Tag Archives: Cabane PDC

La Cabane d’a Coté

27 Mar

March means sugar shack season here in Quebec. So for the last few years, that has meant going to La Cabane au Pied de Cochon, Martin Picard’s spectacularly glorious shack up in Mirabel. It’s not traditional but frankly I want a great meal at a sugar shack which isn’t as easy to find anymore so I go a little on the crazy side. However, this year, for the occasion of my wife’s birthday, I decided to forgo that particular experience for its cousin, La Cabane d’à Coté. Located on the property just next door to Cabane PDC that they purchased last year, Cabane d’à Coté is a smaller, more intimate setting (about 40 seats) run by Vincent Dion Lavallée, Martin’s partner and formerly the head chef at the Cabane PDC.

La Cabane d’à Coté took over the old sugar shack on the property and uses the old evaporator as the cooking apparatus – heating with wood and using the flattops on top of the old evaporator to cook off of. It is a unique idea for a restaurant and creates a cool scene when you enter the restaurant as the kitchen is front and center. Other than one table, the rest of the common seating is situated in the rooms just off from the center kitchen space with views of either the maple forest on one side or the apple orchard on the other. It is a beautifully simple restaurant space which evokes a classic style (especially with the use of old style dishes and cutlery) but with some twists. Even though the space is 40 people tops, it goes get a little nozy but not so much that you can’t enjoy the eclectic mix of music through the evening – think 90s pop with classic quebecois.

Compared to the Cabane PDC, La Cabane d’à Coté’s menu is a table champetre which changes more frequently that the twice a year of the other shack. The restaurant is also open year round and doesn’t require the same reservation time – although it can still take some time to get a table. The menu is a 5 course fixed menu which they say is all you can eat but frankly we were so stuffed just with the portions they served us that I can’t imagine anyone asking for more!

The first course was composed of two dishes. First, a split pea soup with maple glazed duck meatballs, sour cream and cheddar cheese. Excellent soup that really evoked the classic hardy soup that I love but the addition of the maple glazed duck meatballs really gave it some more richness and a touch of sweetness that I enjoyed.

Paired with that was homemade raisin cinnamon bread grilled on the flattop served in a maple reduction and topped with foie gras, maple sugar and creme fraiche. An insane level of richness and sweetness that was glorious. To our pleasant surprise, the charred toasted notes that comes from grilling over the wood really came through. Quite a start of our meal.

The second course was a more subtle affair. Of the four dishes we got for this course, there were two big hits. First was the raw scallops served with fermented cabbage and cream sauce. The scallops were sliced thinly and beautiful. The acidity of the fermented cabbage paired very nicely as well.

The other big hit was the thinly sliced white ham served with bacon and bacon over a base of apple butter. Coming from the hams the group raises on the property, the ham was so good. Beautiful texture and great flavour. The apple butter underneath was a rich and sweet treasure as well.

We also got mini buckwheat pancakes served with maple syrup and a salad of endives prepared in escabeche served with fresh sheep’s milk cheese. The pancakes were enjoyable but compared to the other dishes weren’t as special. I enjoyed the salad although my wife found the endives still too bitter for her liking.

At this point, we were already starting to feel full but we weren’t even halfway there! The next course brought two dishes. First, a sort of celeriac omelette served with smoked trout. A solid dish – the big standout was the chunk of smoked trout. Beautiful texture and flavour.

The other dish was a duck tartare of mushrooms, beets and crispy duck skin served over a Jerusalem artichoke puree. A really different tartare that I really enjoyed. I liked the use of the skin to add some different texture to the tartare. My wife doesn’t love duck so this was the dish we split opinion over the most over the course of the evening.

The fourth course was an all-meat affair. First was maple glazed grilled pork from the Cabane served with a cherry sauce. Simple but very well done. The quality of their pork in terms of flavour and texture comes through and the sweetness of both the maple and the cherries paired perfectly.

The second dish wasn’t as successful sadly – quail stuffed with duck meat served in a minestrone soup. The quail meat was excellent. The issue for both of us was the soup which clearly got an extra kick of vinegar but so much so that all we got flavour wise was vinegar. The big disappointment for us on the night.

The last dish of this course made up for it however – rabbit and chicken pot pie served with maple carrots. My favorite of the night. Beautiful presentation and great depth of flavour to boot. A great flaky crust, lots of meat and a beautifully rich but not heavy sauce to pair all of it together. Chicken pot pie is one of my childhood favorites so this dish evokes much love for me.

Finally….. we get to dessert! Some how we found a way to eat all 5 desserts they brought us 😉 The ricotta doughnuts served with maple dulce de leche were solid and enjoyable. The praline and sunflower seed ice cream was a very pleasant surprise that we both loved. The Baba served with haskap berries (camerise in French) and cranberries syrup topped with maple pastry cream and whipped cream was the most visually appealing of the group. Flavour-wise, the cake was a little heavy but the fruit syrup and the maple elements paired beautifully together with it. The most unique dessert was the frozen apple poached in maple syrup served with fresh cream. The apple’s texture was very unique in this preparation and of course, apples and maple pair so well together.

And lastly, as this is a sugar shack after all, we got some fresh maple taffy which was served to us through a hidden compartment in the table which allows them to bring snow into the restaurant to pour the maple syrup over. Very cool element and of course the perfect end to a sugar shack meal.

La Cabane d’à Coté continues the excellent tradition of the Cabane PDC and turns it into a more intimate, less bombastic experience. There is still excess – it’s a Martin Picard venture after all – but chef Vincent finds a way to make it slightly more refined and subtle. I would love to come back in the summer time to see what Vincent would do with all the fresh produce they produce on the property without the sugar shack trappings. This was a wonderful night and definitely worth visiting again.

Cheers!

La Cabane d’à Côté
3595 Montée Robillard

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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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