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francois

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  1. I will be spending a few days in Woodstock, Vermont, at the end of the months. Haven't been there in about 4 years. Where should I go for fine food?
  2. we will be going to Woodstock Vermont for a weekend in late october. I heard that the Jackson House restaurant has closed. Hopefully this is not true, as we had a few really excellent meals there a few years back and were hoping to go back again this year. Please tell me it is open and still a good as ever.
  3. Take a look at the rubber band, inside, where you put in the bag to get the air sucked out. It should be smooth. Otherwise, it will not be air tight and air will come in. If there is a dent (it happened to mine), just pull it out and turn it around on the other side and put it back in. It will work fine.
  4. For a special dinner: Baccara (maybe also Beckta) For a more casual dinner: Les Fougères (nice setting, relaxed athmosphere), or maybe Domus. Les Fougères also have a nice brunch on Sunday's (try their duck confit). For a light lunch: Nicastro's Bottega - on the Market (a few tables, good food but a bit noisy; great sandwiches for take out; take a look at their selection of olive oils and balsamic vinegars - some really good deals. Or Lapointe's - also on the market- (nice fresh fish) Chaloin: for memorable chocolates
  5. My daughter would like to go spend her 18th birthday in Montreal with a couple of her girlfriends next weekend. I'm not too sure I like the idea but...what the heck! Any suggestions about where she should go for dinner and, mostly, nightlife?
  6. Without a doubt: Bread, by J Hamelman (from King Arthur). It tells you the how and the why of things.
  7. francois

    Bear meat?

    A friend (hunter) offered me some bear meat. Any suggestion on what I should do with it? I was thinking about a braise as I imagine it might be a bit tough.
  8. francois

    Toque

    Thinking about going to Toque! next week. When I was last there, a couple of years ago, it was absolutely wonderful! Probably the best meal I ever had. Anyone been there recently? Is it still as great?
  9. We spent a wonderfull week on PEI. Lovely and very confortable cottage at Kindred Spirits in Cavendish. Did we find the best food? Maybe... The makerel was outstanding, cought a few hours before on a deep sea fishing trip. Prepared simply (grilled, with a tartar sauce). The weather was nice, so we did not travel much. Went to 2 different fish markets: Doiron in North Rustico and Carr's a few kilometers down the road. The selection was larger at Doiron's but they were not very pleasant...they seemed eager to get to the next costumer. They did not seem to want to talk about their products and did not seem knowledgeable (not sure if their smoked salmon was hot or cold smoked---it was cold smoked and delicious!). The crab was perfect, in a salad with mayo. So was the lobster (again cold, with mayo) At Carr's, the selection of oysters was larger. A couple of hours from the water, you cannot get any fresher (unless you eat them undewater!). Again, really excellent (with a mignonette, my favorite way to eat them---and a glass of Puilly fumée). The clams and the scallops were also absolutely great. No one seemed to know were to find scallops in the shell, nor did they think oysters from different parts of the island could taste any different. It was strawberry season, and again, they were really nice and tasty (by themselfe and in a simple tart, with creme patissiere). They could be found almost everywhere, in small grocery stores or in stands on the side of the road. In these stands there were also fresh local vegetables, baby carrots, green peas, beets, etc. Again, very, very good. Great products, simply prepared, with good wine and in good company= heaven! There is a cheese made on the island (Lady gouda), not bad... One thing we did not find was good bread. Maybe next time... Françcois
  10. I'll be spending some time on PEI later this month. We have a fully equiped cottage near Cavendish (at Kindred Spirits - really nice!). What I would like is to get really good local produces, seafood of course, but also whatever else is available and cook them myself. The island is not that big, so it does not matter even if I have to travel a bit. Where to go for the bestseafood? Local vegetables? Cheeses? Can I get fresh scallops in the shell? Live crabs? Oysters directly from the producer? François
  11. For baking classes, there is also King Arthur flour in Vermont. I would suggest you try the excellent classes by our own James MacGuire (from Montreal). It is a bit expensive, but well worth it. I have been there a few times and stayed in the nearby town a Woodstock...Lovely place!
  12. It is called a Bradley Smoker. Made in BC I believe. Not expensive. Sold at Canadian Tire. Very easy to use. At first I was worried it would smoke up the neibourhood but it is really not the case. It is rather small but certainly big enough for domestic use. It uses 'pucks' of compressed wood, also being sold at Canadian Tire. I also use it for cold smoking (eg smoked salmon) but it is a bit more tricky, although not difficult. To keep it cold enough, I buy a couple of aluminum pans (the cheap one you throw away after using, it is sold in any grocery store). I fill it with water and freeze it. I then put it in the smoker on the racks under the salmon. Alex, in Canada, it is not required to color the salt pink as in the US. Stuffers.com sells it under the name of Prague powder #1. I believe they are a company from western Canada.
  13. I was never able to find a local source for pink salt (however I live in Gatineau not Montreal). I purchased some online from Butcher and Packer (www.butcher-packer.com). It is not expensive, about $2.00 for a pound, which is enough to last you for quite a while. Charcuterie is really an excellent book. I got a small smoker (recommended in his book), canadian made, at Canadian Tire, on sale at an affordable price last year. Made the best ham I ever ate!
  14. What about le mas des oliviers, on Bishop street? It is very nice. Warm and generous atmosphere. Traditional french cooking. Can't go wrong. If you want something that is not on the menu, just ask, it is that kind of place...
  15. Try contacting the company. These things are supposed to last forever, or at least their warranty is good for a long long time. It might be worth a try...
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