Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Nantha's Kitchen @ La centrale culinaire

My buddy Nantha is having pop-ups on top of pop-ups on top of pop-ups. And they awesome pop-ups. He's making people discover his cuisine through freaking delicious meals. And it's fun to be the one reaping the benefits. Yass. Nantha invited me to his pop-up at La centrale culinaire last Friday for a Malaysian/Thai/South Indian food feast. I loves me a good feast!
La centrale culinaire is located in the Mile-End in a random building that boasts a bunch of companies and spaces that are either empty for shows and such or equipped for food making and such. The centrale is supes cute, with hanging lights and a friendly atmosphere. On top of it, Nantha is just always happy and smiling and it's oh-so contagious.

It was a 5 service dinner (ya, we're totes fancy) for 50 bucks. Well, I mean, I didn't pay, but you know.
Tom Yum soup. I really do have a soft side for this soup: the flavor combo is a winner in my book. You know, the book of Marie! Everything about this was good. It had the perf mix of hot and sour. It was perfectly hot (I despise it when my soup is cold. DESPISE) and just the perfect amount of spicy.
Pad Thai. Who dson't love a good pad Thai? It was hot, it was spicy, it was garlicky! I enjoy le garlic, but Margo has somewhat of an intolerance to it and the waiter had told her that there wasn't 'much' garlic. Yikes. As soon as he put the plate down, I got a whiff of it. With just a bit of a lime squeeze, it was perf. With the lovely Thai basil (possibly my fave herb alongside coriander) in there, and the shrimp, it made for a great pad thai. YUM!
Rojak salad: pineapple, cucumber and jicama, in a soy, lime, and sriracha sauce with some roasted sesame seeds. This was refreshing, and, hello, a fruit salad made savoury? YES! It was tangy and sweet at the same time with a hint of spice!
The thali! I loves me a good thali! The dahl was ubs taste and one could say it was almost smoky. The blue rice. Yes, you read correctly, mam! Found in Malay cooking, butterfly pea flower is a superfood on top of being a natural food colorant. It was quite weird, yet, cool, to eat freaking blue rice! It was a tad overcooked, but the flava still came through and it was goood, Then, there was turmeric rice, which just hit my mouth with a punch of flavour. Ya, that's a thang. After that, there was the chap chai which means ten veggies: soy sticks, black fungus, mung bean noodles, and pak choi. The soy sticks had absorbed all the wonderful flavour of the sauce (toasted sesame oil and oyster sauce) and it practically tasted, AND had the texture of meat. Quwhat! Everything else just went so well together. I believe what I wrote in my notes was 'wow'. I think that sums it up. The chicken was really tender in something that tasted stew-like.
Le dessert. We actually asked to share dessert. because I thought I might just burst. Seriously. You know the feeling when you eat WAY too much and you can't breathe no more? THAT. I'm chucking it up to the carbs I'm not used to eating. Filled me right up. Black sesame and red bean ice cream. Yes AND yes. I could have this every day. They were both crisp tasting. You know? Like, not watered down. Argh, you know? Point is it was delicious. 

Service was aight. I mean, the guy was supes nice and answered all our questions AND brought us water and a bucket for us to put our wine in. But our plates did stay too long on the table and service got somewhat slow. In his defense he might've been alone, which, man, I feel you dude. Been there done that. I, by that, I mean I suck at waitressing and even if there were only two tables, I'd start to panic. And therefore, I salute you, sir!

And now, the scores!

Food: 8.5
Service: 7

I'm definitely going back to another one of Nantha's nights!

Friday, June 8, 2018

Miss OPO

Mona and I made a point of finding non-touristy restaurants while we were in Porto two weeks ago, and I think we managed to find a couple gems! We visited Miss OPO on our last night, located on a small side-street, going down to the Douro. Ugh, I miss everything I just talked about: Mona, Porto, Miss OPO, and the Douro. But enough reminiscing!
First off, it is called that because OPO is the airport code for Porto. I know this because I'm a: so cool and b: I work for Transat. Mama knows her airport codes. And Miss OPO sounds way better than Miss YUL (Montréal's airport code). This place seemed very hipster-like. Maybe a bit too much so... They had a communal table at the front, cement floors and walls and minimal deco. I'd say it was a bit industrial looking, but with wooden tables and chairs giving it a classic touch. The menu was written by hand on a notepad: they change it every day, which is very cool.
We shared two dishes: the 'Pretty Salad' and the 'Shrimp with finger lickin' sauce and okra'. And we shall start with the salad. It WAS pretty, unlike this awful AWFUL picture, hahaha! This salad was supes fresh and ubs pretty! Some crisp greens, almonds for the crunch, sweet papaya and strawberries, hot radishes and very tasty and perfectly ripe mango. I usually am not a huge fan of fruits in salads but this totally worked. There was also fresh cheese in there, which totally completed the dish. We really loved this one.
The shrimp. OK, I'm just gonna mention again, as if you didn't know, how much I loves me a good shrimp. If someone would ask me to choose between a person I really love and shrimp, I'd have a hard time. If I could just eat one thing all day, every day, I'd choose shrimp. If shrimp is on the menu, that's what I'm having. If I could MARRY shrimp, I'd need a damn good reason not to do it. If...you get it. They were cooked to perfection and they had absorbed all the flavor from the sauce, which, as the name says, WAS finger lickin' good! The okra fit right in there and just biting into it, all that flavor would just explode in my mouth! We had soooo many carbs all day every day while in Porto, that it was nice not to be eating bread or rice or potatoes or bread again.

Service was not the best. Actually, quite bad. We entered and were greeted by...no one. HAHAHA. She came to see us after a couple minutes and just announced that they didn't have any tables. Then, she decides to put us at this bigger 'communal' table. A waiter comes over and he was rude too. We were then asked to change to a smaller table because a bigger group had come in. Geez. Our waitress was actually nice and was able to crack a smile or two. Third times' a charm!

E agora, a pontuação! (And now, the scores!)

Food: 9
Service: 6

I would LOVE to say I'd be back buuuuuuut, myyaaaaa, I'm pretty dang far.

Miss'Opo Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Saturday, June 2, 2018

Queue de poisson

I loves me a good fish n' chips! I had already eaten at La Queue de Poisson a couple years ago but since I went with my aunt, I didn't write a review. Ya, I can be nice, you know! Anyhoot, Em and I were looking for a nice little lunch spot after gym one day and we didn't have to go very far. 28 steps to be exact. I am lying, of course.
The place is really cute. First of all, you feel like you're on a boat. I will forever remember the 'I'm on a boat' ad for Old Spice. I wanna watch it over and over and OVER. But enough about tv. They have about 30 seats and, as I mentioned, it was like we were in the ocean. Which, btw, is a pretty freaking good place to be. There was no music, but we didn't really care because we were right at the window, so we had some noise happenin' on the street. What's also very cool is that it's basically a fish shop. That's pretty damn awesome.
We shared one order of fish and chips, because a: we're poor and b: we weren't THAT hungry. We had the fried cod: moist AF and oh so tasty! We actually regretted sharing one portion of fish for a moment. Ya, it was THAT good. By the by, the fish was SO fresh: he legit took it from the display at the front and battered it up. The fries were crunchy and crispy and the salad was great. Yep. It's rare that I say that about a salad. It was just so simple and well done: lettuce with some marinated red onions and colored carrots. The carrots and the onions brought a bit of sweetness to it all and the vinaigrette was just present enough. All in all, a great little dish.

Service was OK. Took a while for him to take our order and then a while for us to get our meal. He was the only guy there AND he was taking care of the orders too, so I get it (but I don't). We had water quickly, so at least that's one good thing hahaha. He WAS a nice boy tho, very smiley, which is always appreciated.

And now, les scores!

Food: 9
Service: 6

Awesome fish n' chips: ya, imma be back!

La Queue de Poisson Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Monday, May 28, 2018

Honi Honi

The only other time I ordered a poke, I f*cked it up real good and ordered the shrimp poke that was served with salad. SALAD! Something is definitely wrong with me. Ugh. It was at Koa Lua in Square Phillips and it was just the worst decision EVER. There I go again with exaggerations. I was oh-so ready to try REAL poke. And so I went to Honi Honi with ma gurl E!

The place is weirdly decorated: random fishing paraphernalia on the walls and on the ceiling with fake flowers everywhere. Y'all know I don't fancy fake flowers. Also, the place just seemed too big! Maybe it's because it was on a week day evening but the ambiance was next to zero.
I'd been craving a poke bowl since that time I effed it up at Koa Lua. I went all the poke way and ordered the tuna poke with nori, fried onions, cucumber, avocado, ginger, and dikon. All this on rice: just mix it up baby! This was quite a big bowl; so big that I wondered why they didn't offer a smaller option. There was a bit too much ginger, but hey, ginger was too good to NOT put it in my bowl. The onions added a very nice flavor and added some crunch as well. The cucumber was meh: too much and too soft. The tuna was as fresh as a daisy. OK, I don't think this applies here but you get the point. Raw fish always needs to be ubs fresh. Duh. As soon as there's a smell or rainbow on it, it ain't fresh boo. It ain't fresh. I WOULD have liked it to be in cubes like the real thang... this one was more of a tartare. I ordered daikon but, unfortunately, it was the marinated kind...you know, the yellow one. That was a big meh. I like fresh daikon, damn it. Who do you think I am?  There wasn't enough avocado in there and that just annoys me to a high level. I need my avocado man. I NEED it!

Service was ok: water on table, got our food quickly but the pick up was very slow. I'm just going to mention that we were about 4 in the restaurant.

And now, les scores!

Food: 8
Service: 6.5

I'll probs go back for a nice little bowl o poke! 

Honi Honi Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Pum Pui

Another Asian persuasion resto, another lunch date with Jer bear! Interestingly enough, Pum Pui is owned by the whitest of Canadians (no offense to your skin tone, dude). He DID live about 5 years in Thailand and learned the tricks o' the trade. And we should all feel lucky that he did. Why? Oh, you'll see. YOU'LL SEE. I feel like I should put in a 'mouahahahaha' in there.
Pum Pui is located in the heart of... Little Italy! Perfect place for Thai food! I compared it to La Capital tacos in Chinatown. I mean, it's the only Asian there, so, kaching! It's a small resto, with a market portion, probs why it's called Épicerie Pum Pui. I am SO smart. I loved what was on the walls: very authentic pics and calendars and what not. Also, Jer bear mentioned that the sauce thang on the table was supes off the boat.
We had the papaya salad to start off with. I will just say that I've had papaya salads. Oh, I've had some. And this one was.... how can I put it... THE BEST I'VE EVER F*CKING HAD. It had just the right amount of acid and sweet. Also, I loved the fact that there were dried shrimp in there! Added a little crunch and lots-o-flaves! I'd go back right now for some more of that!
I had the beef green curry. Or green beef curry? Quwhatever. I'm gonna say exactly the same thing I said about the papaya salad. It was THE BEST Ì'VE EVER F*CKING HAD. Holy bejesus. Just by smelling it, I knew I was gonna fall in love with it. And yes, I'm serious about my food, god dammit. The beef was cooked with such perfectness, that it legit almost made me effin cry. Crying because of meat. Now that's new, even for me! The presence of lemongrass and kaffir leaves gave it a whole other level of flavor. With some peppers, it was hot but not TOO hot. As in, my lips weren't completely on fire. I may, or may not (I MAY) have told Jer bear that this was my all-time favourite curry. I'm talking EVER. Best thai curry in town made by some white boys. Who would've known!
Jer bear had the jungle curry: fermented rotten fish (wow, sounds WONDERFUL), green beans, bamboo shoots, thai basil, green peppercorns, kaffir leaves, ginger. This sh*t was spicy, and then some! Jer started sweating pretty much 30 seconds after his first bite. And then he got the 'spice cough'. And then his nose started running. The whole spiceffect, really. The fish was sooooo tasty and had obviously picked up all o dem flavas: I really didn't mind that it was fermented. Whatever, it's like kimchi: so freaking good. I didn't just make a random comparison, btw; kimchi is also fermented :) The veggies also took in all the loveliness of the broth, which was a-MAH-zing! Jer really wanted me to eat peppercorns, which, lets face it, I've eaten no more than 4 times in my whole life (and my life is pretty damn long). It was like a pop of flavor in my mouth! Soooo good!

You order at the counter and they bring it to the table. There was a mistake with Jer's order so he got his plate a bit after mine but the dude said sorry about 3 times. All is forgiven.

And now, les scores!

Food: 9.5
Service: 8

I heard someone say 'I think this is the best Thai food I've ever eaten', and I believe them. I, for one, will go back 28 times.


Épicerie Pumpui Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Thursday, May 3, 2018

Hansang

As you may (or may not) recall, the first time we tried to hit up Hansang, it was a bust. So we had to return. Jer bear was there, duh. And his roomate/ma friend Em was there as well. Yay for Asian food discoveries!
The place itself looks much fancier inside than it does from the outside. Let's just say that the outside of it looks a bit meh, with two run-down looking signs, and inside is all supes clean, with dark wooden tables and some Asian art.
We had to have some starters, of course! First: the pajeon. I loves me a good pajeon. OK, it sounds like I eat this all the time, but, to be honest, I've had it only a couple times. Every time, with Jer Ber, and every time, it's to find out who would win the best pajeon contest. The winner (as of now) is Hansang! OK, this sh*t was SO good! Yes, it was deep fried, but sometimes, that's just totes acceptable. Right? RIGHT? The flavours were all there and the sides had a bit of crispiness to it. The green onions gave a little tang and the bonito flakes, well, hello. The only thing I found that I liked a bit less was the fact that there was too much tempura. But who cares! The rest was awesome.
The tteokqbokki. Well, that's a mouthful. Thick, gnocchi-like, and rice-based, these big-ass noodles were waaaaayyyy too thick for me. Wow. It was just too much, you know. Sometimes, it's just too much. I felt like I was eating dense pillows. They were comfy and everything, but damn, they were heavy. I liked the sauce tho. Yay for silver linings! It was ubs spicy and I just love those chillies!!!
Kimchi. If you ever see me NOT order kimchi at a Korean restaurant, something seriously wrong is going on. As in, it might be code that the person next to me has abducted me OR something else. Mmm, I can taste it right now and my mouth is legit watering. I'm serious, I just made a puddle on ma desk! It was just fermented enough, just spicy enough and it was really fresh. Which, by the by, IS a funny thing to say about kimchi, because it's fermented cabbage. Hahaha. I make the best jokes.
Beef teriyaki. Spicy, of course. This was right on the ball. You know, the meat n' spicy ball. That one. Don't even ask, I am aware that I don't make sense. The udon noodles were totes perf, thick and tasty. The veggies were not overly cooked, which is what I loathe. Why don't you make purée with that? GEEZ. They were good and just the right amount of spicy. Also, the sprouts were crunchy, which can add a whole other textural element to a dish. You think I'm exaggerating...but I am not. Dudes, I'm serious about my food, you know that! The beef was also the right amount of cooked. No one likes to eat a boot, am I right? It had all the right flavours: a bit sweet and a bit spicy. The perfect combo, basically.

Service was great throughout the meal: he gave us tea fast, food relatively fast, checked on us and was full on smiling the whole time. At some point we asked for cold water because there was lots-o-heat in our mouths and I found it quite hilarious that he only brought some for Em and I. As if the only Asian at our table was the strongest one. I think I cry less when I eat supes spicy food! He starts having the sweats way before I do :p (sorry Jer, tis true!)
And now, the scores!

Food: 8
Service: 8.5

I really enjoyed this place! On to the next Asian with my Jer bear! Do you even KNOW how many restos there are in MTL? Ya, that's what I thought.


Restaurant Hansang Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Cabane à sucre Au pied de l'érable

Every year, my mom books a cabane à sucre for almost the whole family. We always pick a new one because, let's face it, we can always do better. This year, we headed to Mirabel to Au Pied de l'Érable. Obviously, this screams cabane à sucre! Hellooooo, sugar!
It was a quintessential cabane, with wooden walls, exposed beams, skis + old school snow shoes hung everywhere and a red door. I loves me a good red door! Oh and just by the by, it was all-you-can-eat. Mama loves her AYCE!
We already had some marinades on the table, because that's HOW YOU DSO. Marinated onions, beets, pickles and homemade ketchup. The marinated onions were a bit on the intense side: I loves me some onions but it just seemed like they had JUST put them in the marinade the day of. The cornichons were surprisingly salty and a bit too hard. We were expecting more of a sweet pickle. The beets were totes perf and the size of the pieces was good as well.
The omelet. Oh yes, I love a good omelette soufflée! This one, in all seriousness (yes, I can be serious sometimes), is the LEGIT best I've ever had. Ever. Had. It actually had flavor, when most cabane à sucre omelets are bleh (technical term), and it was moist, when most are dry. Let's face it, no one goes to the cabane à sucre for the omelet. Well, put a bit of maple syrup on le top, and you got yourself something awesome.
The pea soup. A classic. This was totes taste. We were all looking at each other, thinking about how much we were going to fart after. The important thing is that we do it together :p It was perfectly seasoned: not too bland, not too salty. It could've been hotter though.
The cretons. FYI, it's basically pig fat made into a spread. YASS! They were good but not great. I'm sure tante Berthe's (my ex step-aunt... or something) cretons would've won the cup. They were lacking in flavor and they weren't easily spreadable. We want spreadable cretons, all the time. All. The. Time.
Le ham: another staple. I'm being 100% serious when I say that this is the best ham I've ever had. Freaking EVER! That means a LOT. It was moist, it was tasty, and its crust was perfection. It was superbly caramelized and just effin awesome. We ordered more (ya, because we could and that was great), and surprise surprise, I finished it. Oops.
Les oreilles de crisse: MORE fat! Basically this is hard lard. Someone should write a song. You know: haaaaarrrd laaaard. Aaaand song over. I had the smallest tiniest bite because even if I used to like them, I know they are way too hard for my teeth. And anyway, they taste like a**. And this goes for all the oreilles de crisse.
Cocktail sausages in maple syrup. Everything that is IN maple syrup is better, and this was proof. I'm not supes fond of tiny sausages but they WERE better in le maple. Let's face it, I'm just not a small sausage kind of girl. Ha, I ain't a BIG sausage kind of girl either, if you know what I mean. Wait, you do know I'm GAY right?

The beans (not pictured... just imagine beans yo) were, well, I farted. They were excellent and not toooooo sweet!
Les grand-pères: basically, a ball of dough in maple syrup. EVERYTHING IN MAPLE SYRUP!!!!!!!! I wasn't a huge fan of these because it was basically dough with sugar IN sugar. Enough is enough!
The maple mousse. I loves me a good mousse. This one, I LOVED. It wasn't overly sweet, even if, hello, maple. It was soft and perfect.

Service was on the damn ball throughout lunch. Cabane à sucre service is usually in a class of its own, kind of like Asian restos. They have a couple services per meal and its tight. The girls (let's face it, it's always all girls) were fast, efficient and nice. When we asked for a refill or for more napkins or what have you, it was on the table as quick as a flash. They were THERE.

And now, les scores!

Food: 8.5
Service: 9.5

We've already agreed: we're going back next year!

Au Pied De L'érable Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Nacarat, part deux

Nacarat, Fairmont Queen E's bar, is takin' out a new cocktail menu and it is hot of the press! Head mixologist Nader Chabaane worked hard (I know, because I know his wife... BAM!) on a new menu, set up like a tasting wheel: sweet, sour, salty, bitter, and my fave, umami! I was SO happy to see that on the menu!
First of all, I love the vibe in that bar: not too fancy, not too serious, but still sophisticated! If I'd have extra money lying around, I'd be there, like, a lot. A LOT. Perhaps worryingly a lot. I say that because the drinks are pricier than at other bars (16-24$), but hey, at other bars, the quality perhaps just ain't there.
And seriously, if you'd hear Nader talk about the way he came up with drinks, or how they make them, or what kind of scientific method goes into it, you'd understand the price of it. And they just look damn good. In another life, if I'm the head notary at the National Bank next door (let's face it, this was my uncle's job--props to Jean, up there), I'd be there every day after work for a nice, and much needed cocktail.
First, I had the Toadka: vermouth, vodka, crème de menthe, sweet peas, wasabi. My eye obviously got caught on the wasabi part. A drink with wasabi in it? Ugh... YA! I was totes excited, nay, ecstatic! Nader explained that for this drink not to actually BE green (I was actually wanting a green drink... but in hindsight, I guess getting a green drink doesn't fit everyone's taste!), they have to... well, I heard the word centrifuge and my mind kind of drifted off. What's important to know is that they go through a lot to make this drink. And this just goes to show you how high end this bar is! I did taste the wasabi, even though I would've loved more in there, and I thought there was a bit too much crème de menthe. Let's face it, I am not a crème de menthe girl. I'm just not. It's ma fault: my eyes got stuck on 'wasabi' and I was like I WANT IT! All in all it was a good drink and I did not regret ordering it, but I would have been coo coo with less crème de menthe and more of the waaasss!
Second drink I had was the Nacarat Is The New Black: midori, mescal, citrus, orange bitter and squid ink to make it black (SO awesome!) I mean, how cool does this sound? And how cool does it LOOK? Makes me think of a detective in the 50's! Yes Imma call it 'Detective Nacarat' from now on! I really loved the fact that they used squid ink to turn it black! Who here has seen squid ink on a bar menu, like, ever? No? That's what I thought. They definitely go the extra 8 miles. Btw, I really didn't mean to refer to Eminem's movie here, HAHA! All the flavours were in there! All o' them levels! It was just strong enough and the citrus was lovely! They know how to dose their sh*t at Nacarat. Oh, they know!
Third drink was le Ptit Louis: rhum, Southern Comfort, pineapple, lime, clove and anise on top. The surprise here was the anis. I do NOT like anis. Just like I can't handle fennel. Meh. BUT, surprisingly, this fit and I wasn't totally repulsed haha. It was a tad on the spicy side, which was quite lovely. A good pick!
We also got food. I mean, what is a night at a bar without the food? Well, that doesn't make much sense since usually, I go DRINK at a bar and it's rare that I order food. But... when in Rome, am I right? I absolutely loved everything on this pic! There as also 'Les Chinoiseries' which is not on here: cold soba noodles with shrimp. hello, shrimp. Yes, shrimp. I gotta say that we were all a bit surprised when we had our first bite and it was cold. But you know what, it was still much liked. The salmon tataki + homemade kimchi (YA, I said homemade) was right up ma freaking Asian alley. It was legit one of the best kimchi I've eaten... and I've eaten kimchi before. Believe me you! It was spicy enough, fermented enough, awesome enough! The salmon was also perf cooked/uncooked. It was a bit of a peculiar pairing but it was, let's say it together, right UP my ALLEY! I happily finished it when my girls were like 'girl, there's too much kimchi in there', and I was like 'yo, there's no such thing'. I mean, there WAS, but who gives a sh*t. The duck tacos in chicken skin. Excuse me? What did you WHAAATTT!!! The duck was perfectly cooked, the seasoning was on par and the chicken skin was so effin good! Not fatty at all, surprisingly. Les escargots! I used to HATE snails. Hate them hate them hate them. Of course, like a lot of people that hate them little creatures, I just had never tasted them :p With wild mushrooms and a red wine sauce, there is no way this was going to be bad. Well, it was amazing. It was literally gone in 2.5 seconds. Oh look, there are some escargots... oh wait, look, no more escargots.

The service was worthy of a great bar: quick and efficient. AND, hey, it doesn't hurt that the waitress was dang hot. OK, I do feel a couple harassment cases coming my way but pfff you don't know who/where I am! Alright, I guess you could just look at my bio, damn it! Anyhoot, it was good serv!

And now, les scores!

Booze: 8
Service: 9

And another win for Nacarat! And y'all KNOW I'll be back!

Bar Nacarat - Fairmont le Reine Élisabeth Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato