sometimes life is a circus, and there are those days when nothing will silence the clowns like a stiff drink. as i rushed through the doors of la bête, my eyes darted around the room for the waiter, a grand marshall of sorts. as fernet and coke descended upon our table, my heart was calmed and i was able to focus my attention on priority #2: food. the piquant parade was heralded with a float of pork rinds nestled next to a bed of picked shallots, followed by floats of bacon-wrapped blue cheese-stuffed dates and one of the most successful attempts at spanish tortilla i have witnessed in the emerald city. the procession took a dip of excitement as the manila clams, muscovy duck breast, daurade, and leg of lamb marched by, but the pace picked up as the bovines arrived, an order of steak frites with marrow butter (like nectar of the gods) and beef ragout with gnocchi that redeemed all gnocchi that had previously graced my lips. the party then took a quick turn as the desserts fizzled at the end of the road, but the sunny layers of tropical fruit trifle rounded out the celebration. la bête emerged from the big top victorious that night, and i left the show feeling like a trouper.