We finally did it ! Got to Au Pied de Cochon. Not of our own doing, either. The very same Doug who is building my mammoth grill, managed to organize a trip to Montreal to celebrate his wife’s birthday. Lynn, his lovely wife, made Steve and I part of the present so that all four of us could pig out—literally, that is. In case you are not familiar with PDC, as it is lovingly known, it is a restaurant built upon the dream of a wildly crazy and equally inventive chef named Martin Picard who thinks that no meal is complete without foie gras and pork.
We had discovered the PDC cookbook at Kitchen Arts and Letters (New York’s premier cookbook store). It had been self-published in Canada and we were drawn to its originality and sense of purpose. It remains one of our favorite books and it was a combination of the design, humor, commitment to local products, and over-the-top recipes that made us want to experience it first-hand. When we shared it with Doug and Lynn, they, too felt compelled to make the pilgrimage. But, unlike Steve and me, when they decide to take a trip, they do so while we dawdle.
I don’t know exactly what I expected but I didn’t expect the restaurant to be one of the most well-run restaurants that I have ever experienced. Because the book is so filled with chaos I guess I expected the restaurant to be that, also. It is raucous, but this is only because everyone is having such a good time. The food is not put on the plate to be photographed and admired, it is put on the plate to be consumed with gusto. And everyone does just that.
Here is what we had:
Poutine (French-Canadian comfort food—French fries topped with cheese curds and smothered with a cream gravy)—but this poutine is unlike any other—the cheese curds freshly made, the potatoes fried in duck fat, and gravy made with foie gras and a big chunk of foie gras on top. The plate was spotless when we finished!
Fried zucchini blossoms with homemade mayonnaise
Pickled venison tongue with homemade mustard and thin, crusty slightly charred toasts
Doug: Foie Gras Stuffed Pig’s Foot
Lynn: PDC Foie Gras Pizza
Steve: PDC Pork Chop (a giant of a thing on a huge bone which was sent home to Lena-Mae, Doug’s “bird” dog)
Judie: Lamb Shank on Lentils
For dessert, we shared a beautiful pot de crème and a pudding Chomeur, a PDC specialty that is about as sweet and rich as any dessert has a right to be. Of course, we had a few bottles of wine to help digest the repast and we cleaned our plates with wonderful hearth-baked bread and salty butter. I was only sorry that I did not, as I had thought about, call my buddy David Burke—an equally wild and inventive chef—to hop on a plane and join us. He would have been the icing on the cake!