boudin and foie tarte

Au Pied de Cochon's Tarte de boudin et foie gras au sel

We arrived in Montréal and, after some attempts to wrestle the in-room Internet into submission, headed out.  Today was actually a beautiful day here, with none of the advertised rain.  Instead, we walked by scores of restaurant-goers sitting on patios and smokers loitering outside restaurants, and wondered why we’d brought our winter coats.

We stopped first at Les Chocolats de Chloé (546 Rue Duluth Est, Montréal) and were greeted by a fine chocolate aroma. A promising start and we promptly got 2 dozen truffles to go.  You’ll have to wait for the scoop on those, but we couldn’t help ourselves, and picked up a fleur de sel and a poivre de Szechuan to sample.  The former got a nice crunch from the grains of salt and while with many fleur de sel chocolates the salt quickly fades once in the mouth, in this case, the delicate flavour lasted throughout the entire morsel.  The latter had the barest tickle of pepper to start, and a slight heat in the back of the throat to finish — good balance.  Both featured very, very creamy chocolate, smooth mouthfeel, and a short, clean finish — no cloying oversweetness at all.

Then we went next door to Au Pied de Cochon (536 Rue Duluth Est, Montréal), a few minutes early for our reservation.  What can I say, we were eager.  The hostess said they were having a staff meeting and asked us to come back in 10.  “There’s a chocolatier next door-” she started…but then she saw the bag in my hand.  We went to the convenience store instead and killed time by browsing the beer selection.

When we sat down at the restaurant, we launched into planning mode.  There were only 2 of us and so much we wanted to try…but we had to show restraint.  Exploding is never fun.  We started with the oreilles de crisse: deep fried pork rinds.  Really addictive crunch and an almost melt-in-your-mouth lightness.  Super delicious.  Then came a special of deep-fried tête fromagée.  These were just cubes of the stuff, breaded and fried.  Interesting, and probably not something you’d see elsewhere, but not compelling enough to order again.

Then mains: the tarte de boudin et foie gras au sel, a massive croissant-like flaky crust heaped with potatoes, sauce, boudin noir, and foie gras.  There was also mustard sauce that got one vote for and one against.  I’d been excited by the idea of this dish, but it just wasn’t for us.  Not bad, mind you, just not that great.  Our other main was the duo de foie gras — the foie gras hamburger served with a side of the foie gras poutine.  I’d say overall we liked the burger better than the tarte.  The poutine unfortunately didn’t live up to my memory of it — it was awesome the last time I’d had it, but tonight was kinda lacklustre.

We finished with the tarte à l’érable, sized for 2, and served with vanilla ice cream.  This stole the show, and I don’t even like sweets.  The tarte, surprisingly, wasn’t at all too sweet, and the ice cream went perfectly with the pie, adding flavour, temperature, and textural contrast.  Totally fantastic.  We need to learn how to make this.

We have decent appetites, but in the APdC world, 2 apps, 2 mains, and sorta-2 desserts is way too much for 2 people to handle.  We didn’t finish and were both still stuffed.  We finished our tea and coffee, paid the bill, and made our way back to the hotel.

And while typing up this post, I’ve been drinking my 2 purchases from the convenience store earlier — Belle Hélène, a pear beer from Multi-Brasses, and Route des épices, a “peppercorn rye beer” from Dieu du Ciel!.  I liked the latter, which had a refreshing peppery bite that had me racking my brain for a good food pairing.  The former, however, had little (read: no) discernable pear taste and really isn’t worth trying.

That’s all for Day 1 — or at least that’s all we managed.  We’ll update again soon.  Did I mention we’ve already made a second reservation for Au Pied de Cochon?

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