Sunday, March 28, 2010

Cabane a Sucre Au Pied de Cochon: Part 1

I'd love to start this post with a brief introduction to who exactly Martin Picard is and why some 20 local food bloggers were freaking out over scoring a coveted reservation at his sugar shack, but I'm going to skip it and short track straight to the food.

Anyway, many of you have probably already heard of this Montreal chef and the restaurant where he hangs his apron, Au Pied de Cochon; although, come to think of it, I've never seen him in an apron.

It's not really Martin's style. This is more his thing:

Rustic entrance to the Cabane a Sucre

For reasons that will soon become apparent, my account of our outing to the sugar bush will be presented in three parts: appetizers, main course, and dessert, naturally.

The eating was seemingly endless....the photography documentation exceedingly extensive...all which makes the report expansive. Three posts it will be.

So let's get to it!

Au Pied de Cochon's Cabane a Sucre
Part 1: Appetizers

First up was a salad of fresh greens, walnuts, aged cheddar, and ham, topped with an mound of airy 'Oreilles de crisse' (deep-fried pork rinds). One could hardly call the rinds a garnish, as they equaled the greens in volume, but when all the elements were assembled, the salad made for a very tasty and well-balanced mouthful.

The salmon gravlax was well executed, but a tad boring--and I was wishing for some crostini to drape the silky fish over.

Toast or bread of any sort would have also been welcomed to accompany the following dish: 'Cretons'.

A spiced ground pork spread, this traditional French-Canadian breakfast staple may look like cat food, but I can assure you it is delicious when it is prepared properly.

I thoroughly enjoyed APDC's version, toast or no toast.

Which brings us to the first item I did not enjoy: barbecued chicken feet.
I attacked the spindly claws before any other dish, as I couldn't imagine trying them cold, but even piping hot, crispy and lacquered with a succulent maple glaze, I could not, WOULD not, eat more than one bite.

Non merci.

A quick word on service: excellent.

As I've experienced long waits at the mothership APDC, I didn't have high hopes for the sugar shack. I was pleasantly surprised by the prompt service, smart servers and general attention we received.
Granted, we were a group of 25 foodies/food bloggers. Perhaps that helped. We made quite a scene with our cameras. Good grief. The Cameras.

I was all over this split pea soup with it's earthy chucks of ham and nuggets of foie gras. I doused mine in maple syrup and was completely happy.

These nondescript buckwheat pancakes were alone worth the trek up north, but then I'm a bit of a pancake fiend, as we all know.

Although they were wrapped inconspicuously in a warm towel, they didn't last long around me. Each one was dipped in pure maple syrup and eaten in two bites. Delish.

To be continued...


Evelyne @ CheapEthnicEatz said...

You found ham and cheese in your salad...lucky you. Correct and we all forgot to mention it so far except you: the service was flawless and done with a smile, unlike the PDC at times in Montreal.

So nice to see you again!

Evelyne @ CheapEthnicEatz said...

You found ham and cheese in your salad...lucky you. Correct and we all forgot to mention it so far except you: the service was flawless and done with a smile, unlike the PDC at times in Montreal.

So nice to see you again!

Valerie Harrison (bellini) said...

Sounds like an unforgettable experience Aimee.

Tiffany Rieder said...

I am not seeing pics where I think pics should be? Is it a problem at my end? How did all the local bloggers get together and score a reservation? I am about to post on cabane a sucre myself what a great time of year its like my stomach's x-mas.

kickpleat said...

Oh man, sounds like a dream meal (minus the feet, of course).

Aimée said...

To those of you who can't see the photos.....

Seems to be an EI issue folks. Try viewing the post in a different browser! Sorry about that!!

I'll try to fix this.

Barbara said...

Oh dear. I love chicken feet. It is definitely an acquired taste though. My mother made them when we were kids!
( I had no trouble viewing your photos, but found that mine are messed up today. I think it's blogger's fault!)

Aimée said...

@evelyne- The ham was amazing. Definitely some in-house charcuterie there.

@Tiffany- you should be able to see the photos now...Another blogger and I put a request in last summer, and when they got back to us, I reserved the spot with a massive deposit on my credit card! It was worth it (and reimbursed of course).
I'll post a link to the other local blogs once their posts are up.

It's a great group!

Maria said...

Wow, what a feast! thanks for sharing. Glad you had a nice time.

Jan (Family BItes) said...

Wow...I can just imagine how fun that outing was. I can't wait for part 2.

kimberleyblue said...

I was there on the opening weekend, and am working on our recap. It's fun to read other people's reaction to the food, can't wait for next parts.

I'm with you on the chicken feet. :)

Cookie baker Lynn said...

Sounds like foodie heaven!

Yo GurtMoJi said...

pretty sure the buckwheat pancakes were meant to accompany the crotons and gravlax


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