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post #795
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Hola/Bonjour/Hello Montreal

Many years ago we visited Montreal for the weekend. It was a good time. While eating breakfast one morning, we saw people having intimate relations (involving the bottom) in the apartment across the street.

To celebrate Mrs. Robot’s recent birthday and our pal Irene’s birthday, the husbands of these two ladies (I’m one of those husbands) took the ladies up to Montreal for a weekend of eating.

Au pied de cochon: Duck in a Can
Friday Night Dinner
After a quick hour flight on Friday, we arrived in Montreal and checked into the Omni Mount Royal. This is the same hotel we stayed in last time and I’m not sure they have updated it since then. Alas. A bit dated but friendly and clean and the bed was king-sized.

We had dinner that night at Au Pied de Cochon (translates, at least according to the always correct interwebs, as “To the foot of the pig”). If you live in LA, this is the Animal of Montreal (or Animal is the Au Pied de Cochon of LA). It’s pork-centric with the emphasis of everything from the nose to the tail.

The highlight of the dinner had to be their poutine with foie gras. Poutine, of course, is the somewhat evil concoction of fries doused with gravy and cheese curds. This one had the addition of foie gras on it as well.
Damn. It was good.

I’m having a hard time remembering what else we ordered. Someone got the boudin. I had “duck in a can” which was duck and more foie gras and other things that had been cooked in a can and the put on top of a bed of polenta.
Also, Damn. It was very rich.

(I didn't take a lot of photos, but there are some great ones at the FineChinaGirl website)

Saturday Night Dinner
The next night we had dinner at Toque. It’s a more grown up, spacious fancier restaurant that is near convention centers and hotels. This was a very pretty meal.
Restaurant Toque: Scallops
Mrs. Robot started with these scallops that were served like a oyster (Princess scallops marinated in pineapple water, basil oil and ginger mousse). I didn’t actually get a bite of those, but they looked way more beautiful than my phone’s camera lets on.

Restaurant Toque: Bone Marrow
I started with the bone marrow (Bone marrow, chanterelle mushrooms, cucumbers, parmesan cheese and croutons) that was not only quite delicious but like the scallops were also very handsome. The bone was cut length-wise and served as a plate to hold the marrow and everything else. Oh, bone marrow.
Restaurant Toque: Foie Gras (and some pasta and some foam)
My main entree was their cavatelli (pasta) with foie gras shavings, wild mushrooms and white truffle oil. More foie gras. Damn. This dish was stupid rich. The pasta was perfect and I kept finding chunks of foie gras. Oh, and truffe oil.
Damn. Damn.

One note about wine: the wine lists in Montreal skew almost entirely French. At Toque we had a bottle from the Jura (they had 4-5 different ones), which is that little known (at least to my french friends) wine region where they like to make funky wines.
With our dessert, I had a Macvin, which is a very odd fortified white wine. It tastes like a regular white from the Jura (all nutty), but with a crazy amount of alcohol in it.

Fairmount Bagels
We hit up two bagel shops while in Montreal.
Fairmount and St-Viateur Bagel. Both very good.
Are they better than NYC bagels? If I had a choice between NY bagels and Montreal bagels... I’d take the Montreal ones. The bread-y part actually has flavor, they aren’t so huge and fat, and they have more of a baked crust exterior.

The Jazz Club
After dinner at Toque we were in a cab (a very very fast driving cab) and heading back to our hotel when we passed the House of Jazz. We had seen this place before and had noted it’s oddball exterior decorations and decided that this would be a good time to check it out and have a nightcap.
First, the exterior has some life-sized panda bears playing instruments and next to them is a life-size ‘Blues Brother’ (not sure which one) that is nailed up on the corner of the building.
House of Jazz
The interior is almost dizzingly. Mirrors and chandeliers seem to be everywhere. Every inch of space seems to have something on it. I think a bordello had exploded there. Then there is the cocktail list which may have originally been published in the 1970s; very old-ish school drinks.

It was quite an experience. We had a drink or two and watched a little jazz combo. What I thought was a bit odd was that later I was looking at reviews of this place on Yelp and people had all sorts of comments such as the food was good and/or bad or that the staff was friendly and/or cranky. But very few reviewers mentioned the nutso decorations. Not one mention of a panda bear jazz trio out front. Not one mention of the amount of mirrors or chandeliers.
House of Jazz: Jazz Bears?

What else?
We enjoyed maple syrup on a stick; very sticky.
Bonjour Hello!
Maple Syrup

»stu ||  3/23/2011 ||  11:31:21 AM
Your meal at Toque reminds me a bit of the amazing meal that I had at Maialino, here in NYC. You should check that place out if you haven't already. Crazy good food. We had the foie gras and an amazing rabbit pasta and this thing called the Maialino Al Forno: a suckling pork shoulder that was creamy and crispy and wonderful and way too much food for two people.
»stu ||  3/23/2011 ||  11:49:21 AM
»:r ||  3/23/2011 ||  1:30:42 PM
maple syrup on stick! yes!
»lisa ||  3/23/2011 ||  10:11:52 PM

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