Sunday, March 22, 2015

cabane à sucre au pied du cochon

another montreal food post! this meal might put all previous meals to shame.

traditionally, a cabane à sucre, or sugar shack, is a country cabin or house where maple sap is collected and boiled to make maple syrup. it has since evolved into a place where people come together to enjoy a maple-filled, family-style meal during winter and wish for and welcome spring. probably the most indulgent and gluttonous of those in montreal is cabane à sucre pdc.

reservations were made, lottery-style, months in advanced, and as the day approached we all prepared ourselves for the incredible meal that awaited us. we were told we would be provided with takeaway trays at the start of the meal, so the idea was to eat what we could (without exploding) and immediately portion off the rest to take home. how weird is that--anticipated leftovers~

before our table was ready we wandered around outside and also peeked into the kitchen and dining rooms. there was a giant smoker near the cabane where they were smoking the pig heads that would later grace our tables and a food truck set up near the parking lot for anyone who wanted MORE food to take home (they were smoking large planks of salmon which looked pretty tempting...).

once inside we were seated at our own large table; usually tables are communal, but we lucked out with one for the seven of us. looking around the huge space we saw stuffed wolves in the rafters, tiny jars of something (most likely maple-related) lining the walls, funky art, and lots of wood. servers were dressed in garage-style coveralls and wore strange plastic tubes around their necks, which we later learned were filled with shots of alcohol...for patrons, of course ;) we started off with a round of drinks and then patiently waited for our meal to begin.
there was no written menu, so i had to do my best to pay attention to the servers when they presented each dish. here we go!

[five starters]
* sweet and sour soup
* pork, shrimp, foie gras dumplings with maple-soy sauce
* omelette with cream cheese, onions, beef tongue, smoked meat, and a cheese croquette baked in the center topped with avocado slaw
* pork charcuterie and lobster baked in beans cooked in a lobster bisque with arugula sage butter
* caribbean yogurt cake soaked in maple syrup topped with foie gras, maple liquor, and confit of wild blueberries
[three mains]
* royal rabbit stuffed with cabbage, mushroom, and foie gras served on buckwheat and rabbit blood sauce
* pig head glazed with soy and maple syrup served with housemade cocktail sausages, maple mustard, duck fat fried pancakes and side of fennel-apple slaw with bleu cheese and maple compote
(we were advised to construct little sandwiches with everything--sorry there are no pics of the mini sandwich as i was too busy eating)
* duck and calamari stuffed with duck served with maple syrup and squid ink sauce, beet purée, and mushroom purée

[four desserts]
* baklava and maple cotton candy with milk
* pineapple ice cream with toasted coconut, roasted pineapple, piña colada cream, and beaver tails
* maple syrup soufflé
* maple syrup taffy/snow candy
are you full from reading that because i'm entering a food coma just remembering it. i don't think any future montreal meals can compare to this--although i read that au pied du cochon also does a similar thing in the fall featuring apples ::eyebrow wiggle::

Monday, March 9, 2015

hiatus and hairstyles

can you believe how fast two and a half months go by? sheesh! the first couple months of 2015 seemed like endless waves of mini snow storms and bone-chilling temperatures. now that it's march, and daylight savings is in effect, it looks like we *might* be getting a peek at spring ::fingers crossed::
so what's kept me busy these past few months?

for starters, i've been abby-sitting monday through friday, three out of four weeks of each month. it has been quite the adventure with this little lady. full-time child care is no joke. luckily abby is a pretty happy and easy-going kiddo whose main objectives in life are giggles, dancing, and never-ending playtime. she's learning and absorbing like crazy. we've been working on the alphabet--singing the song, reading her alphabet book, etc--and so far she's extra good at identifying A, M, N, and O. i have a feeling she secretly knows the whole alphabet, but she's just waiting for the optimal day to bust out identifying all twenty six. (hey, it's how she started walking: tentative standing then full-on sprinting.) she's quite the bilingual chatterbox, so i'm not too concerned about her verbal skills ;P it still amazes me how much she understands and how fast her brain is developing. babies are total sponges.

i took a hiatus from baking (surrounded by stupid new year's resolutions and general holiday guilt) and spent most of my time taking bikram yoga classes (thank you, groupon), attending a rainy wedding weekend in philadelphia (number six of seven for th116), celebrating multiple birthdays at korean bbq (kang ho dong baekjeong in queens and k-town), vacationing in florida (honestly, i kept thinking it was summer the entire week)
but, most importantly, LOTS of wedding stuff. the date is set; the venues booked; guest lists in for everything else! :P i'll try to dedicate a few posts specifically for wedding stuff, but i'm going to keep things mostly under wraps--no spoilers! you'll just have to wait until 2016.01.23~

in the meantime (read: distraction), here are some of the various hairstyles i've tried on abby in the recent months:
thank goodness she tolerates me...for the most part.