Archive for the ‘Food’ Category

Beer, cupcakes and JT

I got up to many exciting things this weekend in our fine city. Held again at the Windsor station, the International Beer Fest, Mondial de la Bière was packed to full capacity. If you don’t mind huge crowds and the occasional jostling of one’s beer mug by unaware and rowdy beer enthusiasts, the beer fest is for you. I hope they think of either extending the length of the event by a couple days next year or at least having it in a venue that can house more bodies more comfortably. The line-up to get in went halfway around the block, but it moved swiftly enough. My friends and I proceeded to sample the wonderful variety of beers, pausing to enjoy a boar-meat hamburger or bison and venison brochettes.

Sunday afternoon was spent ambling along Notre Dame, nursing a small hangover in the neighbourhood of Little Burgundy. I stopped by Itsy Bitsy, a relatively new shop dedicated to gorgeous little cupcakes. They also sell homemade gelato in exciting flavours like macha green tea and spicy ginger-chocolate, fruit sorbets and cute little household pieces. The staff is friendly, the store design is lovely, my only complaint is with regards to the sickly sweet smell of pure sugar that hangs about in the air. Barring that, it’s a nice place to pop in and indulge a sweet tooth.

In celebrity spottings, I have yet to have any Brad Pitt sightings, but I did swoon appropriately as Justin Trudeau passed me by on Ste. Catherine street not long after I left the beerfest.

Yummy in my Tummy

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I haven’t had much to write about lately because I’ve been in a funk with some personal matters. However, I guess the upside to things would be that when in woe, food is always a comforting companion. So with that in mind, I’ve been putting some junk in the trunk and I thought I would share my latest food obsession. Cheskie’s bakery on the corner of Bernard and Parc was voted second best bakery in the annual Montreal Mirror Best of Montreal poll. I have to admit that I’ve only been to this Jewish bakery a handful of times. But I think I’m going to make it my mission to eventually try every baked good they make because frankly, everything looks so sinfully good when you walk in there. It’s a treat to walk up Parc on a Sunday afternoon and stop at Cheskie’s for a little sweet somethin’. Don’t however, attempt to do this on a Saturday because you’ll find it closed for Shabbat. So today, I got this. (I am clueless when it comes to photography and lighting so the coloring in the picture doesn’t really do it justice. Just imagine it to be more yellow and the topping less grey.) The girl behind the counter said it was cheesecake but I have to say, I don’t think it was cheesecake. It was good but not cheesecake. I can report that it was definitely moist and cakey and very rich. The sprinkling of icing sugar was divine and the milky topping with a hint of chocolate was a nice touch. Mmmm. (FYI – Cost: $2.)

Rum and Escargot

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On the cold and rainy early evening that was Sunday, a friend and I nipped into a favoured haunt of mine, Barraca on Mont-Royal. I have been a few times to this unpretentious rum bar, but this was the first time I decided to try the tapas menu. I was duly impressed. We had escargots in a compote of tomatoes, figs, sage, cider and melted chevre, as well as the xeres-scented chicken cassoulet nestled in an artichoke puree served with orange and rosemary. This went rather well with a glass of 12 year Appleton rum, I must say.

Feed the rich, give to the poor

Last night was gastronomically spent at a restaurant a friend and I stumbled upon called Robin des Bois. A charming non-profit establishment, they put forth an interesting concept of a restaurant where all the proceeds, after covering the cost of food and cook goes directly to local charities. The waiters all work on a volunteer basis and the food is quite delicious.

The “daal” lentil soup with coriander and a dollop of sour cream was excellent, and my “noix” of venison over swiss chard in spiced orange oil and accompanied by a purée of parsnip and tarragon butter melted in the mouth. The prices are very reasonable, the wine list is small but significant, and the staff are friendly, relaxed and unpretentious. Give back to the community by having a wonderful meal! Definitely recommended.

Robin des Bois – le resto bienfaiteur: 4403, boul. boul. Saint-Laurent (corner Marie-Anne) 514.288.1010

Area off limits

This just in, one of my favourite, favourite restaurants in this city has announced its closing in today’s Gazette. I am not happy about this.

Little Sheep in Montreal

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After reading a restaurant review about a Chinese chain of restaurants called “Little Sheep” specializing in Mongolian hot pot, I decided to check out the first Montreal location . We arrived at the Chinatown eatery smack dab at the corner of de La Gauchetiere and Clark streets around 1:30 and the place was packed with the weekend lunchtime crowd. The upstairs locale appears to be completely renovated. It’s spacious, bright, and modern with plenty of comfortable seating. The difference from other restaurants is that set in the center of each table is a flat glass cook top with digital controls. All around the restaurant are nice touches of mongolian type decorations including a line of little sheep across the top of the refrigerated buffet. The staff appear to be all mandarin speaking and so do many of the customers but it is afterall, a global chain from China. We waited a bit for our table and soon we were seated and ready to get down to the hot potting.

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The mythical Taco Bell

I finally got out to the West Island for a taste of Taco Bell. The only Taco Bell in Montreal is quite a trek, way out in Pierrefonds, at the corner of Boulevard des Sources and Pierrefonds. We arrived right when they opened at 11am as I had heard it gets quite crowded. The menu is rather limited but includes tacos and burritos.April%20007.jpg I requested a bean burrito which wasn’t on the menu, “No meat?” the clerk asked. I should have taken it with meat as the beans were funny tasting. Even spouse admitted that they had a “drôle” taste. The taco supremes were good, but it was served with a kind of Mexican take on poutine. French-fries with melted cheese sauce, a dab of taco meat, tomatoes and sour cream. It was pretty tasty actually, although I’m not a big fan of the cheese sauce. Another funny thing I noticed was that the hot sauce was carefully divvied out to customers. In most taco bells I’ve been to, the hot sauce packets are out on the counter, where customers can grab handfuls. Not here. Two per customer. I’m glad I went, but I’m in no hurry to go back.

Équiterre- Organic food basket season is coming

Community Supported Agriculture is an excellent way to get to know your food both in the context of receiving tasty food baskets as well as being able to help out on the farm itself or stopping in to hang out and dig in the soil.

With roughly 77 farms that sell their organic veggies and meats to consumers, roughly 7,500 applications for weekly food baskets resulting in over 20,000 happy fully bellies here in Quebec.

For more information, check out this link

A Hot Economic Climate

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According to The Economist, Germany is running out of land to make eiswein (ice wine) — not because of overdevelopment but because of climate change. The German vinyards aren’t getting cold enough for the grapes to freeze on the vine, which is what concentrates the sugars and makes ice wine so scrumptious.

Bad news for the future of the planet, but a boon to the Canadian wine industry. (Note to growers: please stop trying to make Cabernet north of 40. We won’t have a proper Mediterranean climate for, well, at least a few years.)

Plagiarism at Metro

Biscuit Vio (link is gone) got the ball rolling while others like Pierre-Leon and Philippe are making sure that this story gets ample coverage.

A classic case of blogger plagiarism by a big company. Assuming you can read French, check out this recipe (sorry, link gone) from Mitaine ecarlate. Now saunter over to an identical recipe (third link gone) from the Metro web page.

Professsion: Epicier Copieur

[update] I have just been informed that the offending page has been taken down. Unfortunately for them, I had also saved it as a PDF file.

[update 2] It appears that the situation has been somehow resolved which includes removing all traces that it ever existed.

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