Archive for Food

A Trip to Barcelona’s Boqueria Market


Barcelona is a food and wine lover’s dream and visiting the Boqueria Market was foodie heaven. So, here is a little video covering my all too short visit to the Boqueria Market. Buen provecho!

Below some extra pictures of the fish in the market, which seemed pretty spectacular:

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This Meat Lover’s Afternoon Delight

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Consider yourself a carnivore extraordinaire?  Interested in munching on some homemade Charcuterie cured with maple syrup? Like poutine, the Quebecois specialty of fries, gravy and cheese curd, but with the added twist of foie gras?

Not for the faint of heart, or for any of your vegetarian friends, either, Au Pied de Cochon located in the trendy Plateau Mont-Royal is a meat lovers paradise where foie gras is featured imaginatively in almost every dish.

Chef Martin Picard has attracted such a following, especially for his, rich, fatty pork and duck related dishes he lovingly prepares with a French Canadian twist that obtaining reservations at Au Pied de Cochon is no mean feat.  In fact, this unobtrusive brasserie style restaurant is considered one of the best in Montreal and draws tourists from around the world.

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Any good meal with family has to begin with a little bubbly and this is where our adventure at Au Pied de Cochon began.   This non-dose grower Champagne started things off right, exhibiting bright, pure citrus, mineral and brioche notes this medium-bodied sparkler was a real palate cleanser.

Being with a big group allows for lots of experimentation and we took advantage of that fact, ordering some of Au Pied de Cochon’s most popular house specialties.

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The Foie Gras Poutine

Probably one of the most decadent dishes of my life; fries, brown gravy sauce, cheese curds and a big chunk of foie gras.  What isn’t to like?

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House Charcuterie

Here is a simple dish, but the quality of the meats were outstanding.

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Cod Fritters

Light and tasty, I don’t think I had a better cod fritter, even in the Basque region of Spain.

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Duck in a can after taken out of the can

This dish, duck in a can was over-the-top.  I don’t want to know how many fat grams were here, but let’s just say, this is a heart stopper.  It still won’t deter me from ordering this tribute to everything duck, again, though.

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Pig Head for Two

Ok, I thought this was so cool, I had to post another picture of this.  It isn’t every day that you can eat a pig’s head and this one was done to perfection.

There are great desserts on the menu, the rhubarb and strawberry tart and Maple pudding sounded great, among others.  But, we lost steam after gorging on several savory dishes  I guess it’s reason to drop by on my next trip to Montreal.  Bon Appetit!

 

 

Great Whisky and Food Pairings

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There is always a lot of talk among foodies regarding wine and food pairings, but it isn’t often that one connects whisky as a possible partner to both savory and sweet dishes.  At a recent tasting, I had the opportunity to taste a variety of whiskies paired with everything from Turkish Delight, Chocolate, oysters to sausage.  Below are some pictures of these pairings:

Dried sausage with a wee dram of Kilchoman

Dried sausage with a wee dram of Kilchoman Machir Bay

This pairing probably is one of the more obvious ones. The meaty sausage flavor combined with the peaty, iodine smokey notes of this Islay delight is sublime and a nice alternative to the normal tapas combos.

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Turkish Delight with the Balblair 2002

Turkish delight with whisky?  Beats me, but somehow the sweet rose flavors of the Turkish Delight took the Balblair 02 scotch to another level.

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Glenmorangie Signet paired with Artisan du Chocolat truffles

The Glenmorangie Signet paired with a variety of chocolates courtesy of Artisan du Chocholat of London was heavenly.  Ok, I could have stayed here all night long.  The chocolates were off the hook and the scotch which had sweet notes of chocolate, orange and coffee note. Glenmorangie uses a chocolate malted barley for this whisky, which they attribute to an important component to making this pairing work.

 

 

Some Cool Snacks to Munch On…

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When you are having friends over for drinks, it is always good to have some good crunchy snacks to serve.  The selection in recent years has increased significantly, and now it can be a bit of a dilemma deciding what to buy.

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At a recent beverage I show, I was pleasantly surprised when I sampled these crisps/potato chips.  As a fan of all types of crisps, tasting the Salty Dog Flame Grilled Steak crisps was a revelation.  Smoky, savory and unique in flavor, I couldn’t stop eating them.  These aren’t your run of the mill bbq or chili flavored chips.  The Flame Grilled Steak crisps have the tanginess of Worcester sauce and are very addicting!

Guiltless Gourmet Chili Lime Tortilla Chips (no pic, sorry) are spicy with a touch of lime tang.  The best part, these chips are baked and significantly lower in calories, therefore, healthier than other comparable chips.   These are my go-to snacks, not just when I am dieting, but whenever I want a crunchy corn based treat.

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Popchips come in a variety of flavors, but even the plain sea salt ones are delicious.  Calorie-wise, Popchips are great lower-cal crunchy treat.

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Posh Hot Chilli Pork Crackling are pork rinds with a bit of a punch.  I have had spicier pork rinds before, but these were spicy without being over the top and the texture was a bit more substantial than other pork rinds on the market.

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ProperCorn Sour Cream & Chive is a delicious alternative to crisps.  Savory, chive popcorn, a delicious, unique twist on popcorn. ProperCorn also has range of other flavors worth trying out.

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Roberto & Giuseppe’s Pastinos Sicilian Lemon & Cracked Black Pepper are made with 100% real Italian pasta.  This is a really unique, lemony crunchy treat that has comparable calories per serving to crisps, but is less greasy, unless comparing to popped or baked chips, of course.

La Régalade- Still Thrilling

Ok, so while we focus on all types of beverages here, it doesn’t mean that we don’t think about food.  After all, almost any drink is taken to a new level with the right food.  I thought I would take a few minutes to relive a great food experience, especially since I haven’t had one in a while—a good “foodgasm” that is.  On a recent trip to Paris, I went back to a La Régalade after an 11 year absence. It had been “the” place for some of my French wine trade contacts back in the late ’90s.

I wasn’t sure what to expect as the reviews were all over the map, some saying that the place had lost its mojo and then that the chef-owner had left. The news of another Régalade opening across town was also greeted with foreboding.  At least in the past, restaurant expansions outside the original establishment, for me, have often translated into a loss of quality or at least a diminishment of what made the original place or concept special to begin with. Nonetheless, I overcame my quibbles, the mixed reviews, and allowed my curiosity to get the better of me. I had to see if the magic was still there as someone in the wine trade recently assured me it was.

So, while the wine list was small and limited, as before, it seemed to do its best to offer value and quality.  There were even bottle offerings as low as 12 Euros, in addition to, a few very premium wines at the other end of the spectrum.  Of course, the prixe fixe lunch at around 32 Euros made the trek to La Régalade a low risk proposition, long before analyzing the wine list.

The lunch started with their complimentary paté de campagne and cornichons (as seen above), which my husband and I ate heartily.  I ordered the foie gras, (pictured left) which came with a foamy broth of green peas.  The combination sounded a bit bizarre to me, but it turned out to be the perfect marriage with the foie gras, which had an ethereal custard-like consistency and literally melted in my mouth.  Fortunately, the portion size seemed large, as I had to share this with my husband, who claimed to have never tasted anything quite like it, or that good in a long time.

Also delightful, was the crab salad, which was crisp and clean, with a touch a lemon citrus to balance the crisp celery. The touch of mint added a new dimension to the dish.

 

 

 

 

The entrée was exactly what I was looking for at lunchtime, a wonderful white fish, Dorade, on top of a bed of spinach with small pieces of what looked like Clementines.

The pig trotters with lentils were savory, balanced with the perfect amount of salt and spice—my husband who ordered this could only say that it was “food porn.

The Grand Marnier soufflé was outstanding and every bit as good as one might imagine a soufflé made with Grand Marnier must be—light and airy, subtle candied orange flavors teasing the palate. In addition, to the great value and quality, the portions seemed large and the service was friendly.  After a long culinary dry spell, eating at La Régalade was definitely what the doctor ordered.  I would definitely go back to Paris just to eat at La Régalade again.