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healthy poutine? [Moved from Quebec]

Healthy Poutine: Eat less of it :)

Feb 05, 2009
honeyhaze in General Topics

Greatest Overall Tasting Menu

My husband Jay and I are traveling to Montreal for the first time next week. We'll only be there for two days, so we won't have a whole lot of time to try different restaurants. After some perusal here, the NY Times, Fodders, and TripAdvisor, we've decided to try:

- Au Pied de Cochon, mostly for their foie gras poutine and because it's very close to where we'll be staying. Neither of us have ever tried poutine before!

- Fairmount Bagel. Also close to our hotel and I like that it has more varieties than some of the other places.

- Le Bilboquet for the ice creams and such, if we have time.

- Tapeo or Europea for lunch, unless we're steered otherwise...

And the leaves us looking for a special tasting menu. We were considering Toque or La Montee de Lait or anywhere else on offer. I know there are some atmosphere/service (and sometimes cuisine) issues with both of these selections, but I'm not entirely concerned with how pleasant the wait staff is, what the dining room or guests look like, etc. The food... the FOOD! So who has the best tasting menu? We're looking for playfulness, unusual ingredients, risk taking (even if it results in a few failures), presentation, and at least a few unforgettable flavors. I prefer less meat-heavy tasting menus, if that makes a difference. I'm pregnant, so we don't have to worry about wine this time. And price isn't a huge issue, but I've noticed LDML is about $25 less expensive for the d├ęgustation than Toque.

The Napkin Defense

Las year I picked up an inexpensive set of cloth napkins, figuring they'd be nicer to have for dinner parties. I use them ALL THE TIME, on a daily basis. They take up barely any room in the laundry, probably all 12 take up the same amount of space as one towel. So I toss them in with my usual whites load, which tends to be small anyway, and I'm not using any more water or detergent then I would otherwise be using.

I love having fresh, clean linens instead of tacky paper napkins. It is more eco-friendly, similar to how using a few dish towels is going to be more eco-friendly than going through rolls of paper towels, and it adds a touch of grace to my dinner table. Cloth napkins also simply absorb better and feel softer on the skin than paper.

Also: They're cheaper. My one 12-set of cloth napkins has probably saved me a couple of hundred bucks worth of paper napkins. As stated above, I toss them in with my usual whites load and am not using any additional detergent to cleanse them.

Okay, so we have:

- Less expensive than paper napkins.
- Better absorption.
- Better looking.
- Better environmentally.
- Easy to clean.

If you're worried about having to bleach your cloth napkins then buy black ones. Black looks wonderful son the table with most place settings.

I admit that having a laundry shoot next to my dining room does help. It might be less convienent for me to use them if I wasn't a few steps away from a shoot that leads down to a bin next to my laundry room. So I'm lucky in that regard. I would probably still use them without the shoot, though; I'd probably put a little basket under my kitchen sink and store them in there until laundry day.

This topic has inspired me to pick up cloth napkins for my more domestic friends for the holidays. It's the type of thing that some people never consider buying, but once you have them around and don't consider them "too fancy" for every day use then they turn out to be an amazing addition to the household!

Dec 07, 2007
honeyhaze in Features

Small Kitchen DIY Fixes: Submit Your Stories

Regarding throwing things out that you don't use... for most people, that probably makes sense. For me, collecting kitchen gadgets is a hobby of mine. The weird tool I only bust out once every two years or so, I get great pleasure from doing that. So that theory doesn't work at all for me. heh, and I'm having a terrible time convincing my fiancee of that.

But yeah, for most people, that makes sense.

Sep 30, 2007
honeyhaze in Not About Food

I Ordered Wrong

If you want to get wild I recommend slyly discovering a tiny plastic animal hidden in your food. Everyone will be bewildered, yet amused. "Server, I, umm, was enjoying this incredible raspberry-mustard-chive chili and I was surprised to find THIS in it! Is this a feature of the dish or did someone in the kitchen lose their mind? I think I'll take the steak instead..."

Sep 27, 2007
honeyhaze in Features

I Ordered Wrong

If you ever do try the atrocious act above it's imperative that you vehemently apologize and attempt to refuse a replacement dish. When they insist on replacing it then counter-insist on a downgrade to something less expensive, as an act of penance. The staff is less likely to mind a goofy accident than it would the ego blow of refusing to eat their food. They'll bring you something else, possibly free of charge, and no tender feelings are bruised. Ethics be damned!

Or if you have even less ethics than that: drop a bug, pretend to be gracious about it, and then order something else.

Sep 27, 2007
honeyhaze in Features

I Ordered Wrong

Quick and easy solution: Knock the plate onto the floor and then ask for something else when they come to clean it up :)

Sep 27, 2007
honeyhaze in Features

Dinner with Mr. and Mrs. McPerfect

One thing that I've found makes a huge difference at an uncomfortable gathering is putting on some quirky but relaxing music (ultra lounge, bossa nova, classical guitar, etc). Take the initiative and bring along your pod or favorite disc. If they refuse to let you play some dinner music then you probably don't want to be dining with them to begin with :)

Another way to relax your hosts is to bring along ingredients for a favorite cocktail and whip up a pitcher of something special to share with everyone. There's a recipe for stellar blackberry-thyme margaritas on the net and those tend to go over wildly at gatherings.

I've been the hyper-host before and I can relate to wanting everything to be as ideal as possible. Not to sound too base, but saucy music, a few cocktails, and a joint should loosen these people up. You're all there to enjoy each others company; bring your own contribution to the dinner and don't let uber-hosts ruin what should have been a lovely time together.

Sep 27, 2007
honeyhaze in Features