of Hawaii then I guess it’s good enough for us. (Disclaimer here…The waiter told me that Tag is the only restaurant in CO that serves it, but I have no way of verifying that so don’t call me if you see it on a menu in a truck stop in Walsenburg.) It was delicate and mild, yet had the flavor of a much meatier fish. I barely noticed the fava beans, root beer carrots and tiara, which were served on the side.                      Some or all of us may have unbuttoned one button at this point. After all, there was a dessert menu to be scrutinized. We chose two, the standout being the Sticky Toffee Cake—served with bourbon butterscotch ice cream, chocolate truffle, raspberry passion sauce and hot toffee sauce. We grabbed our forks and loosened up another button. It was AMAZING!  The only way it could have been any more decadent was if it had been served with a side of Duck Fat Fries!  
I put a recipe for Duck Fat Fries with Cilantro Aioli on the "Soups-Salads-Sides" page.  I have no idea where one can find duck fat, so just go ahead and make regular fries and serve them with the cilantro aioli.  I'll vouch for its delish factor!

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