Wednesday, July 28, 2010

L'Olivier, Marché Jean-Talon, Montreal

When we were at Marché Jean-Talon, everyone was shopping at the grocery store when I felt compelled to check out L'Olivier because of the line for sandwiches. Everyone was getting the Agneau (lamb) sandwich, so I decided to do the same. Served in a split roll, chunks of lamb are placed inside with green olives and sweet peppers. It was an incredible sandwich- the lamb was so juicy and delicious and the combination of salty-sweet from the toppings was great.

260 Place du marché du Nord

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Saucisses Sur Bâton, Marché Jean-Talon, Montreal

$1 Canadian for sausage on a stick was too good to pass up when we were walking around Marché Jean-Talon in Montreal.
I got canard (duck), cerf (deer), merguez (lamb), and sanglier (boar)- my favorite was the lamb.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Our Annual Au Pied De Cochon Dinner & The Tête De Cochon

Fougoo, Redneckhunter & I have loved our dinners at Montreal's Au Pied De Cochon going on for 4 years now. This year, we rounded up a several cousins from NYC to join us, which meant. . . more food!
I've had been eying the Tête de Cochon on their menu since we started planning our Montreal visit, so even though the APDC menu said it was a dish designed for 2, I knew that if we had 6, we would be able to tackle it.
More on that later. We started with a set of foie gras cromesquis - the deep fried cubes of liquid foie gras. You just pop the whole piece in your mouth, and when you bite, it's a wonderful splash of foie gras.

This year, we opted to not have wine with dinner. Instead Redneckhunter and Stacey ordered APDC's own house beer, while Xtine and I ordered some cocktails. We both a lemon-lime slush with vodka, and I ordered a very fresh raspberry mojito- both great for the heat of July.

Of course, it was imperative we order our compulsory plate of foie gras poutine- duck fat fries, foie gras gravy, fresh local cheese curds, and a slab of seared foie gras. It still is a perfect summation of APDC's outrageous take of Quebecois food.

We shared a very generous order of beef tartare. It was good, not quite as good as the one we had at Le Quartier Général earlier in the weekend, but good.

To prevent meat overload, Stacey wanted us to order some veggies, so we got a cone of wonderful deep fried zucchini blossoms.

Redneckhunter wanted again this year to get APDC's plateau of fresh seafood. I would say this year's platter was better than last year's. It was loaded with items like oysters, clams, mussels, razor clam, small snails, squid, conch, and fried cod. It came with housemade tartar and mignonette sauces.

Picking the small snails out of their shells with a toothpick reminded me of eating snails at a Chinese restaurant when I was young.

Since it was the first time for a few members of our dinner party, we ordered the Duck in a Can.
It's presented with a piece of toast and celery root puree on a plate. Then, the can is brought tableside. It is loaded with duck, foie gras, cabbage cooked with lardons, and a balsamic venison-based glaze.

The can has been heated, and is opened up a tableside and it's contents are poured onto the plate.
The combination of all those flavors and textures are just so spectacular. We did not get this the last time we ate at APDC, so it was like the return of an old friend.

A repeat from last year's visit was the APDC Lobster Roll. Served up in a toasted brioche, it was packed with lobster, cheese curds, lettuce, mayo with pieces of foie gras on top drizzled with balsamic vinegar.

The last entree was the Tête de Cochon. It is the whole head of a small pig slow roasted with herbs. Our was accompanied by a large lobster, it's head stuck in the pig's mouth, and then the pig's tongue sticking from the lobster's head. To the side was a pot of low cooked root vegetables and the generous lobster tail. Slathered over the eyes of the pig like a blindfold was APDC mashed potatoes, made with large amounts of cheese curds.

The meat from the pig's head was so tender, the gentlest push of a fork would peel off the meat and skin. Everyone got to try the wonderful cheeks, jowls, and ears. Redneckhunter & I both had an eye- which had the texture of a firm gelee with a small pop like a pea on the inside. The flavor was all pork- so good.
At first we figured that they surely would not leave the brain in, but no, APDC had served the pig's head in it's entirety. We dug into the delicious brain which had the consistency of egg yolk or firm tofu. Xtine was hesitant to try it, but once she did, she had seconds.
As you can see, we picked the whole skull clean. I think we may have terrified people near our table especially when we devoured the brain.

We certainly could not leave without dessert. We ordered the Dark Chocolate 'Pot de crème', the pecan pie, and an item we have not had since our first dinner there, the Pudding Chômeur.
Fougoo mentioned that she had eaten so much food our first trip up, that she had no recollection of trying the Pudding Chômeur, but since she paced herself well this night, she really enjoyed it. It is basically a hot maple syrup soup with a biscuit floating in it- a classic Quebecois dessert.

We hope next time we go up to Au Pied De Cochon to get the lamb for 4. Can't wait.

536 ave Duluth est
Montréal, QC H2L 1A9
(514) 281-1114

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

La Belle Province, Montreal

After grazing a little at the Marche Atwater in Montreal, we met up with our cousins from NYC who were hungry after a long wait at the US-Canada border.
We went to La Belle Province, a diner a block from the market for a snack. I ordered their poutine. Their version was solid- great fresh cheese curds and tasty gravy.

Redneckhunter tried their version of the Michigan hotdog. We had heard that the Montreal versions of the Michigan sauce were a little more runny than the ones in Plattsburgh. This was true in this case.
Stephen ordered a wonderfully fatty smoked meat sandwich. Xtine got a pogo, which basically was a corn dog.

3001, Rue Notre-Dame Ouest
Montreal, QC
(514) 931-2574

Monday, July 19, 2010

Le Quartier Général, Montreal

On our first evening in Montreal, Fougoo, Redneckhunter, and I went to Le Quartier Général, a recently opened bistro serving contemporary, seasonal Quebecois cuisine.
The space was bright and clean, and the scene was casual. It's "Appportez votre vin", or BYOB. Redneckhunter selected a great bordeaux Chateau Duhart-Milon-Rothschild 2007 from the wine store at Marche Jean-Talon earlier that day.

You can order items a la carte from the board, or for a modest amount, one can get "la table gourmande" which includes the appetizer and dessert.
We ordered three different starters. Fougoo got the Pieuvre grillee, grilled octopus, with edamame and veggies.

I ordered the escargots with Bayonne ham. It was cooked in a white wine lemon broth that reminded me of when you get mussels. It was very good.
Our favorite item was Redneckhunter's beef tartare. The restaurant sources their beef from Colorado, using the 1855 brand of beef. It was light, beefy, had just the right amount of fat and so delicious.

Out table ordered two main courses. Fougoo, opting to conserve her red meat quota for the trip, got the Lotte de New Brunswick, or monkfish. It was coated in Chinese five spice and serve with small bok choy.
Redneckhunter and I ordered the Lapin de Stanstead, rabbit from the UK. It was cooked beautifully, served on a parsnip puree with some carrots. The rabbit had a unique flavor in itself- reminding me of the texture of duck.
For our desserts, I had the cheesecake with blueberries, and Redneckhunter had the nougat glacé à la pistache (pistachio).
Our favorite though was Fougoo's Marquise au chocolat, a light dark chocolate cake served with blackberries and a gooseberry.
We had a delicious, simple and inexpensive meal at Le Quartier Général, which was important before the much richer meals we had in store.

1251 Gilford
Montreal, QC
(514) 658–1839

Friday, July 16, 2010

Cafe Myriade, Montreal

On our way to see the Miles Davis exhibition at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, we stopped in for a morning coffee at Cafe Myriade nearby.
Fougoo & Redneckhunter shared a French press. I noticed they also had the option for making your coffee using the vacuum pot and mentioned that this was the same as as Spro Coffee in Baltimore and Comet Coffee in Ann Arbor. Turns out one of the employees had lived in Baltimore and knew about Spro Coffee. Small coffee world.

1432 Rue Mackay
Montreal, Quebec
(514) 939-1717

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Fougoo's visit to Hecho en Dumbo

After getting pissed at the brusque hostess at Cafe El Portal, petiteseour, Redneckhunter, and another friend took the recommendation of a friend of Redneckhunter's, seconded by remembering 1000yregg's delicious-sounding blog post, and went a few blocks away to Hecho en Dumbo. We were not disappointed.

We shared a bunch of plates, starting with Picaditas de Jaiba - small masa rounds topped with dungeness crab, avocado and jalapeno oil. Then we got 2 types of tacos -- Cochonita Pibil (Berkshire pork, which 1000yregg had also gotten) and Red snapper with crispy shallots.

But the favorite dish of the night by far was the Mixiote de Conejo - braised rabbit in a banana leaf wrap with honey, cinnamon, and chile mulato, served with Michocan-style rice with almond, bacon, and avocado (pictured above).

The rabbit was falling-apart tender and aromatic with the flavor of the banana leaf. The rice was also wonderfully flavored. The dish was served with little warm tortillas so that you could wrap your own little tacos, but it was just as delicious just eaten with a fork. The rabbit was so amazing, we ordered a second one. Petiteseour thought it was the second-best rabbit she'd ever eaten, second only to a dish her friends had prepared for her in France. So essentially it was the best rabbit she'd ever had in New York.

For dessert, we had to of course order the tres leches cake. I thought the caramel sauce on it was too much sugar - added to an already sweet cake. But clearly the chefs have a sweet tooth - the Cafe de Olla, a Mexican coffee drink flavored with cinnamon - was undrinkably sweet, even after petiteseour asked them to tone down the sugar.

We also ordered an almond cake served with a cinnamon-chocolate ice cream and mezcal-flavored-chocolate sauce. The best part of any of the desserts was the ice cream.

Hecho en Dumbo
354 Bowery, NYC
(212) 937-4245

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

The Moosewood Restaurant, Ithaca, NY

Redneckhunter and I were up in Ithaca recently, and no visit is complete with eating at the Moosewood Restaurant. Somehow the Moosewood does vegetarian food that the green-thing-hating Redneckhunter will gladly eat!

He got the Rumpledethumps -- a baked potato and cabbage dish known as a "colcannon" along with broccoli and cheddar cheese. I got the tofu burger, served with Thousand Island dressing on 7-grain bread. For dessert, we had a vegan berry crumble. The Moosewood is also the only place I've been that serves unsweetened lemonade - which I really like.

Moosewood Restaurant
215 N. Cayuga Street
Ithaca, 14850-4323
(607) 273-9610

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Michigans at Clare & Carl's, Plattsburgh, NY

After our visit last year, during our annual trip to Montreal for Independence day, we made another stop in Plattsburgh, NY to check out Clare & Carl's Hot Dog stand for Michigan dogs.
The place is an old school highway stand with a lovely view of Lake Champlain. We knew it was a good sign when several local cops were at the counter for lunch.
I overheard people order their Michigans "buried" which means your onions go under the sauce as opposed to on top for a usual order.
Clare & Carl's Michigan sauce had more spiciness to it than the one at Michigan's Plus. I think I liked it better. We had a side of poutine that unfortunately did not use cheese curd.

4727 State Route 9
(518) 561-1163

Monday, July 12, 2010

Roast Pork at Tommy DiNic's, Reading Market Terminal

Alongside the Philly cheesesteak, Philadelphia is known for it's roast pork sandwich. Inside the Reading Terminal Market, Tommy DiNic's Roast Pork & Beef serves one of the better versions of this tasty treat.
The pork is seasoned with Italian herbs and spices and then slow roasted so it remains extremely tender and juicy. Additional juices is poured generously onto the meat once in the roll.
I ordered mine with the usual sharp provolone, broccoli raab, and hot peppers. The end result was so good and messy.
1136 Arch Street
Philadelphia, PA‎
(215) 923-6175‎

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Scossa Restaurant, Easton, MD

I was driving through Easton, MD and stopped in at Scossa Restaurant for dinner. I selected the Calf's Liver Alla Veneziana off their seasonal prix fixe menu. The started was a decent vegetable minestrone soup. However, the liver was really delicious- lightly cooked in olive oil, and the portion was very generous.
I would return sometime to try their housemade pastas.

8 North Washington Street
Easton, MD
(410) 822-2202