As soon as our dates and hotel were locked down, I quickly called Au Pied de Cochon to schedule a reservation. I had hoped for an 8 o'clock seating on either Thursday or Friday, but in the end the best they could do was a 5 o'clock seating on Friday. I forget the exact source that first brought me to this restaurant's menu, but I can tell you that I've been wanting to go for well over a year, so even though we were like super duper special senior citizens - walking into the place only minutes after they unlocked their doors, the fact remained that the food really wasn't going to be any different or better if the sun was lower in the sky. Or at least I hope not. M. and I did a fair amount of prep work for this meal. Between our walks to and from Old City and our calisthenics in the hotel room, we hoped our stomachs were properly stretched and up to the challenge of so many possible bites of wonder. Seriously, we did crunches before the meal. M. wanted to try the fried zucchini blossom appetizer, which she did. I took one bite and I do declare it the most tasty of zucchini blossoms I've ever had. I think part of it was that they were still attached to their stalk, giving them a little more fortitude than some I've seen in the past.
There was no way we were going to eat at this restaurant without trying at least one foie gras centric dish, as they have at least ten. In the end we went with the foie gras tout nu...simply seared with a balsamic reduction. If I were to go back, which I hope one day to do, I would have to delve further into the wonders of their foie gras choices.
This was no joke wonderful. Melty. Salty. Rich. Creamy. If you've never had foie gras then it's hard for me to explain what makes it such a magical treat. So hard in fact, I don't think I can try. But I do recommend you go out to a place with a good reputation and try the stuff. It could potentially change your life.
We asked our waitress for a wine suggestion that wouldn't totally break the bank and she came back with Monardiere Vacqueyras. I'll have to look up more information about it, but this was a highly drinkable wine and I liked it very much.
M. thought at first that she would have the steak tartar entree, but gauged that her belly might do better with the appetizer. Our server explained that the appetizer was a take on a sushi hand roll, with a quail egg on top that you would then spread over the whole roll before taking a bite. You'll see how M. felt about the dish a little later on.
I went with the happy pork chop. And what a pork chop it was. Tender, well flavored and delicious. There's an art to making a pork chop not seem very 1950s to me, and this place nailed it. The onion and mushroom accompaniment and subsequent 'jus' added just the right amount of flair to the already quality meat.
M. losing her mind over how much the tartar is rocking her world.
And we concluded with espresso. Just delightful. Really and truly. I wish I could go there again and again. Some of their specials sounded so good, and there really were so many other mysterious and compelling options on the menu. Ugh. Why must food be so great? And why must I feel almost no shame in spending all my money consuming it? These are the great questions of my life.