Last week was something of a sad, crazy whirlwind of a week. I was supposed to be planning a dinner for a weekend getaway at a cottage with my family and some friends. That all got turned on its head when I found out Monday afternoon that my 38 year old cousin passed away suddenly. As the shock of that began to really sink in over the next few days I realized that, for obvious reasons, I would not be able to head out to the cottage. I let my friend Stinky Wolf know that I had to back out and his kids and mine were both pretty sad about not being able to spend a long weekend together. Stinky Wolf then offered to take my kids with him to make the weekend easier on me and infinitely more difficult on him. So as I am sitting around the house Friday morning I realized my “lady” and I would have a weekend to ourselves for the first time in ages.
Saturday was going to consist of the memorial service for my cousin and I, much like anyone, was having a hard time coming to grips with what that was going to be like. I was close, very close, to just saying goodbye to my pants, stocking up on beer and sitting around being sad. So I’m sitting there at the kitchen table pounding down my second double espresso and playing Candy Crush when I get a “life” sent to me in the game by none other than my cousin. I assume that her account just auto sent them from time to time but for whatever reason just that dumb little message got me to thinking about her. She was an incredibly outgoing, happy person and I don’t think she would have wanted any of us sitting around being mopey and weepy on account of her. That stupid Candy Crush life got me thinking. I looked over at my “lady” and said “Hey, lady. Why don’t we go out for dinner tonight?” She asks “What? You mean together? Like a real couple? That would be weird, but ok I guess.”
Alright, so now I have a hot date, where the hell am I going to go? I could hit up one of the usual spots but there was this little voice in the back of my head going “Hey you, Phatso, you haven’t tried Tuck Shop yet. Tuck Shop. Try Tuck Shop. Have you tried Tuck Shop? Go to Tuck Shop.” Suddenly, I was really in the mood to try Tuck Shop. Would I even be able to get a table seeing at it’s Friday on a long weekend? Highly doubtful but I call and leave a message. I also tweet them a well, tweet. A smart tip if you’re looking for last minute bookings is give a wide window of a time slot for a restaurant to hopefully be able to cram you in. I told them anything from 19h to 21h would be fine. I know this is quite the new hot spot in town so my hopes of getting a spot tonight are slim but they reach out to me within a few hours and let me know that we could have a spot at the bar at 21h. I confer with the lady friend quickly to see if she is ok with it. She a) does not like to sit at bars and b) can rarely stay up until 22h, so as she was telling me she wasn’t sure she was into that I, naturally, told the host we’d take it. So, the hotness factor of my date has now likely dropped by about 73% but whatever man, we’re going to a super hot spot and we don’t have the kids. I am trying to cheer myself up too so my lady friend begrudgingly agrees to still come out with me.
pretty slick I must say. We check in with the host and we’re about 20 minutes early. Hoster man won some extra points when he immediately pointed out a few cool bars nearby where we could grab a drink until our spot was ready. Tonight though, what with the thoughts running through my head combined with the lovely cool night, we decide to just walk around and check out the neighborhood. A nice little walk is always good for the appetite anyway. We saché back in (ya that’s right I saché from time to time) 30 minutes later and we’re shown to the bar. The aromas in this place have my stomach already groaning longingly. There’s no set menu here. They work with whatever is fresh at the market. Seeing as we’re right at the peak of harvest season there should be some sexy offerings tonight for sure. I order myself a massive beer and take a long swig cause my nerves are still out of whack. Still feeling pretty emotional and let’s be honest, when I am emotional I eat. Sad? eat. Happy? Eat. Angry? Eat. Hungry? Eat. Yes, hunger is an emotion. So after a few minutes working on that beer I get serious with the menu.
First thing I see is crispy pork belly with a mushroom sauce. Slam dunk easy decision right? Mushrooms are by far my all time favorite fungus and do I need to even justify getting pork belly? No, I don’t. So, naturally I went with something else entirely. I can count the times I’ve had stuffed zucchini flowers on one hand so how could I not get this? Accompanied by a fennel and peach salad there was no way I could not get this. This is a rare treat for me. I mean I’ve always wanted to make my own stuffed zucchini flowers but it just seems like such tricky, delicate work. You ever try to stuff your creamy cheese into a pretty flower? Uh, wait a minute…that doesn’t sound right. Anyway, It was an exciting prospect so I had no qualms about passing on the pork belly. Besides, I used some sly jedi mind tricks to get my girlfriend to get the pork so it was a win-win situation. The plates arrive and I do
my annoying food blogger taking pictures of his food thing. Well, with my plate at least. When I turned to snap some pictures of my lady’s pork (man that sounds bad too) it was already in the midst of getting devoured. The zucchini plate was dynamite. Super crisp on the outside and filled with silky smooth cheesy goodness on the inside. I still don’t understand how I can loathe the smell and taste of black licorice but completely love the smell and taste of fennel. The salad was perfectly constructed with great balance between textures and taste. I am going to have to remember to give fennel and peach a whirl at home. The combo of flavors there was remarkably great, or was it greatly remarkable? I can’t remember exactly but it was good, real good. From the tiny bite of pork my lady gave me I can tell you it was also top notch. Totally crispy and salty with a decadent mushroom sauce. As you can see by the picture of her plate that I managed to get she liked it. A lot.
For my main dish I went with leg of lamb served on a bed of a mixture of beans on top of some tzatziki. Ya baby! The lady friend went for a **GASP** vegetarian tagliatelle pasta dish chalk full of tomatoes, corn, cheese and some creamy goodness. The lamb was cooked to a super succulent medium rare and with the beans and tzatziki there wasn’t much more a phat dude could ask for. This plate never stood a chance. I sampled the pasta dish and I have to say the addition of sweet corn into the heavily tomato based dish was phenomenal. My lady friend was struggling to finish and was nearly dozing at this point so I pushed her aside and helped her finish this dish too. You know, cause I love her.
The service here was friendly and attentive. The vibe in heres is nice and laid back too with a simple rustic, yet sleek decor and an open kitchen in the back. I loved the tunes too, just loud enough to nod your head approvingly yet still hear everything your date says and not hear what others near you are talking about. Date nights for us are few and far betwixt so our conversation got hot and heavy at points. Here is a sample “So, it’s weird being out without the kids, eh?” “Ya, a bit. What do you want to talk about?” “I don’t know. Do you miss the kids yet?” “Not yet, no. Maybe by tomorrow.”
I’ve had many people tell me that I must try this place and they were all right. I liked everything about it. My girlfriend, who likes to dine earlier, also really enjoyed herself. She comes from a farming family so this farm fresh theme here won her over. Fair to say that this will be added to my list of regular spots in Montreal. Just don’t tell all of my other regular spots that I’m cheating on them. For those who have a need to know everything detail of people’s lives this hot date ended like any other super hot date between relatively young parents; with my lady saying “I can’t stay awake anymore. You are driving.” Hot stuff!