Saturday, February 13, 2010

au pied de cochon- a return

Some of you may remember my "memorable meal" back in July. Jordan and I headed to Au Pied de Cochon in Montreal and had a great meal with the bonus of a chef Martin Picard sighting.

Last weekend, we returned to the restaurant and had another great meal. We had a gift certificate to use (a lovely gift from people who know how much we love to eat) and we were passing through Montreal so it seemed like a perfect match.

We approached this visit a little differently than our last. Ever since seeing the foie gras poutine on the menu (and then seeing it on No Reservations with Anthony Bourdain), Jordan has wanted to try it. I wasn't really into it last time, but decided to give it a try this time. Plus, it was Jordan's birthday week, so I figured he should get to give it a try. Knowing we needed to have the poutine, we decided to structure our meal a little differently than the last. We decided to share two appetizers and then finish off with the poutine.

Our "first course" was a variation on beef tartare. One of the interesting things about the menu at Au pied de Cochon is that there are no descriptions of what you are getting. All it says is the item and then the price. I think they do this so that they can change the menu to suit seasonal ingredients and the mood of the chef. So when we ordered the beef tartare, we had no idea that it would be served like a sushi hand roll:
(this is not my picture- i got it from here)
What you don't see under this paper (and I'm not sure if what is under this paper is actually the same as what we got) is the wooden disk that the hand rolls were served in. When we were there in July, Picard came into the restaurant with the wooden disks and instructed the kitchen staff on how to use them. Little did we know, we'd be eating out of them on this trip. It was pretty cool, and the tartare was delicious. So many textures and flavours. There were little fried bits, the softness of the beef, the chewiness of the nori...yum.

Our second course was one of the appetizer specials- salmon with maple glaze that was pan-fried until the skin was super crispy. It was served with creme fraiche and an herb salad. It was delicious. The salmon was perfectly cooked, the creme was perfect and the herbs added great freshness to it all, and it even just smelled really good.  We both loved it.

Then it was time for the star of the show- the foie gras poutine. I'm not usually a fan of poutine- I don't really like gravy and since that is an important element of poutine, it is kind of hard to get around. I had also never had foie gras before. So I really had no idea how I would feel about this dish. The fries are done in duck fat, the gravy is apparently pork-stock based, the cheese curds were huge, and the foie gras was seared. The verdict? Delightful. The sauce was rich and "full bodied", the fries were perfectly done, the cheese curds had an almost meaty texture, and the foie gras melted in you mouth. (for a picture of the poutine, check out this post) Sure, it probably took about 3 months off my life (as I imagine it had more grams of fat than I am years old), but I don't really need those three months anyway. Every bite was fantastic and I really enjoyed it.

So there you have it- a delightful return to Au Pied de Cochon.

Sorry for the lack of posting this week. I wasn't feeling all that inspired. But I'm back. And if you don't like the Olympics, this might not be the place for you for the next couple of weeks because I imagine I'll be talking about them a lot. I love pretty much everything about the Olympics and get really excited about them.  Oh and I'm really jealous that my sister got her picture taken holding the Olympic torch yesterday.


Heather said...

yeah I did!!!! WOOOOWEEEEEEE!!!

Jenna said...

i just came across your blog and i can't wait to keep reading!
i would love it if you could check out mine and follow :)

kris said...

I just wikipediaed foie gras... bad idea. I have a feeling those guys aren't "free range" : p

k said...

not even remotely free range. i've definitely seen footage of the force-feeding. it ain't pretty.