Little Orange Hen


The retro allure of orange glaze. - JENNIFER FUMIKO CAHILL
  • Jennifer Fumiko Cahill
  • The retro allure of orange glaze.
Back in the day (the historical period during which everybody started dressing like hell on Mad Men), every fancy French menu had a canard a l'orange — the dark, roasted duck with crispy skin ladled over with a sauce of stock, orange juice and zest and maybe a little booze — Grand Marnier or Cognac — stirred in at the end. Swells celebrated anniversaries, promotions and engagements by throwing on a shoulder-padded blazer and dining on duck with savory, fruity gravy. And it was good.

Then it vanished, like baked Alaska and everything flambé. If you want it, you'll likely have to bust out vintage Julia Child books and whip it up yourself. If you're not willing to put in the hours, order the cornish game hen with orange brandy glaze ($20 half, $28 whole) at the Larrupin' Cafe (1658 Patrick's Point Drive, Trinidad). True, it's not duck, but the meat is full of flavor, cooked as it is over the mesquite grill instead of in an oven. It's juicy throughout with the bright, lightly sweet glaze balancing out the smokiness of the blackened skin. The handfuls of dressed salad and the overstuffed twice-baked potato crowding the plate will also take you back to pre-nouvelle cuisine times. Besides, where else are you going to wear that old blazer?

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