Every time I came back to my home town of Montreal, there’s always a moment when I think “Y’know, I could really see myself moving back.” And then the temperature drops, the snow falls, the streets and sidewalks transform into skating rinks, and sanity prevails. No, I won’t be moving back anytime soon.
Today, the driving conditions were terrible – which is unfortunate given that I had to spend a good four hours in the car running errands.
Fortunately, my winter driving skills are as sharp as ever and I was able to gather the ingredients for tomorrow night’s port-braised short rib and ox-tail dinner. Wonder how my short rib will compare to Chuck’s.
“Chuck? Chuck who?”you may ask. Why, Montreal’s own celebrity chef Chuck Hughes whose comfort food and down home cooking earned him his own show, a spot as one of the participants vying for the position of The Next Iron Chef, and a win in kitchen stadium vs. Bobby Flay. Last night, we checked out his restaurant, Garde Manger, in Old Montreal.
We were seated at 6:00, ordered our drinks, perused the menu on the big chalkboard, ordered four appetizers, three mains, and all the desserts.
Apparently two Andria’s had reserved tables for 6:00 and the management couldn’t find our reservation (even though they’d phoned my sister to confirm her reservation that afternoon). Fortunately, my Andria arrived first and we’d been seated and ordered before anyone noticed.
Our three appetizers: a fantastic lobster poutine, a white beet and stilton salad that Akemi really enjoyed, a super spicy yet downright delicious jerk crab with ginger and lime, and –
We elected to do only three mains so that we cold tackle the full slate of desserts: the braised short-ribs with cauliflower puree and crispy brussel sprouts, the scallops with bacon gnocchi and carrot butter, and the rock shrimp risotto with with lobster bisque. Loved the first two – especially the crispy brussel sprouts! – but found the risotto too tangy. Akemi disagreed. She loves tangy!
As I said, we went all in with the desserts: deep-fried Mars Bar with vanilla ice cream, a home made chocolate brownie a la mode, fried banana with whipped cream, and some sort of white cake and cream with fruit – and, well, you all know how I feel about fruit with my dessert. Mars Bar = winner!
Sadly, no Chuck. Akemi was terribly disappointed.