Back in July Ron Eade wrote about Famous Frenchy‘s, a new burger joint in town.  Since I love a good burger, especially when they have names like “The Triple Bypass,” I figured I’d have to check it out for myself.

We walked into a smoke filled kitchen – apparently the hood fan was running at 20%.
Regardless of the smoke, they were pumping it out!

The place wasn’t packed, as it’s only been open for a few weeks – though I’m sure this will change shortly as word of mouth spreads.

As we approached the cash we were greeted by Shonn Bidner, one of the owners.  I’m a curious cat, so I pushed him for some details on the cost of opening a restaurant, food producers and suppliers, local chefs, and finally the burgers.

First things first: these aren’t gourmet burgers.  They are good old fashioned chip truck burgers. Seasoned ground beef and that’s it. No filler like eggs, bread crumbs or any other junk.  The seasoning is the secret ingredient, so of course as soon as I received my order I tried to break the code.

I was able to pickup some distinct flavours that lead me to think they were using some version of a steak spice.  I won’t try to dissect it all here, but Shonn says the secret seasoning is the brainchild of Louis Charest, executive chef for the Governor General.

The patty itself was a generous portion, cooked to perfection – nice and juicy.

My dad ordered the Triple Bypass and killed it.  This burger is a monster.  Three of their large patties piled a mile high on a burger bun.  After seeing the pic on Ron’s blog I had assumed it was served with cheese and bacon, lending some truth to it’s name.  Unfortunately @ $5.35 for this monster bacon and cheese are extra.

I guess you have to pay your own trip to the hospital. 🙂

My mom and I had the bison burger that was equally as good, and we shared a family fry with gravy on the house!
Thanks Shonn

Originally posted on FineDiners.ca

fridge_bacon

Well things have been so busy in and out of the kitchen, I haven’t had a chance to sit down and write the follow up to Makin’ Bacon.  Now that I have some spare time and have peaked your interest with the Sci-fi smoker, here’s the follow up.

I should have written this article first, as this was actually the first step, leading up to the Makin’ Bacon DIY smoker, but that article was way more fun.  As discussed in the previous article, we purchased the pork bellies from Lavergn Western Beef in Navan Ontario – this place is a must stop for a foodie!

The whole process of making bacon starts with the curing process.  The meat should be coated in salt and other spices and stored in the fridge for 7 days.  We broke our bellies down into different sized cuts and stored them in large ziploc bags with different cures in them.  The meat should be turned over every day to ensure a proper cure.

On the 7th day, remove the bellies from the cure, rinse them off thoroughly under water and let air dry in the fridge for 12 hours – this drying process will form what is called the pellicle, a tacky film that will allow the smoke to adhere to the meat. This is a crucial step in the making bacon process.

We tried several different spice combinations for the cure.  We did a BBQ blend, a sea salt and maple blend, black pepper and thyme, and a final combination of kosher salt, brown sugar and maple syrup.  This last one was the most successful in my opinion.

Finding the proper ratio is the tricky part.  On our first attempt we tried 2 parts salt to one part sweet – this batch turned out way too salty.  The second crack at it we tried a 1 to 1 ratio, but we found the end product was not salty enough.  In the first case, it is possible that all we needed to do was spend some more time rinsing the bellies after the curing process, but I’m not sure.

We have yet to try another combination, but I suspect something in between will get us where we want to be.  Since we use an outdoor cold smoking method, we won’t be able to try this out again until the winter – which of course in Ottawa, is never that far off…

Originally posted on FineDiners.ca

cold_smoker_v2_money_shot

After several days of research, planning and preparation, FineDiner Dave and I got together at my parents place this weekend to smoke some bacon.  This article is the first in our three-part Makin’ Bacon Series.

Other articles in this series will explain the Curing process we used, as well as the actual Smoking and finishing of the meat, and we’ll probably get into some of the things we did with the final product.  One thing’s for sure, Makin’ Bacon is FUN and we’ll be doing plenty more of it!
Continue reading “Makin’ Bacon Part 1: DIY Cold Smoker”

Originally posted on FineDiners.ca by Eric Rochon

oysters

So it’s quarter to twelve, my buddy Marc shows up with thirty or so east coast oysters. Actually from the Mallet Oyster company in New Brunswick, they were the St-Simon ones. One of his co-workers is from the east coast and has access to the supplier that ships them directly  to Ottawa. I love oysters, so we proceeded to shuck and eat a dozen RAW.  Marc suggested we cook the rest.
Continue reading “Midnight Snack – Oysters Rockefeller”

Originally posted on FineDiners.ca by Eric Rochon

The Money Shot
mmmm… steak

Busy night in the Kitchen – I was supposed to make Veal Stock.  When I was working for Biagio’s they used to dispose of the VEAL bones, so I took some home one night and froze them.  The freezer was full so I decided to make Veal stock – to my surprise, one of the two bags I pulled from the freezer was full of Chicken carcasses.  So I ended up making chicken stock – I guess I’ll post about the Veal stock another time.

Anyways, onto the butchery.  I love Costco’s meats.  Today during my shopping I purchased a Strip Loin. The Costco meat section offers Canada AAA grade beef. When purchasing the strip, I always look for good marbling. It’s sometime hard to see through the Cryovac, but if you look closely at the ends you can see the content. The strip is one of my favorite parts of the “beef”.  It’s fatty, flavourful and tender. I almost prefer this over the tenderloin. You can prepare it in several different fashions. In this article I cut NY style strip steaks and I also cut “Faux Fillets”.

Continue reading “Butchery 101 – Strip Loin”

Play Food & Wine

This is my first post @ finediners.ca

Just got back from Play food & wine, Stephen Beckta’s new “entreprise”.

This was it’s second day open to the public. The setting is quite stylish.

Being an industry person (cook) I immediately made my way to the kitchen to check it out. The kitchen is open concept, with all the bells and whistles. Spoke with the Chef (Michael Moffat and his crew). They were excited, told them I was looking forward to “play with their food”

Continue reading “Play Food & Wine”