To the roster of the world’s great flavor combinations—chocolate and coffee, pork chops and apples, oysters and Chablis—you must now add another: duck and figs. In particular, you must add the version created by Alan Lazarus, the chef and owner of Austin’s hot-ticket Italian restaurant, Vespaio. There’s something about the union of the robust dark duck meat (steamed and then crisped under the broiler) and the almost jamlike, port-soaked figs that makes you want to close your eyes as you savor every bite. Garnishes of yellow butternut squash and shocking-pink pickled onions round out the perfect culinary ménage à deux. Vespaio, 1610 South Congress Ave, Austin, (512) 441-6100.
Try this recipe for Crispy Duck With Figs from Vespaio, Austin.