Food Community

Blogger Night Out – Bouchee Boucher

About 6 weeks ago, I reviewed Bouchee Boucher, the new restaurant just down the street from St. Philip’s.  A little while later I received an invitation to a blogger evening at the restaurant. Naturally, having enjoyed myself previously, I made sure to set aside the time to attend.
The evening started at 6 pm. Upon entering we were welcomed and offered a Manitoba 16 cocktail. This beverage is made with 204 gin, chokecherry syrup, and Cava. It’s a fine sweet and tart combination. It was served with a spoonful of jam that added a nice finishing touch.

Blogger evening cocktail
204 Cocktail.

I was the first to arrive along with Alan and Amanda Pineda. While we waited for everyone to come together we wandered around the butcher shop area while enjoying some Duck Heart with Jalapeno Cream Cheese Dip, Fried Okra, with a Spicy Green Chili Sauce, and Roasted Chick Peas.

In a few minutes the rest of the group had arrived. This included Shel Zolkewich, Ian McCausland, Amanda Cortens, and Rebecca Hadfield, A most enjoyable group of bloggers to spend an evening with.

Butchering Demo

Once everyone had arrived, we were introduced to Dallas Black the butcher at Bouchee Boucher. Dallas has been honing his butcher skills for over twenty years starting as an apprentice at De Luca’s Dallas then took us through the steps in breaking down a half of a pig. Below is a video of him sawing his way through the ribs.
Here’s another one of Dallas operating the meat saw.

Blogger Dinner:

After Dallas’s demonstration we headed over to the Bouchee side of the establishment for our dinner. We weren’t the largest group, so we all fit quite nicely and comfortably around one table. The dishes were served in small plates fashion, and were shared en famille. While we ate, owners Alex and Danielle Svenne talked us through the philosophy behind the restaurant.
I’m not going to go through every dish we tried. In part because I didn’t get good photos of them all, Below however, is a gallery of several of the dishes. Also, in part because by the time you go they may not be on the menu.

Of the dishes shown I really enjoyed the lamb. It was superb, cooked medium rare with a lovely red wine reduction. I also really enjoyed the Jerusalem Arthichoke. I like both the dish’s taste, and the fact that the Jerusalem Artichokes themselves come from the South Osborne Permaculture Commons. The third dish I really enjoyed was the blood sausage with beet root topped with a soft cooked egg.
Back to the “it may not be one the menu next time bit.” That’s part of the philosophy behind Bouchee Boucher. They practice whole animal butchery and they go for seasonal and local whenever possible. That’s one of the reason you’ll find a dish such as blood sausage on the menu. None of the animal goes to waste.
This also means that they don’t carry large numbers of any one cut of meat. So, you may not get your strip loin every week. However, that’s counteracted by Bouchee Bouchee putting out a new menu every Thursday. Every week they get together and take the time to decide what will be taken off of the previous week’s menu and what will be put on to the new one. This process involves all the cooks in the kitchen contributing ideas. Too many cooks may spoil a given broth, but spreading their ideas over several dishes makes for delicious creativity.
For the diner, this may take getting some use to, especially if you like meatloaf every Monday. Fortunately the staff (who are excellent at their jobs) are also well trained in helping diners find new items that they will enjoy. It’s not so much a matter of taking diners out of their comfort zone, but helping them to appreciate new flavours that live within that zone. Little by little, that zone will expand.
We began at six and it was almost nine when we finally left. Yet, with great food and even better company the time slipped by with us barely even noticing. Thanks again to Alex and Danielle for the invite, and thanks to all my wonderful blogging friends for making it such a fantastic evening.

By Donald McKenzie

Anglican priest, and food blogger. This blog is focused on Food. It will feature reviews of places to eat books, and the odd recipe. I also write about what it means to gather together around food.