Whether you think offal is awful or awesome, there's a good chance you'll at least be intrigued by chef James Porter's Fourth Annual Halloween Offal Dinner. If you're unfamiliar with this kind of food, offal (pronounced just like "awful") means the bits of animals that usually are cast aside — like organs, odd parts, skin, and bones — in American dining. Creepy, you think?
Well, it doesn't have to be.
It's actually a natural fit for a French restaurant to do an entirely offal dinner. French cuisine (and many others) has a long history of not only embracing, but celebrating each and every part of an animal. Foie gras? Just a fancy way of eating liver. And dishes like le fromage de tête (head cheese) and le boudin (a type of blood sausage) are classic French offal eats.
The Halloween Offal menu will be available from Thursday, October 31, through Sunday, November 3, at Petite Maison and includes three courses plus an amuse bouche and dessert. The whole dinner plus wine pairings will cost $65 a person. Reservations, though not required, are highly recommended. Call 480-991-6887 or visit the Petite Maison website.
And don't worry, if you just can't get into the whole idea of eating offal the restaurant will also be serving food off its regular dinner menu.
Amuse: flexible, fatty tissue found in the interior of bones (bone marrow bruschetta with chanterelle mushrooms)
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First: cheek, snout, ears, tongue, feet, heart (housemade head cheese with spicy mustard and cornichon); wine — Chardonnay - Novellum - France
Second: tongue (lamb tongue pastrami with Brussels sprout "kraut," pickled mustard seeds, and pumpernickel toast); wine — Côtes du Rhône - Vinsobre - Perrin & Fils - Rhône
Third: thymus gland, heart, liver, blood (veal sweetbreads with beef heart, boudin noir, cassoulette, and black truffles); wine — Cinsault - Domaine Faillenc - Languedoc
Dessert: duck liver (Hudson Valley foie gras profiterole with blackberry jam); wine — La Fleur Renaissance - Sauternes — Lauren Saria