That's right!! - SNAILS!! Snails have been consumed for centuries now and are considered a delicacy in many countries. Many may immediately cringe or frown at the idea of eating a slimy insect but snails aren't insects. They are, in fact, considered mollusks. Mollusks are an animal group that include: slugs, oysters, clams, octopus, sea slugs, squid and of course the nautilus to name a few.
The most eaten form of snails are land snails of the helix category, or more commonly known by its French word escargot.
Escargot is not necessarily what many assume it is. A dish filled with slimy slugs that one found in their backyard or garden or in some ditch somewhere and were somehow cooked. The preparation process of escargot is about two to three weeks before being served. The snails are made to fast for about three days or more with only water available. The snails are then fed flour and only drink water for at least another week. These first two steps are to cleanse the snails. The snails are then removed from their shells (gutted) and cooked, traditionally, with garlic and butter. They are then poured back into the shells along with its own butter. There are, of course, other ways to prepare the snails such as boiled in chicken broth and/or one can add more garlic as well as thyme, parsley and pine nuts.
Once they are done, they are then served on a special escargot plate/dish along with special snail tongs (for holding the shell) and snail forks (for extracting the meat).
The Escargot Plate. Although there are different kinds, this one in particular is the stainless steel kind.
The special tongs and fork...
Anywho - so I received a call from my friend Nick about a week ago from Taix French Restaurant in Echo Park. Since that call, I have been thinking about and craving escargot so I decided to make a trip out to Taix. I have been there a few times before and I personally have never been disappointed. Their portions are relatively larger than your usual French food portions and the food is simply delicious.
They have a lounge area called 321 that offers a happy hour between 5pm and 7PM, Monday thru Friday. At the bar you will find a bartender, Fernando, who is 77 years old and has been there for many years. He will welcome you with a smile, provide you excellent service and fill you with amazing stories. If you choose to sit at a table, then you may meet Tony who is an absolute sweetheart. She will definitely bring a warm smile to your face.
The diners are a mix of those who have been coming for nearly 20 years, you have your elderly couples, young couples, of course your singles and locals and some, whose parents have brought them to the establishment since their early childhood years. Keep in mind, Taix is located in Echo Park so you may find a couple of hipsters here and there.
So upon arriving, I was like, "Fernando, traime una orden de caracoles y sirveme una cerveza fria porfavor". While my order of escargot was being prepared, I chatted it up with fernando and some locals while I sipped on a Taix draft beer, which is a Stone Ale like beer. When my escargot arrived, I pretty much devoured them. There is no need to mention, the escargot were delicious and I was completely satisfied. I usually order my escargot with extra garlic and parsley. I used the French bread they serve to dip in the garlicy butter. Mmmmmm....sooooo GOOD. I was going to order the special of the day, Cuisses de Grenouille (frog legs) but the gentleman sitting next to me had ordered the last one. *sighs*. Maybe next time. I ended up ordering the Short ribs with garlic mashed potatoes.
My dish of Escargot
So if ever daring enough to try escargot and/or in the mood for some, make sure you swing by to Taix. Try to hit their happy hour which is good. They also have a happy hour menu that includes fries and mayo, marinated olives, pate, sweet potato fries and Rosette de Lyon and so on. But If wanting to dine, I highly recommend it too. Not only will you enjoy the food in a nice quite setting, but you will definitely be thrown back to nostalgia.
Taix French Restaurant
1911 W. Sunset Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90026