I Left My Heart in Poutineville

It began with our first meal in Quebec City at a joint across the street from the loft where we were staying called Poutineville — our love affair with the uniquely French Canadian comfort food called poutine.

Poutine with smoked meat and jalapeños

Poutine with smoked meat and jalapeños at Poutineville in Quebec City

I had heard about poutine and read more about it while researching for our trip — it is, in its simplest form, french fries, gravy and cheese curds. As you travel through eastern Canada, you will see all manners of creative and — in some cases — obscene variations.

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Adirondack Lake Life — Skinny Girls Roadshow LIVE from Big Wolf, NY

We arrived at the lake, the last destination and second half of our epic East Coast road trip, on the eve of Independence Day. It felt uniquely American, crossing the border from distinctly French Quebec, to be winding along northeast country roads, past farms and cottages and through quaint villages, adorned with American flags, one and all.

Sunset on the lake

Sunset on the lake

It had been raining on and off all week in the Adirondacks, and one of the first things I noticed walking the Buck Summerhill Camp at Big Wolf Lake was a mushroom — a surprising revelation for a summer day. On a July 4 morning walk, up with the sun, I found not only Lost Pond but also a bag full of mushrooms — including several birch boletes, some black trumpets and a single lovely porcini. More

Au Pied de Cochon — Skinny Girls Roadshow LIVE from Montreal

A few years back, my pal Donnie brought a “duck in a can” over to our house. It was a dish he had experienced at a restaurant in Montreal that had changed his life, and convinced them to let him take one home. He and his wife Monica had texted me photos from the restaurant of whole pig heads passing by their table on large platters.

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The restaurant was called Au Pied de Cochon — “The Foot of the Pig” — and the “duck in a can” was duck meat, gravy and foie gras cooked in a can and then opened and poured over mashed potatoes and bread at table. A perfect example of Quebecois cuisine. More

Antojitos, by Way of France

I was up in the street the other day chatting with Max Waterman, son of our neighbors Chris and Glennis. Max is a food-loving chap — he spent time working on a graduate degree in London, where he hosted dinners and sussed out the best street foods, watering holes and gastronomic destinations.

Watermen and their margaritas

Watermen and their margaritas

He was now on summer break from Berkeley and his further educational pursuits, Chris and Glennis would be temporarily relocating to New Orleans soon, and it would be one of our last opportunities to get together. I suggested margaritas at our house. For food, I would serve a handful of antojitos — the Mexican equivalent of tapas: small bites and street foods. More

Duck in a Can

The texts and emails began arriving in earnest on a Thursday afternoon. Friends Don and Monica were in Montreal, they had booked a reservation in one of the city’s most talked about restaurants, Au Pied de Cochon, and they wanted me to know about it.

First came links to Yelp, followed by one to the restaurant’s own website, and finally photos of the food they were eating — fois gras poutine, steak tartare, fois gras hamburger and something called “Duck in a Can.” More