Review Duck Confit from PG Gastronomiques by Bill Wilkat 2018/10/25

Review of PG Plaisirs Gastronomiques Duck Confit

Duck Confit. Just the name peaks ones curiosity and it sounds enticing just to say it out loud LOL! A specialty of the Gascony region of France but served the world over, it’s one of the best French dishes you’ll ever have the pleasure of eating.

In my case, it’s probably one of the few dishes that I enjoy eating that have used salt to cure the meat and still tastes great, despite the fact that the sodium content is higher than many other recipes call for.  It’s rich and melt-in-your-mouth tender, and oh so favourable that many will drool just at the thought of eating it.  Given the lengthy preparation time and steps involved in making it from scratch, it’s not something that most home cooks will be ready and willing to make; except for a very special occasion.  In light of that, we are very fortunate to have found prepared Duck Confit in the grocery store can be easily served at home since all you need to do is heat it up for 20 minutes in the oven, and anther 5 under the broiler, and your celebration can begin!

Served with a wonderful red wine, ( l love it with Pinot Noir, Shiraz or Cabernet Sauvignon), a side of potatoes —usually cooked in duck fat—or rice and root vegetables; it’s a rare treat that you might like to make for your loved ones, or special dinner guests.  As such, I can highly recommend the PG Plaisirs Gastronomiques Brand of Duck Confit made in Broisbriand Quebec. (NOTE: This is a genuine review–I do not receive any compensation from this company for my endorsement!)

We (Vicki and I), buy the package that contains two servings of duck legs and have never been disappointed.  High quality, meaty and perfect; and while they don’t state the source of their ducks, I can honestly say they are as delicious as the famed “Brome Lake” ducks from Quebec.  Another bonus is that it’s properly vacuum-packed with a good amount of duck fat which we reserve for preparing fried potato wedges.  As this method of preparation was originally devised to preserve foods, you can keep these in your refrigerator for a very long time due to the lengthy shelf life often exceeding 6 months from the time of purchase.  Or you can freeze and thaw them when ready to indulge.

Another terrific way to serve this dish is as a salad and we’ve made that using a recipe from Quebec’s celebrity chef Ricardo.  There’s many different ways to prepare duck but for me Duck Confit ranks as the number choice and if you’ve never tried it, there’s no time like the present—especially when it’s this easy to prepare—enjoy!

Duck Confit Salad
Duck Confit with Rice Carrots & Beets


Review Of A & W’s Beyond Meat Veggie Burger by Bill Wilkat 2018/10/22

Review Of A & W’s “Beyond Meat” Veggie Burger and their Location at 915 Taunton Rd E, Oshawa, ON.

A & W’s Beyond Meat Burger

Every now and then I’m in the mood for a hamburger.  Generally we’ll make them ourselves and cook them up on the BBQ, and I often prefer to make them using ground pork since frankly, I found they made a better more satisfying burger.  Real beef lovers might disagree, and there’s no way to argue that as we all have our preferences.  However, I’ve also tried some veggie burgers and enjoyed those as well, and those included making Mark Bittman’s Bean Burger, as well as some sold by Yves Veggie Cuisine®; part of  Hain-Celestial Canada.

But, today we were out doing some shopping and I had become very curious about the veggie burger being advertised on TV by A & W, so we decided to drop into one of their locations on our way home.  Why this particular burger?  Well a friend of ours who has become a vegetarian told me about the “Beyond Meat” brand, and how she and her husband did not miss eating beef burgers since discovering them.  They work together creating a well-established blog called Pickled Plum, and they know good food, so naturally my interest was peaked; and I put it onto my list of things to try.  Now as it happens, this is a product that I was not able to readily find in Canada, except for at A & W.

I used Beyond Meat’s web site to locate their products and the only location it came up with within 10 miles of our home was the A & W we visited for lunch today.  Now I know we’re talking fast food here, so my expectations were not high to begin with, but I certainly was hoping for a better experience than what we had.  What ruined it for me personally was twofold: First they over-salted my onion rings, and those same onion rings were coated with a semi-soggy crust that seemed to be cornmeal based–yuck!  They were so bad and salty that I could not eat them–very sad, because years ago one of the things I loved best at A & W (aside from their frosty Root Beer), was their crispy onion rings.

Mind you, I want to focus on the “Beyond Meat Burger” as that was the real reason we were there to eat, and in that regard I can say that I was pleasantly surprised because the taste and texture of the patty was much like any fast food burger I’ve ever eaten; with the same taste and chew reminiscent of a beef burger.  I would not hesitate to order it again, except I would ask them to hold the pickle, (and maybe the cheese too), due to their high salt content that detracted from the flavours of the fresh lettuce and tomato as well as the patty itself.

My wife Vicki ordered a regular Mama Burger and fries and while her burger was fine, the fries were dry and mealy; typical of frozen french fries.  Plus they were pre-salted as well, and admittedly we did not ask them to hold the salt on either the fries or the onion rings because we did not remember to do so.  That being said, I feel it’s high time that all fast-food restaurants ask their customers if they would like them to be salted or not.  For my money, onion rings do not require any salting, and we’d both prefer to be able to control the level of salt used on our fries as well.  In this age of so-called “more health-conscious” consumers, you would think they’d get it by now!  That, and the fact that those of us with working taste buds don’t welcome abusing them.

On the upside, I was pleased to see that they did not use shredded lettuce as a lettuce leaf tends to be crisper and to stay put better within your burger.  Plus, the chilled drink mugs are a nice touch although way too large for average consumers like us–big eaters would likely disagree, but a 1/2 size mug would suit us better.

From a diner’s perspective the music pumped through the restaurant was way too loud and poorly selected.  Despite a polite request from a customer that entered after us, to turn the music level down, the onslaught of disturbing noise continued at the same annoying volume level through the speakers.

Pricing: $24.59 (taxes in) for our two burgers, one order each of fries and onion rings, and two drinks.  Value on a scale of 1 to 5, I rate this 2.5

Ambiance: Poor, noisy, and decor in need of a facelift

Service: Friendly, quick and efficient