Lulu tries to get Bubba's attention
Lulu tries to get Bubba's attention
The gang
The gang
Ready for walkies
Ready for walkies
Out and about with Felix.
Out and about with Felix.
Let's make this fast.
Let's make this fast.
Guinea hen liver mousse
Guinea hen liver mousse
Foie gras maki
Foie gras maki
PDC hot pot
PDC hot pot
Bison rib
Bison rib
Pig's feet
Pig's feet
Foie gras poutine
Foie gras poutine
Lawrence and Lili
Lawrence and Lili
Andria and Melanie
Andria and Melanie
Pouding chomeur
Pouding chomeur

Holy crap it’s cold here! In just the few minutes it took my sister and I to walk my mother’s dog, Felix, around the block, my ears had turned a bright, festive pink and felt like someone had sanded them down to the cartilage. A far cry from Vancouver that, while snowy, was positively balmy in comparison. Lawren, who has been dog sitting while we’ve been away, took some pics and vids of the pooches negotiating the snow labyrinth he kindly carved out for them in the backyard. Note the photo of Lulu with one of Bubba’s hindquarters in her mouth. That is her subtle signal that she wants to be chased.

Well, last night I had occasion to get together with my oldest (and most annoying) friend Lawrence, an old high school buddy who is London-bound in January, having accepted a two-year transfer to the land of bubbles and/or squeak. Although he has traveled there on business, he knows surprisingly little about the culture (I told him pick up copies of MI-5 and Wire in the Blood to get caught up). In order to fit in and seem more the local, I suggested he adopt some typically English turns of phrase in his every day speech. For instance, instead of waking into the office in the morning and saying “Good morning” (so stereotypically North American), go with the more traditionally English “Pip! Pip! Top of the morning to ya!” or “Cheerio!”. Also, the English have a habit of telling you what they are going to say before they actually say it. If they want to tell you that their socks are green, they will always preface the information with “I say…” as in “I say, I my socks are green.” It’s an easy to remember prelude to conversation that goes a long way toward acclimatizing one to casual London conversation. “I say, someone has misnumbered the accounts receivable.”, “I say, I think I’ll do the Big Mac value meal, please.”, “I say, it looks like Perdingford has gone and set himself on fire.” and so on.

Anyway, we got together – along with his lovely girlfriend Melanie, my sister Andria, and her friend Lili – for dinner. The place: Au Pied de Cochon, my favorite Montreal restaurant, known for its rustic charm and equally rustic dishes. If you want to sample traditional Quebec cuisine in all of its hardy, countrified glory, then look no further. Menu items included confit lamb shanks, venison liver, bison tartare, and endless foie gras. If you’re planning to go, make reservations well ahead of time. My sister was able to book us a table – but for a 5:00 p.m. sitting. Lawrence suggested that would give us time for a late dinner, say around 9:00 p.m.

They kindly left the ordering to me, so I went with a nice variety – ten dishes in all – and allowed our waiter to serve them as he saw fit. Making good on my New Year’s resolution to drink more, I helped the gang polish off to excellent bottles of Beaujelais over the course of our meal.

We kicked things off with the cromesquis, crispy deep-fried squares with liquefied foie gras centers. I tried to make these once and ended up with – well, a mess. A tasty mess, but a mess nevertheless. Au Pied’s version were perfect – warm, crisp, and delicious. We also went with one of the evening additions: a lovely deboned quail dish. Despite being a tiny bird, it can be incredibly succulent and tasty if done right. And the dish we had last night was done right. Rounding out the opening trio was the piglet roast – shaved roast piglet served with a sauce I found a tad too overwhelming.

Next up were four plates, starting with guinea hen liver mousse that simply wowed. Light (for foie) and served with a wonderfully complimentary gelee. Another addition to the menu was the East meets Easter-Canada crispy foie gras maki served with a maple syrup-based dipping sauce. A tad weird but, again, no less tasty. If I’m going to marry foie and sushi, I prefer the simpler foie gras nigiri served at the likes of Vancouver’s Octopus’s Garden. The foie gras poutine dish was as about as Quebec as you can get, and damn good, a perfect marriage of fried potatoes, foie, cheese curds, and a truly decadent foie gras sauce. Our fourth and final dish in this “second course” was something called a plogue that was comprised of pan-fried foie atop a bed of sliced fingerling potatoes and cheese, the whole anointed with maple syrup. Before this dinner, if you had suggested pairing foie and fingerling potatoes, I would have thought you were crazy (because I’ve had similar dishes and none proved successful), but this version worked very well. The key, it turns out, is to make sure the potatoes are cooked through. Also, adding cheese help a lot.

On to round three and three heavy hitters. First up was my favorite of the night, the pig’s feet. The meat was fall off the bone fork-friendly, served with mashed potatoes and a giant cromesquis. Next up was the PDC hotpot which contained a marvelous assortment of sausages, boudin, pork belly, mushrooms, mash, and sweet roasted onions. Our third and final main – and Lawrence and Melanie’s favorite – was the bison rib, a huge tender hunk of meat the likes of which Fred Flinstone enjoyed in his heyday.

For dessert, the others enjoyed the home made lemon meringue pie and chocolate molten lava cake while I went with a dish uniquely Quebecois, the Pouding du Chomeur – a brain-blastingly sweet cornmeal cake served in a bowl of bubbling hot maple syrup.

Service was very good – up until it came time to order dessert at which point our waiter seemed to forget about us as he focused entirely on the surrounding tables. I wondered aloud if Lawrence had done something to offend him. Eventually, we caught his eye, placed our order, and we were back on track.

A great meal. Au Pied de Cochon is only open during the day. If you get in on a Thursday or Friday, get there early and check out the neighboring Les Chocolats de Chloe, an annual chocolate party regular.

53 thoughts on “December 27, 2008: Au Pied de Cochon

  1. Felix looks like Super Dog in his little outfit. I bet that the other doggies laughed at him.

    I seem to remeber that your mother also has a really, realy ugly cat. Is this true or is my memory failing in my old age?

  2. Hi Joe –

    Enjoyed your colorful description of the repast at Au Pied de Cochon – made me drool all over the keyborad (as all your delightful food descriptions do!) However, that last thing … the Pouding du Chomeur … I hate to say it, but it looks like someone blew it up before it got to your table! Is it supposed to look like that??

  3. Poor Lawrence. Although I’m sure he knows you’re just setting him up to be mocked mercilessly in his feeble attempt to fit in based on ’40’s comedy film.

  4. Hey Joe,

    I am actually jealous of your cold weather up there. It was way too hot in Tampa today. It IS December, right? *scratches head*

    Reading about the boys playing violent video games made me realize how much of a princess my youngest, Erin, is. She plays video games all the time and over 90% of them do NOT involve guns. If you want to see how weird a game can be without weapons, check out Viva Pinata. That’s where you are a gardener for pinata creatures like worlms and raisants. Good times to be sure.

    My question for today: Do you know what’s so special about January 2nd? As a writer for Stargate I am hoping you know. 😀

    @PG-15: Happy (belated) 21st BIRTHDAY!!! Take it from someone who’s been 21— You do NOT have to act like a grown-up. Actually, my mom is in her 60’s and has an annual pass to DisneyWorld. She’s the oldest kid I know.

    @Das: I told my mom about your spider bracelet this morning. It utterly horrified her. 😛 She wants nothing to do with them and could care less that they scare her. NOW I know where I got my fear of spiders from. 😀

    @Kass: Horray! My warm weather got there! 😆 Hopefully your cool weather will get here? I haven’t been able to wear boots in like two weeks! 🙄

    Later Joe and blog regulars!


  5. Thank you Lawren for the vid of the poochies in the maze…priceless!

    Eagerly awaiting another exciting and yummy episode of Dr. M’s adventures.

  6. They’re still cute dogs! Lawren is a very good dog sitter to have made the paths for the gang.

  7. I say, it certainly was kind of Lawren to carve out a play-path (& take the vid!)

    We’ve gone from -2F & 15+ inches of snow to a balmy 61 with over an inch of rain today. Complete with dense fog. I say, I may just stay indoors for the remainder of winter!

    As always, interesting menu choices. I found a Creme Brulee set ‘neath the tree (not quite a surprise, since I put it there) & can’t wait to set things on fire around here! Is the pouding chomeur something similar?

  8. Pfft..

    Eeh by gum, Lad.. thas dun git abaht much, eh? Seethee, there’s nowt queer as ‘tuns down yonder.. all wearin’ a prissy ‘n skellin arse over tit wit more brass na brains. Aaye.. seethee.. Thas got t’all guffed up. Gi’ over wi chuffin faffing aroun’ or tha’ll be getting a brayin’ sooner’n tha knows.

    @ Trish Hey! 😀 Long time, no see/hear. Hope all’s well?

  9. whovian said:
    My question for today: Do you know what’s so special about January 2nd? As a writer for Stargate I am hoping you know.

    I don’t know what Joe’s answer will be, but Jan 2 is my dogs birthday. He will be two – still just a puppy in a grown dog suit! 😆

  10. Hey Joe!

    Love the photos and video of the dogs. The video is great, and I like how you did the low-angle shots.

    Still loving the restaurant ‘review’-like entries, always a nice read. I also wonder how you can eat so many desserts too. 🙂 A few days ago, I had a white chocolate cheesecake, and that alone gave me a little upset stomach from the richness of it. You must just have that natural handling of desserts. 😉

    Thanks as always, and keep warm!

    – Enzo Aquarius

  11. Me revoila!! Petit message juste avant d’aller au lit =)

    Tout d’abor…

    Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh vous avez trop le style sur ces photos, j’adore!!..par compte le caniche avec un doudoune rouge sa casse un peu tout lol XD

    Eh bien dite moi vous avez encore bien manger, c’est toujour Noël chez vous^^!

    Il fait froid à Montréal mais au moin il y’a de la neige. Ici rien du tout, de la pluie et du vent =(

    Passez une éxélente journée. A demain!

  12. Um, just a small suggestion from another cold weather dweller … wear a hat that covers your ears. Or a scarf, at the very least. Screw looking funny, warmth is a practical vice.

    The cornmeal cake looked wonderful; I make “Indian puddings” that sound similar from a really old recipe in a Mountain Man book. Drenched in maple syrup, you betcha!

  13. I’m certain Lawren is reading your blog while you’re away, so….Lawren, you’re a hoot! Those dogs are having too much fun. And nice job running backwards through the snow to film them.

  14. ‘Salutations my good chums’ is the phrase I say in the morning to people. ‘Top of the morning to ya’ is more of an Irish thing, but I’m sure people in London say it too.
    Great video of the pups, so cute running through the labyrinth.
    I watched a film earlier and the two lead characters were called John and Rodney, it put me in mind of SGA, I may have to have a marathon of them soon.
    Enjoy the rest of your time at home.

  15. please tell melanie that she has the prettiest hair i’ve seen in a long time.

  16. Joe if you really wanted to ease your friends transition to all things Englsh, the nearest pub for an large amount of beer and then to an Indian curry house to have the hottest curry on the menu would have been a better way to spend your night out.

  17. FYI, JM, “Top of the morning to ya” can’t be said except in an Irish accent. Not something you want to do in deepest, darkest London.

  18. Many thanks to Lawren for the pics and video. Looking over your culinary adventures of the day, I’d have to say the quail grabbed my attention, visually at least. Though my basic carnivore’s instincts made me drool at the sight of that bison rib. Your reviews are beginning to seriously affect my finances. I’m beginning to explore more local eateries, and passing up comfortable familiar places to try the more exotic fare, something I normally do only on the road. So thanks for the food critiques, and by all means enjoy the weather up there ( it’s a comfortale 14C down this way).

  19. I’m fairly certain no one says “pip, pip” anymore. However, they do often (excuse my language) say “taking the piss”. I’ve never quite understood that one. And cheerio is limited to the posh. Cheers is certainly the most common. Everything is cheers. Cheers to drink, cheers when meeting someone, cheers to those passing on the street. Everything felt very “cheery”. ;D

  20. Mmmmmm pork hocks. Delicious. Too bad it’s so cold but you will prolly get the 10 degree weather we enjoyed here today, tomorrow so chin up!

    Hey fsmn36, “Taking the piss”, near as I can tell, means pretty much the same thing as when Canadian’s say: “you’re f&%@ing with me”. Either that or getting drunk..I think it’s the former though.

  21. Thanks for the dog pics, the foot in the mouth. Lulu is fiesty. Made me laugh and that is good since I just got back from seeing Marley & Me (was not expecting my reaction).

    As always Joseph, that is a lot of food.

    No offense, but I think Lawrence should just stick to the comments he knows. You could get him in a lot of trouble by giving him the wrong wording advice in another Country.

  22. More videos! More videos! Lawren is awesome! He makes a really cool playground outside for the dogs, which gets satellite-dish-ears-Lulu all excited. When Lulu was pulling/biting on Bubba’s leg, at one point it looked like he was going to poop in her face! Looks like the dogs are having a blast. Thanks Lawren! Can we have a daily video? They are sooo cute!!!

  23. Buggerin ‘ell! tha knows nowt about us english types! It all depends which end o’t’country thas going to as well as which side. T’cornish don’t understand a lancashire accent, londoners don’t care to understand any bugger and no-one understands geordie wi’out a translator. Lancastrians an tykes (yorkshiremen) have trouble distinguishing between the various southern dialects, there bein a subtle difference between cornish/somerset/dorset accents and then you’ve got your welsh boyo, your scots and your irish. and we’re SUCH a small country. I LOVE it! (admits to being a sucker for an irish accent *sigh*)

    and Cheerio is quite common in the south west but tends to come out clipped kinda like “chiyo”

    Check out older episodes of soaps like eastenders, coronation street,brookside, emmerdale farm (yep THAT far back!) for comparisons.



  24. On a more serious note. Thanks SO much Lawren for the piccies and the vid. Hope you’re having fun, that lulu is a top turn alright, i think its the ears.


  25. Thanks to Lawren for the puppy pics. 🙂

    As for your food pics, Joe, I can honestly say I’ve never seen pig’s feet look like that or look so good. Of course, I also ate a very good traditional Christmas dinner off of paper plates, so presentation isn’t exactly the highest priority in my world.

    Also, I envy your ability to eat super-sweet desserts. The squash pie my aunt made was almost too sweet for me. There isn’t a sweet tooth in my head.

    @Jinx…We had similar weather here only not as much snow, a couple inches of ice, and a tornado warning this afternoon followed by a winter weather advisory this evening. Mother Nature provided me free entertainment this week. 🙂

  26. fsmn36 said:

    I’m fairly certain no one says “pip, pip” anymore. However, they do often (excuse my language) say “taking the piss”. I’ve never quite understood that one. And cheerio is limited to the posh. Cheers is certainly the most common. Everything is cheers. Cheers to drink, cheers when meeting someone, cheers to those passing on the street. Everything felt very “cheery”. ;D

    LOL! I’m sure Joe actually was taking the piss with his post. We use it in Australia too. It means to mock or tease.

    As you’ve all no doubt noticed I always sign off my posts with cheers (unless it’s something sad I’m writing about). It’s a compulsive thing. I got into the habit when I’d write to this guy I liked (he always signed off that way). It just stuck. So I blame Don.

    Cheers, Chev

  27. Lawren is the coolest! Joe, you’ve got big shoes to fill when you get back. Labyrinths! No more just opening the door and letting them run free. You need to make preparations.

    Thanks for the pics and vid Lawren. The kids don’t look like they’re fretting at all. 🙂

    Cheers, Chev

  28. Hi! How is casting going? Do you guys get to see the tapes also, or just the casting directors? (my agents sent in a dvd to the LA CD and up Vancouver)

    Can’t wait to hear more about the show! (and still hoping to audition!)

    keep up the great work, and happy holidays.

  29. Isn’t “Cheers” an international phrase? My old landlady was from Northern Italy and she said cheers instead of good bye. The family I was a nanny for were from New Zealand and they did the same except they said cheers for hello and good bye, as does my friend Pauline who is from Greece.

  30. I love the video of Maximus striking out on his own around the yard. Very much the intrepid explorer. He should be first pooch through the Stargate.

  31. Well, well, well, walking super dog are we now? 😀 Looks like the pups had fun in the snow!

    @Trish- yes your warm weather arrived- never thought I’d say this but would ya take it back?! Please?! I discovered I rather liked the snow and the cold, gave me the perfect excuse to sit inside and take it easy. Also gave me a chance to work on my new PowerPoint for the class I’m teaching the end of next month. *sighs* Just make it snow again okay? 😀

  32. fsmn36 said “However, they do often (excuse my language) say “taking the piss”.”

    Oh yeah we say that a lot…or even ‘taking the Michael’ if you want to be polite…LOL

    As to the rest of the stuff oh yeah we REALLY say all of that!!!!!….LOLOLOLOLOL the poor thing you are so nasty Joe 🙂

    Kriss 🙂

  33. I’ve been reading a lot of fanfiction, and I was wondering if Atlantis really is sentient, and whether or not people with the ATA gene can communicate/know her feelings if she is.

  34. Hahaha, well, Lawren’t film-making style is certainly different from yours, Joe. Something tells me that he’s sending you subtle signals that he wants to be a director, or at least a camera operator.

    To that end, I say he’s pretty damn good. I’m impressed that he was able to anticipate the movements of the doggies so as to contain all of them within one frame, even though they are moving. The very beginning had a sort of “Star Wars trench dive” vibe going on, and later, as he backtracked, it felt like a car chase sequence, but with dogs instead of cars. Very action-y, as we pulled out of the trench and swung out onto the shoveled walkway, while at all times with the dogs kept in-frame.

    I’m also impressed that he was able to move so quickly through snow without stumbling or, worse, accidentally stepping on one of the doggies. Very impressed indeed.

    Sign him up! I say he has potential.

    So, with your New Year’s Resolution in full swing even before the new year has even started, can we expect a drunken blog entry in the near future? Normally I’d say friends don’t let friends post drunk, but the potential for hilarity in this case surpasses any ethical considerations on my part.

    Once again, I’m touched by the commenters of this blog. A big THANK YOU to Narelle, Thornyrose, Arctic Goddess, tamijb, Ponytail, Perragrin, and whovian for the birthday wishes! You guys are great!

    A few replies:

    @ Narelle: Oh, there’s a middle ground alright. I always overreact over things, and turning 21 is just yet another one of those times, lol. Clearly I’ve got a warped sense of what it is to be “adult” – I now realize that it’s basically the same as being a kid. Haha. 😀

    @ Arctic Goddess: Our family doesn’t make a big deal out of birthdays or Christmas, so I’ve basically decided that, over the whole year, I get to buy a few things (mostly DVDs), and they all count as my birthday/Christmas presents. It’s just easier that way; I won’t have to wait until Dec. 25 to get something that was on sale a month back; it also means that I might not get anything ON Dec. 25, but that’s fine with me.

    It’s very pragmatic, I feel. Heh.

    @ tamijb: Yup, my birthday is Christmas Day.

    @ Ponytail: Haha, thanks for the encouragments!

    @ whovian: Your mom’s awesome! There’s no kind of adult I respect more than those who act like kids!

    That’s why I post here! 😀

  35. Actually, to sound like us Brits, all your friend really has to do is make the request “Bugger me?” into an exclamation and litter it frequently into just about any conversation, for example “Bugger me, it’s cold!” or Bugger me, you look great tonight!” or “Bugger me, I hate foreigners who think they can fit in just by buying us copious quantities of beer at the Kings Arms or picking up the tab at the Taj Mahal!” That last one could be misleading because it actually means, we LOVE ANYONE who buys us copious quantities of beer at just about any place that sells it and picks up the tab at the local curry house, whatever the name!

    Tell him not to try and translate it though because he will get a little confused – “Bugger me?” actually means “will you have anal sex with me?” but no one over here uses it like that, unless you want to, of course, but then you have to say it as a question not a statement and don’t for get to say “please nicely” after!

  36. Okay, I have got to ask…

    I’ve been rewatching the season 3 episodes of Atlantis (since getting the box set for Christmas) and I was wondering if the writers had ever considered a Teyla/Beckett pairing?

    The reason I ask is that the two of them seem to grow pretty close in the two episodes before Sunday as well as Sunday. The Lucius episode (man that guy is too funny) ends with Beckett putting his arm around her. The next one has equally subtle flirting.

    Sunday has its own subtle ship moments from Teyla referring to having feelings for “someone” to the end where she’s talking about her feelings on Carson’s death when she abruptly cuts herself off.

    Carson having feelings for Teyla would also explain why he ran off alone to try to rescue her from Michael in 4×19. Too bad the baby was Kanaan’s as it would have been brilliant to have Carson as the baby daddy.

    1- So was this pairing ever thought up in the writer circle or is it just coincidence?

    2- And who was Teyla referring to when she was talking about a guy she liked and how best to approach him at the beginning of Sunday?

    3- Could we ever see a Teyla/Carson pairing in a future movie someday? (Yes, I’m fully aware that this would be the death of Kanaan, but that’s totally cool with me lol)

    It’d be great if you could address these questions…pretty please….with a rich nutella tart on top? =) Thanks.

  37. fsmn36: “taking the piss” is the same as Taking the Michael” or “having a laugh” and usually means poking fun at someone – although it should not be confused with “taking a piss” which means the same as “Going for a Jimmy Riddle” or more basically “going to the loo, lav, bog, toilet or if you’re very posh, powder room.”

    If in doubt about us Brits, always remember we make a joke out of any serious situation – death, marriage, sex etc and mostly ourselves, being brought up to believe you should ‘take the piss yourself before any of the other buggers can”. Also, we do tend to use phrases out of context of their actual meaning, hence “take the piss” or “Bugger me!” or if you are under 30 “wicked” meaning something is good.

    I really cannot understand why anyone coming to Britain has problems with our language, just throw the usual phrase book out of the window and get a copy of Little Britain on dvd!

  38. Without posting any spoilers, I have two things to say:

    1. Vegas was much, much better than I thought it was going to be. Loads of fun.
    2. Enemy at the Gate was VERY COOL.

    The renaming of the ship was a very nice touch as well. Thankyou for that.


  39. A big thank you to Lawren for the pics and video of the pooches. And a thank you Joe for the pics of Felix as well. He’s a cutie pie. I must say you are one spiffy looking dog walker. I hope to see a picture of your kitty as well.
    Too bad the weather is so crappy here during your visit. – 18 a few days ago when I got up and now this morning it is + 4. Be careful on the streets and sidewalks. Very icy.

  40. Loving the labyrinth-type maze Lawren has carved out for the dogs, very nice. 🙂

    Nice to see the stereotypical english phrases still alive and well in people’s minds Joe! LOL

  41. OMG, OMG!!!! Yes, Joe , I saw them and I’m glad I did!! Wonderful, the best -WOW! And again ” DAM THEM “for cancelling SGA! You should be proud to have your name in the credits! I’ll wait to comment anymore. And I “WILL” be watching them in HD on their regular Fri. night slot. Hey, when do we get the Brad Wright interview, you said SOON! . Well , it’s now – soon – !!! When Joe, huh when joe? Did I whine enough or should I do more? Thanks for not being mad at me!!! Sheryl

  42. How sweet of Lawren to make a maze for the dogs! They all look like they were enjoying themselves.
    And Felix is too cute in that outfit! Though he does look a bit like a wrester in search of a match.

  43. You call that snow!?

    It hasn’t technically stopped snowing here in 2 week. Do not believe what Global News says, cause, they’re wrong. We have arctic snow! and its getting deeper and deeper I swear!!

  44. This is a question/questions concerning the ep Vegas to RC. This is a first time for me so I want to say that I LOVED this ep. Although I missed Teyla and Ronon I can not say anything bad about it . Loved the music (of which I have a question upcoming). It will certainly be added to my list of favorites. Also I want to say a big BRAVO to JF. Wonderful job in this ep! He said so much with so little. Now on with the questions:

    1) The cross that JF was wearing in the last scenes, was it his or an intentional prop for the sake of story telling?

    2) Any way we can get the music from this ep as a bonus track on S5 DVD series? I know I would buy it if for nothing else but that. Even the spaghetti western music was *right* for this – LOL.

    3) Rodney was wearing a wedding band. I didn’t get the feel he was married to Keller in this ep (their exchange in the hallway seemed more professional than personal in nature). Again prop or David’s?

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