Montreal Foodie Trip – 2016

This is one post that I’ve been neeeeeeeeeding to write (but couldn’t do so earlier due to Ramadan/work).  And since this was about Montreal, it was an extra special post!

This trip was quite different from my last Montreal trip in that I tried food from different places!  Actually, to tell you the truth, in this trip I was looking for the best croissants and Italian coffee/treats.  Here were the highlights:

  1. Croissants from Patisserie Kouign-Amann, Le Plateau Mont-Royal – The pain au chocolat, plain butter croissants and the almond croissants were to die for!! They were so warm, soft, buttery and very light. I have always visited this place, but used to go just for the kouign-amanns, but this place is now considered my GO-TO place for croissants 🙂img_7976
  2. Pastries from Mamie Clafoutis (various locations) – They also had amaaaaazing pistachio croissants, pistachio/choc croissants, “au mon dieu” croissants (very chocolatey ones) and other pastries.  These were on the sweeter side as they were topped with icing sugar.  You have to go here early in order to get hold of the pistachio croissants.img_7714-1
  3. Fresh ice cream from Kem Coba – This place is known for its fresh and unusual flavours of ice-cream.  There are usually 2 different choices of soft ice cream every 2 weeks (I usually have a mixture of both) and about 6-10 choices of regular ice cream. On the 2 weeks visit to Montreal, I had Kem Coba 3 times 🙂  Be prepared to wait in the queue for around 30 mins or so.
  4. Affogato from Cafe Olympia – Their espresso (strong and not bitter) over a bowl of vanilla ice-cream (s000000 creamy and tasty) was divine!img_7981
  5. Cappuccino from San Simeon – A relatively new italian coffee place
  6. Doughnuts from San Gennaro – A modern Italian cafe place; they sell “Bombolone”, which are light and small doughnuts filled with either nutella or vanilla cream.  These were so light, fresh and not too sweet!
  7. Cannoli from Pasticceria Alati-Caserta – A wide selection of cannoli and other Italian pastries were available here; but I chose the original. These are prepared as you order. The ricotta cream stuffed inside the shell was really fresh and tasty.
  8. Latte and croissant from Cafe Myriade – Cafe Myriade will always be on my list of places to visit in Montreal.  I just love their lattes, cookies, brownies, plain croissants and muffins!  My Montreal trips are incomplete without visiting this place.

    Half eaten of course
  9. Hot chocolate from Cacao 70 – In my previous post of Montreal trip, I wrote that Juliette et Chocolat served the best hot chocolate.  However, on this trip, I tried a dark hot chocolate from Cacao 70’s special chocolate menu called “75% Tanzania”.  This was sharp chocolate with fruity and spicy notes!  I liked the fact that pure melted chocolate was served in one glass and liquid (thin chocolate milk) in another.  The point of this was so that we could mix the chocolate with the liquid as to how thick or thin we wanted.  I was really impressed with the quality here.  And as usual, I didn’t miss out on the triple chocolate cake 🙂
  10. Poutine from Poutineville – Previously, I said that La Banquise served the best poutine! However, after trying this, OMmmmmmmmmGggggg. This was the ultimate poutine. You can either select a choice from their menu or you can make your own.  In order to make your own, it’s pretty simple: you tick off some checkboxes on their order sheet.  I chose their special base (hand crushed potatoes rather than the usual fries) with mozzarella, spicy poutine sauce and jalopenos!  Since I’m Bangladeshi, the spices in this poutine as well as the freshly hand cut potatoes really blew my mind 😀 And my Montrealer friend and myself could not stop bragging about this for a month!
  11. Brunch at Fabergé – I went to this place to have their “Chicken and Waffles”. Waffles topped up with fried boneless chicken with a side of spicy coleslaw, BBQ sauce (not too sweet, made in-house), home fries and seasonal fruits!  I also added a poached egg on top (for me breakfast isn’t complete without an egg).  This was so filling and satisfying; I loved the combo of waffles, fried chicken with the delicious sauces.  P.S: Went to Kem Koba after this cuz it was right across the road!
  12. Vegetarian food at Lola Rosa Café – My vegetarian friend treated me to food at this tiny, crowdy little cafe situated near McGill University.  I ordered the “3 Cheese and Spinach Lasagna”. Cheeses consisted of mozzarella, cottage cheese and leek bechamelle sauce, and was served with a side salad.  Lasagna was so so good.  Portion was very decent and I was 100% satisfied with this vege meal!
  13. Quebec food at Le Quartier Général – Last, but not least, we had a full dinner at this Québécois restaurant! Prob one of the top resto’s I’ve been to in Montreal.  Read more here

I tried other places too, which were good but they didn’t hit my “favourite” list.

  • C’ChoColat – We went for the popular presentable chocolate dome dessert. It looked like a chocolate dome with a drizzle of hot caramel on top that melted the dome to uncover gelato, brownies, waffles underneath.  This was one creative and entertaining plate. Unless you have an insatiable sweet tooth, I recommend sharing. For Montreal’s standard, Cacao 70 and Juliette et Chocolat still stand out above this place.  I’d have to say that I was extremely disappointed with their service. Ex: Our drinks were served to us after we finished eating, we were served one napkin between the both of us and the service was extremely slow.
  • Léché Desserts – This place is famous for their fresh doughnuts.  I find them to be American style big doughnuts (rather than the small European ones) and they have unique flavours.  I wanted the grapefruit and also the pistachio flavours, but they didn’t have any.  They are known for the passionfruit doughnut (hubby said it’s really good), but I found them too big and sweet for my taste.  I prefer smaller fresher cream doughnuts – but that’s cuz those are the ones I grew up having.

 

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Le Quartier Général, Montreal

I came back from my Montreal trip last week and since then it’s been a busy month for me!  However, I thought I better write all about my food slowly, before I totally forget all the details!

This “Quebecois” bistro is situated is a hidden gem in the area of Plateau Mont-Royal!

I have to say that this meal was the highlight of my trip.


Food

For around $45 each, we got a salad or soup, starter, main dish and a dessert.

Starters:

Salad or Soup: I started off having a salad because the cold tomato soup did not appeal to me. My-oh-my, I thought “If a basic salad can be that fresh and tasty, then how tasty can my main meals and desserts be?” It was a bed of rocket leaves topped up with grated veg such as carrots and had a vinaigrette dressing (which was a bit sweet) and not tangy!  The cold tomato soup on the other hand was just as expected.


We were accompanied by a basket of bread which kept coming and coming – ohhhh I’ve missed the bread in Montreal.


Foie gras: I’ve only had duck foie gras once and this was at a well known food truck and I did not like it.  However this was simply amazing! It didn’t have that strong “foie gras” smell and was very rich. It was worth the extra $9 compared to other starters.


Tuna: medium rare topped up with crispy beets, watercress and a creamy delicious dressing (which I literally licked off the plate!!)


Main dishes:


All the menu items were displayed on the blackboard and were very, VERY well described by the waitress.  Number of items were limited, but this showed the fact that they cooked food using real ingredients and whatever was in the current market/season.  The main dishes on the menu consisted of the following:

  • Quebec Veal
  • Alberta Lamb
  • Boston Cod
  • Marieville Duck
  • Gaspor Pork
  • Standstead Rabbit

So as you see, each item was from a particular province.  Now I’d normally go for the lamb, but coming from Alberta, I really wanted to try something more local! So I opted for the Quebec Veal.  I gotta say that this was the PERFECT meal for me. The veal was on top of mashed potatoes!!!!! And this mashed potato was the tastiest mashed potato that I’ve ever had in my life! – so creamy, buttery and light! This was covered with veal gravy and a side of sautéed cherry tomatoes and bok choy  (ok my mouth is watering right now!)


Hubby had the Marieville Duck (medium cooked breasts) topped over a carrot puree with some veg such as turnips.

Desserts:

I needed something light so I opted for a creme brûlée rather than my typical choice of a chocolate dessert.  This was great as expected – I mean, come-on…how amazing can creme brûlée get? The top was crunchy, but it was a little burnt.  Therefore, I could taste a bit of bitterness.


Hubby had a lemon tart, which I could not comment (since I was enjoying my own dessert).


A friend had chosen the chocolate dessert.  This was quite unusual: it was not a cake, nor a mousse; something in between!  It was not heavy, had a biscuit base and a citrus twist!  If you do not like “too rich chocolate” then this would be great for your tastebuds because the orange does settle down the chocolate!


Service

Hands down, this was one of the best services that I have received.  The waitress had so much patience to explain each and every menu item (even though I requested a second round of explanation). Although the bistro was full, I did not get a hint of her being annoyed by our questions. Bread kept coming and our glasses got filled up with water on a regular basis.   Although the place was full, we could still hear each other (i.e. wasn’t so loud!). Place was comfy, but there were some breeze as the doors were open on both sides.

Conclusion

If you want a good French meal from start to finish, I definitely recommend coming to this place!

Double Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookie @ Tim Hortons

  

 I’m generally not a big fan of “Timmy’s” as I don’t drink coffee.

To those non-Canadians, Tim Hortons is a Canadian fast food restaurant, known for its coffee and doughnuts! They’re basically everywhere and stuff are highly affordable.

However this double chocolate chip peanut butter caught my eyes today and I simply couldn’t resist! After eating half of it, I realized that I should actually blog it! 😀

Very soft on the inside and chewy on the outside. What makes this different to other cookies is that it has a layer of soft, creamy peanut butter inside it. The richness of the chocolate and the creamy peanut butter really did it for me 🙂

I think this is seasonal, so I suggest to try it out while it lasts!

Bagel at St Viateur, D.D.O, Montreal

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St Viateur and Fairmount are 2 of Montreal’s famous bagel shops.  Since St Viateur had opened at another location (in the West Island area), I decided to pop by.  This was located at the corner of Boulevard Brunswick and Avenue Tecumseh.

To my surprise, there were a lot of seating spaces and a large parking lot.  As you enter the door, there is a counter where they sell bagels (and other products) to go.  The cafe was on the right far end of the shop.

I ordered the “Traditional” bagel (smoked salmon, cream cheese, tomatoes, onions, capers and lemon) and my friend ordered the “Wow!” (spicy marinated eggplant, lettuce, goat cheese, sun-dried tomatoes, pesto).  Both were served with fruits.

Both the bagels were really good and filling.  The only slight complaint was that the bagel wasn’t that hot; perhaps because the filling was cold.  However, the bagels were toasted in front of us.

We both ordered cappuccino and it was really good! Service was very fast too.

At a total cost of around $26 for 2 people (2 special filling bagels and coffee), I’d say it was worth it. It’s a nice place to hang out in a calm area with lots of natural sunlight! We need more places like this in the West Island of Montreal!

My Montreal Express Trip!

I went for a 5 day trip back to Montreal (the city where I lived for about 7 years before moving to Calgary).  Other than my family (husband’s side) and friends, there is one thing that I miss the most: FOOD.  I’ve never experienced a wide variety of food (from different countries) other than in Montreal.

As a foodie, I had a “foodie list” for Montreal, which I’d like to share with you!  I could have written a longer list, but I tried to be realistic for 5 days and it was a tight one.  At the end, I could not go to every place on my list, but I did enough; even more than what my stomach could handle 🙂

  1. Macarons – In general, Montreal offers a large selection of macarons from different boutiques.  Although I admire the ones from La Maison du Macarons, I go to the one near to where my family lives: Chocolats Privilege.  At $10 for 6, I find it affordable! I love the dark chocolate ones, but they didn’t have any at that point.  The raspberry ones were just as great (as recommended by my 5 year old nephew!).
  2. Café Myriade – I just love everything about this coffee place, except the seating (there are never any seats free!!).  This is the best mocha that I’ve ever had (made from real chocolate rather than the syrup) and the smoothest, caramelised feeling lattes.  I also love their brownies and muffins!
  3. Juliette et Chocolat – This is probably the best hot chocolate in the world.  I opted for the seasonal pumpkin brownie…mmm
  4. Cacao 70 – They sell the best chocolate cake in the world (I’d call it more like chocolate pudding because of it’s layers of mousse, coffee, cake and sauce).  If they’d open one up in Calgary, I’d be the happiest person on earth…well almost! 🙂
  5. Chinatown – There’s nothing like Chinese in Chinatown!  We went to La Maison VIP where they sell grilled lobsters.  So much choice and more affordable than the west of Canada.
  6. Pushap – Although it’s a “cheap eat” kind of place, I do miss this place.  They are known for it’s affordable, homemade vegetarian food.  My favourite is the Thali, which comes with 3 curries, rice, salad and bhatura bread.  The atmosphere is homely and service is good.  At $6 a meal for really fresh food, you can’t go wrong.
  7. Poutine at La Banquise– I’ve never been a big fan of poutine because I just don’t like cheese curds, but La Banquise famous poutine place offers mozzerella cheese instead of the usual cheese curds.  I like it because of its variety of toppings and freshly cut french fries.
  8. Chocolates – Montreal has a lot of chocolate boutiques that sell some of the finest chocolates. Les Chocolats Belge in Pointe Claire sells Neauhaus (Belgian) chocolates.  Other places such as Leonidas, Chocolats Grandbois Genevieve and Divine Chocolatier are great too!  Too bad, I did not have any time to have chocolates there!
  9. Bagel at St Viateur – Montreal is known for its fresh bagels.  Luckily, one opened up in the west island area and this requires a review on its own!

Other than downtown, I love to hang around Pointe Claire Village.  It’s an area near the lake which has small lovely boutiques. I normally like to go there for ice cream in the summer at La Bilboquet (and there is Wild Willys ice cream too!).  This time I came across a very cute decor shop and an NHL shop “La Cabane D’Oiseaux” (that sold all kinds of merchandise).

As well as my list above, we also went to a Pakistani restaurant (Salateen), Afghani restaurant (Fenêtre Sur Kaboul read here for the full review) and a Schezuan Restaurant (La Perle – buffet).  All were amazing.

I can’t wait to return next year! And next time, I’ll aim to try out other coffee places and chocolate boutiques! Afterall, there is nothing like enjoying coffee and chocolate with friends 🙂

 

 

 

New Vegan place at Copperbranch, Montréal 

  
This is a new vegan place that has recently opened in various locations in Montréal.

We ordered the following:

  • Asian Fusion Powerbowl: that had smoked tofu and vegetables 
  • Burger 
  • Carrot Keftedes 

The Powerbowl was a huge portion. The tofu was very tasty, but everything else was slightly on the raw side and was little cold.  It contained very little seasoning, but it was served with a sauce (which didn’t help that much).

The burger was quite small; so if you’re really hungry, you have to order more food.  This is a quite popular dish here and is meant to taste like meat, but I found the party a bit dry and a little tasteless.

I was told that the Carrot Keftedes was really good. This was sweet but was not cooked, nor raw. It wasn’t that warm either.

Service- very slow, but the sales lady was quite new and she kept apologizing for the delay.

Ambiance – consisted of wooden chairs and a few benches; no music. It’s more of like a subway kind of place but brighter.  However for a “higher than subway price”, I would expect a little more from them.

I wouldn’t come back because of the poor ambiance and the somewhat cold food. I would try other vegan/ vegetarian restaurants in Montréal.

Great Kabob at Fenêtre Sur Kaboul, Montréal

 

Ashak
  
  Qubuli Pilow  
  Kabob   
 
This is an upscale casual Afghan Restaurant, situated in downtown Montreal.

For starters I ordered Ashak (homemade Afghan-style ravioli filled with fresh leek and coriander, topped with homemade garlic yogurt and seasoned minced meat sauce, sprinkled with mint). This wasn’t spicy (medium) and was slightly on a tangy side because of the yogurt.

For the main I ordered the Qubuli Palow (delicately seasoned chunks of lamb, under a mound of cardamom flavoured Basmati rice, topped with julienne sliced carrot strips, raisins, almonds and pistachios). I wanted something that wasn’t dry but this was very tender lamb mixed with the rice.

My husband had the lamb kebab (Paghman kabob – seasoned lamb chunks, served with Basmati rice, aghan salad and lemon marinated onions with sumac). This was one of the best kebabs that I’ve tried. Normally I’m not a big fan of dried kebab food, but this had a slight smokey charcoal taste, not too chewy and was spiced perfectly. The amount of meat was huge in this dish compared to the one I had.

Dessert- Baklava – one of the best I’ve had. So moist, yet I could feel each single layer drenched in tasty syrup. It was chewy and the top was slightly crunchy.

Ice cream was a bit like “falooda”; topped up with rice noodles and rose water. 

Service- excellent, however I felt that they were understaffed that day (Thursday). Ambiance of the restaurant was very good; not noisy and had comfy seats

Most of the kabob dishes come with a starter and dessert and cost around $30. It’s a great place to meet up and have kabob. The other food was great but not “wow” and be mindful that parking can be a bit difficult to find.