The Hired Belly is a push-over for hearty, winter dishes, such as the pot au feu at Bistro Pastis, (2153 West 4th Ave., 604-731-5020) which we more than did justice to last week, when the winter rains were sluicing through Vancouver; and flu was threatening to force us to the sidelines.
We can’t say, for sure, but we’re almost certain this steaming bowl of goodness set us well on the road to recovery … The combination of braised beef shoulder, just-right salted bacon, succulent bone marrow and perfectly cooked turnip and carrots not only tasted superb but also just felt truly restorative.
Pot au feu is a cornerstone of traditional French cooking (Bourdain calls it “soul food for socialists!”) and (happily humming La Marseillaise, of course!) I found myself spooning every last drop of the immensely flavourful broth in which everything was swimming.
When you have some time, pour yourself a good glass (or two) and read Peter Hertzmann’s fascinating observations and insights into the place of pot au feu in French cuisine. Chances are, once you’ve finished, you’ll either want to make your own—or head over to Pastis and try some yourself.
The occasion? (Besides never passing up the prospect of lunch at Pastis…) To test drive some wines from Marquis Wine Club, including L’Ecume Pinot Noir 2010 (Willamette), a not too complicated, honestly fruity Pinot that turned out to be very comfortable with our ‘pot’, and the deliciously floral and aromatic Pfaffe Gentil 2010 (Alsace “noble” blend of Riesling, Gewurz, Pinot Gris, Sylvaner and Pinot Blanc)—which, come to think of it, wouldn’t be out of place with a turkey dinner…