Thursday, July 16, 2009

a memorable meal

Most food blogs that I read are "healthy" blogs (check out "kath eats real food", "healthy tipping point", "inner workings of a college graduate" and "eat, live, run"). So although I'm not a food blogger, it seems kind of strange to blog about this meal because it is so opposite from what I usually see on blogs. In fact, it may almost belong on This is why you're fat...(and if what we ate doesn't, the foie gras poutine does). With that in mind, it really was a memorable meal and I loved it.

You see, a couple of years ago, when I was in Calgary for the bachelorette shenanigans of a friend of mine, Jordan went to the infamous Au Pied de Cochon in Montreal with some friends. Well, they haven't really stopped talking about it since. So I knew that one day, I had to get there.

Last Friday, we needed to go to Sherbrooke to take care of some we called the restaurant the day before to see if they had any space for dinner. The only reservation they had was for 11pm. Boo. But, Jordan knew they had a bar facing the kitchen and figured we could show up at opening and see if they might have two places at said bar.

We showed up at 5 and after much humming and hawing by the hostess, we were in. Now, if you check out their Menu online, there isn't much in the way of description. Just the item, then the price. I figured they just didn't want to put the whole menu on there...but nope, that's all there is in the restaurant as well. Just the name. (and those Foie Gras Cromesquies? those are little nuggets of foie gras that are breaded and deep fried. we didn't have any, but because foie gras is just fat, it ends up being crispy on the outside and liquid fat in the middle...)

We decided to share the duck carpaccio for an appetizer. Mmmmm....thin slices of duck with little dabs of mustard, shards of sharp cheese, and then a slightly poached egg yolk to crack and mix about so that it made a bit of a mayonnaise. Oh delightful. I wish I had taken a picture.

For our main meal, after first ordering the Steak Frites (the fries are done in duck fat) but then switching before the order actually went in, Jordan decided on the namesake "Pied De Cochon" Here is how it came:
Under all those onions and tomatoes is the actual pied (and for those of you who don't parler francais, that's "foot" or "trotter" as some like to call it). The creamy looking stuff just happen to be the best mashed potatoes ever. The "fritter" on the other hand, was not the best thing ever. We both tried it and the texture was decidedly gross. We finally (after it was gone) asked what it was and the response was "pig knuckle". Yeah, it had some great "mouth feel". Ugh.

Regardless, I think he was happy with his choice and ate pretty much the whole thing- minus most of the outer layer of the pig skin and I think he left some of that oh so delicious knuckle fritter. (doesn't it sound even more appealing when I put it that way...yeah, picture that- a pig knuckle fritter. mmmmm)

I decided on the "PDC melting pot". It is what Jordan had when he went the first time and it came highly recommended. It had two types of sausage, three parts of pork (cooked three ways), some roasted cipollini (not sure if that is spelled right, but those little onions) and a single roasted mushroom (for a healthy component?) all on a bed of the delicious, creamy, cheesy mashed potatoes:
Oh man was it good. Well, all except for the boudin noir sausage (top left in the bowl), which I actually didn't expect to like but thought it was worth a try. I was right and didn't like it at all. It was mostly a texture thing for me though. I had a great time sifting my way through all of the pork products and the delicious mashed potatoes. And very uncharacteristically, at one point I found myself taking a couple of bites and then saying "why am I even eating this anymore...i'm stuffed. oh wait, i know why, because it is DELICIOUS!" Here's the dent I managed to put in it:
I was actually pretty impressed with myself (although notice that there is pretty much nothing gone from that boudin. ick) I thought about taking the rest home, but my belly full of pork felt like enough.

At about the time that my plate looked like the "after" shot, Mr "Wild Chef" himself, Martin Picard walked in. He was carrying pieces of wood that looked like they had been drilled as some sort of plating device (and the prep guys did NOT look happy to see them). Also- he had his shirt buttoned down practically to his belly button and the chest hair was a flowing. A few seconds later, in walk two guys struggling with a giant cooler and they took it directly into the back. If you have ever seen his show, you'll understand why Jordan and I were so darn curious to know what was in the cooler. We didn't ask, but I did manage to sneak a picture of the man himself:
Yeah, that poor lady in the black was probably wondering why I was taking a picture of her. But nope, I was trying to catch Picard in the mirror. I only wish you could see his chest hair.

It was actually kind of cool to be there and to have the owner/head chef walk in. Kind of like being at Babbo and having Mario Batali walk just don't expect it to happen.

We skipped desert but had some coffee and then it was back to Ottawa. Not a healthy meal, but very definitely a memorable one.

(and lesson learned- pig knuckle fritters are not tasty treats)


Jessica said...

We tried boudin noir in Germany and it was surprisingly good. I was impressed!

Sounds like you had a great meal!

k said...

I really wanted to like it...and actually the flavour itself wasn't terrible but the texture was something I couldn't quite get over.

I will be dreaming of those potatoes for a long time to come :)

Paige@ Running Around Normal said...

That looks fabulous!

Devo said...

I had the Boudin when we went and I loved it. I also loved the appetizer special which was deep fried head cheese, it was transcendent (groin grabbingly transcendent).

lu said...

as my recent travel partner told me, i am what is commonly referred to as a 'texture whore' while he is a 'temperature whore' when it comes to food. what this means is that if something feels soggy, unusually slimey, or gristly in my mouth, i cannot choke it down.

this would be my great downfall in the amazing race - the inability to eat anything nasty in the texture department.

k said...

Devin- when I was at the end of my yoga class today (in relaxation mode) trying to not think about anything, all of a sudden your comment about groin grabbingly transcendent came into my head and I nearly dissolved into giggles.