Monday, December 19, 2005

The Great Whatsit

So, a little over a week ago, Patrice, the Chef pâtissier at Les Chèvres/Le Chou, pulled Michelle aside and told her that not only did he have a surprise for her, but that this surprise "would change her life." The only other thing he said about this surprise was that he would take her to it on Saturday at noon, which meant she had almost a week to stew over what exactly this surprise might be. Now, Michelle being Michelle, the first thing that came to mind was that Patrice was going to take her to "a field filled with baby goats" (?!?!). I guess it could have been worse, though: she could have thought that Patrice was going to take her to "a field filled with baby cabbages." Anyway, she spent days trying to figure out what in god's name this surprise could be, and the more she thought about it, the more excited she got. Then she started to grill Patrice and Camilla about it. "Is it a standing mixer?" "Is it an industrial canning machine?" But all she got was a resounding, "Nope." Finally, with just a question or two left before she hit 20 questions, she braced Camilla and asked her, "Is it really going to change my life?" To which Camilla answered, "Well, not exactly." From that point on, Michelle resigned herself to just counting down the hours until 12:00 on Saturday: she'd just have to be patient.

Patrice, M. Beausoleil, and Camilla picked Michelle up and whisked her down to... Holt Renfrew. Yeah, I know: "Ooh, la, la!" The occasion? Well, it turns out that Holt Renfrew is now stocking an old friend of ours:

Guess who?

That's right: the legendary Poilâne sourdough is now available here in Montreal! Not only that, but the café at Holt's now offers an entire range of sandwiches composed on a healthy slice of Poilâne. These include: rare beef with chèvre, thyme, and a cherry reduction; poached eggs, smoked salmon, and confited tomatoes; grilled chicken breast, baby arugula, cheese, and truffle honey; and shrimp, with carrot purée, matchstick potatoes, and chives [pictured below]. They're not cheap (we are talking Holt Renfrew, after all), but Michelle swears they're fantastic, among the very best she's ever had.

shrimp sandwich on Poilâne bread

A quarter loaf of Poilâne will set you back $10. Again, not cheap, but the quarter loaf portion is a pretty good slab of bread, and it did get flown in from Paris, and it is among the best sourdoughs in the world.

Somehow, when the dust had settled, we quite miraculously wound up with our very own quarter loaf. You should be so lucky.

Holt Renfrew Café, 1300 Sherbrooke St. W., (514) 842-5111


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