A sampling of Quebec City at Le Cochon Dingue
Call this one an exemption. The Dads latest mantra was to redefine what good food means but admittedly, once in a while, we allow ourselves to be distracted and try out something…uh, novel. 😀
This was certainly true when we went on a trip to Quebec City where my wife treated us to one of the city’s most popular restaurants, Le Cochon Dingue (The Crazy Pig).It was our chance to learn more of the province’s culture through a sampling of their food. Other than discovering a bit of the city’s character through the city’s cobbled stone streets, churches and small villages famous for their classic French artisan designs (a word I just learned from my wife), we believed that the best way to discovering more of Quebec was through their food. This is why my family and I didn’t mind losing our way a bit just to eat at a local family restaurant.
However, looking for Le Cochon Dingue was not as easy as we thought. Other than an unexpected downpour, the winding, steep and sometimes, slippery streets of the city made it more challenging to find our way.
But through sheer persistence, a fair grasp of la langue français, and hungry tummies, we found an easier way to go to Champlain Avenue via a funiculaire at one of the highest points in the city which finally brought us down to a street parallel to Champlain, where Le Cochon Dingue was located.
At one point, I thought we could dine a la Champs Elysees in Paris; where dining al fresco was the norm but the rains gave us no choice but to dine inside.
I learned that the restaurant has been there since 1979. You would understand why Le Cochon Dingue withstood the test of time as soon as you enter the place. You are greeted with “Bonjour!” by servers who appear to have been there since Day One and a warm, homey ambience.
Most of its customers also appear to be regular and local patrons , with a number of visitors like us; discovering Quebec for the first time. Despite being tagged as a family restaurant, Le Cochon Dingue, however, can cater to even the most sophisticated palate. Quebec, after all, is not just poutine! Check out their menu which lists not only French such as a la mer (from the sea-seafood), steak frites et autres grillades (slow-cooked steak and fries), and ‘le cochon at its best’ but European sandwiches, Italian pate, and even American food!
My wife ordered their “famous sea food pot pie,” which was absolutely delicious. The pastry pie was not too buttery but baked just right and filled with lobster, crab, shrimps, scallops, salmon with diced potatoes cooked in light cream and herbs. It is, to the French, magnifique! It was so good that our kids could not stop asking for “more pot pie…”even when we were having lunch in a Japanese restaurant the next day!
I ordered grilled AAA Angus beef flank steak, which I savored it to the last piece. The smoky flavor and texture of the steak was complemented by the lightly salted buttered gravy. What a treat! In fact, I wouldn’t mind going back to this place but next time, I might just check out their fish and salad. No more excuses. ;-D