Bakery · Brunch · Dessert · French

Le Comptoir, by François

My friend Bex.oxo told me about a new French cafe in Marda Loop, Le Comptoir, by François. Her roommate Valentina recently arrived from Ukraine and started working there, so we decided to visit on a sunny afternoon. Let’s listen to “Le Gorille” by George Brassens for this post.

This quaint cafe only fits a couple of people inside, but the patio is outfitted with a fireplace and a heater, complete with piles of folded blankets and stacks of wood. We chose to sit on the couch in front of the fire. Between the crackling flames, the French music filtrating the air, and the general adorableness of the outdoor / indoor room, we were transported to somewhere else. I felt like I was in a scene in one of my favourite books.

I ordered the Mushroom Quiche ($12) and a glass of red wine ($13). Bex.oxo picked the Pistachio Crumble ($8.75), and she bought me the Almond Croissant ($4.85) and Mediterranean Cake ($11) to eat the next day.

Bex.oxo cut her cake in half to share with me. I refused to eat her treat, but I did take a bite for the blog. She appreciated the thin crust, as it’s more delicate than the pies she bakes. For the record, my friend bakes the best pumpkin pie, all from scratch. I thought the nuggets of berries added a nice tartness to counter the sweetness of the pistachio cream.

The quiche is not the soggy, eggy mess I make at home. Instead, the pastry was thin and crispy. The custard was silky, hot and cheesy, studded with savoury, crunchy mushroom slices. Bex.oxo mentioned the owner comes in every morning to bake everything fresh.

Valentine told us the staff from the shop next door, Gardenia Flowers, bought cake to cheer themselves up. Three of the employees are from Iran, so they too, were dealing with shock and sadness from the crisis occurring in their homeland. I stopped by Gardenia to handpick a bouquet to brighten my living room.

Valentine also told us about a two-table “secret” speakeasy inside a beauty salon at the back of the building. We visited at 5:00 pm, but it wasn’t open yet. So instead, we decided to walk home and try visiting again in the future.

I shared the Mediterranean cake with L. Holy cannoli! The sweetness of the almond icing paired beautifully with the citrus in the orange cake. The cake was bright, citrusy and fragrant. I would order this again.

The next day I reheated the almond croissant in my air fryer. I was impressed with the soft, buttery layers of pastry. What I loved was the exterior of the croissant was flaky and not the dry, crackly type that leads to a thousand uneaten crumbs.

Bex.oxo wished more places like this existed in Calgary. I don’t generally hang out in Marda Loop, but Le Comptoir, by François, will be a regular spot for us. This cafe is worth a stop if you have half an hour to an hour to spare. I recommend stopping by for leisurely breakfast, lunch or an afternoon snack. Hitting the Sauce gives Le Comptoir two fat thumbs up.

French · Seafood · Special Occasion

Pat & Betty

For our monthly girls’ night, I picked Pat & Betty. We started the party at my house with a bottle of sparkling cider I picked up at Vine Arts. Kournikova enjoyed the dry, unfiltered bubbles so much that she snapped a picture. For this post, let’s listen to “Bread and Butter” by The Newbeats.

When we arrived at the restaurant, we were pleasantly surprised to receive the best table in the house. Usually, I get the worst table when I visit a new restaurant. Our spacious booth looked out onto the restaurant on the second floor. Québécoise liked how the top of the booth was arm’s length so that she could hang her arm around it.

Kournikova and I asked Québécoise to pick the wine, as she knows what we like best. Québécoise recognized several wines from her favourite French regions at prices far less than she would expect to pay. I felt so giddy that I wanted to call my father up and tell him there is heaven on earth. It’s called Pat and Betty.

The first bottle we tried was the Clos Bellane Cotes Du Rhone Valreas (Rhone Valley, $67). We sipped away while snacking on the Roasted Eggplant Dip ($9.50). These are some of the best potato chips I’ve eaten – thick, crunchy, and with enough salt to bring out the full flavour in the potato. The eggplant was cool and light, with a consistency like whipped cream. The fried capers added a tart saltiness to the dip. Kournikova mentioned the chips went well with the wine.

My favourite wine of the night was the Domaine Tremblay Petit Chablis (Burgundy, $59). I noticed that this wine was lighter and had less acidity than the first white wine. Québécoise, you did your magic again.

Betty mentioned the Country Beef Tartare ($25) was even better than the other versions we’ve tried in Calgary. The beef tartare was saucy and silky. This tartare was unique in that the addition of the devilled egg aioli and sunflower sprouts added some Southern comfort. I loved warm, soft buttered toast. To me, it smelled like old-fashioned goodness.

Betty and Québécoise enjoy a good pasta, so I recommended the Crab and Shrimp Tagliatelle ($26). Oh, baby, this dish was rich and spicy. Betty noted you could tell the pasta was homemade. I thought the prawns were perfectly cooked, soft with no snap. Québécoise liked the addition of the fennel and dill.

Kournikova picked the Chilled Baked Beets ($15.50). The beets and ricotta were cool, light and refreshing. I could taste orange in the salad dressing. I loved the addition of dill, mint and pistachio but wished our dish came with more mint, as it went so well with the salad. Betty thought this dish was a good palate cleanser after the crab and shrimp tagliatelle.

I requested the Broccoli Puttanesca ($17). Man, oh man, this is a winner! The spicy tomato ragu and lemon aioli offered a nice acidity that contrasted with the broccoli’s smokiness and the umami from the anchovy and parmesan. In addition, the garlic bread crumbs added a delicious crunch to it.

I thought of L when I tried the Angus Beef Striploin ($44). The meat was so tender and buttery smooth. The chimichurri sauce was salty and accentuated the juices from the steak. He would love this dish. I was impressed that the sides weren’t just a side thought, so fabulous I had to pause and think, which bite do I want next? The steak or crispy duck fat potatoes or the butter roasted radishes? The correct answer is all three. I would order the steak again.

The dish I was most excited to eat was the Pork Belly and Scallops ($42) with caviar ($19). Kournikova mentioned the scallops were perfectly cooked. I could taste a slight sweetness from the Quebec maple. The moment I bit into the pork belly, I immediately worried I would come down with gout the next day. The pork fat was so hot, rich, and melted in my mouth. The exterior was seared to a dark caramel brown and crispy. The caviar was soft and so subtly flavoured, that I couldn’t detect the flavour. Kournikova mentioned this dish would be too rich for one person. With that bad attitude, no wonder she’s so thin. Québécoise tapped out, so I ate her portion.

We shared the Carrot Cake ($10.50). This is no ordinary carrot cake. The cake itself was fresh and moist, intensely flavoured with spices, sweet from caramel and crunchy from the candied pecans. The cream cheese was a little sour and sweet from what tasted like confectionary sugar.

I enjoyed our feast at Pat and Betty so much that I wanted to return for our next month’s dinner. Québécoise said we could come back, but after we try a new restaurant. I wanted to protest but then I remembered about my potential case of gout, so I agreed to book our next outing at Ten Foot Henry, as requested by Kournivoka.

French

Cassis Bistro – Girls’ Night

Kournikova, Betty, and I met at Québecois’ house before our dinner at Cassis Bistro. Québecois popped some bubbles, and we also tried a new white wine Kournikova brought over. We picked this French bistro for our monthly dinner because Betty has a penchant for beef tartare, and Cassis makes the best in town. We also live within walking distance of the restaurant, so we didn’t have to turn any of our husbands into chauffeurs. For this post, let’s listen to “Poisson Rouge” by Saint Privat. 

I asked Québecois to pick the wine. She selected the Graves Peyrat Bordeaux ($70). She mentioned she loved the smell of the wine. I enjoyed the soft, mellow notes. I’m a fan, and I would order this wine again.

When our appetizers arrived, I asked Betty to help me take the photos. Kournikova thought the tartare was better than Orchard. Betty felt the potato chips paired best with the tartare – she loved the delicious saltiness of the chips.

Our server gave us a glass of dessert wine to pair with the foie gras. I would never have guessed a sweet wine would be such a perfect match. I thought the wine amplified the flavour of the foie gras. Kournikova said that’s what she likes with a proper wine pairing – you get so much more out of the experience. Québecois appreciated the combination of the pear with the foie gras because she said it cuts into the fat. I loved the way the foie gras melts in your mouth. 

I ordered Steak Frites, but I was over the moon with Québecois mussels. Holy smokes – what a beautiful bounty! The moment I tried a mussel, all the other food on the table ceased to exist. 

Each mussel was so fat and bursting with the flavour of the sea. The texture reminded me of a poached egg – hot, silky and soft. At the end of our meal, I noticed that each mussel was still at the optimal consistency, despite having sat in the steaming broth.  

If I knew the mussels were like this, I would have ordered my own bowl. But, in the end, I didn’t need to as Québecois couldn’t finish her dinner. I must have eaten about half her meal. She is a most generous and wonderful friend. 

During dinner, all I could talk about was the mussels. Kournikova said she could tell I enjoyed the mussels because I talked about them for so long. I realized I was repeating myself for about half an hour. I looked up and saw the glazed expression of Betty, who was politely listening to me rant. I realized two things. First, I’m a boring person. Second, I need to give more credit to L, as he is a very patient man. 

We were full, but we still ordered dessert. The Marquise ($14) consisted of three or four different layers and textures of chocolate. I liked how in each bite, I could taste a variety of chocolate that was fluffy, creamy, crunchy or fudgy. The port was spicy, with warm notes. 

The service was lovely, and the food was excellent. And those mussels – sweet Bejesus- are so impressive that I would order it as my last meal if I were on death row. Thank you, Cassis and Québecois, for a sublime meal. 

Bakery · Dessert · French · Restaurants

Yann Haute Patisserie

L and I started a new tradition. We go out to a restaurant to celebrate Valentine’s Day on any day other than February 14th. The reason is that most restaurants are far too busy to give us the experience we want. For this post, let’s listen to “White Wedding” by Billie Idol.

L picked up a lovely sake, a dozen long-stemmed red roses and he made my favourite dish, spam musubi. I, in turn, surprised him with desserts from Yann Haute Patisserie. I have to say that we both killed it this year. The roses were gorgeous, and the sweet sake and salty spam musubi pairing hit the spot. However, the star of the show was the desserts.

I ordered a set of Lovely Eclairs ($16), Paris-Calgary ($7.90), and Mille-Feuille ($7.90). The pair of eclairs came in chocolate and vanilla. The chocolate was intense – the glaze, the chocolate itself and the ganache filling. In comparison, the vanilla eclair was light, and the vanilla bean flavour filling was pronounced, but in a wholesome way, like an old-fashioned vanilla ice-cream cone. Of the two, I preferred the heavy, luxurious flavour bomb of the chocolate.

I let L eat the macaron that crowned the Paris-Calgary dessert. He said the macaron tasted terrific. The dessert itself was like a Ferrero Rocher but with high-quality, fresh ingredients. The center was piped with hazelnut praline and cream. The flavour reminded me of a chocolate hedgehog. L couldn’t believe how much work went into this dessert – the gooey center, crispy shortbread, cream and puff pastry.

The mille-feuille was made of beautiful crispy layers of caramelized puff pastry, oozing with thick, creamy Madagascar vanilla bean cream. L exclaimed that whoever made this dessert has mad culinary skill. I concur.

L loved that all the pastries weren’t too sweet. He said all the desserts were excellent yet different from each other. I’m not a sweets person, but I’m such a fan I plan to return to buy some more cakes. Honestly, I would be happy to make a meal out of these creations. The pastry chef at Yann Haute is so talented, I’m turning over a new leaf. Hitting the Sauce gives Yann Haute (and L) two phat thumbs up.

French · Restaurants · Special Occasion

Cassis Bistro – Birthday dinner

Turning a year older wasn’t so bad this year due to the unexpected shower of gifts and well wishes from my family, friends and workplace. I started the day on the right foot with my father-in-law at Costco. From there, my day got even more exciting. To set the mood for this birthday post, let’s listen to a song I have stuck in my head, “Hurdy Gurdy Man” by Donovan.

Initially, I wanted to try a new restaurant. However, Vero Bistro had a “wine and dine” event on Wednesday, and I didn’t want to partake. Franca’s has been on my list ever since I read about it in the news. Unfortunately, Franca’s isn’t currently open on weekday evenings. My third choice was omasake at Nupo, but the only seating was at 8:00 p.m. That’s too late for me to go out on a Wednesday night. So I settled for a tried and true favourite – Cassis Bistro.

Lindy is the best server I’ve experienced at Cassis. She provided excellent suggestions to make our meal even better. Also, her warm, welcoming personality added to our dining experience.

I started with a glass of Cellier Chartreux ($13, Lirac, Cotes du Rhone 2018) and L drank a Crisp Pils ($8). I found my wine light, with a minerally aftertaste.

I always enjoy the bread and butter at Cassis. The innards of the baguette were silky and soft, while the crust was crusty and munchy. The butter was rich and mellow and melted on my tongue.

We shared a big plate of Beef Tartare ($29). This main size order comes typically with frites, but we opted for potato chips instead. The beef tartare was fragrant – it smelled bright and refreshing like citrus and dill. The taste, texture and temperature was sublime – flavourful, soft and chewy. I would get this again.

The salad paired well with the tartare. I liked the subtle acidity in the creamy dressing. The spring greens were so fresh and crisp, and almost fluffy in texture. L liked the addition of beets, which added a sweetness that contrasted with the tartare and salad dressing.

To pair with my Duck Confit ($29), I ordered a glass of Chateau Franc ($14, Magnus Bordeaux 2016). I enjoyed the bigger, juicier notes in the Bordeaux over the Cotes du Rhone. I would order this wine again.

The duck at Cassis is outrageously decadent. The chef nailed everything that makes a duck confit so enjoyable. The skin was ultra-crispy, the meat was meltingly tender, and the hot, thin layer of duck fat triggered some serious eye-rolling ecstasy. The duck came with carrots and a generous side of potato gratin. The carrots were so delicious and sweet, I wondered where Cassis buy their produce.

L’s Steak ($44) was sublime. The exterior of each thin slice of steak had this delicious char. The interior was soft and flavoursome. I loved the sharp peppery notes in the gravy and on the extra crunchy frites. Sweet Besus, the food at Cassis is heavenly.

Hitting the Sauce gives her birthday and dinner two phat thumbs up. Thanks to everyone who made this coming of ageing event a spectacular day.

French · Seafood · Special Occasion

Cassis Bistro

L and I met up with Glen Jr and Honesty for a double date. Glen Jr was craving French food so he suggested Cassis Bistro. For this post, let’s listen to “Tous Les Garcons Et Les Filles” by Francoise Hardy.

I would normally order the house wine at Cassis because it’s good enough for me. However, since we dining with Glen Jr, we had to step it up.  Glen Jr has a more developed palate for food and wine than I do.  For our first bottle of wine, our server JJ recommended Chateau Francs Magnus Bordeaux ($70). I found this wine full-bodied and smooth. Of the two bottles we sipped on through the night, the Bordeaux was our favourite.

For our appetizers, we shared Le Plateau de Charcuterie ($38). Ham, bread and butter are such simple things, but when it such high quality, it is a treat. The ham tasted so light and clean. Glen Jr noticed that even the butter tasted extra good. Both the duck and pork pate were excellent. The pork pate was more flavourful but the duck pate was silky smooth.

Glen Jr wanted to try the Duck Foie Gras Torchon ($24). The foie gras came with warm gingerbread crisps and a slice of poached pear. Oh my duck. The foie gras melted in my mouth texture. The flavour was explosively rich and buttery. L loved the combination of the gingerbread and foie gras. I would order this again.

For our second bottle of wine, we picked the Chateau Radeaux Monte Calme Bandol ($65). This wine was delicious as well, though very different from the first bottle and sweeter. For our mains, L ordered Steak Frites ($39), Honesty ordered Lamb ($39), Glen Jr and I ordered Sea Scallops ($36). This review will not be as descriptive as my regular posts. I was so overwhelmed with the quality of every single dish that I stopped trying to decipher and describe what I was tasting and just enjoyed my meal. I took my cue from Glen Jr. I noticed he would close his eyes and smile whenever he ate. He knows his food and even better, he knows how to relish each bite and sip.

L’s steak was a visual showstopper. The steak was beautifully arranged, served with a pile of frites, a boat of gravy and a green salad. He said his steak was cooked to perfection. I enjoyed using the crispy pomme frites to mop up every last drop of gravy. I haven’t found anyone in the city that does a better steak frites than Cassis.

Honesty’s lamb was so tender and tasty, it was incredible. Honesty said she thought the lamb must have been slow cooked for hours to achieve that soft texture. I took a bite and noticed there wasn’t a strong gamey flavour that I normally find in lamb. L  and I both thought Honesty ordered the best dish of the night. As always, he is correct.

The exterior of the sea scallops were seared to a golden brown. The interior of each plump scallop was still silky smooth, similar to sashimi. The vegetables looked like it was simply prepared but each bite was delicious. You know you are in good hands when the vegetables can hold up to the main component of the dish.

Glen Jr wanted dessert. We tried one of each – the Chocolate Mousse ($14) and the Creme Brûlée ($14). It takes a lot for me to enjoy dessert, as I’m sensitive to the sweetness of sugar. I find sugar jarringly sweet. I was so delighted with both desserts that I battled with Honesty for the last bite.

I have to give props to our server JJ. Throughout the night, he was working the room and ensuring the guests were happy. His hosting and serving skills remind me of Vij Vikram in Vancouver, a man who I think is top in his game as a host. Vij has this natural charm and warmth, with an ability to put guests in a celebratory mood.

I cannot praise our meal at Cassis enough. This was the best meal I’ve had in 2021. Thank you Glen Jr and Honesty for treating us out to dinner. We plan to take them out to Cassis in late November to try the winter menu. Hitting the Sauce gives Cassis Bistro two phat thumbs up and this French bistro makes it on my list of favourite restaurants.

Beer · French · Restaurants

The Dandy Brewing Company – Hot diggity dog

I wish more pubs were like Dandy Brewing Company. This brewery is light years ahead of other establishments in terms of food, beer and wine. Good thing I don’t live nearby because this place would be a frequent spot for me. For this post, let’s listen to “Blow at High Dough” by The Tragically Hip.

We sat inside because it was so hot. While the breeze was constant, we were still feeling the heat. To cool down, L tried the Bright and Happy Days Lager (5.7%, 14 oz, $6.50). This lager reminded him of Banded Peak’s Plainsbreaker, but with more complexity. I thought the lager tasted fresh, and I noticed a sweet aftertaste.

I was jonesing for wine, so I ordered a glass of Chateau Teyssier Pezat Bordeaux Blanc 2018 (5 oz, $10). I found this wine a little tart, refreshing, and well-priced.

L second beer was the Bunbury Pineapple Wheat Ale (4.5 %, 14 oz, $7). He found this ale ideal for such a scorching day because it light and crushable.

Despite the heat, I ordered a glass of the Stephane Aviron Cote de Brouilly 2015 (5 oz, $10). Our server wanted to chill the wine first because the heat made all the bottles of red wine too warm to serve. While I waited, he recommended I try the Wild Sour Ale 7% ($2.50, 5 oz) because the flavour profile was similar to a sauvignon. The sour certainly smelled similar to a white wine. I enjoyed this beer so much that I brought home a four-pack.

Since we were getting snackish, we decided to try the hot dogs ($8.50). L picked the beef hot dog with daikon slaw and crispy shallots while I opted for the chili cheese dog. I was shocked to see the amount of care that goes into each hot dog. Hats off to the female chef in the kitchen – she nailed this dish in terms of temperature and execution.

This hot dog is a fatty, juicy flavour bomb. The daikon garnish was piled high. L loved the crunch of the shallots and freshness of the daikon salad. My god – these hot dogs are a work of art. A masterpiece of deliciousness.

I demolished my chili dog – a steaming, saucy mess of melted cheddar cheese and spicy chili. If you like Von Der Fel’s famous house-made buns, you’ll love Dandy’s version. The potato bun is prepared daily. Soft and fluffy, the bread is the perfect vessel to sop up the chili sauce and sausage drippings. This hot dog is so good that if I came down with gout the next day, it would be worth it.

For dessert, I tried the red wine. I found it yummy and jammy. I would order this again. After tasting these two wines, I wonder why other pubs can’t follow Dandy’s lead and provide customers with interesting wines at this price point.

If you haven’t been to Dandy Brewing Company before, you are missing out. In every single of my past visits, the food, beverages and service has proven to be consistently excellent. Dandy makes it one my list of best breweries in Calgary.

French

Eden Bistro – Friday Takeout

Eden Bistro is offering themed takeout options on Friday. I was taken with the latest offering – Parisian street food. For this post, let’s listen to “Sous le Ciel de Paris” by Pomplamoose, featuring Ross Garren.

I ordered L the Jambon Beurre ($18) and for myself, the Country Terrine ($18). For wine pairings, there was an option for a red, rosé or a white from Loire Valley. I picked the Cabernet Franc ($25).

I didn’t end up drinking the wine I purchased from Eden because I still had half a bottle of red from the previous night. Unlike my father, if my wine is older than two days, I’ll put it in the fridge to use for cooking. When my father drank alcohol, he would nurse the same bottle of wine over the course of a month. He wouldn’t refrigerate it either. I was curious so one day I tried a glass of my father’s wine. Let’s say just I know why it took a month to drink the whole bottle. Not even a spoonful of sugar would make that medicine go down.

Our baguette came with a generous side of fresh pickles and homemade potato chips. These pickles were something special! Cut into long, floppy segments, the flesh was juicy while the skin retained its crispness. The pickles were sour and tart, with a summery melon-like flavour.

I took a bite out of L’s baguette. It wasn’t until halfway through his meal that L realized it was butter, and not cheese like he initially thought. I was impressed with the thick slice of silky butter. The ham was thinly shaved but heaped high. I enjoyed the saltiness of the ham because it accentuated the quality of the butter and bread.

The slab of country terrine was generously sized and rich in flavour. Each bite of the terrine offered a different flavour and texture than the next. I like how the creaminess of the mayonnaise, terrine and whole grain mustard melded against the crusty, chewy baguette. The purple micro greens were gorgeous and added a little peppery zip to each mouthful.

Eden Bistro created a fantastic evening retreat with its whimsical Parisian theme. The food took me back to my first trip to Paris, twenty years ago. With the new government restrictions in place, L and I will be looking for new takeout adventures. If you know of any fun takeout themes, give me a holler.

17th Ave · French · Seafood

Pigeonhole

I met up with my friend K-Pop. She lives alone, and since I’m one of her non-household contacts, she asked me to check out Pigeonhole with her. K-Pop was eager to try Pigeonhole because their menu offers her two most favourite dishes – beef tartare and foie gras. For this post, let’s listen to “In The Air” by Allah Las.

After consulting with our server, I ordered a gaymay/pinot blend (Pierre Goigoux, Chanturgue, France $66). He suggested this particular bottle because I wanted something dry, light and soft. K-Pop enjoyed this red as much as I did. She liked how the wine didn’t overpower any of the dishes we ordered.

Since I picked the wine, K-Pop ordered all the food. She chose the Atlantic Scallop Crudo ($15), Wagyu Beef Tartare ($16), Foie Gras Mousse ($17), Smoked Ham Croquettes ($10) and Honey Glazed Brioche ($8). I noticed each plate was gorgeously plated.

The scallop crudo was so fantastic, I would order this again. The scallops were silky smooth, the flavour was so clean and pure. I loved the combination of crunchy almonds, spicy chili-citrus oil, fresh basil and slivered celery. Each bite was bright and lovely, and with a lingering heat. This dish made me think of Chef Koji Kobayan because he’s known for his stunning carpaccio and tataki creations at Sukiyaki House. I’m sure Chef Koji would appreciate Pigeonhole’s version as well.

Photo credit: K-Pop

K-Pop is a beef tartare fanatic. She liked that it wasn’t salty, which allowed her to appreciate the flavours of the fried shallots and buttery smooth wagyu beef. She liked the use of traditional ingredients, such as the gherkins. I enjoyed the sharpness from the green peppercorns.

Photo credit: K-Pop

K-Pop is also a fan of foie gras. What she loved about Pigeonhole’s version was that she couldn’t taste the liver. The mousse was cool, light and creamy. The tiny bits of pink lady apples added a touch of sweetness. There was so much foie gras, K-Pop ordered extra lembas bread, a honey glazed brioche with whipped honey butter.

The croquettes were a winner. The creamy, cheese sauce was so addicting, I scraped every bit off the plate. The croquette reminded me a super crunchy tater tot, but a million times better. I loved the freshness the basil added to this dish. I would order this again too.

I was also impressed with the attentive service we received. Throughout our evening, we had different servers checking in with our wine, waters and food. It seemed like the staff were working together to provide the best experience for their guests.

Sometimes I get so stuck in my routine that I forget what it is like to eat something that is beyond my cooking skills. I’m glad K-Pop picked Pigeonhole for our dinner date. The dishes here are a gastronomical delight. If you haven’t been yet, this is a spot you need to check out. Hitting the Sauce gives Pigeonhole two thumbs up.

Bakery · Dessert · French · Restaurants

Le Picquenic and Peasant Cheese – Valentine’s Day

I told L I was taking care of our Valentine’s Day plans. He looked suspiciously skeptical and I knew he thought I was tricking him again. I swear, give your spouse a test the occasional time and he’ll never forget his lesson. I actually didn’t have any sinister plans. Quite the opposite. I felt that after 10 years of taking me out for Valentine’s Day, I could do something he liked. For this post, let’s listen to “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You” by Franki Valli.

I ordered L a Valentine’s Tea Box ($34 per set) because I thought it would appeal to his British sensibilities. I was impressed with Le Picquenic special touches, like the card, ribbon, and flowers on the box.

The Kyoto cherry rose tea was lovely. The tea smelled sweet and fragrant. You could taste and smell the roses and what I thought was almond.

The cucumbers in my heart shaped sandwich were thinly sliced. I thought I could taste a hint of dill and perhaps cream cheese.

The egg salad was a classic high noon tea sandwich. The filling was creamy and eggy, pressed between two slices of soft white bread.

L enjoyed the turkey and cucumber croissant. He thought it was a delicate bite. I found the croissant sweet.

The prosciutto and brie canapé was tasty. There was a lot of prosciutto in one bite and I enjoyed the saltiness from the meat.

The blueberry scone was baked just the way I like it – a little dry and crumbly. I like that texture because the butter tastes creamier against a crustier surface. The jam added a smidge of sweetness to the savoury scone.

The cream puff was my favourite of the bunch. The whipped cream inside the pastry was puffy and cloud-like.

For dinner, I ordered a Valentine’s Cheese Platter ($50) from Peasant Cheese. For this occasion, Peasant Cheese added macarons and cannelé from the French bakery Yann Boutique. What a spread! The presentation, quality of cheeses and assortment of condiments and crackers is bar none. In the dozen or so times I’ve ordered from Peasant Cheese, I’ve always been impressed.

I’ve ordered the mixed cheese plates before and I usually get olives, pickles and other sour and tart accompaniments. This time around, we were treated to dried fruit like apricots, figs, and other candied treats. I loved the radish slices and pea shoots. I wrapped each radish slice with brie and ate it like a wrap.

There was so much food on this platter, we only managed to eat a third of it. We left the remaining amount to be snacked on in the following days. I know that recently, people are building their own cheese plates. Personally, I cannot make one as pretty as Peasant Cheese. Food also tastes better when you don’t make it. Hitting the Sauce gives Peasant Cheese two fat thumbs up.