Tag Archives: escargot

Funky four-course French feast @ Jules Bistro

In 2021, I demolished a 24 oz cote de boeuf at Jules Bistro, this funky fresh French joint on Queen West. But it turns out there’s another Jules Bistro in town… only this one’s on Queen East. (They pretty much have the same menu, though.) So when I heard they were serving up a three-course prix fixe for just 40 bucks, you KNOW I had to check it out, bro!!!!!!

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We’re starting off with their vegetarian French onion soup, which is more like French onion soup, with a twist. Fortunately, it’s not completely cheese-free — vegetarian, not vegan — but you won’t see a cheese crust or a crock pot, and instead of croutons, there’s a couple pieces of French bread on top. It wasn’t bad, but I prefer the more typical soupe a l’oignon like they serve at Cluny.

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Now, the escargot weren’t on the prix fixe menu, but you KNOW I can’t go to a French restaurant and NOT eat snails, bro! These were not your garden-variety escargot, either, served in a brandy mushroom cream sauce with a side of toasted baguette — no garlic butter here!

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Dude, this whole dinner is brought to you by cream sauce. Up next, we’ve got saute de poulet, sliced chicken breast in a bacon and mushroom cream sauce, with a side of fries and salad. Chicken is nice ‘n tender, that cream sauce is legit, but those fries are what makes it — they’re like McDonald’s without all the salt, son!!!!

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And of course, we’re ending this creamy feast with some creme brulee. This tastes pretty much like I remember from the West End spot, with a nice crispy crust and a cold, creamy centre. Nothing wrong with that at all!

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We’re washing it down with a cream, erm, Queen of Wheat beer from Spearhead. It’s sorta like a Belgian wit, but not as citrusy as some of the ones I’ve had before (i.e. Blanche de Chambly). Goes good with soup ‘n snails, but I switched to a Great Lakes Stout for the main course and did not regret it…

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Eating, like, a horse @ La Palette

Now, you’ll find no shortage of funky French food in Toronto — Jules Bistro, Le Select, Le Papillon, Maison Close, Maison Selby, Cafe La Gaffe… just to name a few. But we’ve found this one place on Queen St West that’s pulled ahead of the competition by a nose. La Palette is not just serving up your everyday steak frites, y’see, they’ve got a secret ingredient — it’s horse, of course!!!!

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Now, people mighta been pissed when they found horse meat at Burger King about 10 years ago… but if it tasted like this, they’d really have nothing to complain about. This horse tenderloin was nice ‘n tender, melts in your mouth and nicely seasoned. They say on the menu they can only cook it rare — mine came out more medium rare, which is how I like my steak anyways.

Put it this way: I would not say neigh to eating horse again!!!!

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But you KNOW we can’t go to a French joint and NOT have escargot — that’s a major no-no, bro! And these were some of the most tender snails I’ve ever had, served up with plenty of garlic butter, and topped with chives and chopped peanuts.  Man, I’ve never seen nuts served with this dish before. It’s pretty nuts… and nuts is good!

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But you KNOW I’m still hungry like a horse after all that horse meat, so I’ve definitely still got room for dessert. And while they might have 4-5 desserts to choose from, ya know what they say — it’s gotta be crème brûlée. La Palette really nailed this dish, with the hard, crunchy crust and creamy inside. But it has gotta be the smallest crème brûlée I’ve ever seen. I’m pretty sure I’ve had ramekins of ketchup that were bigger than this! (To be fair, it’s only 5 bucks, so there’s that.)

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And yes, I am that guy who goes to a French bistro and asks what beers they have on tap. Well, I asked if they had Kronenbourg — and they actually didn’t, but steered me to this Czechvar Dark Lager instead. A couple of these, and we’re back in the saddle again, Aer-bro-smith!!!!

GRAND REOPENING: Snails in a half shell…snail power!!!

Now, I may not be French, but I know the French cook with a lotta butter and cream, and this is body by butter and cream, so I can go for that any day of the week, son! And it doesn’t get more French than escargot — snails swimming in garlic butter. I’ve ordered escargot a couple times at funky local joints like Le Papillon, Cafe La Gaffe and Auberge du Pommier, but here at Maison Selby, this cute little French bistro just a mime’s rope pull away from Bloor and Sherbourne, was the first place I’ve seen em served inside the shell.

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Now, after a bit of work with the escargot fork (which has two prongs, instead of three), I was able to wrestle a couple of these bad boys out onto a piece of toasted baguette. Nice texture; meaty, but not too chewy, and that garlic butter was TheBomb.fr — I just wish I had some softer bread to soak it all up…

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But you KNOW it’s gonna take more than six snails before I call it a night, bro! And it turns out this place has both kinds of lamb: leg AND shoulder, right here in their duo d’agneau. Meat was nice ‘n tender, in a rich, brown sauce…but I probably couldda eaten twice as much, and still had room for dessert.

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Don’t get me wrong, the food was pretty good, but the best thing about this meal was the beer. They’ve got this Guava Gose from Collective Arts on tap, which is equal parts fruity and sour, while looking like the kinda pink drink that FGL would stick an umbrella in. Baby you a beer, make me wanna roll my windows down and booooze!!!!!!

Lamb two ways @ Auberge du Pommier

Now, after having a surprisingly satisfying dinner at Canoe, we decided to check out the other fancy O&B joint, waaay up in North York – Auberge du Pommier. This upscale funky French place has been going for 30 years, so you know it’s gotta be good. And when I heard they were serving up not one, but two kinds of lamb, I totally had to try it!

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But first, we’re starting off with some escargot. These slimy little snails are served with a couple little croutons on a big green sea of watercress. Whatever happened to mushroom caps, bro?

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And now it’s time for the main event. When the menu said they’re serving up lamb sirloin and shank, I figured that’s gotta be a lotta baa-baa black sheep! But as you can see, they really only give you a little taste of each. I’m soooo gonna have room for dessert, broooo!!!

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When it comes to dessert, what could be more français than crème brulée? But just like that crazy deconstructed chocolate cake at Canoe, this was not your normal burnt cream. You’ve got these little mini cream brulees, served with passionfruit, Thai basil and a coconut ice cream. It might be a little too funky, but I’d eat that ice cream off a flip-flop, though!!!

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Now, the best part of this meal has gotta be the beer. They’ve imported this Loirette Saison from Brasserie de la Pigeonelle in the tiny little town of Céré-la-Ronde, France. Well, Céré-la-Bouche, cuz that’s some good stuff, son!!!

SUMMERLICIOUS 2018: French menage a trois @ Cafe La Gaffe

So, we’re hanging out at Cafe La Gaffe, this funky little French bistro in Baldwin Village. This is another place with tons of Summerlicious options, but I decided to stick with a trio of French classics here–and I definitely wasn’t disappointed!

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So, we’re starting off with some escargot, bro! These slippery little snails are swimming in garlic butter and going whee, whee, whee all the way down my piehole!!!

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Now, I’m definitely no stranger to roasted duck legs, but this has gotta be one of the top five duck confits I’ve ever had! The meat is super-tender, fall-off-the-bone, and that brandy cream sauce is outta bounds, bro! Man, I could probably eat six or seven of these…or however many legs that ducks actually have.

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But you know the drill, we’ve still got room for dessert, dude! This creme brulee was crackly on top, creamy on the bottom, with a couple nice bites of blueberries and a cherry on top! Who needs whipped cream when you’ve got burnt cream, mon cheri???

Do you even know escargot, bro???

Now, I wouldn’t say that French food is my favourite foreign cuisine…but it’s probably somewhere in the Top 10. I mean, you’ve got French onion soup, duck confit, and my personal Flavourtown Flava Fav, poutine. OK, I guess that one’s French-Canadian, but hey, they still speak the same language, right?

Of course, they also eat things like snails and frog’s legs, too. Now, I don’t know if we’re still in grenouille season, but when it comes to escargot, you can get ’em for brunch at Le Papillon, this funky French bistro on Front Street, just a short crawl from the St. Lawrence Market.

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These slippery little snails are served up as a six-pack, swimming in a garlic parsley butter. Dude, I would put that on a flip-flop! But you know that’s just a pre-brunch snack in Flavourtown, bro!!!!

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Dude, this bacon apple crepe is LaBombe.qc.ca! The bacon is cooked perfectly, the right balance between crispy and chewy. Then you’ve got baked apples and mad cheddah stuffed inside a light, fluffy pancake with maple syrup on top. It costs extra for the syrup, but dude, this is body by maple syrup, bro!!!!