Thursday, May 19, 2011

Oh, yes, it's l'Eighties Night...

...what a night!

frankie says 1 fig. a: Frankie says...

Some of you Eighties Revivalists out there are probably too young to actually remember the 1980s, but it wasn't all oversized slogan t-shirts and Wayfarers, fluorescents and Body Glove, underwear-as-outerwear and Sperry Top-Siders.

Sure, the '80s had some of this,

slide 3 fig. b: slippery people


slide 4 fig. c: into the groovey

and this.

slide 5 fig. d: power, corruption, & lies

But that's not all there was.

They entertained like this,

80s 1 fig. e: luau!

they drank like this,*

80s 2 fig. f: Campari!

and they partied like this.**

80s 3 fig. g: Parrrr-tyyyy!

But what about the haute cuisine of the Eighties? What was that like? Can you even imagine an era before sous-vide, before the widespread use of liquid nitrogen?

Well, if you're having a hard time visualizing such a cuisine, now's your chance to experience it firsthand.

You see, this coming Monday, May the 23rd, Restaurant Laloux will be presenting a very special occasion in celebration of their 25th anniversary: Eighties Night! They will be welcoming special guest chef Stelio Perombelon (Les Cons Servent, Pullman) to Laloux for one night only to collaborate on an Eighties-themed menu inspired by the year 1986, the year that Laloux opened for business.***

What's in store?

to begin with, three types of canapés:

-tomates cerises antiboise, sablé et crème à l'oseille (cherry tomatoes stuffed with tuna, capers, and tarragon mayonnaise and served on a sablé)

-accras d'esturgeon fumé (smoked sturgeon accras)

-tartelettes de foie de lapin, brunoise à la crème d'ail (rabbit liver tartlets served with a garlic cream-laced brunoise)

first service: salade de crevettes nordiques, mousseline d'avocat, paris crus et huile de noix (nordic shrimp salad, avocado mousseline, raw Parisian mushrooms, and walnut oil)

second service: gougeonettes de doré, flan de courgettes, abricots secs et beurre de liquoreux (pickerel gougeonettes, zucchini flan, dried apricots with Condrieu butter)

third service: pigeonneau, crème fevettes, chanterelles, tartines d'abats au vert, pommes dauphines (squab, purée of fresh peas, chanterelles, giblets-topped brioche with herbed breadcrumbs, potatoes dauphine)

and, to close, a selection of three desserts by Michelle:

-citrons givrées, salade d'agrumes, sabayon (meringue-topped lemons stuffed with lemon sorbet, cirtus fruit salad, sabayon)

-éclairs au chocoat blanc et rhubarbe (white chocolate and rhubarb éclairs)

-crêpes Suzette (um, crêpes Suzette)

All this, plus service that wouldn't be out of place in an episode of Dynasty (please! no cat fights, though!).

1980s prices, too:**** the whole extravagant affair will only set you back $65.

Intrigued? Act fast, places are limited!

frankie says 2 fig. h: ...Laloux

Restaurant Laloux, 250 ave. des Pins, 287-9127


* Yes, that is Kelly "Weird Science/The Woman in Red" LeBrock, and, yes, she is wearing Valentino.

** In fact, they're the ones that first coined the usage of "party" as a verb.

*** Chef Perombelon has a baby face, but he claims to be old enough to have been trained in the mysteries of 1980s French cuisine. He's also one of the most talented chefs in Montreal, and a good friend of Team Laloux.

**** Adjusted for inflation, of course.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Top Ten #41

karen d.

1. Karen Dalton, In My Own Time (Just Sunshine/Light in the Attic)

mr. & mrs. smith

2. Mr. & Mrs. Smith (1941), dir. Hitchcock (a.k.a. Su Amado Enemigo and Matrimonio Original)

davy and shirley

camden town pub

3. Shirley Collins and Davy Graham, Folk Roots, New Routes (4 Men With Beards) [on vinyl! finally!] + Davy Graham, Folk, Blues & Beyond + Never The Same: Leave-taking From the British Folk Revival, 1970-1977(Honest Jons)

p-soup all-stars

4. Ben Katchor, The Cardboard Valise + Ben Katchor @ Drawn & Quarterly, April 30, 2011

5. My Dinner With André (1981), dir. Malle

gram & co.

6. Flying Burrito Brothers, Burrito Deluxe (4 Men With Beards) & The Gilded Palace of Sin (4 Men With Beards)

adam's rib

7. Adam's Rib (1949), dir. Cukor ("Feeling pinky, Cranky?")


8. J. Mascis, Several Shades of Why (Sub Pop)

9. North By Northwest (1959), dir. Hitchcock

10. Lamb chops scottadito & braised artichokes w/ friends


Sunday, May 15, 2011

Got bread?, pt. 1

more bread fig. a: bread, bread

Good. Me too.

Of course, with bread this good, you barely need to do anything to it. But, then again, there's no need to be a puritanical about it. If you don't have access to "elemental bread" from a real, artisanal bakery (like Tartine, Red Hen, or Bohemian) you can bake your own, any time you like, no matter where you live.* So, go ahead, dress it up a little.

There are obviously plenty of different ways you could put those beautiful loaves to work, but Chad Robertson's Tartine Bread really is a great cookbook on top of being an exceptional baking book. It's chock full of all kinds of tempting recipes involving fresh and staled bread, including soups (white gazpacho, sopa de ajo, North African breakfast soup, etc.), salads (panzanellas, kale caesar, escalivada, etc.), sandwiches (pan bagnat, meatball sandwiches, bruschetta of all sorts, etc.), and a number of other mains and sides (tomates provençales, porchetta, savory bread pudding, etc.).

One that's become an instant favorite here at AEB, and that happens to be particularly seasonal at the moment, is Robertson's fresh chickpea hummus, which he serves as an open-faced sandwich on fried bread with olive oil-packed sardines, hard-boiled egg, and cilantro (!). Sounds inviting, right? It is. And his fresh chickpea hummus is unlike any hummus we've ever had before--lighter and more herbal (vernal, even), with a real chlorophyll punch.

Where to begin? Well, first you're going to need two pounds of fresh chickpeas. Dried and canned chickpeas are pretty much ubiquitous at this point in time, but fresh chickpeas aren't. So you'll probably have to hit up one of your better Mediterranean/Middle Eastern greengrocers. We got ours at Chez Nino, at Jean-Talon Market, and they looked something like this.

fresh garbanzos1 fig. b: fresh chickpeas by the bag

Then you're going to have to shell them. This takes a while, because there's no way to cheat and do them en masse--you've got to do them one by one, with your fingers. They're not nearly as finicky as fava beans, though, so don't worry. Just put on a record, pour yourself a drink, relax, and start peeling. Get a friend to help you, and it'll go twice as fast.

Once you get into it, it's actually kind of fun. There's something of the pleasure of popping bubble wrap to them, but this is endlessly more rewarding. Trust me. Instead of being left with plastic and air, you're left with something that's pretty and edible. The best are those nice full ones. They tend to be easier to shell, but they're also ripe and obviously full of flavor (try a raw one, if you don't believe me), and they also do a better job of filling your bowl. The very best are the twins, which are as cute as... well... two peas in a pod.**

fresh garbanzos3 fig. c: little twin peas

When you're done, you'll have a pile of freshly shelled fresh chickpeas that looks something like this.

fresh garbanzos2 fig. d: fresh chickpeas, shelled

And once you have those, and you've assembled all the other ingredients, you can really get started.

Open-Faced Sandwiches with Fresh Chickpea Hummus and Sardines, a.k.a. The Hummus Sardwich

For the hummus:

2 pounds fresh chickpeas (a.k.a. garbanzo beans), shelled
3 cloves garlic
3 tbsp sesame tahini
12 fresh mint leaves
juice of 1 lemon
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup extra-virgin olive oil

For the sandwiches:

olive oil
2 slices fresh or day-old bread (Robertson recommends his Whole-Wheat Bread, but we've found that his Country Bread is our favorite)
1 hard-boiled egg
one 3.75-oz can olive oil-packed sardines
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro

To make the hummus, bring a pot of water to a boil. Fill a bowl with ice water and place it nearby. Add the chickpeas and garlic to the boiling water and cook for 2 minutes. Drain and transfer to the ice water to cool them, then drain again.

Put the chickpeas, garlic, tahini, mint, lemon juice, and salt in a food processor. Process until smooth. With the motor on, add the olive oil in a steady stream until the hummus has the consistency you like. Adjust the seasoning.

Pour 1/4 inch of olive oil into a skillet and heat over medium-high heat. Add the bread and fry until deep golden brown and very crisp, about 3 minutes. Turn and fry until deep golden brown and crisp on the second side too.

Press the hard-boiled egg through a sieve like this.

boiled egg fig. e: boiled egg, sieve

Spread the hummus on the fried bread and top with sardines. Garnish with the sieved egg and chopped cilantro and serve.

hummus sardwich fig. f: hummus sardwich

Enjoy. Heartily.

Serves two, with plenty of leftover hummus to be used as you see fit.

[based very closely on a recipe entitled "Sardines and Fresh Garbanzo Hummus" in Chad Robertson's Tartine Bread]

If you're not big on the idea of sardines, just leave them out and make the fresh chickpea hummus. It really is something else. Serve it on its own, as you would a traditional hummus. Or make a sandwich with grilled vegetables, like artichoke hearts, red peppers, or asparagus.

Just make sure to make it sometime soon. Spring is slipping away, and so is the season for fresh chickpeas.


* Well, maybe not exactly "any time you like" and "no matter where you live," but nearly.

** Not unlike these guys:

two peas in a pod fig. g: two peas in a pod

Friday, May 06, 2011

Have Moicy!

Wow, yet another Public Service Announcement. This one for a book launch/gig.

have moicy! fig. a: indeed!

Tonight only, Friday, May 6th, 2011, not only will you get the proto-freak folk stylings of Boone & Jocko, but you'll get a lineup that includes Thomas Hellman, Emilie Clepper, Gabriel Levine, Jessica Moss, Nadia Moss, Keiko Devaux, Marcus Lobb, Matt "Doc" Dunn, Jessica Moore, Marie Frankland, Myriam Gendron, Annie Goulet, Justin Karas, David Sheppard, Hannah Rahimi & Greg Burton (phew!), all interpreting the work of Michael "Mike" Hurley.

The occasion? A triple book launch by the good, good people at l'Oie de Cravan Publishing, Inc., in support of these three titles:

Byron Coley, C'est la guerre: Early writings 1978-1983 (with a foreword by Mike Watt)

Jeff Ladouceur, Holy Moly (a new collection of drawings)

and, yes, you guessed it!

Michael "Mike" Hurley, The Words to the songs of Michael Hurley (with a foreword by Byron "C'est la guerre" Coley)

mike h fig. b: the artist formerly known as Mike

We're pretty big fans of Mr. Hurley in general, here at AEB. (Can't you tell?) But among many, many other accomplishments and accolades (Nick Tosches: “…I don’t know what else to say about what he writes and sings, other than that it is gosh-darned great. What kind of music is it? Hell, what kind of weeds does God grow? Let’s just shut up and listen and go to where Michael Hurley is. After all, we can always turn around and come back. He can’t.”), Hurley & Co.* may well have recorded the single greatest song ever dedicated to the hamburger.** Top that.

what made this burger appear fig. c: burger by Hurley & Co.

Will someone be interpreting "What Made My Hamburger Disappear" at tonight's function? Chances are slim (see ** below), but there's only one way to find out.

Michael Hurley/Byron Coley/Jeff Ladouceur Book Launch
Sala Rossa, 4848 Saint-Laurent, Montreal
Friday, May 6th
Doors @ 8:30 PM, music @ 9:00 PM
$10 at the door

For more information, take a look-see here.


p.s. Unfortunately, Mr. Hurley will not be in attendance. "The world's longest friendly border," my eye!

* Have Moicy! combined the talents of Michael Hurley, The Unholy Modal Rounders, and Jeffrey Fredericks & the Clamtones.

** Hurley didn't write it, mind you--the song is a Jeffrey Frederick composition.