Montreal Dishcrawl, Cook & Date edition – makin’ it with the chefs

I have some outstanding news! I just won a ticket to the next Montreal Dishcrawl, thanks to it’s host and the writer of lovely blog Kristel’s Kitchen, Kristel Salesse! This is so random, I wasn’t expecting it at all, and until recently I was one of those “oh, I don’t win stuff” people. Well, colour my luck changed and ready-raring to go enjoy mysterious delicacies with a bunch of foodies next Tuesday, down on Crescent street!

What this does mean, however, is that tales of my second Dishcrawl experience have got to be blogged and now, lest the temporal police crawl out of a space-time dimensional wormhole and give me a flogging with a neutron star or a telephone booth or some such awful scifi punishment for messing up the order of important events. And so! Before the future was the past..……

It was January (dark and stormy) that I attended a very special Montreal Dishcrawl on the freezingest of freezing nights, one using a different sort of format from the usual – a Cook & Date version. Instead of wandering – outside! – from restaurant to restaurant sampling secret dishes from unrevealed chefs, we stayed in one building… and got to build the food ourselves! Now, I enjoy sitting down and being pampered and lushed upon with sculptural edifices of the edible kind as much as anyone, but there was something genuinely *memorable* about this night, something that made it all worth it. Perhaps getting kudos from the sushi chef on my rolling skills? Haha, we’ll never know.

So the setup was this: each station had a different dish and we split into three groups, rotating every 45 minutes or so. It was enough time to hear the chef talk about their food, divulge secrets, and give pointers on skillful preparation. As a chef (ISH) myself, I think this was where the theme of the night showed it’s truly useful colours to me. I sincerely got to ask real questions and talk shop with some colleagues, exploring topics like handling raw fish, how to make the most ethereal of gnocchi, why truffle oil is a total sham, and later while splitting cigarettes with sushi-man Mark Bermudez later.. well, you know. Kitchen gossip. Ha!

The food was of COURSE scrumptious, and indeed all the better for having made it ourselves. I only wish though, that there was any kind of ladylike way to enjoy ginormous pieces of sushi while trying to look cool in front of strangers, holding a plate full of spicy mayo while standing, and too-soon hearing a bell ring meaning it was time to switch to the next station… a small complaint, but…

“OmNomNomNmwah?Bwa???awdannnit.” *chew chew chew* *run*

The salmon tartar/fattoush salad from chef George of Terracotta was actually delicious to me and I’m not often blown away by salmon anymore. Perhaps that is because I got to Tinycubify it myself! Yrs truly on knives, teehee. But also, because I got to add as much lemon as I truly like and the pita crisps *were* a nice touch. Not fussy at all and texturally all shattery and perfect with the buttery fish. A really inspired match, really, Lebanese and tartar. And, he uh, offered me a job. :D

And OH THE GNOCCHI. Thank god the best was for last for my particular group. Executive Chef of Koko Michele Forgione and Sous Chef Takeshi Horinoue blew my little mind with some of the most meltingly tender, soul-bolstering angelclouds of perfectly Ragu-d olive-oil-swirled gnocchi puffs I’ve ever tasted. I inhaled my portion. True to form, they are a substantial food and I couldn’t have had more… but what was eaten glowed in me from the inside like a small sun humming with parmesan flares, making me smile all over not needing any wine to sport rosy cheeks. Hats off. I should chase down some more kinds of pasta from those guys…

Finally, almost stuffed but *never* too stuffed for dessert, (EVER), we were lucky to enjoy a demonstration on moulding chocolate by Larissa of Sweet Designs by Larissa, and got to sample our own decadent red velvet cupcake with adorable bugbug topper! We even got to paint on them ourselves. And… I only wish I hadn’t forgotten mine on the shelf above the coat racks because I tried a little piece of someone else’s and it was divine, but ah well, this is life, and I probably don’t NEED more sugar in my life.

*laughs maniacally*

Totally just kidding about that last statement. Of course I do. *grin*

And now… I simply can’t wait for the next Dishcrawl, going down in only 2 days, this time featuring restaurants on Crescent street. I’ve got my hunches we’ll be hitting Troika and maybe even Swurl Yogurt….. ! Eeeeeeeek, can’t wait at all! And I’m borrowing a much nicer camera these days, so even more happy-make. See you soon, and with a much more timely post about the goings-on. ;)

(more blogging about that January Night HERE)

Terracotta on Urbanspoon

Koko on Urbanspoon

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