I order seared foie gras, which comes with cabbage stuffed with some sort of pureed root vegetable, and scattered with mustard seeds in a sauce that seems to be nothing more than a little wine, the juices of the cabbage, and whatever fat comes out of the foie gras. I tell K. that it is the best version of foie gras I have had at their restaurant, and wipe up every last drop of sauce with scraps of caraway-studded bread.
The John Dory (which always reminds me of that Agatha Christie story about the thumb-mark of St. Peter) comes on a bed of cipollini onions tossed with sweet mussels, in a buttery, wine-scented sauce speckled with garlic and chopped parsley. Again I clean my plate with pieces of bread - we are in a Depression, no sense in wasting butter - and lean happily against the wall, turning to watch the room behind me fill with diners.
My dessert is a dense tart of coconut wrapped in caramel and dark chocolate, on a crumbly-crisp chocolate crust, with a scoop of coconut sorbet floating on a cloud of shredded coconut alongside. It is a bit like one of those Fran's chocolate bars, only bigger. And therefore better. I turn in my seat and find that the foie gras protesters are here, waving their signs and fists at us. Most people ignore them. As I get up to leave I realize I will actually have to walk past all these shouting and waving people, and M. asks if I want her to walk me to the street. I should be fine, I tell her, and open the door.
I walk outside and the wave of sound hits me like a slap. The protestors are all ages, both sexes, including a smallish person of indeterminate gender dressed in a duck costume, who skips and jumps along the sidewalk. One man politely hands me a flyer and asks that I tell the chef to stop serving foie gras. Aside from being rather loud, they seem a decent bunch of people, so I refrain from telling them that not an hour before, I had enjoyed a small portion of foie gras, one of about forty servings of foie gras I have eaten (some less happily than others) in the years since 1994, the year I encountered it at the Hunt Club as a freshman in high school.