Here’s the view from a conference call I participated in on a recent sunny day:
Yesterday, the Ginger Ninja and I went to the Canadian National Exhibition (a.k.a. “The CNE” and “The Ex”, Accordion City’s annual fair featuring shows, rides, shopping and amusements. According to Wikipedia, it’s the largest fair in Canada and the fourth largest in North America.
Part of the fun of going to the Ex is the junk food, and they’ve got that stuff in spades. There are few foods that can’t be made better by deep-frying. Even Oreos, which are pretty good as they are, benefit from being covered in batter and then dunked into a vat of hot oil. We ordered some deep-fried Oreos; here’s what they looked like:
The batter becomes a crispy shell, while the heat of deep-frying turns the Oreo into a gooey, tasty mess of chocolate and cream.
Wendy liked them more than she expected she would, and more than the deep-fried Twix bars I ordered later.
I’m hitting the gym later today.
Now this is what I call a Caesar:
For you non-Canadian drinkers, a Caesar (a.k.a. Bloody Caesar) is a variant of the Bloody Mary in which Clamato — a mix of tomato juice and clam broth – is used instead of plain ol’ tomato juice. It’s a great way to start a hearty dinner. This was a particularly well-dressed Caesar, going beyond the standard celery stalk and featuring a couple of giant snow crab legs.
The Caesar shown is the large snow crab Caesar served at Garde Manger, a bistro in Old Montreal whose kitchen is run by chef Chuck Hughes, who hosts a great show on Food Network Canada called Chuck’s Day Off. Chuck has kindly shared the recipe on his show’s site.
Here’s a recent photo of the menu at Garde Manger. Foodies and francophones shouldn’t have any trouble reading it, but if you have any questions, let me know in the comments:
While many restaurants in Old Montreal are content to simply look like Parisian bistros and let their quaint settings rather than their pretentious food dazzle their visitors, Garde Manger takes the opposite tack. They serve comfort food done very, very well in a setting where you could just as easily show up in jeans and t-shirt as a suit (for the record, I wore a fancy-pants dress shirt with French cuffs and cufflinks that I bought for my wedding and black jeans). Some of the crowd in attendance were fancy, but the place isn’t stuff – the DJ at the bar was spinning tunes that could’ve come straight from my MP3 collection: Bob Marley’s Jammin’, Faith No More’s We Care a Lot and one of those mash-up numbers by Girl Talk.
I took the Ginger Ninja there a couple of weekends ago. I had the lobster poutine as an appetizer, magret de canard, foie gras et sauce a l’orange and the deep-fried Mars bar with ice cream for dessert. She had the salmon tartare, beef short ribs and brownie with ice cream (it was a large brownie and I had to help). Because we were there for the end of service, the staff invited us to join them in celebrating it by sharing shots that were equal parts espresso and Galliano.
If you’re in Montreal and you love good food, make sure you pay a visit to Garde Manger. It’s at 408 Rue St François Xavier in a building with no markings save for this metal panel on the exterior wall: