Le Saint-Laurent goes from Quebec cuisine to the evolution of the list of French regions

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The award-winning Saint-Laurent, known for its Quebec cuisine, now focuses on regions of France, with monthly changes.

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Saint Laurent

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Or: 269 ​​Powell Street, Vancouver

When: Dinner, Wednesday to Sunday.

Info: 604-620-3800. stlawrencerestaurant.com

“Pivot! Pivot! Pivot!” a panicked Ross screams in a classic Friends episode, as they haul a couch down the stairs.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, restaurants have learned to jump on those words, squeezing this way and that, with Dr. Bonnie Henry as Ross.

In St. Lawrence, owner / chef JC Poirier did the mandatory pivots and some of his did too. It all started with a special Lyon dinner in March to attract customers. It turned out to be so popular that he planned a Burgundian dinner for the next month. , but then had to pivot when a third wave of the pandemic hit and a circuit breaker directive banning indoor dining was issued. In July, he and his team created a Provencal dinner and in September, a Norman menu.

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It was then that he decided to move definitely towards these paid dinners.

“They were so well received and people were asking for more. It wasn’t just the demand, I liked the idea, ”says Poirier. “It got us going as a restaurant. Sometimes a one-concept menu can be too restrictive and I wanted to open up my horizon and look more like a painter with a blank canvas.

Another advantage? These prepaid dinners make it possible to bypass the losses suffered by Saint-Laurent – like other restaurants – thanks to discourteous absences for reserved tables.

I totally agree and for the restaurants taking a deposit for the tables reserved. So quite reasonable.

Poirier is a Quebecer at heart and will flaunt it on his sleeve with the very popular sugar shack or sugar shack dinners during the maple syrup season in January and February. In December, it will offer the menu of the Saint-Laurent’s greatest hits – Quebec cuisine, elevated to the sublime – during the high holiday season. All prepaid dinners.

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Meanwhile, in October it’s an Alsatian menu and in November it’s a trip to Burgundy. The menus of the Tour de France resume in the spring.

Paid dinners were originally priced at $ 65, but “skyrocketing costs” have pushed it to $ 75 for three courses with a choice of starter, main course and dessert as well as bread. free buckwheat and sweets. There are options for additional appetizer additions if you want and if you want a front row seat for the kitchen ballet, reserve seats at the counter.

Poirier reports a noticeable sense of ease in the room since the introduction of vaccine passports – it’s like the ease I feel on a hike, knowing that I am not in grizzly territory.

“I can see a change in the way people enjoy their evening. They are more relaxed and have more fun, ”says Poirier.

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Oyster in the oven with Calvados, cream, Camembert du Saint-Laurent, on Powell Street in Vancouver.
Oyster in the oven with Calvados, cream, Camembert du Saint-Laurent, on Powell Street in Vancouver. Photo by Amy Ho /PNG

I visited Saint-Laurent in September and had an unpretentious but refined and ethereal Norman dinner. The region is famous for apples, calvados, cider, camembert, cream sauces and oysters. Normandy also happens to be where his family originated generations ago.

Among the additions, I had a traditional dish – Normandy on an oyster shell. A large oyster placed on apples and shallots cut into brunoise, sautéed in butter and deglazed with Calvados. It was topped with a slice of Camembert cheese. For my aperitif I had sweetbreads and shrimp ribs in puff pastry with Normandy sauce.

I noticed that the garlic butter puff pastry snails were on both September and October menus and have taken over. Looks like it was his after school snack as a hungry kid. His mother would buy a pack of three canned snails and every week he would polish them all, fry them in butter and eat them on toast.

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“I think, in a way, I never want to get rid of it,” Poirier says.

This, his Proustian dish, will be in a cookbook he is writing titled Where The River Narrows, the definition of the Algonquin word kébec, or Quebec. There will be Saint-Laurent, classic French and Quebec house-style recipes.

“It will reflect my career,” says Poirier.

My main course, the rabbit stuffed with white pudding with cider mushroom sauce, was deliciously prepared. The white pudding was made with thigh meat, and the bone broth was reduced to a cider-mustard sauce. On the side, the grilled gem lettuce was topped with whole mushrooms – such a lovely fall dish.

St. Lawrence apple pie on Powell Street in Vancouver.
St. Lawrence apple pie on Powell Street in Vancouver. Photo by Amy Ho /PNG

For dessert, a Norman apple tart, served with custard and calvados during cooking. It was served with a globe of vanilla ice cream on crushed hazelnuts. In short, a faultless meal in a warm and intimate setting.

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Each menu will be accompanied by French wines and other drinks from the regions presented, and in my case there were beautiful French ciders – lighter, more winey than in North America – and several Calvados.

The Alsatian menu, currently in effect until October 31, includes these main dishes: pork stuffed with bratwurst sausage, braised fennel, marinated mustard and cheese croquettes; duck sauerkraut confit with sausage and potatoes; cod in brown butter and almond sauce, grilled cabbage and potato balls.

Dinner tickets are available on the restaurant website. While we are deprived of travel, why not ask one of the best chefs in Vancouver and, for that matter, Canada, to take you to France?


Accompaniments: Don’t waste

Thanks, Food Stash Foundation. You make so much sense.

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Think about it, 58 percent of the food produced in Canada is wasted, which puts 56.1 million metric tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent into the atmosphere each year. Meanwhile, one in six children in British Columbia is food insecure.

Food Stash started five years ago with high school student David Schein saving food and distributing food himself. Now Food Stash saves around 70,000 pounds of food each month from grocery stores, warehouses and farms and delivers it to around 30 organizations such as Union Gospel Mission, Urban Native Youth Association, The Dugout Drop-in as well as 100 families in need. . They delivered nearly 10,000 books in weekly boxes to families last month.

And since October 1, they launched a zero waste food market open every Friday from 3:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. at 340 West Second Avenue in Vancouver. What’s unique is that customers pay how they feel to remove any stigma. But bring your own bags of groceries. And imminently there will be a community refrigerator, stocked with free food by community members and a food supply outside their warehouse.

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The Foundation is a charitable organization and relies heavily on generous donations and the work of volunteers. So simple and yet so brilliant. For more information on the market or to make a donation, visit foodstash.ca.

Taste of Yaletown

The 17th annual Taste of Yaletown (TOY) takes place October 1-31 with restaurants offering prix fixe menus at $ 25, $ 35, $ ​​45 and $ 55.

For each TOY menu ordered for dinner on site, take out or delivery, $ 2 will be donated to the Greater Vancouver Food Bank, in addition to the $ 124,000 already paid since the first event. Another $ 2 will be donated to Yaletown House, a senior care facility.

In addition, a ‘healthcare happy hour’ takes place every Wednesday behind the Canada Line station during TOY from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. with live music and gift baskets for healthcare workers with proof of purchase. use. Visit yaletowninfo.com/event/tasteofyaletown for participating restaurants.

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