I was invited to be on Tom Douglas's radio show this past weekend (did you happen to hear?) and it was so fun. I was thrilled to meet Tom, partly because he's a legend 'round these parts, and partly because, for a while there, I kinda figured I'd end up working for the guy in one of his kitchens.
That never happened, and we'd never met before quarter-to-six on Saturday night, but I went in feeling like I knew the guy. I've been to Palace Kitchen countless times, eaten at Dahlia a couple (I even had my first, real caviar service there), and love Serious Pie. But outside of all that, as a food writer in Seattle it would've been impossible not to absorb a little of Tom's persona in the 15+ years he's been running restaurants in this town.
That's not to say I wasn't nervous; I was. I hate my voice, and I was hoping I wouldn't make an ass of myself on the radio. So, yep, definitely nervous, and, unfortunately, I have a tendency to have diarrhea of the mouth when I'm nervous, so about a second after we shook hands I just started blabbing. We had a few minutes to chat since I'd gotten to the studio just before the long break he takes at the top of the hour.
So I told him about Ruby, how she eats everything in sight but that I'd heard they stop doing that around age 2. About Ed and how we used to go hunting for elk. About how we ate an entire antelope backstrap in one sitting once (seriously, I was BABBLING!). And then I started talking about how, as a kid, I loved liver and onions and actually asked my mom to make it for my 9th or 10th birthday, and that she told me not to tell my friends because they'd think I was gross. Which was probably true.
Poor Tom. Jeepers. But he was nice about it, and so we start talking about liver, and why the hell you can't get a decent calves liver anywhere in Seattle.
Foie gras? No problem. Beef tongue, sure, at a handful of places including Palace Kitchen, which has it on the menu right now. Sweetbreads, bone marrow, yes and yes.
But no calves liver.
The last time I had it in any form outside my home was at Per Se in NYC--Thomas Keller did a fun play on it using foie gras and fresh spring onions.
But that's not what I'm talking about. I want cow liver! Tom said that he didn't think there were good local sources for it on a larger scale (aka, the scale he'd need to serve it at one of his restaurants). I'll take his word for it.
But it still strikes me as an anomoly. Anybody seen real liver and onions on a menu lately?