Wordless Wednesdays: Light Lunch at Wilensky’s









How to Make Classic Tourtière (Québec Pork Pie Recipe)

On Christmas Eve, we almost always head to a beautiful candlelight service at our church and then drive home through the falling snow (on the years that it snows, obviously) to enjoy a late supper of Tourtière – Québec pork pie. This is a tradition fondly practiced throughout Québec, whether preceded by a religious service or not.

At our home, the tourtière is homemade, and we enjoy it throughout the holidays, not just on Christmas Eve. As I write, six wrapped pies sit in my deep freezer, waiting to be baked to golden perfection.

Essentially, tourtière is a meat pie; lightly spiced ground pork layered between flaky pastry, and served with a chunky green ketchup. It’s total comfort food, loved by all and needs nothing save a tossed salad or bowl of steamed peas to make up a complete meal. It can be enjoyed warm or cold, for brunch, lunch, or dinner – and makes a splendid midnight feast.

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Come Enjoy Cupcakes for a Cause


I probably don’t have to tell you where I’m going to be on Sunday afternoon… that’s right, scarfing cupcakes at the Queen Elizabeth Hotel for Cupcake Camp Montreal!

Foodies, gourmands, and cupcake aficionados are all aflutter over this event and who wouldn’t be? I mean, have you heard?

20,000 cupcakes.

At this point, the organizers are only concerned that enough people will show up to eat the veritable sea of sweetness.

It’s practically my duty to go. Plus, it’s for charity, raising funds for La Tablée des Chefs and Kids Help Phone. You should totally come too.

What’s this? Cupcake Camp Montreal
When: Sunday, November 21, 2010 from 1-5 p.m.
Where: Fairmont The Queen Elizabeth, 900 Rene Levesque Blvd. W

A $10 ticket at the door gets you three cupcakes, a gourmet coffee and an opportunity to mingle with local bloggers and bakers. You may even spot your favourite celebrity chef or TV personality, as the panel of judges is quite colourful!


I’ll see you there. Come over and say hello! I’ll be with the tall guy, probably trying to corral two little boys with sugar highs. Oh yeah, with 20,000 cupcakes to enjoy, there was no way I was getting out on my own for this one.

Cabane a Sucre Au Pied de Cochon Part 3: Desserts


You may want to grab some of that leftover Easter chocolate before starting to read this post – or not. Chances are your Cadbury eggs will pale in comparison to this line up of deserts we recently enjoyed at a local sugar shack.

Here are the first two parts of our culinary adventure to bring you up to speed on our outing:

Read Part 1: Appetizers
Read Part 2: Main Courses

Desserts are, as all of you know, my weakness. Desserts featuring maple? Well, let’s just say we get along very well.

A little too well, perhaps, but who’s counting pancakes??


Crêpes Grand-Mère‘, I believed these were called, although I wasn’t paying much attention to our server at that point. I’m somewhat of a pancake aficionado, and these were among the best I’ve had.

Can one really call them pancakes, though? They were deep-fried in duck fat, deliciously hot and crispy and served swimming in maple syrup. Definitely a perfect marriage between pancakes and doughnuts.

Our table polished them off in no time.

I called our server aside to inquire about the house policy on ‘seconds’, to which she promptly informed me that they don’t accommodate. I remained calm, but firm, and managed to convey my deep and utter need for another tray.

Happily, another dish of pancakes arrived shortly in front of me, hot and devastatingly good. (Have I ever called anything ‘devastatingly good’ on this blog??)


OK, I’m going to get flack for this one, but this is my space, so I can say what I like. This banana split was just so-so. Sure it had banana’s (what’s local about those?) maple marshmallows (mine are better – just sayin’), some pretty kicking maple ice cream, and maple-glazed nuts, but I wasn’t as impressed as some of the other eaters. Go ahead, call me spoiled.


The split’s best feature was the maple cotton candy garnish, which was brilliant. I bought some to take home for the boys. Delish!


This was subconsciously what we had all come for: tire à l’érable, or maple taffy. This is a requisite treat for a visit to any sugar shack.


It is rolled up on a popsicle stick from it’s bed of crushed ice (packed snow works better) and enjoyed in all it’s teeth numbing, sticky sweetness.

(at this point, I almost had to hold onto the table when I stood up. Remember this was our third ‘wave’ of food. But there was one more…)


My second favorite dessert (pancakes were number one) was the maple mille-feuille, and easily the best of its kind I’ve ever had. Mille-feuille is a dime a dozen around here, but most of them are disappointing.

Not so here, Au Pied de Cochon’s version leaves nothing to be desired, except, perhaps, the residual longing that all mille-feuilles were maple.

Ah, in a perfect world, perhaps.

~Cabane à sucre Au Pied de Cochon: adult $49 CAD, kids from 3 to 12 yrs old $15

Cabane a Sucre Au Pied de Cochon: Part 2


…Continuing from Part 1.

Not everyone understands Martin Picard’s food. It’s bold and brash, gutsy–and sometimes even guts themselves. It’s not for everyone.

Long ago I worked a shift at Au Pied du Cochon, back in my restaurant days and back when Martin called the tickets every night. It was one wild and crazy Saturday night where I was tossed into the pit, literally, to replace a friend who was sick (or something.)

It was brutal, wonderful, sweaty, faster-than-fast paced and completely intoxicating. I’ll have to share the whole story sometime. Especially the part where a bell rang half-way through service and a waitstaff pointed at me and inquired

“What do you want?”

Let’s just say there was no round of drinks mid-service at the place I usually worked.
But that’s Martin Picard for you.

I may not understand his food completely, but I do know that I absolutely love to eat it, and so let’s look at the second round of food we recently enjoyed at the Au Pied de Cochon sugar shack!


Piping hot and fluffy as can be, is an omelet, but not just any omelet. Inside is a layer of maple-smoked sturgeon and it is topped with braised pork shoulder and green onions. As you can imagine, it made for a pungent mouthful when coated with maple syrup and devoured.
I could have done without the fish, however the pork was fantastic.


This masterpiece was easily the most complex dish of the bunch. It is a whole cabbage stuffed with lobster, ground pork and, hidden deep in the center, molten foie gras.

Served on a bed of al dente lentils, this dish had me shaking my head with wonder at each bite. I’ve always loved the earthiness of cabbage, and it was a perfect match for the rich lobster, pork and foie.

Hat’s off to the chef, for the cabbage was tender and yet the lobster was not over-cooked. That accomplishment alone left me scratching my head.


It’s a bit ghastly to look at, save for the precarious lobster garnish, but the ‘choux farci‘ was my favorite part of the meal.


Forgive me, but I didn’t even taste the next dish: beef tongue with a celeric remoulade.
At this point I was staring down the lobster dish above, and marveling over it’s complexities. The beef tongue was way down at the other end of the table–and who in their right mind is going to abandon a dish of lobster and foie gras for tongue??


This maple-glazed chicken received plenty of abuse from our food bloggers for being boring; however, I think that simplicity was part of it’s charm. I quite enjoyed it, and found the delicious beans cooked with maple syrup and garnished with fresh parsley far outshone the bird.


Two thoughts on that one:
1.Yeah, it’s chicken, surely a nice pintade or a couple of game hens would have been more fun.
2.I need to eat more beans.


Yours truly carving up the chicken for the table (and taking it very seriously, apparently).

The last element of our main course cause quite the frenzy in our food paparazzi when it was brought to the table:


This traditional Quebec toutiere was photographed from all angles for a good five minutes before getting sliced up and served with it’s homemade tomato ketchup.

I have to draw on Mary Poppins for the praise of this dish, for it was indeed ‘Practically perfect in every way’.


It will be difficult to enjoy another meat pie after having experienced this version; it a good thing I purchased one upon our departure and it’s now stashed in my freezer.

I doubt it will last there very long.

Stay tuned for desserts! They are coming up next to conclude this series…