Many years ago we watched a documentary about a chef named Martin Picard. When we finished watching the documentary Dave said, “We are going to Montreal to eat at that restaurant”. Alas we found ourselves that June off for 3 nights in Montreal with all 3 nights booked for dinner at Au Pied de Cochon. Each night we reveled in the food and wept and cried “Why isn’t there anything like this in Vancouver?!!!!”. Those three night set the stage for what would be two more trips all with multi-day dinners at the restaurant.
Montreal is one of the ultimate food destinations. We would say it rivals NYC. In Montreal they “get” what food and dining should be about. There is no pretentiousness. Restaurants are there to serve the patrons and ensure that they have a great time and feel like part of a family. In Montreal there seems to be this “Cheers” mentality that everyone knows your name or least wants to find it out. It’s something Vancouver desperately needs to figure out.
Martin Picard is a chef’s chef kind of guy and has not only a world renowned restaurant but also has a his own TV show “The Wild Chef”. We are not going to go into the background or story of APDC because you can find that anywhere. Here we will just tell you our insider secrets that we have learned after eating there 9 times in 3 visits to Montreal. Here they are:
1) Reserve early and ask to be seated at the bar in front of the kitchen, not the bar.
2) Eat there for dinner at least twice. You won’t regret it.
3) Buy a round of drinks for the kitchen staff. At 8pm the kitchen staff are allowed to drink so buy a round and you get to ring the drink bell. It will pay for itself in spades
4) Show interest in what the kitchen is putting out. Here’s your chance to ask questions about the dishes. They are always happy to talk to you and you’ll get to know a great group of people who really know their stuff.
5) Go during Formula 1 in June. The city is electric with events happening all over the city. The restaurants are serving their best dishes, the head chefs and proprietors are all in attendance and everyone is in a party mood. We went last time for the Grand Prix and will never go at another time again. Reserve early though at least 2 months. Hotels are freaky expensive so we recommend renting an apartment.
6) Let them choose your wine pairings. We have never been disappointed.
7) Order the pig head ahead of time. You need to give at least 24 hours notice.
Order the seafood tower! You will not find a better one anywhere else.
9) Take the duck in a can home. It’s one of their signature dishes and it is crazy delicious. We let them know we will be taking half a dozen home with us and they have it ready for us. They need to be eaten within a couple days but it makes for a great thank you meal for those who watched your kids, pet, house, mail while you were gone.
Here’s what to order….
Boudin Tart: Blood sausage and Fois Gras
The ULTIMATE Seafood Tower. Tier 1 of the Seafood Tower…
Tier 2 of the Seafood Tower…. the crazy thing is that each piece is individually dressed.
Seriously. And this was our appetizer!!!
This is the small Seafood platter. Still crazy impressive.
Deep fried Fois Gras Roll.
One of Tanis’ “Last Meal” dishes. The duck carpaccio. A single tear is always shed.
Fois Gras Poutine. Check out our version here.
We were treated to a special reserve caviar that Picard sourced privately. (Sorry for the half eaten photo, we dived in and forgot all about pictures)
Beef Tartar Cones. Amazing!
Emily and Jean-Michel presenting us with our Pig’s Head.
Here is a picture of a previous trip’s Pig’s Head. This time we had the gilded nose.
The Veal chop of all veal chops. They actually raised this animal themselves.
The Fois Gras Burger. Yes we ate it all. Well Dave did.
Dark chocolate “Pot de creme”. Divine if you can eat fit it in. “Wafer-thin!”
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