We pigged out at Au Pied de Cochon. Twice.
Pig-out #1: tête de cochon special. With clams and beans (that’s the pile around the head) and sea urchin (that’s what’s crowning the little guy). Any place that serves up pig’s head like this is my kinda place. Perhaps the best part of ordering this was when we asked how big it would be and our server replied, “Well, usually everything we say is for two people is actually for three or four, but this is really only enough for two.” And he was right. We went to town and dug up every tasty morsel we could find. And at the end, there was only a little mound — maybe a couple ounces’ worth — left for Steven’s breakfast. And yes, I ate an eyeball. And made David eat the other one. It was much meatier than the goat eyeballs I’ve had. We were disappointed when we were going in for the brain and our server informed us that they weren’t equipped to help us break it open out there at our table. His explanation made sense though: the roasting they do for the outside of the head probably doesn’t do a whole lot for the inside (overcooked brain = gross). He packed it all up for us to take home and crack open ourselves, and we nearly did, but after several more days of gluttony, we really hadn’t the stomach for it any more. So sorry, no brain dissection shots.
Pig-out #1.5: Le Club Chasse et Pêche. This is the braised suckling pig risotto with shavings of foie gras. Only Budapest could compete with Montreal in scale when it comes to foie, but Montrealers have got it down in terms of preparation and imagination. And there’s a really wonderful sense of humor that prevails here that you can read in menus and see in platings (see above pig’s head, for example). I like your style, Montreal. And I like your tasty beasts. Chasse et Pêche has great service. Perhaps some of the best service I’ve had in an upper-mid-range restaurant.
We took a break from pork for breakfast on Day 3
with smoked meat from the fabled Schwartz’s. Which was great, but Steven prefers the pastrami/liver at Katz’s.
Pig-out #2, PDC: There was less pig at this dinner, and it was found mostly in the potée de PDC (boudin, pork chunks, some kielbasa-type thing, etc.). Instead, we thought we might support the local foie industry and follow everyone’s advice to order the foie gras poutine. Which is AWESOME. The poutine at Duckfat in Portland was very good, but we probably could have downed another plate of PDC’s. Not only does the gravy have this additional dimension of richness and depth to it, but they also add a little (though not enough, it’s so damn good) jus alongside. Oh god, I want another one, right now. Also great: bison tartare. They give you a giant brick of the stuff, perfectly ground to an unctuous near-paste consistency. Well seasoned. And the eponymous pig’s foot. Delicious. Although it came with a weird sort of square croquette that was filled with meat-flavored grey goo that we weren’t so into. Not so great: the plogue à champlain (foie on buckwheat pancake with bacon, potato, cheddar, and maple syrup) was way too heavy on the maple syrup; and the tarte de foie gras cru au sel was only okay (too much mashed potato).
The only place I spent more time in than PDC was Jean-Talon. And is it any wonder why?