What I Ate: Montreal

Knowing that my time in Montreal was short, I had my dinners planned out when I hit the ground. The cold weather gave me some leeway for big meals – or so I felt.

Fish Ploughman's lunch at Taverne Square Dominion.

Fish Ploughman’s lunch at Taverne Square Dominion.

I arrived at 11pm on Wednesday, so I quickly got myself over to the Taverne Square Dominion. There were a few parties cleaning up supper, and enjoying the tavern’s cocktails. A highlight of their offerings, the bar is strewn with antique glassware, bitters, and other paraphenalia that belies the 1927 date of the tavern’s opening. I relaxed with a Basil and Rye cocktail after a long delayed journey up north, and ordered a fish Ploughman’s lunch, the perfect compilation of tastes (though could you fault me for wanting another one of those runny scrummy devilled eggs?

I had scheduled the next night for pure debauchery at Au Pied du Cochon – pork and foie all around. While I did want to squeeze in a visit to Big in Japan, they aren’t open for lunch so I didn’t have the time. I went to St. Viateur Bagel in the morning, but forgot my European cafe manners, thinking it was order at the counter and sit. No! But at least I kept my meal light, a dry everything bagel and a good latte. Generally, I’m not a major carnivore. I like veg, and I believe that much of vegetarian cooking is more creative than traditional meat-based cooking. But I’m also not stupid – I don’t go to a meat-centric restaurant and order the tomato tart in January (like a woman down the bar did).

Foie gras, cranberry, goat cheese, french toast. Au Pied du Cochon, 2013.

Foie gras, cranberry, goat cheese, french toast. Au Pied du Cochon, 2013.

I started out with foie gras on french toast with cranberry and goat cheese. I loved the combination, but thought the cranberry was too strong with the foie. I don’t feel bad about foie, or veal for that matter. I do want to know it comes from a good source. My starter was enough for dinner, but I followed it with a pork foot stew with tomato over polenta. It was a treasure trove: bits of fat, something chewy (perhaps more than foot? maybe an ear?), something savory and peppery in the middle of the mound at the bottom. I lightened up with a lemon tart and a calvados on the house.

Pork with tomato etc over polenta. Au Pied du Cochon, 2013.

Pork with tomato etc over polenta. Au Pied du Cochon, 2013.

The kitchen is right there and the twister game of the chefs is plenty entertainment for a woman dining alone (see my post on Eating Alone). There was a variety of grunge, knit caps, and mechanic’s work shirts ported by the chefs. One woman assembled salads, pastry, and fries. The grill guy’s forearms were covered in burns. An added perk for my seat was its location: directly in front of all the food going out into the restaurant.

 

I’ve done my penance and run five and a half miles this weekend.

 

About Becky Fifield

Becky Fifield is a cultural heritage professional with 25 years experience in institutions large and small. She is currently Head of Collection Management for the Special Collections of the New York Public Library. An advocate for preventive conservation, Ms. Fifield is a Professional Associate of the American Institute for Conservation, Chair of the AIC Collection Care Network, and former Chair of Alliance for Response NYC. She is also a scholar of 18th century female unfree labor and dress. There's a bit of pun in the title The Still Room, delineating a quiet space brimming with the ingredients of memory, where consideration, analysis, and wordcraft can take place. Ms. Fifield’s interests include museum practice, dress history, historic preservation, transit, social and women’s history, food, current events, geneaology, roadtrips, and considerations on general sense of place. Becky and her husband, Dr. V, live in the Hudson Valley.