October 23, 2012

Sass was there: Toqué book launch at L'Arsenal

When I think of the restaurant Toqué, I think of three things:

-Extreme class
-French cuisine 
-The renowned chef Normand Laprise.

It was impossible for me to decline the invitation to their gastronomical book launch at l'Arsenal. Toqué is one of the top restaurants in Montreal: Zagat's first edition of their Guide to Montreal put Toqué at the top of their list and the restaurant was awarded the Five Diamonds rating (the highest rating) by the Canadian Automobile Association and the American Automobile Association, to name a few distinctions. And when I said "Damn the book is 70$! That's not a joke!" the restaurant's chef, Marc-Antoine Crête replied (well it was more like screamed): "DEUX ANS DE TRAVAIL QUE TU VOIS LÀ!! DEUX ANS DE TRAVAIL MA CHERE!!!!" (translation: This is two years of work! Two years of work lady!!!). Okay. He was right. Cool guy though.  

Now back to the event.

I did not know what to expect and was pleasantly surprised to enter the beautiful room and see a fresh oyster bar on my left, a wine bar in the middle, people serving horse tartar & tataki on my right (you read that right) and...food trucks. Yes. They brought food trucks inside of L'Arsenal. Wine tasting, good music, food, good looking people and the "crème de la crème" of Montreal's gastronomical scene. This "5 à 7" (our term for Happy Hour) was more like a 5 à 10 as this event turned into a party. 

Charles Antoine Crête, the chef at Toqué, having a drink.
while signing a book. 
One thing that got my attention was the "Ouache Bar"...Let me explain something: "Ouache is a word that naturally comes out of a French Quebecor's mouth following a reaction of disgust: It's our "Ew". So this Ouache bar had a bunch of disgusting shots. When I asked the bartender (dressed as a cow girl, by the way) what the drink was, she told me it was a bunch of stuff mixed together. I had a shot and...Ouache!!! Really gross. I'm sure many people still enjoyed them after a couple of wine glasses. Ha. 

Check out more pics and an interesting video after the break!

Special thanks to Paul Harry Toussaint for the invite. And thank you Evelyn Reid (from Montreal's About.com) and Christelle François for making this night even more fun!

Mmmm the deer burger from the Nouveau Palais food truck...mmmm

With Paul Harry Toussaint, the saucecook at Toqué and André Sterling,
the sous-chef at Brasserie T

The Nouveau Palais food truck

This is a tataki and tartar with...horse meat. It was good but...um..
I can't think about it too much. I won't be having it again.
I'm too sensitive. Horses are cute.
I had to take a pic of his fro!
Charles Antoine Crête signing a cookbook
My very blurry pic with Normand Laprise,
the owner of Toqué

Some of the drinks from the Ouache Bar

Fresh oysters! I think I ate at least 10

Horse meat...

The Grumman food truck

Awesome taco
My favorite wine that night!
Private import, only available at Toqué

With Christelle and Evelyn 

The book will be available at bookstores on October 24th. Check out the video below:

Restaurant Toqué
900 Place Jean Paul Riopelle
Montréal (Québec)
H2Z 2B2
RSVP is a must! Call (514) 499-2084
Prices: $$$
Check out the restaurant's website here

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