Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The Art of Eating: No ordinary cookbook launch

Who wields the biggest knife amongst Montreal's food celebrities? These days it seems like Joe Beef is hogging all the lime light. Martin Picard, Chuck Hughes, Nadia G, all show Montreal's cool ass zeitgeist to much celebration in TV's foodland. And who can forget the internet's numbers one champs, the lovable Lardo Retardos a.k.a Epic Meal Time? All these folk are newcomers in the arena when it comes to what makes our food or city famous. The patriarch in the scene is none other than James MacGuire. 

The  Maestro at work: MacGuire and his medium
Saturday's launch of the Art of Cooking cookbook, at Appetite for Books, featured an appearance by MacGuire who contributed recipes to the book. The book is a collection of recipes from the Art of Eating magazine from the past 25 years.
MacGuire's restaurant, Passe Partout (located on Decarie boulevard and not the kid's TV show note this is not the most appetizing link), and most importantly his bread, is the story of legends in Montreal's storied great foods. The Art of Cooking, author and magazine publisher, Ed Behr praised MacGuire's "encyclopedic knowledge" of French cooking at Saturday's launch. In case you did not know Passe Partout's baguette garnered praises from the New York Times. Next time you are munching on a baguette from Première Moisson, Au Pain Doré, or the amazing Arhoma give thanks to MacGuire who is responsible for bringing the great French baguette to Montréal and reminding us there is more to our city than just bagels.

But is it Art? MacGuire's holey loaves on display
MacGuire's reputation in the annals of Montreal's food culture was evident at Saturday’s event as food journalists Julian Armstrong, Lesley Chesterman, and Barry Lazar were all in attendance. Montreal jazz great Vic Vogel, another Montreal legend, even made an appearance confirming MacGuire's place in Montreal's pantheon of individuals who make our city great.

Attendees of Saturday’s event got a special and rare treat, a taste of James MacGuire’s bread. Perhaps even better we got to hear some bread making tips from the master himself. All we can say is that if anybody is in Vermont please pick us up a bag of King Arthur flour.

Blast from the Past: Memories of MacGuire and Passe Partout

Monday, January 23, 2012

New Restauration Record? Restaurant fined over $84,000 for health code violations

Montreal municipal officials take note of a potential new revenue source. A Chinese restaurant in Greenwich England has been fined £54,000 ($84,713 Canadian dollars) for health code violations. 
According to the article: " an unannounced inspection found mouse droppings among packets of food, next to plates and even inside a roll of cling film in the kitchen. There was also a heavy build up of grease on the floor beneath the cooking range, mouldy vegetables on the floor of the walk-in fridge. No paper towels at hand basins meant it was difficult for kitchen staff to maintain good standards of personal hygiene."
You can read the full article here

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Jazz and Fuzy Celebrate one more year with a dirty restaurant post

Did Anthony Bourdain eat the Rat Turd in Point St-Charles? 

We all know Anthony Bourdain did an episode of the Layover in Montreal. But just in case you did not know he is tight with the Pied de Cochon and Joe Beef dudes. The gang took Bourdain to the Capri Tavern and guess what folks? The St-Patrick Street, Point Saint-Charles, eatery was featured in the updated list of Montreal’s Dirty restos.

This week marks the one year anniversary of our blog. We started posting when we noticed the Montreal Gazette website featured a video of Caroline Dumas, from Soup Soup, doing a cooking demo. We thought this was somewhat amusing because she was also featured in Montreal’s Dirty Resto List which also happens to be some of our favorite local food reading. Is it us or does the list seem to read like your last few dining experiences? 

Video: Bourdain: Rat Turds and Roaches? (Go to the 7 minute mark)

Today’s Gazette, (January 19, 2012) featured an interesting article about citizens concerned with our city’s food inspection practices. The article states that Montreal is “a mecca of gastronomy, [but] information on restaurant cleanliness is incomplete, late and not very helpful.” This is in comparison to other Canadian culinary capitals like Toronto and Vancouver where information is published on a daily basis. We have a suggestion if you want our city to be more like no-fun Vancouver and Toronto why don’t you go live there? Seriously, kidding aside, they make a good point. Didn’t the Gazette used to publish the offenders in its print edition? Are you still not allowed to stand up in a bar in Vancouver while you are holding a drink? As Montreal flexes its culinary arms in the Tourism battle should we be re-evaluating our restaurant inspection policies? We always thought that the website was not updated this time of year was because the workers were on Christmas holidays. Doesn't everyone else in the hospitality and restaurant industry have to work on weekends and holidays?
We must confess to somewhat agreeing with the article. We have been waiting for the latest update of our city’s website for months. We have worked in places where the food inspector comes in. We also seemed to always get the inspector with the bad B.O. which really makes you think because this person is authorized to fine you in the hygiene department. During one of our research sessions we were lucky enough to eat the lunch time buffet at Allo Inde during an obvious food inspection. We were not sure if it was relief  or disappointment in not seeing the restaurant in the dirty list for so many months but we think we deserve a Facebook badge from the city for eating in a fined restaurant during an inspection. Did we get sick? No. Did we eat too much? Yes. The inspectors also failed to run out of the kitchen screaming "shut it down," like they do on television. At least we had a Montreal culinary experience that was similar to Anthony Bourdain.

You can click to the link of  Montreal’s dirty restos here.