Smoking, fishing and beaver tails: Anthony Bourdain's Canada
On his new CNN show, Anthony Bourdain has given us a tour of Myanmar, L.A.'s Koreatown and Colombia. And now he's going to Canada.
But, in classic "Parts Unknown" style, it's a Canada most of us don't know.
No Mounties, no stops at Tim Horton's for a Double-Double, a lot less hockey than you'd expect and not a single "eh."
Instead, join Bourdain for an old world "hipster-free" meal at Le Continental, an exquisite foie gras meal in the middle of a frozen lake and a surprisingly delicious bowl of beaver.
"Le Continental is a place about which I am unreservedly sentimental," said Bourdain.
The Quebec City bistro remains firmly steeped in French tradition, Bourdain explained, "unbowed, resiliently unchanged by trends or history."
At the "hipster-free zone of French continental ocean liner classics," Bourdain enjoyed what he called classic, unironic cuisine replete with "dishes you haven't seen since, like, forever," including beef tartare and Caesar salad tossed fresh -- all made to order tableside.
The CNN host also ate "shrimp cocktail the way Jesus wants you to eat them -- all served by a dedicated professional."
And he went ice fishing with Fred Morin and Dave McMillan, co-owners of the Montreal restaurant Joe Beef, on the St. Lawrence River atop 2 feet of solid ice over 100 feet of water.
Morin and McMillan prepared a savory lunch for Bourdain in a wooden shack smack dab in the middle of the iced-over river.
Morin and McMillan are self-admitted "hopeless romantics" when it comes to the lost art of truly fine dining. Morin travels with a truffle shaver -- when truffles are in season, that is. The two chefs served Bourdain an array of French classics, including foie gras over potato puree and chilled lobster a la Parisian. With heaps of black truffles aplenty, each dish was presented on vintage tableware. Wine pairings accompanied each course.
"There must be cheese," remarked Bourdain. And cheese there was, a "voluptuously reeking Epoisses," to be precise.
"Is there a billionaire or a despot anywhere on Earth who at this precise moment is eating better than us?" asked Bourdain, no doubt on a cheese high.
The epic meal ended with Cuban cigars (yes, they're legal in Canada) and "a dessert as rare as it gets: a dinosaur-era monster long believed extinct."
The dessert -- Gateau Marjolaine -- consists of layers of almond, hazelnut meringue and chocolate buttercream.
While in Montreal, Bourdain also met up with veteran French-Canadian chef Martin Picard, whom he referred to as one of the most influential chefs in North America. Bourdain and Picard trapped a beaver, which Picard prepared stovetop.
The event marked Bourdain's first time eating cooked beaver, which was a surprise considering that on CNN's "Piers Morgan Live" alone, Bourdain ate bull penis, turkey testicles, steamed pig feet and maggot fried rice!
"At this point," Bourdain joked, "animals see me and they're like, 'Oh, no! Not that guy!' "
The verdict on the beaver?
"Absolutely delicious," Bourdain said.
Tune in to CNN at 9 p.m. ET Sunday to witness what Bourdain called a "Franco-Canadian full-on assault of the liver," where his further adventures include a journey from Montreal to Quebec City via Canadian rail, talking to locals about the contingent that wants to make Quebec a sovereign nation, a visit to an old sugar shack (a log cabin where maple sap is collected and boiled down to syrup) turned tres chic restaurant, and more.❚
- Share This