It isn’t so much the fact that I’m turning 40 that gets to me. It’s more the insane speed at which life seems to be passing by. In many ways this represents passing my prime. I’m older than pretty much all athletes I admire. They’re kids now compared to me. I have to think more about savings and college funds for the kids, retirement plans, regular check-ups and the sudden increase in how much everything hurts when I do stuff now. The lesson is: never do stuff. I’d already done that crazy NYC trip last winter as part of the 40th festivities but obviously I wanted to do something else with some friends in Montreal too, you know, around my actual birthday. This didn’t feel like the time to try out a new place. I’ve been a bit down and sulky and I just wanted to feel comfortable and have a good time mixed in with a few cups of craziness and then whisk until stiff. Wait, what?! Anyhow, it’s no secret that my favorite place to jam food down my face is Au Pied de Cochon. So really, where else was I gonna go? For whatever reason they treat me like a damn hell ass king there and there is always some whacked out, fantastic dish on the menu that I haven’t tried yet. Going there is like getting a big hug. A porky, greasy, foie gras-y hug baby!
The table for 8 of us was booked for 21h so we had some time to have a few pints before dinner. None other than Captain Beerism was joining us tonight. He and I had a blast the last time we sipped fancy microbrews in a park before dinner so we figured why the hell not, let’s do it again. So we sat around a park for a few hours, enjoying some beautiful weather and some of Captain Beerism’s “this is this and that is that” about the various kick ass beers we were sampling/chugging. Of the 8 of us dining only everyone’s most beloved Sasquatch “Sassy” didn’t come out to the park portion of the party. Well most people’s most beloved Sasquatch, I’m kind of partial to that big foot dude in the beef jerky commercials. That guy slays me. And no, despite the uncanny resemblance the two are not related. But don’t get me wrong, Sassy’s alright too but one never knows how he’ll react in a park setting with big trees and fountains and whatnot so he elected to just meet us at the restaurant for everyone’s safety. After a few hours of pinting it up I’ve got a nice glow on (a quick peek in the reflection of the fountain tells me I’m now 27% better looking) so it’s time to head over to eat some grub.
I’m riding a nice wave of an adrenaline rush from recklessly pinting it up in the park so I jaywalk across the street too. Hey, I’m 40 now, this is as crazy as I get these days. As we approach the restaurant I see Sassy outside waiting for us. He looks hungry. Stuff is about to get real. Fast. We’re greeted warmly by the staff as we always are and they know it’s my birthday so I better hold onto my hat. Oh crap, I didn’t bring a hat and these chairs have no seatbelts so I better get a tight grip for this ride. One of the most amazing parts of a night here is when the wait staff expertly and rythmically describe the dozen or so nightly specials. The regular menu is all commited to memory already and it’s rare I venture there these days but the kick ass foie gras dish “Plogue a Champlain” (loosely translated to whole bunch of foie gras with a whole bunch of stuff) is calling to me. That’s meant to be ordered as a starter but I know how deadly rich this plate is so I am getting that as my main. To start I am going with one of the sexy specials. It’s some smoked veal served cold and sliced thin with some creamy sauce and pickled onions. Shawn and Sassy are going for a pan seared foie gras in a wild berry sauce served on a french toast style thick slice of brioche and as I typed that my whole mouth just filled up with saliva. Robbie, whom I like to call Raw Bee, is sampling some crazy clam dish but he’s all the way at the other end of the table so it’s doubtful that I’ll get a sample of that. A moment of sadness passes with that thought but then my token Polish friend Paul’s starter of bone marrow and caviar arrives and he offers me a taste. Oh ya baby! Damn! I woul have been well served with any of these starters. They’re all bang on fantastically amazing so far.
Now as we’re waiting for our main dishes I spy out of the corner of my eye someone I was not expecting to see tonight walking in to the restaurant: Chevy Chase. Excited whispers pass through the restaurant as he’s shown to his table. Don’t get me wrong. I am a huge fan of much of Chevy’s work. Christmas Vacation is must watch material each and every holiday season but he and I we have some unfinished business betwixt us. Chevy still owed me 4.50$! Are you confused yet? Allow me to explain. The year was 1985. A young Phatboy had seen commerical after commercial for Chase’s latest upcoming flick: Spies Like Us. I pestered my family over and over to take me until they finally relented. The ads all promised heaps and heaps of laughs. So my parents forked over the 4.50$ for my ticket, got me a gallon or so of soda and off we were. But once the movie started something was missing. Where were the laughs Chevy? Where were they?! Well now that I’m feeling the love of some microbrews and some great comfort food I think it’s high time I collect! As I go to stand up Sassy places a giant, meaty paw on my shoulder “SIT! EAT! Vacation FUNNY!” Ok, ok, you’re right man, I’m sorry I let myself get carried away there for a second. Truth be told he seemed like an alright dude and he snapped a few pictures with some fans close by to him too. Perfect timing to get my blood pressure back down (well, not really once I explain what my next dish is)-the main dishes are here!
So, The Plogue a Champlain, how good is this thing? It’s a crepe style pancake topped with potatoes, cheddar cheese, a nice chunk of bacon, a huge chunk of pan seared foie gras all oozing in a sticky maple syrup sauce. Now look away as I do some serious damage to this thing. Paul was smart like me and got the clam starter as his main. Pete got a super sexy looking veal porterhouse, never seen that before, which he dutifully destroyed. Karim got some other crazy roasted veal dish but things were getting hazy at that point…I saw that Shawn and Captain Beerism both got a beautiful tuna steak dish. Shawn claims that were he alone he would have done dirty things to that plate and I believe him. I sampled that, the tuna NOT the dirty things, and it was fantastic. Raw Bee got some killer swordfish fish-n-chips, which I tasted and was also really impressed with. And then there was Sassy. He got the PDC sheperd’s pie made with veal and pork and all melty on top with sinful amounts of cheddar mixed in with the potatoes. This was, for me anyhow, by far the dish of the night. Surpisingly he let me taste it without stabbing me with his fork. Well, it was my birthday after all.
Seeing as it was my 40th and also because I got problems, I ordered 2 desserts. The PDC maple toffee milkshake which I could swim in if there was enough of it, and then finished with a little lemon meringue pie. Madness. So good. So full. When the smoke cleared there was restaurant manager extraordinaire Jean Michel cooking us up some crazy absynthe drink to wash everything down. I tried to get a good shot of this but that’s right around when the green faeries started tickling me. You know what they say; abysnthe makes the heart grow flounder. That’s when things started to get weird. Needless to say my night at PDC ended as it always does:with me waking up in Cornwall with no pants.