May & June favorites : Bar a Vin

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After more than nine months of not drinking, I’ve been able to enjoy a glass or two of wine (finally!). So, I was delighted to find out that one of my favorite pastry shops turns into a bar à vin after hours. I also went back to a Little Burgundy favorite and was able to fully enjoy the experience this time! Below are our May and June favorites.

Le Vin Papillon
2519 Rue Notre-Dame Ouest
Tues-Sat 3pm – 12 am
no reservations

This little burgundy gem has stolen my heart (and stomach) yet again! Last time I came I was only able to smell the wine… but this time we did more than that! Like all the Morin & McMillan establishments, Vin et Papillon boasts a well curated wine list of whites, reds, bubbles and Roses & Oranges that range from 40-185$. The menu is vegetable forward and features local & seasonal ingredients.

They have a lovely new terrasse where you can spend a sunny summer afternoon and stay well into the night….

Patrice Patissier
2360 Rue Notre-Dame Ouest
Bar à Vin hours: Thurs – Sat 5:30pm – 10:30pm
514-4395434

With Marie-Josée Beaudoin in front of house curating the wine and Patrice in the kitchen, this place is more the neighborhood pastry shop! With a small menu of composed of about 6-7 salty dishes, Quebec cheese, and otherworldly desserts its a perfect place for a cute date or girls night out.

The plating and the taste is wonderful, and the wine pairing suggestions were on point.

‘Le vert’ is quite possibly the best dessert in town!

Matcha Salt

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This simple seasoning is perfect for summer! Add it to grilled fish or seafood for a vibrant punch of color and taste.

Matcha brings a lovely green, grassy flavor that pairs wonderfully with seafood! The lemon zest helps liven up the mix.

What you need:
1 tbsp Maldon salt
1 tsp Matcha*
zest of one lemon

In a small bowl mix all ingredients together. Make sure salt crystals are well coated with matcha.

I like to add this seasoning in the last 30 sec of cooking. So if you are doing sauteed shrimp simply add the seasoning towards the end, toss and make sure the seafood is well coated (30 sec). Remove from heat serve and add some chopped herbs like cilantro and chives. Serve with lemon/lime wedges.
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*When making 3 ingredient recipes remember that the quality counts! I like using Maldon salt and good quality matcha (like Matcha Mastu or Grand Cru Matcha)

Current Favorites § March & April 2014

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Hope you are having a lovely day and that May is off to a great start! These past two months have been filled with tremendous joy as we welcomed the newest (and cutest!) little addition to our little family!

We have also enjoyed wonderful outings… here are our March & April favorites:

400 coups
400 Notre-Dame East
Dinner: Tues – Wednesday 5:30 – 10:30 pm
Thurs – Friday 5:30 – 11:00 pm
Lunch: Thurs – Friday 11:30 am -1:30 pm
(514) 985-0400

This old port resto has delicious food, an excellent wine list and one of the most beautiful plating this city has to offer… not to mention the amazing service! The dishes are wonderfully complex and refined, each dish boasts a myriad of colors & textures without being overwhelming. You should NOT skip dessert at this place- they are out of this world!

Impasto
48 Rue Dante
Dinner: Tues – Saturday 5:30 – 11:00 pm
Lunch: Thurs – Friday 11:30 – 2:00 pm
(514) 508-6508

Impasto’s menu features straight forward, nonna-style Italian food – Freshly homemade pastas & charcuterie, along with great seafood dishes. Extremely well priced, casual atmosphere and deliciously satisfying food- what more could you want?  Perfect for both lunch and dinner.

 Patrice Patissier
2630 Notre-Dame Ouest
Tues – Saturday 9:30 – 6:30 pm
Sunday 9:30 – 5:00 pm
Bar à vin: Thurs – Friday 5:30 – 10:30 pm {update about this in an upcoming post!}
514 439-5434

The new venture of Patrice Demers and Marie-Josee Beaudoin {two thirds of the dream team responsible for opening 400 coups} is perfectly situated in Little Burgundy. A bit of a coffee spot & patisserie that turns into a wine bar after 5:30 pm on Thursday and Friday nights. This place is perfect for a small brunch, a weekday lunch, or coffee and dessert; not to mention a cute date spot for wine and small savory dishes {more on this soon!}.

Weekday brunches at Arts Café
201 ave. Fairmount Ouest
Monday to Friday 9am-7pm
Saturday and Sunday 10am-5pm

Looking for Sunday style brunch mid-week? Head over to Arts Cafe. They serve good quality coffee {49th parallel} and a variety of brunch dishes, ranging from the classic Fairmount bagel or Belgian waffles, to Shakshouka or a spring Green salad with poached eggs.

Try them out and let me know what you think- Thanks for reading!

Current Favorites ~ February 2014

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February turned out to be a busy month! Weekends filled with food, friends and lots of planning! Here are a few of my current favorites.

Le Vin Papillon
2519 Notre Dame Ouest

Was super happy to finally try this quaint wine bar. I used to love McKiernan so was looking forward to trying Morin’s and McMillan’s “new” place. The menu is full of delicious sharing-style dishes that are very well priced. What I like the most is that the menu is mostly comprised of inventive vegetable plates {think : broccoli with bottarga, celery root bagna cauda} that pair wonderfully with the more protein rich ones {parfait de foie, shrimp…}. As always the service was amazing, too bad they don’t take reservations.

My husband was so inspired after our meal there, that he tried to recreate most of the dishes at home. Needless to say we were eating vegetables the rest of the weekend!

Tea time at Le Cardinal (salon de thé Cardinal)
5326 rue St. Laurent

What a perfect tea salon! Vintage bone china, beautiful decor and a stunning chandelier… but that is not the only great thing about Le Cardinal, I have to say their breads and pastries (which are all made in-house) are definitely their best feature!

Love their loafs, scones and cheddar & branston pickle sandwiches! They also have a nicely catered tea selection. Can’t wait to try their other cakes and tortes!

Rustique Pie
4615 Notre Dame O.

Ever since I tried these pies and sweet bars, I’ve been obsessed! Returning every week for a new stash, they are so addictive! Love their chocolate cream pie, pecan pie, and caramel cheese cake; lest I forget their delicious bars like the classic cheese cake, coconut lemon bar, and mocha cheese cake!
{sorry for the lack of diversity in the pictures I gobbled them up before I could take more!}

Brunch : H4C and Sparrow

sparrow- 5322 St. Laurent
H4C- 538 Place St. Henri

As mentioned in my brunch list {here} these two brunch places are delightful!

In the south-west Le H4C serves delicious brunches with a few options for the more adventurous (and hungry!) like ris de veau, quails, and Arctic char.

In the Plateau, the Sparrow offers classic brunch flare with a Montreal twist like the Neptune featured below {poached eggs served on cod cakes with a delicious herb hollandaise}, fluffy pancakes, or fried chicken and waffles.

Thanks for reading & have a great weekend!

Easy Valentine’s day recipe – Classic Fondue

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fondueFor all of you looking for an easy way to celebrate this romantic holiday, here is a recipe for you…

macarons

Fondue is great whether you are celebrating with your loved one, or with friends and family! We normally enjoy it by itself with a simple salad on the side and some nice desserts!
fondue whole view

Classic Fondue
serves 2-3 as a main dish

Ingredients
1/2 garlic clove
1/8 cup of Kirsch
1 tsp cornstarch
200 g of Gruyère, grated
200 g of Emmental, grated
3/4 c dry wine with nice acidity {such as Sauvignon blanc}
crusty, country style bread {breads made with yeast will help enhance the flavor of the cheese}

1. Rub the inside of the fondue pot with the garlic clove. Discard clove.
2. In the pot, combine cheese and wine. On a stove top heat mixture over medium-low, stirring constantly until the cheese is melted  {about 10 min}
3. Meanwhile, dissolve cornstarch in Kirsch.
4. Add dissolved cornstarch to cheese and stir until smooth {about 15 min}

Now transfer the fondue pot from the stove top to the stand and enjoy!

Drink pairing ~ to offset the richness of this dish, pair it with a dry white wine like Sauvignon blanc.
crusty bread

Hope you have a lovely Valentine’s Day!

El dia de la Candelaria – Feb 2

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Last Sunday night, while most were enjoying nachos and chicken wings, we were partaking in a different type of celebration, one that involved tamales and hot chocolate… ‘El día de la Candelaria.’

rosca de @latamalera

It all starts on January 6th with la Rosca de Reyes (a sweet oval shaped bread flavored with orange blossom, and typically decorated with dried fruit to symbolize a crown’s jewels). Similar to la Galette de rois here in Quebec, this ‘King’s cake’ hides a little trinket, and – in Mexican tradition- whoever gets this trinket will host the dinner of El día de la Candelaria celebrated on February 2nd. The dinner consists of tamales, both sweet and savoury {mole, verdes, rojos, rajas con queso} and atole or hot chocolate.

Having religious origins { Fiesta de presentacion, Virgen de la Candelaria} this celebration dates back to pre-hispanic times, when native civilizations would offer corn to their gods in hope of being rewarded with good weather in the coming agricultural cycle. This offering would take place on the 11th day of the ancient Aztec calendar which coincides with February 2nd. Hence why we eat tamales and atole during this festivity!

tamal rojo

Like many traditions, this fusion of catholic and native celebrations is now ingrained in Mexican culture and has become a part of our identity. Hope you enjoy this little bit on food traditions.

Thanks to my sister for hosting and @latamalera for the yummy tamales

Brunch in Montreal

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One of my absolute favorite things to do is going out for Brunch. Having a leisurely morning with the hubby trying out new places… what could be better than that? Here is a list of some of our favorite places.

Le Plateau

ARTS CAFÉ – This quaint neighborhood place offers brunch until 5pm!
201 ave. Fairmount Ouest
Monday to Friday 9am-7pm
Saturday and Sunday 10am-5pm

LE COMPTOIR – One of the best brunches in Montreal.
4807 Boul. St Laurent
Sunday 10:30 am – 2 pm

LAWRENCE – Delicious menu and amazing scones!
5201 Boul. St Laurent
Saturday and Sunday 10 am – 3 pm

PASSÉ COMPOSÉ - This place serves brunch from Wednesday to Sunday. Must try the poches eggs with foie gras or duck and their delicious grilled cheese sandwiches.
950 rue Roi East
Wednesday through Sunday 8:30 am – 2:30 pm

LA TAMALERA – Looking for an authentic Mexican breakfast? Look no further!
226 ave. Fairmount Ouest
Saturday and Sunday 11 am – 2 pm

THE SPARROW / LE MOINEAU – {UPDATE} went back to this little gem and they didn’t disappoint! Delicious dishes (think poached eggs, cod cakes and herb hollandaise), chicken and waffles, fluffy pancakes, and good coffee!
5322 Boul. St Laurent
Saturday and Sunday 10 am –  3:30 pm

LE CHIEN FUMANT – Big portions and big flavor.
4710 De Lanaudiere
Sunday 10 am – 2 pm

Rosemont/La Petit Patrie

JULIETA - Delicious South American breakfast! Love ‘el Caraqueño’ and their coffee.
67 rue Beaubien Est
Saturday and Sunday 10 am – 2:30 pm

PASTAGA – Delicious brunch, must try their amazing sweets!
6389 boul. St Laurent
Saturday and Sunday 10 am – 2 pm

Sud-Ouest

CAFÉ BLOOM – Family friendly brunch cafe with yummy treats and great coffee!
1940 rue du Centre
Saturday and Sunday 9 am – 3 pm

GRIFFINTOWN - Despite it’s change in management (and personnel) it still has its yummy menu.
1378 rue Notre Dame Ouest
Saturday, Sunday and Holiday Mondays 10 am – 3pm

H4C – Offering a delicious and unique menu, le H4C is perfect for those yearning for a treat! Love their perfectly portioned complex dishes {think quails, ris de veau} as well as their more classic ones (pancakes, eggs bénédictine) . Their beignets are a must try!
538 Place St. Henri
Sunday 10 am – 3 pm

Ville-Marie

DE FARINE & D’EAU FRAICHE - yummy pastries and sandwiches.
1701 rue Amherst
Saturday 9 am – 1 pm
Sunday 10 am – 1 pm

TONG SING – Dim Sum, not as fancy as other places but great flavor!
43 rue De La Gauchetiere
Everyday 9 am – 3 pm

This is an ongoing list of the brunch places we have tried and loved. We’ll keep adding as we scout new places- currently wanting to try H4C and Lili Co.

Christmas Menu Inspiration

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One of the things I look forward to the most- come the holiday season- is planning Christmas Eve’s dinner. I love perusing glossy magazines, blogs and the web for inspiration.
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Looking for a theme or an ingredient.. getting inspired by a special dish or a longstanding family tradition.
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Inviting loved ones into the conversation- getting one another excited about this special celebration.

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These past two Christmas Menu’s have been inspired by Nona’s Italian roots.. so this year we are perhaps looking to a new destination…

Here are a few lovely links if you too are looking for inspiration:

~A favorite family tradition : Bacalao a la Vizcaina
~A little French influence : Mousse de foie de voilaille & this lovely soup
~A stunning little starter : Smoked Trout with cactus leaf
~This potato gratin or perhaps this one
~What about some duck, or a perfect roast suckling roast here or a boneless one here or a light lobster stew
~Let’s not forget about this simple dessert or the pretty ones here

Arabic food inspiration

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A little food inspiration from this summer….

Mezze
labneh with za'atarLabneh with za’atar

fattoushFattouch

labneh

Main Dishes

Hawawshi
Hawawshi~ Minced meat cooked in bread

mansaf
Mansaf~ Lamb cooked in jameed over a bed of saffron rice and bread

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Hope you enjoy it!

La Tamalera

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Looking for a fix of Mexican food?

Look no further- La Tamalera is as authentic as it gets!

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Set in Mile End amids a fun kitschy decor, La Tamalera offers a hole in the wall experience, typical of small eateries in Mexico.

With a small menu featuring classic Mexican dishes like chilaquiles, tacos de barbacoa, enchiladas, or tortas de milanesa, as well as ‘aguas frescas’ La tamalera will hit the spot!
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Nellie, a passionate chef and talented pastry maker, is behind this whole operation. She serves homemade tortillas, authentic tacos and hand made tamales! Not to mention her delicious fresh sweet bread.

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The menu has seasonal updates ranging from chiles rellenos to tacos al pastor, tacos de flor de jamaica, ensalada de sandia (watermelon salad). The Tamalera also offers yummy brunches (think pozole, or huevos al gusto). Hope you enjoy it as much as we did!

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La Tamalera
226 Ave. Fairmount West
Montréal, QC H2T 2M7
(438) 381-5034

Open
Mon-Fri 11 am – 9 pm
Sat 11 am – 7pm
Sun 11 am – 3 pm