Friday, February 25, 2011

Café du lac (Winterlicious)

I took my parents to Café du lac for dinner on the last day of Winterlicious. I've heard great things about the food at Café du lac and have always been meaning to go. Café du lac serves contemporary, Quebec style food. Whenever possible, Kathryn Ashby, owner and manager of Café du lac, sources food products directly from Quebec-based suppliers, such as their maple syrup, cheeses and wild boar.

I remember when I first checked out Café du lac's regular dinner menu, I was taken back at how their food is right up my alley! Check these out:
  • Fresh meat pate
  • Salmon tartare
  • Foie gras parfait 
  • House-made charcuterie 
  • Poutine (with cream sauce, curds, pulled beef short-ribs)
  • Bacon-wrapped venison meatloaf
  • Roasted wild boar tenderloin
  • Pan-seared duck breast 
Oh and it gets better, you can add foie gras to anything! *faints* I ♥♥♥ foie gras!

And to top that off, get this, Café du lac has this thing called "Duck in a Jar" which they only offer on weekends (or by ordering one day in advance), description as follows:

"Foie gras stuffed duck magret immersed in venison balsamic reduction with savoy cabbage, leeks and Berkshire porkdouble smoked bacon served on a bed of rustic mashed potatoes ($36)"

I will let that sink in =D

Meanwhile, check out View the Vibe's video on Café du lac

I've been tweeting with Café du lac's owner, Kathryn (@cafedulac) for a few months now. Kathryn is super friendly, outgoing, and I love how she connects with everyone on Twitter; she really embraces social media and knows how much value it brings. How do I know? I made my Winterlicious reservation with Kathryn on Twitter when I was in Utah on a business trip ^_^

Café du lac is a small bistro located on Lake Shore. My parents and I both thought it felt like we were dining at a small café in Quebec somewhere; the wooden floors, tables, chairs, and the simple decor all gave a very relaxed atmosphere. Being the last night of Winterlicious, Café du lac was packed so the restaurant was a bit louder than we would've liked; my parents and I had to raise our voices just to talk to each other. Thankfully, as it got later in the evening, people left and we were able to talk normally again.

Knowing that my parents and I would be there, Kathryn reserved us a good table (by the wall with cushioned seats). We sat at the bar while the table was being set up. There is Chef Hudson Bernard.

Winterlicious menu

House-made bread, made fresh daily. So cute and super soft on the inside.

Our bottle of Shiraz.

Farmer’s paté stuffed foie torchon - My dad had this appetizer. He enjoyed this as the paté was not too hard nor too densely packed (my dad likes his food on the softer side). 

Mini poutine featuring Yukon Gold potatoes with foie gras cream sauce and pulled beef short-ribs - My mom and I both ordered the poutine. Look at all that cheese curds (Café du lac uses Perron Quebec cheese curds). I don't remember the last time I saw a poutine with that many cheese curds (and believe me when I say that this is not a complaint hehe). However, I thought that the cheese curds could be hotter as they got cold really quickly.

Ahhhh yes, I added foie gras to my poutine. *drools*

My parents and I all met Chef Hudson - he brought out our mains and described each of our entrées for us Thanks Hudson for taking the time to do that - it totally made us feel special =D

Braised lamb shank served with rustic mashed potatoes, and seasonal vegetables - Mom had this entrée. She was happy with it although she said she would have preferred the lamb to a bit more tender.

Pan-seared Canadian black cod with herbed gratin, olive beurre blanc and seasonal vegetables Dad had the black cod. He said the fish was cooked just right, soft and buttery. He also enjoyed the potato gratin. I think he wanted more fish and also some sort of sauce on the plate (my dad is also a sauce kinda guy).

Duck confit drizzled with cranbery maple sauce with potato gratin and seasonal vegetables - Mine! Duck meat was tender. I could use my fork and easily peel the meat off the bone. The skin was thin and crispy (love that). I was going to limit myself on carbs but could not help finishing the potato gratin because it was very well seasoned.

Apple crumble with honey and maple filling - My parents both had the crumble and I had a bite too. It was warm and delicious~

Maple syrup tart Quebec style sugar pie - I initially ordered the apple crumble as well but I changed to the maple syrup tart at the last minute because although I love apple crumbles, how often will I see maple syrup tart on the menu compared to an apple crumble? Not very often.

I ended up really enjoying this tart because I could really taste the maple syrup and it had the perfect amount of sweetness. Kathryn told me later that a lot of people get nervous when they hear "maple syrup" because they automatically think that the tart will be very sweet, but of course they always end up pleasantly surprised.

My parents and I had a lovely dinner at Café du lac. I'm so glad I finally took the time to go! And Winterlicious was a great opportunity to take my parents out for a nice dinner. Kathryn was so hospitable the whole night; she came by to chat with us many times and made sure that we got everything we needed. I really couldn't ask for more. Thanks again, Kathryn and Hudson!

Just so you know, Café du lac also offers brunch on Sundays, a $25 prix-fixe menu on Tuesdays, BYOW on Wednesdays ($5 corkage fee) and live music on Fridays. 

Cafe Du Lac on Urbanspoon