This is, in short, the busiest time of the year for literary publishers here, perhaps even more so than elsewhere in Canada, since the Quebec industry takes its lead from France in its single-minded focus on the fall.
Le Grand Aïoli at Alexandraplatz, by Linda Leith26 June 2012
Yes, Virginia, it is still possible to make things happen without a lot of money. The secret is a lot of work, creative energy, and collaboration, in this case between Popcorn Youth, Kinfolk Magazine, Foodlab chef Michelle Marek, and a brand-new bar called Alexandraplatz, open just for the summer in a rugged corner of Esplanade.
People are sitting outside at a couple of picnic tables as you turn north from St. Zotique. Inside, long tables are set with baskets of bread, vases of flowers, and ice buckets with bottles of wine.
Co-hosts Natasha Pickowics and Theo Diamantis of Oenopole introduce the evening and the Domaine du Gros ‘Noré Bandol Rosé.
Chef Michelle Marek prepares the cheese
The meal consists of Le Grand Aïoli, breads and cheeses from Kamouraska, and a perfect strawberry tart. The wine is pale, nuanced, and perfect. The company is lively. Fun!
When you leave, about 10 p.m., the second sitting is starting to arrive. Up next, a September date at the newly opened PHI Centre space in Old Montreal. And, in the meantime, an opportunity to check out more of Marek’s work, with Seth Gabrielse, at Foodlab, or Labo culinaire, at SAT Société des arts technologiques on Saint-Laurent.
© Linda Leith 2012
July postscript: There's a great New York Times review of Foodlab here.