Thursday, 13 June 2013

Little Duckers

For the reviewing of Little Duckers "When Sticky Pigs Fly," I thought I'd bring along a little pig and a little pig farmer for the tasting.
When I was growing up I remember my mother always had a jar of chicken fat on the stove that she used to cook with. Schmaltz was the lifeblood of any Jewish household, flowing through our veins like the sludge of memory itself, rich with the nostalgia of family, especially those who had passed away, mainly from cardiac arrest from eating too much stuff cooked in chicken fat in the first place. Mt. Sinai Hospital really should have had their own chicken fat casualty ward. As my father always says, fat is where the flavour is. And what chicken fat is to the Jews, duck fat is to the French. And they have a fancier name for it too. Graisse de canard as opposed to schmaltz. Evokes a whole different image. You get a suave beret-sporting man with a baguette in one hand and the memoirs of Jean-Paul Sartre in the other instead of Moishe Goldfarb with his shorts pulled up to his chest, white socks pulled up to his knees, floral print Rayon shirt barely covering his paunch and a cigar stuck in the corner of his mouth that he removes only to take another bite of schmaltz-slathered pastrami during a poker game before hitting the schvitz to sweat out some of the meat debris. The fact is, you can add duck fat to just about anything and spiffy up the most lowly of dishes just through associating with this web-footed bird and its fancy French pedigree whereas with chicken fat you just get a heart attack, and if you live, a lifetime of Jello and steamed broccoli. Plus duck fat tastes really good and things done up in duck fat taste doubly delicious, except perhaps a duck fat Slushie. But it's this culinary knowledge that's the brainstorm behind bistro's new take-out window theme (last year it was bacon) on Granville Island, a bona fide no-brainer of donut holes cooked in duck fat that actually took a bit of brains to conceive of in the first place. The call was put out to all the good citizens of Vancouver to come up with a winning idea and it was Kim Payne who dreamed up donut holes as the take-out window's focus. The Edible Canada team took it one step further and figured frying them in duck fat couldn't hurt. Duck fat, donuts, what's not to like? Now I know what you're saying. Why pay six bucks for five of these critters when I could make these at home easily?
All you need is one of these:
and a few of these:
Then you simply squeeze the duck to get the fat out. This is the difficult part because the duck will probably put up a fight. After you've been nipped by a duck beak a few times and have the sound of angry quacks haunting your dreams, you may want to rethink the situation and just head down to Granville Island and grab an order of the aptly dubbed "Little Duckers." In four finger-licking, lap-dripping, artery-clogging flavours none the less. It's not the duck fat that will do in you in actually but more the dough and toppings that are the culprits. Nevertheless, who cares when such pleasures await the adventurous palate and the donut hole connoisseur. There's Bring The Payne with spicy maple syrup and sea salt, Nutty Duckers, an homage to Fraser Valley honey with Agassiz hazelnuts, Chubs MaGrubs hiding a foie gras core and sporting a sea-salted caramel sauce toupee or my sampling of the day, When Sticky Pigs Fly, a veritable symphony of double smoked bacon, salted caramel and warm chocolate sauce adorning the donut balls of delight. So, the verdict. Well, I had to fight off an inanimate plastic pig (pictured below), who came to life like a Playmobil zombie when he got a whiff of these things. Does that give you a sense of this savoury and sweet composition? I also had to fight off my wife, which was no easy task because she's tough as nails when it comes to wrestling for dessert. But luckily the close quarters of the mini van worked in my favour because her seat belt strap got caught in the door while I chose to stay unbuckled and thus had the advantage. The duck fat, besides the flavour, definitely creates a density and delectable crust in the doughy coating although I was a little surprised that the interior wasn't a little lighter and fluffier. But that could be due to the fact that I didn't gobble them down immediately as I wanted to race back to the old mini van to set up my photo shoot. Still, twenty minutes later with one donut hole left as I was driving down Fraser, at the first red light I hit I wolfed it down like it was my last meal. Honestly it's a marriage made in heaven, or hell, depending on how you think but who cares as long as these donut holes are there to keep you company. Their slogan is "So Duckn' Good," and all I can say is "damned fuckin' right" if you ask me. Available at the take-out window 11am to 7pm daily all summer long.
I can see paradise by the dashboard light but it's no meat loaf for me. Actually it looks like Meat Loaf lived on a diet of these things and if this watchful pig pictured above ever grew wings like the object of his desire's namesake that he's sniffing, he still wouldn't get off the ground after a plate of these doughy, bacon-studded treats.

1 comment:

  1. Uptight white guy became a pig farmer! I always wondered what happened to that guy.