First Dibs

First meal of the year is a fabulous, French lunch at Fonfon.

By Jan Walsh

Kev and I venture into 2022 at one of our favorite restaurants, Chez Fonfon. It is literally freezing outside. But as the door and curtain open, we find it warm and welcoming inside the café, where we are greeted by the Stitts.

Unbundling from our coats, we ask our server if they have a hot toddy. She suggests the Stone Fence, which can be prepared hot or cold. This warm, rum cider is a flavorsome balance of Plantation Rum, Crow Mountain Apple cider, honey syrup and bitters. Not too appley and not too rummy. Just right. Highly recommended!

We pair the hot cocktails with Petite Baguette, Deviled Eggs, and Soup du Jour. Bread is always welcome on our table. And Fonfon’s French, airy baguettes beg to be slathered in butter. We oblige. Today’s deviled farm eggs are true delicacies… Two eggs are crowned with black hackleback caviar, which is mild, nutty, and sweet. One bite, of these eggs, whispers to the caviar loving child in me that I need more of this in my life! Medium sized pearls of bright orange smoked trout roe tops off the other egg with a smoky jamon finish with a full pop. Oh, my! I would come here just for these eggs. And the bowls of creamy, smooth Tomato Bisque warm our bellies and our hearts with a hint of spice and a crunchy, cheesy toast on top.

For entrees, we both order specialties du jour. Kev has today’s special, Potée Lorraine, and I opt for the Chaque jour. His classic French stew is a pork lover’s dream. Boasting generous portions of robust pork shoulder, tender pork belly, and hearty lardons atop a substantial, savory stew carrots, cabbage, onions, and flageolet beans, it is the most scrumptious, satisfying dish for this winter day.
My red snapper speaks with a southern accent, telling a fish tale of how recently it was caught in the Gulf Coast, which is the reason I typically order the fish of the day here at Fonfon. My delicate filet floats atop an array of textures and flavors… Plump Rancho Gordo lima beans add comfort and starch. Haricots verts brighten with color and crispness. And an acidic mix of zingy capers, mouth puckering niçoise olives, and a tangy anchovy vinaigrette liven this lovely fish.

We end our first restaurant lunch of the New Year on a light note with a shared dessert of Chocolate pot de Crème. Not too bitter and not too sweet, this chocolaty dream is enhanced with fresh hand whipped cream.


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