Well, as the calendar will officially harken in Spring this weekend, I thought that I'd best make it out for one last Cassoulet in the "chilly" Wintertime. Little did I know, Mother Nature had other things in mind for the Bay Area. Nevertheless, as the Mercury soared into the 80's, I set out with a friend to have dinner at Jeanty @ Jack's earlier this week. The walk over was very telling as my perpetually cold companion remarked at how incredibly pleasant it was at 8:30pm without her coat!
Seated on the first floor, with the door mercifully ajar, there was a slight breeze and after a nice cool glass of Pinot Gris, I started with a refreshing beet salad with chevre, but then fearlessly proceeded onto the Cassoulet (although the Steak Tartare was calling out for me to be reasonable). My friend ordered the Daube de Boeuf (delectably prepared with beef cheeks cooked to fork tenderness and rich with melted connective tissue) and we added a side of haricots verts and frites to the mix. As our waiter set down the large traditional Cassole (bonus points for actually using the correct vessel) heat immediately began to radiate outward. As I broke through the lovely and properly toasted crust, steam rose up, a heavenly aroma permeated the air and beads of perspiration dotted my forehead. Another bottle of Perrier and a second glass of Pinot Gris helped see me through the immense portion. The duck confit was delicious and the beans were of a perfect creamy consistency, but oddly enough, it was the saucisson that stood out of this version. Truly a taste of Provence in every bite, the casing was not tough and the meat was perfectly spiced and coarsely chopped.
After triumphantly and satisfyingly finishing the Cassoulet (okay, I did have to remove my coat midway through the dish, but a wool suit can get toasty pretty quickly), we ordered dessert, a rice pudding with cherries macerated in Armagnac and the tarte tatin with a little creme fraiche on the side. The rice pudding brought me back to the practical "cool" side of the menu and the tarte tatin was very good, save for a slightly tough crust.
All in all, it was a splendid meal and one that has satiated the Cassoulet cravings for the time being. Alright then Mother Nature, you may now bring on Spring.