We embarked on our journey a Thursday immediately after work. We threw our luggage into the car and saw the dogs off with their grandparents and hit the road. The drive from Maryland to Montreal is about 9 hours so we split up the drive and crashed at a hotel in Albany that night, after about 5 hours on the road. The next morning we gased up the car and made our way into Canada. Driving through upstate New York was absolutely gorgeous and we were uber-excited to finally come to the Canadian border. A few short hours later and we were crossing the bridge into Montreal. We checked into our hotel and were thrilled that we had a balcony with an amazing view:
|Pretty sweet view|
|Petite salade du jour|
|Pile of goodies..|
|Looks great, tasted not so much.|
|Sorry excuse for an almond croissant|
|Something is missing from this picture... Wait maybe not|
|Now we're talkin'|
|A jumbled mass of bodies|
After tearing ourselves away from the beauty of the basilica we hit some souvenir shops and made our way to the Clock Tower pier in the Old Port to do some speedboating. We signed up for the next available time slot and watched as thoroughly soaked and smiling passengers walked by. Here's our boat:
|One bad-ass boat|
We meandered back to the metro and headed back to the hotel to clean up and relax before dinner. Our first night in Montreal featured the meal I was probably most excited about: dinner at Au Pied de Cochon. Luckily it was a short 10 minute walk from our hotel, but we walked right past it our first time around. The entire front of the restaurant was open and there weren't any signs. But after back-tracking a few blocks and checking the street number we finally found it.
|Au Pied de Cochon|
|Sexy lil food nerd, aren't I?|
For those of you who don't know, and I'm sure that's most of you, the Foie Gras Cromesquis is a deep-fried cube of liquid duck foie gras. They bring out two little squares and you give them a minute to let them cool and then plop them into your mouth, being sure to close your mouth before biting so you don't squirt foie gras across the room.
|Fried cubes of liquid awesome|
|My brave wife takes the plunge|
Not to be outdone, the Tarragon Bison Tongue knocked it out of the park. It was like uber-tender pot roast swimming in a sauce of vinegar and mustard with a strong backbone of tarragon.
I knew I wanted the Plogue a Champlain so our waitress suggested we split that and order whatever mains we wanted. The Mrs. went for the catch of the day which was crispy skinned cod on cauliflower puree and topped with long beans sauteed in bacon fat. I was torn between the Confit Lamb Shank and the Duck in a Can and since the DIAC is their signature dish the waitress talked me into that.
The Plogue a Champlain is basically a buckwheat pancake, topped with potato, bacon, cheese, foie gras, and covered in maple syrup reduction. Holy hell it was like all of the meals of the day packed into one plate. Did I love it? Well, yes and no.
|Pile of foie gras bacon pancakes|
|Plogue a Champlain defeated|
Then a food-runner brings a can to our table and opens it table-side. She then proceeds to dump it's entire contents onto my plate:
And there you have it, a big ugly mountain of fatty indulgence, i.e. Duck in a Can.
|That's a huge lobe of foie gras in the front, duck breast in the back|
After removing the half inch layer of fat from the duck breast I noticed that it was pleasantly pink inside, a great sign. I love duck, but two things are usually it's downfall and those are toughness and fattiness. This duck breast was the epitome of both.
|Pink and tough? How is that possible? Notice the sheet of fat at the top of my plate...|
Nikki's cod was decent and while she liked it I wasn't really thrilled.
|Cod special that wasn't very special|
After dinner I wanted to go check out the microbrasserie Dieu du Ciel, but no one else wanted to walk that far so we went into a random nearby bar Bieres et Compagnie and Steve and I enjoyed a Dieu du Ciel Aphrodisiaque which was surprisingly light for a stout with 6.5% abv. It had a strong smell of vanilla and a subtle coffee flavor. It wasn't filling at all and proved to be the perfect beverage to sip after a heavy dinner. The wife ordered a pretty sexy glass of house sangria.
Thus ends the first day of our food-centric road-trip. Stay tuned as I will be churning out posts as fast as my skinny little fingers can type. Until then, go eat something!