Tag Archives: Au Pied de Cochon

Cabane à Sucre Au Pied de Cochon – Harvest Season 2016

28 Oct

Another fall season is upon us….. which means Harvest season at the Cabane à Sucre Au Pied de Cochon is back. One of the few things outside of football that keeps me from getting depressed at the fact that summer is over. Martin Picard and company continue to do amazing things at their wonderful Sugar Shack. For the past 4 years, I have tried to make it to each sugar and harvest season. I’ve now missed the past two sugar seasons so with this one, I’m now 6 for 8. Decent average if I do say so myself!

For the uninitiated, the sugar shack is a set menu for the season – alcohol and tip excluded. This season being harvest season, the focus is on ingredients from the garden here as well as from the local producers around the area. If you are not an adventurist eater, this meal is certainly not for you. Thankfully, I am and I can always find a group of 11 others to join me in the adventure.

Every year, the Cabane has an amazing selection of cocktails to enjoy. This year, the emphasis was once again on their Gin. I had a great rhubarb gin to start off the night and was ready to enjoy what was to come.

The meal certainly started off strong. First up was their play on elotes (or Mexican street corn): corn coated with popcorn, gouda and garlic butter served on a candelabra. Loved the tang and the creaminess of the sauce. The fresh corn was delicious and the addition of the popcorn was a cool texture switch.

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Next was the Cabane’s caesar salad with lardon and fried capelins. A salad kicked up a few notches to say the least. A super rich and creamy caesar dressing, tons of cheese, tons of big bites of fatty lardon and crispy croutons to top it all off. Only at the Cabane could a salad come off this rich!

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We were then presented with a hare and foie gras pâté with pistachios in a terrine of black pudding. A cool presentation creating the appearance of a plant growing. The pâté was excellent – equally parts fatty and rich. The blood pudding was great as well. Once cut up, it wasn’t the most appetizing dish to look at but who cares when it tastes so good.

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The foie gras experience continued with foie gras poached in honey, served on brioche coated with goat cheese and topped with a cherry sauce. Excellent use of sweetness to soften the rich foie gras. The cherry sauce was so good – we finished off the jar despite being out of foie gras pretty fast. The brioche and the cheese was the perfect vehicle to enjoy the foie gras.

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And now for something completely different: sushi! A combination of salmon tartare maki and salmon foie gras nigiri. I know the notion of foie gras and sushi sounds weird but it worked so well. The tartare was excellent as well.

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More fish followed up the sushi. Miso salmon was put on the table – a whole fish smoked in their smoker and glazed with a mix of miso, soy sauce and brown sugar. The fish was smoky, sweet and so tender. We could simply pull the meat off the fish with a folk. Our table picked that carcass pretty clean… the fish was that good!

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And after all that, we still had the meat to come. First was the lamb shank confit. Served with some cherry tomatoes and parsley, this lamb was oh so good. Fall off the bone tender and that lovely gamey rich flavour one looks for with lamb.

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Next, we had locally raised chickens stuffed with mushrooms in a pesto sauce with gnocchi. The chicken were wonderfully moist and tender. Great earthy flavours from all the mushrooms. The gnocchi were very small in size but very enjoyable as well.

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The final main was a salmon Mille Feuille. Very cool from an execution point of view. Composed of poached salmon, béchamel, creamy mashed potatoes and a spinach sauce with lemon confit. Personally my least flavour dish – it felt very dense which given everything else we just had made it hard to enjoy as much.

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We needed to find room though because desserts were still to come. First up were apple doughnuts which were actually a little game for the table. One doughnut was supposed to a rhubarb one which would come with a Cabane a Sucre Au Pied de Cochon cookbook for the winner. However, we didn’t have one so our waiter just got us to pick numbers instead. It worked out either way.

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Then, came the best carrot cake I have ever had period – so moist and sweet and flavourful. Thankfully, the cake was served on a sheet with the recipe on it. The recipe has been noted and will be attempted soon – turns out they used beets as well as carrots. Looking forward to seeing how it turns out at home.

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Next was possibly one of the most beautiful apple pies I have ever seen. Topped with thinly sliced apples and filled with almond paste, this pie was very dense and rich. Definitely needed some ice cream which is why we were also provided three types of housemate ice cream – cherry, mint and chocolate. All were very flavourful and smooth.

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Another trip to the Cabane and another insane meal. General consensus at the table was that this was one of the best meal at the Cabane we had had. Not a single dish disappointed the entire table and the meal, while very filling as always, felt more reasonable and fresher than in years’ past. Either way, we had another great time and once again I have been tasked with getting another reservation for the next season. I can’t miss out on Sugar season 3 years in a row!

Cheers!

Cabane à Sucre Au Pied du Cochon
11382 rang de la Fresnière
St-Benoit, Qc

Cabane à sucre Au Pied de Cochon Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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Cabane À Sucre Au Pied de Cochon – Harvest Season 2015

28 Sep

It’s that time of the year again – another season at the Cabane à Sucre Au Pied de Cochon. After the disappointment of not getting a spot for this year’s sugar season – thanks website outage! – I made sure that this would 5 out of 6. Going more than a year being visits seemed unfathomable. Thankfully, things were worked out and I set out with another table of 12 friends ready to set what Martin Picard and company had set for us.

For the uninitiated, the sugar shack is a set menu for the season – alcohol and tip excluded. This season being harvest season, the focus is on ingredients from the garden here as well as the local producers around the area. Each season, this is a collection of specialty cocktails. This time around, the focus was on gin – as our waitress noted that the PDC has a gin coming to stores soon! There was a solid gin and tonic, a Gin-nette – gin with spruce beer, a blueberry mojito and a house ginger ale and rye whiskey served with strawberries.

Food-wise, first up was a series of 6 starters dishes to enjoy. The initial one was a cold melon soup with a mix of garden vegetables and fresh herbs served over top. I hate melon…. but loved this dish. Silky smooth and surprisedly spicy. A very refined and subtle dish. Paired with the soup was some housemade bread lathered with butter and slices of house cured ham.

Then came the necessary PDC foie gras dish – Poached pears with aged cheddar and pan seared foie gras. A wonderful combination of richness and sweetness. My girlfriend’s lack of interest in foie gras provided me with an extra serving so a nice win for me.

That was followed by gnocchi served with sweat peas, ricotta, bacon and garlic pesto. I really loved this dish – the gnocchi were great, the pesto gave this dish a strong garlic flavour but the addition of the creamy ricotta and the bacon helped to dull it somewhat. The sauce itself was perhaps more liquid than some will enjoy but the flavours were outstanding.

The next dish was the miss of the night for the entire table – a whole sturgeon poached in a potato and leak sauce served with mussels. The sauce itself was great as were the mussel. However, the sturgeon, for us, was overcooked. The flakiness of the fish was completely gone.

Back to positive however with the next one – homemade tagliatelle pasta served with a fresh vegetable sauce made with garden eggplants and tomatoes as well as coins of sausage. The dish was prepared in front of us as the pasta was mixed in a hollowed parmesan wheel to add some cheese. A very fresh and surprisedly light pasta dish – which was a nice contrast to the more fatty and rich gnocchi dish. This wasn’t a hit for everyone at the table but I enjoyed it personally.

The last starter was a margarita pizza made using baguette bread dough and topped with a mornay sauce, fresh garden tomatoes, garlic chips, basil and parmesan. The whole thing was cooked on charcoal. A solid pizza overall – slice crunch to the crust although I’m not sure exactly what the use of baguette bread dough did to make a difference compared to standard pizza dough. The mornay sauce provided some creamy richness to the classic fresh margarita.

After a brief moment to digest, we were served the main course – A DIY pot-au-feu. We were a provided a large meat platter, some condiments, vegetables and thermos of broth with which to make our individual plates. The meat platter, in keeping the ethos of Pied de Cochon, was huge and quite varied. It included duck confit, smoked BBQ beef ribs, steamed pork belly, white blood sausage, bone marrow, pork filet, pig’s foot, a cornish hen and smoked bison tongue. The condiments included a mushroom sauce, salsa verde, dijon, radishes and pickles. The stars here were the meats and they were glorious. Particular note to the smoked meat like consistency of the bison tongue, the fatty bone marrow and rich pig’s foot.

After that orgy of meaty goodness, we were ready for desserts. First, we received an palate cleanser of vanilla and apple soft serve swirl ice cream with a good amount of Calvados in the middle. Then, it was on to a foursome of options.

There was peaches served in mead and with cubes of raspberry jelly; a prune clafoutis; crème fraiche ice cream and a raspberry tiramisu, presented as a potted plant, complete with a shower of poured coffee. Point for originality of presentation for the tiramisu however, personally as I hate coffee, this dish was a non-starter for me. The clafoutis was a great hit for me. The ice cream was nice and creamy and the peaches provided some nice sweetness.

All in all, another great meal at the Cabane. I admit that compared to previous experiences, this one didn’t wow me as much – most dishes were solid, not the spectacular we often expect with Martin Picard and Co. The fact that two dishes didn’t work for me was also a first…. As a first experience, I can imagine people still being blown away. The amount of food one gets for the price is still great. However, for someone like myself who has been 5 out of the past 6 seasons, the standards set by the PDC crew makes this one seem a little less exciting. I’ll still be at the computer at midnight December 1st for sugar season though – I hooked and can’t imagine missing the next hopeful surprise from this crew.

Cheers!

Cabane à Sucre Au Pied du Cochon
11382 rang de la Fresnière
St-Benoit, Qc

Cabane à sucre Au Pied de Cochon Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Cabane À Sucre Au Pied de Cochon – Sugar Season 2014

27 Mar

Spring is trying very hard to enter the fray here in Montreal but Winter isn’t giving up without a fight. The only real positive at this time of the year is the arrival of Sugar Shack season – that most wonderful period where fresh maple syrup is flowing and sugar shacks open up with their ham, quiche, omelettes, baked beans, sausage, bacon, etc… The most decadent of these experiences is the one catered by Chef Martin Picard and the rest of his team at La Cabane à Sucre Au Pied de Cochon up in St-Benoît de Mirabel. The popularity of this sugar shack continues to grow and it is harder and harder to actually get a reservation. I found myself at midnight on December 1st on my laptop submitting my reservation and hoping for the best. Thankfully, I am now 3 for 3 in reservations and I found myself on March 1st with a group of my friends ready to indulge in the gluttony that is Cabane PDC.

Once again this year, there was a variety of speciality cocktails available to start with. We had the maple Mojito made with an in-house soda and their maple Manhattan. Both were excellent although I preferred the Manhattan.

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Then the food started. The first dish was a terrine-like dish of salmon and avocado with what I believe to have been beets. A very unique preparation for a sugar shack and by far the lightest dish we have all night. I enjoyed the mix of the creamy avocado and the fresh salmon.

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The next dish was their maple syrup foie gras inside a hollowed loaf of bread and topped with pork rinds. The maple foie gras was simply delightful – simple in execution but huge flavour.

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There was also a omelette soufflé with some chorizo at the bottom and some deep fried potatoes on top. I am not a big omelette guy so this was probably the least successful dish for me however the components of the plate were well done. I was a particularly big fan of the deep fried goodness that was those little potatoes – I definitely could have had more of those! (Correction 1 of 3: Thanks to Foodie Date Night for noting that it was actually beef tripe at the bottom and croutons on the top – Guess I need a audio recorder to keep up with all the details when the plates come fast and furious!)

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Next up, a Sturgeon Quenelle with a mussel cream sauce. Now, I had never had a Quenelle – which, following a quick google search, is a mixture of creamed fish with a light egg binding – but this was a great first experience. It was awesome to see the use of seafood and fish on the menu which lord knows can be a bit meat heavy in a sugar shack context.

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The final first course dish (Yeah… this was only the first course so far!) was a ham smoked with hay served with duck fat fried corn cakes and maple syrup. Au Pied de Cochon continues to make pretty much the best ham I have ever had. Such nice smoky flavour without a hint of being dry – their success here makes me want to give a smoker and also completely re-think the way we cook ham in my family. There was also a side of sweet potatoes with maple marshmallow. A very American South inspired dish that worked beautifully well with the ham. The sweetness here was a nice contrast to the fatty ham.

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A quick break and then we were on to the second course. First up, squid ink pasta with blood pudding (Correction #2: also pig blood in the pasta itself). A dish which may push people away due to the whole blood thing but believe me, they were completely worth it. Great texture to the pasta and very eye catching due to the black color. Tossed together with the blood sausage and a sort of bolognese sauce, this made for a great meaty pasta dish.

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The other dish of this service was duck breast stuffed with its own innards and some swiss chard I believe (Correction #3: actually a mushroom duxelle with the innards). Flambéed at our table prior to serving, there was an added element of theatre here to go with the fact that this was a kick-ass bird. Great crispy skin and a perfect rare cooking temperature, this sugar shack knows how to cook a duck!

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Finally, after all that, came the desserts and there was quite the ensemble. A moka and maple mousse layer cake, maple frozen yogourt, some maple taffy and a banana cream pie with maple meringue. I hate coffee so the moka cake wasn’t a favorite but the maple sweetness cut the coffee taste down. The homemade yogourt had a great thick texture – nice and creamy. The maple taffy was perfect as one would expect from a sugar shack. The star here was the banana cream pie – wonderful rich but not nearly as sweet as you have dreaded. Thick cut bananas, creamy pudding and flaky pastry topped with a gluey maple meringue. Just exquisite and a dessert that I will definitely try to make now that I have the recipe from their TV show “Un Chef a la Cabane”.

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Once again, Cabane PDC hit it out of the park. Another evening visit to Saint-Benoit-de-Mirabel and another return ride to Montreal where I could have rolled home! To anyone who has never had the chance to visit, I urge you to find a way to get a reservation. I know that the thought of sitting by one’s computer around midnight to make a reservation isn’t very appealing but believe me, it is completely worth it.

Cheers!

Cabane à Sucre Au Pied du Cochon
11382 rang de la Fresnière
St-Benoit, Qc

Cabane à sucre Au Pied de Cochon on Urbanspoon

Cabane à Sucre Au Pied de Cochon – Apple Season 2013

2 Oct

Fall is sadly here (speaking as a true Summer baby here). The air getting crisper, the leaves are changing colours and it is getting a heck of a lot darker when we all wake up in the morning. However, there are a few positives… and Martin Picard & company opening up their Cabane à Sucre is definitely one of them. Earlier this year, I got to visit for the first time for sugar season. Following that experience, I made sure that I would be back for the fall apple season menu as well.

First up, there was a nice selection of special cocktails to try out. The options were an apple Martini, a raspberry Margarita, an apple cranberry & spiced rum slush and lastly, an Irish car bomb variant with apple cider, apple brandy and creme de cassis.

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And now onto the food. The first course brought forth a huge amount of dishes: an apple pie topped with cheddar cheese, foie gras and an optional chives cream; a seasonal vegetable soup with pork, chicken, shark and a housemade pesto sauce; sauteed apples with noix de grenoble; a squash risotto with sausage mixed in a cheese wheel and salad still in pots with the vinaigrette sprayed onto it. Not a single bad dish amongst the group. The apple pie was flaky and sweet. The foie gras was the proverbial icing on the cake. The vegetable soup was nice and hearty with a beautiful deep and flavourful broth. The presentation of the salad was quite original and good as well. The sauteed apples brought some nice sweetness to the mix and the risotto was perfectly executed – the mixing in the cheese wheel really helped to create that rich texture.

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And then the main course came up – a meat plate that bordered on the absurb. A mountain of different meats with housemade sauerkraut that was left to ferment for 6 weeks. White ham, pork tongue, smoked meat, bacon, liver, dry sausages, apple and foie gras sausage, pork tenderloin and a pig’s foot. Everything on this plate was delicious – great use of different types of meats and preparations. This may not be everybody’s thing but I loved it.

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Paired with the meat dish was a cheese plate. I don’t remember the names of each cheese here but other than the blue cheese (which I don’t mind in a dish but not by itself), I enjoyed all of them. Similar to the meat plate, there are a great mix of textures and flavours within the plate. Add to it fresh onion rolls, baguettes and crackers and you get a great side-dish to all those meats.

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Last but not least, we get to dessert. Dark beer and squash soft serve ice cream, squash & honey millefeuille and powdered doughnuts stuffed with homemade apple sauce. Now, I know that squash ice cream and a squash millefeuille seem weird but both were amazing. Both soft serves were simply perfect in terms of consistency and richness. The doughnuts were odes to their food truck and, like those you can get there, were delicious although it prefer a little less powdered sugar personally. The millefeuille was perfectly done as well.

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Once again, as it was during the spring, the amount of food you get for the fixed price (50$ for the fall) is insane. Compared to the spring, I would say that this menu is more accessible given its relative lack of offal and other non-typical food items. Either way, I enjoyed this meal very much and rolled myself home – all while saying I’ll be back next year. Pretty much exactly what expected from the Au Pied de Cochon crew.

Cheers!

Cabane à Sucre Au Pied du Cochon
11382 rang de la Fresnière
St-Benoit, Qc

Cabane à sucre Au Pied de Cochon on Urbanspoon

Au Pied de Cochon – Le Gros Verrat

12 Jun

This is not a review. If you want a full run-down of Au Pied de Cochon, I recommend that you check out my post from a couple of months ago. No, this quick post is because I recently went back for a second meal for a very specific reason.

Around this time of year, Au Pied de Cochon offers a few different seafood platters on top of their usual fare. One of which is called Le Gros Verrat. It is a monster designed for 10 people. We decided as a group of 6 to pay ourselves a little treat. Here it is:

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The relatively poor quality of the picture probably doesn’t do this thing justice. I am 6’4” and I needed to stand up AND step back in order to fit the 4 level structure in the frame. Pretty much any variety of seafood you would want was present in this platter. The bottom level was all the warm options – Rockefeller Oysters, fried squid, scallops, halibut and deep fried lobster foie gras sushi. Yeah you read that right…. Deep fried lobster foie gras sushi.

The next levels were loaded with raw oysters, clams and razor clams, boiled lobster, crab legs, shrimp, escargots and other things I am probably forgetting in such absurd quantities that it truly seemed like the staff was daring us to try to finish it. And wouldn’t you know it….

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…. We did.

If you have a group of worthy eaters who enjoy seafood and the willingness to open up the wallet a bit, may I highly recommend you visit Au Pied de Cochon this summer. Don’t think you will leave disappointed.

Cheers!

Au Pied de Cochon
536 Duluth Est.
514 281 1114

Au Pied de Cochon on Urbanspoon

Au Pied de Cochon

22 Apr

When one talks of Montreal culinary institutions, one quickly arrives at Au Pied de Cochon, chef Martin Picard’s ode to all things rich and decadent. From his roughly 80 seat space on Duluth Street East, he has built up a following which had allowed him to develop a culinary empire from his Cabane à Sucre and subsequent Tele-Quebec series to his now award-winning cookbook. His restaurant has, thanks to satisfied customers, food critics, fellow chefs and even some famous friends (Anthony Bourdain has sung his praises on many a TV show), become a don’t miss experience for food enthusiasts worldwide who visit Montreal. Despite all of this and even being a local resident, I had never the chance to eat there. Following my experience at the Cabane à Sucre a month ago, I knew that I needed to rectify that. And that happened this past Saturday.

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The first thing you realize when you walk in is just how compact the restaurant actually is. Typical of the Plateau neighborhood, the space is deeper than wide and they use all the space they have to its maximal capacity. Even the wine cellar is a cramped side room with bottles stacked on both sides. The space is clean with wood used as the only real accents in the dining room. The kitchen and bar take up one side and allow for diners to see the magic happen if they wish.

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Our 5 person party decided to take a “tapas” approach to the evening to allow us to enjoy as much of the food as possible. One of us had already been previously a couple of times so he helped guide our selections for the evening. For starters, we got the Cromesquis de Foie Gras. What a start to our meal. Bite-sized fried balls of foie gras which simply explode in your mouth when you bit into them. Little bundles of gluttony. These were so good that we ordered a second serving of these at the end of our meal as dessert.

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Next up, Accras de morue with a spicy mayonnaise dipping sauce. Pretty much the best morue croquettes I’ve ever had. Beautiful crispy crust and loads of delicious morue inside, these were perfect as a starter.

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Duck Carpaccio. After the 2 fried items, this was a wonderfully light and fresh dish. A little olive oil, balsamic vinegar, some onions and a egg plus some beautiful quality duck meat. Great simple dish that I would eat again and again.

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Chicken wings with a maple syrup BBQ sauce. The wings themselves were good but the clear star here is that sauce. Deep in flavor with the right balance of sweet and spicy, this sauce would perfectly coat the back of your spoon when you went in to scope up the leftover sauce once the wings were gone. That plate didn’t have a spot of sauce left on it when it was removed from the table.

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Homemade gnocchi with ricotta and pulled pork. Just a heck of a dish. Soft and rich gnocchi with the addition of some dynamite pulled pork. The ricotta added a nice creaminess as well to the dish.

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And after all of that, we were only done with the appetizers! Next up were the main courses. First up, the restaurant’s version of a Montecristo sandwich. Stacks of fatty pork shoulder with melted cheese between two pieces of bread that were fried in what I suspect was duck fat but I forgot to ask. Either way, this was a cardiologist’s worse nightmare. For the rest of us, it was shear heaven. Every ingredient on its own was amazing but put together….. Sweet sweet music.

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Plotté of pork shoulder, loin and hearts. Delicious rich broth to soak bread into. Great pieces of pork to enjoy. A very old school and hearty dish to enjoy. Likely the perfect course for a cold evening.

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Foie gras poutine. The classic dish of Au Pied de Cochon. Boy did it not disappoint. The plate lasted all of 5 minutes between the five of us. The first you notice is the color and thickness of the gravy. This is no ordinary gravy – anything with foie gras in it could never be characterized as ordinary. The foie gras sauce adds a whole other level of richness to an already rich and heavy dish in poutine. Officially now my favorite poutine ever. And that is saying a lot given my love for Chuck Hughes’ lobster poutine.

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A Parmentier. Think shepherd’s pie without the corn but of course, there is more to it than that with Au Pied de Cochon. Pulled pork base covered with their version of mashed potatoes – potatoes, cream, butter, cheddar and foie gras incorporated in. The whole thing baked off. The potatoes are to die for… And just may I have destroyed any further mashed potatoes I have at any other restaurant from here on out.

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And finally, the tarte de boudin avec foie gras au sel. Flaky pastry crust with potatoes, caramelized onions, boudin and foie gras. Perfect blend of textures and flavors. Flaky and soft. Salty and sweet. Very nice way to cap off the main courses.

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This meal was everything I had expected and more. You know you’ve had an epic meal when your server comes up partway through the meal, sees the lack of leftovers and goes “You guys are crazy”. It was that kind of night and given my experience at the Cabane à Sucre PDC, I wouldn’t have expected anything else. I officially have a new entry in my top 3 Montreal restaurants. And it was a long time coming.

Cheers!

Au Pied de Cochon
536 Duluth Est.
514 281 1114

Au Pied de Cochon on Urbanspoon

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