March 31, 2010
It’s Wednesday and I’m still on light snacks. At least I’m sleeping again. At least I don’t need to take thirsty oral baths in large glasses of cold water every 5 minutes. Is there a USB water hose yet? What? Confused? So was I.
On Sunday, after a moderately enjoyable drive through the rain soaked Lauentiens, myself and another well chosen four took advantage of a 6:30 reservation the Pied de Cochon Sugar Shack. Well chosen? Yes! Adequate team size? Noooo.
I love Au Pied de Cochon. The recipes and approaches to transforming available, local, and simple fairs are truly inspiring; almost as multilingual (gastronomically) as the dining room itself.
“Taber… c’est bon!”
“F*%@k – I know!”
The setting is impeccable. Mapled woods; mapled syrups; maple glazed eyes. We arrived on time and were offered our own table; at the time, hurdling the single shared bench with two others seemed almost trivial. Little did I know that bench would soon become akin to a WALL keeping me trapped tightly at a table that knew not but to give… and give… and eventually… the last thing to give is you…
… and it’s up (picture waving hands and SOS written in fats and syrup).
Ok. Enough with the run-on sentences… I can’t tell too much about the dishes as they were tricky to deconstruct, but I will make comments… and the menu (in order):
BEER: 2 liters per person; done.
Pea Soup with Foie Gras and Ham
Pea soup always seems somewhat gritty, and that’s why, as a kid, I had had trouble enjoying a yellow lentil or pea dish. This, on the other hand, was unique. While still epically and perfectly pea, the diced and slightly melted foie gras was, in context, like a hose on a fire.
Salad with Cheese, Smoked Salty Ham, Oreilles de Crisse (et crisse y sont bon!), Pecans…
Dear god – this is a salad? Just the lettuce was “dressed” to impress. How can a leaf I’ve worked with so many times taste this different; great; crisp; complex? Lovely.
Here is an opportunity for me to crack some overplayed foot fetish joke, but let me tell you a story. Dim Sum, New Years Day, 2010. Some husky young man, sitting in my point of view, knew and loved his chicken feet. I mean really did love them. I sighed, “Ok. It’s time to play.” Not good. No. Wings; yes. Feet; no. No. No, not again. Here they were. Buck-buck-buckling at the knee – do I believe what I see? Feet somehow staring at up me? But you know what… it ain’t chicken butt. Foots are back on the menu! Not at Dim Sum; no; these were yum.
House-made Salmon Gravlax with Buckwheat Pancakes and Creton
Clean fresh salmon; sweet buckwheat; smooth and salty creton; maple syrup. Done.
Tourtiere a la APDC (no picture; too tasty) with real ketchup aux fruits
This was an add-on; extra $10 for the table; half a meat pie. This was where the bench started walling me in. A buttery crusted delight (or meatily packed butter delight) worth the trip on its own. Could’ve been the meal too…
Savoury Souffle cored with Maple-Smoked Smoked Sturgeon and Topped with a Braised Pulled Pork Shoulder served in a cast iron pan
This souffle was an amazing dish that successfully juxtaposed the soft cloudy eggs and creamy sturgeon against a mean and meaty shoulder. Fantastic!
Lobster, Ground Pork, and Foie Gras Stuffed Cabbage Served on Cream Poached Puy Lentils in a Lobster Roe Sauce
As this point, I started shaking my head and implied that “this ain’t right”. I could have just had the lentils; some lentils; a lentil. The were sauced in what might have been lightly smoked lobster roe and cream. Hm. Caviar and cream; salty dream. I officially needed help getting out of my seat – and “another brick in the wall…”
Duck, Celeriac, and Beef Tongue
Can’t move. Must eat tongue… and it was amazing. Sweet and tender, slight hint of liver or boudain-esque, classic notes of tongue, rich with a clean finish. My mom used to make lamb tongue (she likes tongue and marrow – used to creep me out – now I love it all), and I found this very different.
Yes. More maple product please – why not! WHY NOT! (insert sugar induced tantrum here!! DO IT!!!!!)
Fried Grand-père Doughnut
Can’t move. Must eat fried Grand-père donut, fried in duck fat, with maple syrup…
Maple Cream and Custard Mille Feuille
OMG. I love mille-feuille. I hate bad mille feuille – too many of those around. This was heaven… did not eat enough of this.
Banana Split with Maple barbe à papa, Maple Sponge Toffee, Maple-Glazed Peanuts, and Maple Ice Cream
No comment. (quietly sobbing boohoo-crycry).
Last thoughts: “Again!?”
The drive home (2 hours later)… you know when you overfill your coffee and you have to drive really carefully because bumps sucks and your coffee pops out the top… felt like an overfilled coffee on bumpy road.
Note: I seem to have some weird luck with food and cooking, both good and bad. With that said, while enjoying one of these fine dishes, I believe it was the lobster, I stumble upon what I thought was a piece of cabbage – and I chewed and chewed – then I pulled and pulled and a 3.5 inch piece of plastic emerged, like perforated the top of a freezer bag full of berries. Yikes.
Hey, we all make mistakes; some of us make them worse, some of us better – and better it got. I told them, they blushed, and they returned with two trays of rum and a maple reduit shooters. I turned red too! Now we all matched; me, the 3 staff, and the other 4 people at the table. 2 liters plus 2 shots… hm… coffee time? Think I’ll start smoking again too…
Ah, but that’s not all…
…because it still didn’t sit well with them, they dropped on my head a last dessert, and with that, the closing ceremony: count them 5! (or one per Homer) homemade APDC Sugar Shack Maple Donuts (consumed that next day and was in fact my only meal that day). Dunno. Fried in duck fat? Kissed by angels? Opiate laced?
SO – DAMN – GOOD and GET– IT – AWAY! I’m CLEAN NOW (whilst gnawing a carrot and scrubbing with kale)!
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