Full of Beans: Vermont Serves Up Cassoulet 

Chef Laurent Quenioux shows off a seasonal, soulful rendition

Wednesday, Nov 19 2008

Dear Mr. Gold:

There’s finally a nip in the air, and I’m starting to think about cassoulet, a dish with some ballast. Any ideas?

—Gregory, Brentwood

Location Info

Related Stories

  • Milkfarm

    If your idea of the four food groups is cheese, charcuterie, bread and wine, Milkfarm in Eagle Rock is set to become your new grocery shopping central.  Leah Park Fierro, formerly head cheesemonger/manager of the Cheese Store in Silver Lake, opened the cheese-and-charcuterie haven April 7, inspired by the little specialty shops...
  • SoCal Meets Old World: Stone Brewing Co. and Green Flash Announce Plans to Brew in Europe

    This summer has been full of interesting expansion news from several California breweries, including Lagunitas in Petaluma — which recently opened a Chicago tasting room — and Sierra Nevada, which has an expansive North Carolina brewery that is already releasing product. But none of the announcements made in the last...
  • We Wish We All Could Be Caprice's Kind of California Girl

    “This is myself with my best friend at the time, frying my skin," says the across-the-pond celebrity Caprice Bourret while looking at old photos, nibbling a scone at high tea at the Culver Hotel. "I used to be such a California girl. I used to fry. Hawaiian Tropic, no sunscreen at all."...
  • Surprise! Americans Drink More Wine Than the French

    Congratulations America! We're officially bigger winos than the French. According to the Organization of Vine and Wine, the U.S. became the biggest internal market in the world, volume-wise, as of 2013. We won this coveted title by consuming 29.1 million hectoliters (mhl) of wine - not including vermouth or special wines,...
  • Petit Trois Opens

    Petit Trois, the long-awaited space next door to Trois Mec, will open tomorrow at 12:30 p.m. Owned and operated by the Trois Mec team — Ludo Lefebvre, Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo — Petit Trois aims to offer  Bar a la Carte, described as the traditional French bar experience.  "I...

Dear Gregory:

Cassoulet, the southwestern French standard of meat and white beans, has never quite translated to the United States. The tarbais beans, the soul of the dish, are hard to find here and expensive, and the informality of the dish — natural in a part of France where most families have pots of duck confit, preserved pork and garlic sausage ready at hand — is lost in California, where all of those things have to be made specially. Cassoulet here tends to be overfancy, overthickened and overdone.

But the kitchen at Vermont, a Los Feliz bistro nearing its 10th anniversary, is currently under the guidance of Laurent Quenioux, the renegade French chef who seems to have been operating on a guerrilla basis since he ran Seventh Street Bistro in the 1980s; and the baroquely modernist tasting menus during his short tenure at Bistro K in South Pasadena were legendary. For the month of November, Quenioux is preparing what may be the best cassoulet I have ever tasted in America. It’s the real thing: tarbais beans cooked to a consistency both firm and creamy, walloped with garlic and garnished with first-quality house-made duck confit, braised pork belly and Toulouse sausage so abundant that the meat almost crowds the beans out of the ceramic tagines being used as crocks. Add a frisée salad that must be almost half bacon by weight and a bottle of Gigondas and you’re in business. By December, you may even be hungry again. 1714 N. Vermont Ave., Los Feliz, (323) 661-6163, www.vermontrestaurantonline.com.

Got a burning culinary question? E-mail askmrgold@laweekly.com.

Related Content

Related Locations

Now Trending