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What’s Like a French Kiss in a Freeze? -Cassoulet!
February 16, 2021$32
Soul-warming dish appears Tuesday at Etoile Cuisine et Bar
When the damp winter rains chill the countryside throughout the south of France, it’s almost a certainty beneath more than one of the smoking village chimneys is a pot of cassoulet, a classic soul-warming dish no French winter can be without.
Well, as the Houston area braces for its first hard freeze and possible snow and sleet Tuesday, Feb. 16, Uptown’s Etoile Cuisine et Bar, one of city’s most popular dining destinations for all thing French, is putting its own cassoulet on the menu that night. Étoile’s Master Chef Philippe Verpiand says is the best he’s ever made. Rich with several types of pork and a whole duck leg all slow-cooked with white beans, Etoile’s cassoulet is available for dine-in and take home Tuesday for just $32, plus tax and gratuity.
Take-home orders should be made as far in advance as possible as amounts are limited.
The Cassoulet is a dish of meat, vegetables and stock, cooked for hours until it reaches perfection. There are many stories on how the cassoulet got its fame, but the best comes from a little town called Castelnaudary in the South of France. Around 1355, during the 100 Years War (which went on many more years than 100, but who’s counting?), Castelnaudary was under siege by an army led by the Black Prince of England. The inhabitants refused to give up even though they were near starving.
As a last-ditch effort to survive, the townspeople agreed to bring all their remaining food and cook it in a common pot. Because of their willingness to sacrifice and their act of solidarity, something magical happened when they ate the cassoulet. They were suddenly so invigorated, they attacked the English and drove them back to the English Channel. Today this town considers itself the birthplace of the cassoulet and holds an annual festival in which great amounts of the stew are consumed and thousands of tourists – including English – fill the town’s coffers.
Etoile Cuisine et Bar is located at 1101-11 Uptown Park Blvd in Uptown. It is open daily lunch and dinner seven days a week. 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Free valet service is offered for lunch and dinner daily. For reservations or information, call 832-668-5808 or go to www.etoilecuisine.com.