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I LOVE trying new restaurants and that's what I want to share with you, any chance I'll get! You'll also find that I'm quite the critic, sometimes a tad harsh but hey, it's not show friends, it's show business! ITHQ grad in restaurant management, j'ai toujours quelque chose à dire et je cherche toujours à vous faire rire!

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Carte Blanche

I was invited to the tenth anniversary of restaurant Carte Blanche a couple weeks back. I actually had to make sure it was a real restaurant. Why? Well, I had never EVA heard of it. And it has been alive and kicking for 10 years! Only a handful (I may be exaggerating) of restos in Montreal have been open for that long.

To make matters worse (and I say this because it was a bit embarrassing having to tell the owner), I once lived only a couple blocks away! Damn girl! I probably passed by Carte Blanche hundreds of times!

Carte Blanche is a French chef's baby. He came to Montreal a bit over 10 years ago and never left. He has many Martinican friends who helped him put a Martinique twist on his cuisine. Actually, he is present at the festival Martinique Gourmande which is taking place as we speak (as we write? as you read me!).

We got there a bit early as per usual (am I ever late? Really?) and when the clock struck 5 (OK, there was no sound, but you get it), I went to open the door and it was... locked. Pouet pouet poueeeeet. I looked at them through the window and it seemed like they were still setting up. Grrr. They opened the door at 5h05. Don't worry, I'm over it :)
The place itself is actually quite small: they had changed it up for the event but it should not sit more than 30 people fo shizzle. They have a wall with multicolored lines, like a rainbow. Influenced by the fact that they are in the gay village maybe?

Aight so we sat down at this uber long table they had formed which hardly seemed practical. What do you do when you're in the middle and you need to go pee? What do you do, hot shot? What do you DO? OK, I'm just KIND of quoting the movie Speed here, which, by the way, IS one of the best movies of ALL TIME! All time I said, don't even try to say otherwise. Food started leaving the kitchen at around 5h45, which I thought was a bit late, seeing as I had told myself I was going to be outta there at 6h15 ish.
irst bite of the day! House gravlax with a mustarded (=word!) mayo. One of the best I've had. Ever. And I do NOT kid about my gravlax. Hells, I am a MAKER of gravlax at work so ya... I don't kid! It was coarse salt, maple and citrus and it was soft and melt-in-your-mouth èamazeballz. Of course, I like to use technical terms like 'amazeballz'. The little mayo right under it wasn't too strong as to not bury the loveliness of the gravlax. It was puuuurrrfect, as the cat would say. Or something less weird.
Flank steak on a skewer (in case you were wondering). Marinated in soya and caramelized onions, itas juicy and moist (ugh, word hate right here) and everything you want in a steak bite. E-VE-RY-thing. All the flavours came through in a great way and it was tasteful as all hell. Because we all know hell is oh-so-good ;)
Cod fritter. There are no words to describe how much I like me a good cod fritter. OK, there are a couple. It was soooo good. I mean, how can it not be?! It was, damn it I loathe this word... moist. And it was crunchy. And we could dip it in some kind of raspberry/tomato/balsamic sauce which was just oh shizzle damn good. OK, that series of words may not have made much sense to you but to me, it meant that it was just AWESOME.
What I had been waiting for the whole {not so long} evening: kangaroo tartare. Ah, kangaroo, that meat that people are either afraid of eating OR that restaurants are afraid of serving. Or, I'm guessing that maybe it's a tad hard to get, given that it comes from the other side of the world. I actually had never eva EVA tasted this jumping creature (makin' it realz for all of you) and I'd been wanting to, big time. Well, it was all I had dreamed of AND more! So, it was kangaroo with pine nuts and an olive tapenade which was not overwhelming at all as it tends to be. It had such a nice taste and a great texture. In my head (ah, my tiny little head) this meat was going to be on the tough side. But noooo! It was the opposite! The flavours went really well together and it was like a partay in ma mouth!

Service was greatness. Wine was poured many-a-times and the waitress was so cute. I mean, she was so cute. Damn it: she was so nice! She came to speak to us for a good 10 minutes and we talked about Carte Blanche and we talked about Sushi Taxi and we talked about waitressing and the service industry and all that good stuff. It was nice. She brought us some water and refilled our glasses. The chef came to talk to us a couple times about his vision and a woman, who I can only presume is his wife, also came to check on us a couple times which was uber nice!

And now, the scores!

Food: 8.5
Service: 9

I will go back fo shizzle dizzle. When? I do not know. But I will. Oh yes, I will go back.

Carte Blanche Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Friday, September 16, 2016

Bitoque

I did a summer internship in a '5 star' hotel kitchen in Corsica 4 years ago. It's hard to beat that summer: it rained a grand total of about 5 hours over 3 months. And I met Emy. Even if she is over 10 years younger than I am, her and I bonded and it was so much fun traveling with her to neighboring villages and what not. But enough about the best summer EVER, let's talk restaurant! Her and her boyfriend are in town for a couple weeks and after spending Sunday together perusing Montreal, I was looking for a good restaurant to eat at. In my hood (sud-ouest), not that many places are open on Sunday. Seriously, sometimes it seems like only a handful are open. We chose Bitoque for 3 reasons. 1- I LOVE Portuguese food. 2- It's BYOW 3- Well, it was open!

Bitoque is located right where every other restaurant in MTL is located. Living here, I can bet you that at least 1.2 (this is a very specific number, as you can tell) restaurants open every 1.4 weeks (again, very specific!). I don't even need to get out of my hood to go eat, and I could do so every day for a good 2 months. I swear.
The restaurant is actually quite big, way bigger than what you would think from the outside. Its décor is sort of mixed, which I wasn't too fond of: different artists painted different paintings and they did not match at all. Brick wall here, old booth there, it was a mix and match kind of situation.

We decided on only tapas, which suited me just well. I loves me many small dishes, so I can try lots of different dishes! The menu suggests (yes, the menu can talk) we have 2 per person so just to be sure, we ordered 7. Something that must (yes it MUST) be mentioned is that on their tapas menu, some items have * besides them and those aren't available on weekends. When we asked, we were told that yes, they were available on Sunday. This makes me rethink the whole concept of weekends. I mean, can we say that Friday and Saturday is the weekend? Why not Tuesday and Wednesday. You know, life is full of difficult dilemmas and questions. And THAT, kids, was my thought of the day.

We were absolutely and positively starving when we got there so imagine my face when they start us off with tiiiiny little olives. Well, I devoured them. It was like I was on a deserted island and I had just found a fruit or something. You know that feeling? :D I also devoured the warm bread they brought us. The loveliness of the warmth was somewhat ruined by the fact that they put it on the table with butter in a cup. Butta in a cup. Butta. Cup. Come ooon! In a cafeteria, yes. In a restaurant, no!
Grilled sardines. I used to loathe sardines. I remember, in grade 4, Ed used to bring a little box of sardines for lunch and whenever he would open it up, half the class would start gagging. But I've learned to know that those were tiny, insignificant. ugly, stinky sardines. When I visited Portugal, I ate real mamas. And dem mamas were good. Makes no sense but y'all know what I'm saying! These sardines were packed with lemon and pepper and were nice and crispy. They were a bit dry but I think the flavours made up for it.
Tapa do dia OR tapas of the day: shrimp and chorizo. We were three, there were two shrimp. Not cool man, not cool. The chorizo was amazeballs. A-MAZE-BALLZ. It was juicy, it was spicy, it was screaming to be eaten. And be eaten it was! The shrimp were of a disappointing size. I'm a shrimp girl (some would even call me Bubba... OK.. no one ever called me that) and I know good shrimp. There was also some pepper and onion that were perfectly cooked and quite garlicky which fits me just perfectly. I loves me some garlic and I loves me some onion! Basically, I love all the stuff that will make me stink. Maybe that's why I'm still single.
Cherry tomatoes with basil and goat cheese. First of all, hello lactose. Or more like hello indigestion. Let's just say I sacrifice my stomach's health a lot when I go out to eat in restaurants. The tomatoes were hot as f*ck, the basil obviously went well with them and the cheese was lovely and soft. It was good but it wasn't special. By that, I mean I could have cooked that exact dish at home. If I can say that, I usually don't order it.
Piri-Piri mussels. I love good mussels. I am a fan. These were OK. They weren't big enough and sometimes I'd have to look really hard to see if there was one in the shell. OR maybe I just need to get new glasses! The sauce was what I loved and the chorizo. Wow! Seriously, chorizo in all the dishes was BANG on. Totes. That spicy loveliness in a spicy sauce. Mmmmmm! My lips were screaming out but I did not care! In the end, I was just scooping up that sauce with an empty shell. F*ck the mussels, I want the sauce!
Veal and pork meatballs with tomato sauce and parmesan. It was tasty and moist but nothing special and that salad... What in the holy hell was that salad doing there? I hate filler salads! And on top of the filler salad, a piece of caramelized apple. Why? Why I ask you.
Cod croquette on wakame with aioli. I need to know one thing: is wakame in any way Portuguese? Any way? That's what I thought. It was good, actually one of the best wakame I've tasted (I am not a fan) but why? The croquettes were a bit dry and I felt like there were still many fish bones in there which made it quite unpleasant to eat. It was like 'when will I choke?'
Pulled chicken poutine. See the fries? No? That's because there were 4. And they were old and soggy. I'm already not a poutine fan so giving me crappy fries really doesn't help here! The chicken was, AGAIN, on the dry side and the sauce reminded me way too much of the narsty brown sauce that is usually on that bad 'regular' very Québécois poutine. It was just not as good as expected. I'm kind of sad about it actually. Imma gonna go cry now.

Service was very good and efficient at first but as it always tends to do, became slower when more people came in. We had water on our table 3 seconds after sitting down and our wine bottle was uncorked 1 minute later. We were very warmly welcomed and our waiter was quite patient (we didn't know what we wanted to eat at first). He changed our plates many times throughout the meal and although he seemed new to the service world, he did a great job. Pat on back.

And now, the scores!

Food: 7
Service: 8

Imma gonna go ahead and say (again) that there are 8000 units of restaurants I need to try so I'll get back to Bitoque when those are done (and hopefully, sh*t won't be as dry).

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

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Wienstein and Gavinos

I was invited by Mr. Axler (maaaaan that guy sounds cool) to try W + G since I had never been. I gotta say that going to a huge mofo of a restaurant on a busy street like Crescent is never in my top 5 choices. But when you get invited, things change.

I'd heard good things, OK things and bad things about W + G so i had no clue what to think. Or what was going to be served. Or if anything was going to be edible. All I knew is that in the recent year, they had done a menu overhaul and changed many things for the better.
From outside, where there's quite a huge terrasse on the first floor, you can see a hint of the huge interior. When you walk in, it's somethin' else. Holy bejesus and Mary AND Joseph. Dang! So you walk in and there's this huge chandelier. I'm talking huge. HUGE! As in it's bigger than my apartment huge. Well, at least as big as my living room. I kid you not. This, to go along with the size of the restaurant: an employee, who i presume is the maitre d' told us it can sit up to 300 people. THREE hundred! I was just flabbergasted. And obviously, I still am!

Wienstein and Gavinos has a HUUUUGE (notice the 4 'u') wine collection. I'm talking massive like if I'd drink a bottle a day, every day, for the rest of my life, there would be some left. Ya. That big. The ambiance was nice, but that's Crescent. If a resto has a bad ambiance on Crescent, don't touch it with a ten foot pole.

Aight, so we get there, get seated right away after meeting the manager. There's no talk of menu or preferences or allergies even and they just start bringing us food. Hahaha! I mean, I don't really have a preference in general except for mucho lobster (duh!) and I don't got no allergies, so I didn't mind much. But before the food, we got the, according to Mr. Axler, their signature [girlie as all hell] cocktail: the Punch Drunk Love.
Girlie, right? Well, when you take your first sip and realize that it's a cross between a sex-on-the-beach (the girliest drink to have ever existed) and sangria, you know that you are in oh-so-girlie territory. It was Alyzé, Vodka, and orange juice. It was basically like putting a whole alcoholic peach in your mouth and biting hard. Hahaha! You know what, although it was a tad on the sweet side for me, I did like it.
Photo cred: Aude
Bread (in a W + G bag no less) and herb oil. Basil and dried tomatoes. The bread was unfortunately a bit on the dry side AND I didn't really know why they brought us a half baguette. I mean, Aude is so thin that sometimes, if she turns to the side, you can't see her (hihihi, jk!, but seriously) and I, with my AWESOME new body shape and muscles, obviously don't usually eat carbs in the evening. The oil was good and very fragrant but I think we both could have skipped this.
Photo cred: Aude
Hamburghini: tiny hamburgers with a beef patty, arugula pesto, roasted garlic aioli and tomato. At the first bite, I discovered the loveliness and awesomeness of the arugula pesto. Wow, that shizzle be goooood! The meat was on the dry side (seriously, what's up with dry meat recently? Is it a thing, because I did not get that memo) but packed with flavours. The aioli was just garlicky enough and fit uber well in there. All in all, one of the best tiny little cute burger I've had. Beats me why they gave us three, but hey, that just meant more burger love.

Tramezzino al salmone: smoked salmon, toasted pumpernickel bread, fig cream cheese, arugula, onion and tomato. The bread was so soft and softer and softest. You get it? The sandwich itself didn't seem like anything that special until I hit the fig cream cheese. Whaaaaat!!! The discovery of the century! What an awesome thing to put in there. It actually went really well with the salmon and complemented the whole sandwich. I kind of fell in love a little bit with that cream cheese.
Worst picture ever of the worst presentation ever. BBQ wings, thrown on a plate. In my head, I pictured someone at the end of the kitchen throwing them on a plate that someone else was holding at the other end. Kind of like football, but with my food. My food.

I'm going to use a word I hate here: moist. They were moist. Mmmmmmoist. Ugh, I just puked in my mouth a little bit, that's how much I hate that word. But sometimes, you just gots to use it! We both really liked them. Our hands and mouth were filthy during/after so that is the sign of a good wing. I almost feel like quoting Ace of Base but I won't (the sign... get it? Too young? Argh!). The BBQ sauce was spot on: not too sweet but not too tangy. Just perfect!
Arancini: fried rice balls with goat cheese and mozzarella, sun-dried tomato and spinach, on an Arrabiatta sauce. I've kind of been there done that with arancini. We made some at work one month and I had my share of it. This is back when I'd eat fried stuff in my every day life. Now I only eat fried stuff in my restaurant life :) It was quite dry and the cheese could not save it. The sauce was very herbal but a bit too acidic. I know, I know, what do I expect, it's a freaking tomato sauce!
Tiramisu. I totally fell in food love with tiramisu at Café International. This one could have competed against the latter. It was not too caffeinated, which is awesome for me because I tried drinking coffee a couple times and I literally wanted to vomit. All over. Ew. Back to the tiramisu. It was soft and creamy and I wanted about 8 more. 
 
I found it a bit whhheird that they only gave us food from their 'bar menu'. I would have loved to sample their risotto or their fresh pasta! Don't get me wrong, free food is always good, but this is an Italian restaurant and I don't feel like we got the full experience.
 
Service was awesome throughout the meal. At first, there was a bit of confusion with a young'un: he brought us another table's dishes and took them back as quickly as he had put them on our table. Poor little guy, he seemed so embarrassed. Then we got our 'real' waiter who was charming, professional and very present. He even suggested he help holding our plates up while we were taking pics of the food. See, that's what I want in a waiter; someone who's ready to hold my damn plate. It would have been nice if he had offered to get us other drinks when ours were done but hey, there was enough alcohol in one of those bad boys to give me a 2-day hangover. I kid, I kid!
 
And now the scores!
 
Food: 7.5
Service: 9

I'm never on Crescent and usually I make a point of not going there but I sure will tell my Crescent-going friends to hit it up!


Wienstein & Gavino's Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Xavier Artisan

I was invited to try Xavier Artisan. OK, so this means nothing to half of you but for me, it meant that a: I touched base with one of the biggest restaurant groups in Montreal and b: I could talk about my blog AND get invited to restaurants on top of it.

At XA, pretty much everything is homemade so that's about plus 8 points in my books. And it looks good. They make simple look good. Fresh and good. Yummy and fresh and good. Aaaand you catch my drift. On top of it, and everyone should know this about XA, they give all their day's worth of leftovers to Old Mission Brewery when they close up shop. They're like the little angel of Old Montreal. The smart little angel: generosity AND awesome PR! Smart, smart, smart!
XA has a huge space, right smack in the Place d'Armes in front of the basilique Notre-Dame. I mean, there's about 4 million tourists there every freakin' day. Even if a small fraction of those tourists decide to hit XA, they will make a small fortune. It's half lofty with those uber high ceilings and exposed pipes and half French bistro with the wooden shelves and pantry and cute, really well labeled homemade products displayed everywhere you look.

How it works is that you can either pick salads, cold sandwiches, homemade beverages and desserts from the self-serve fridges or you can get warm sandwiches and ice cream at the counter. I was told to ask for Geneviève, the manager I can only presume, and she turned out to be such a delight! Sometimes, I think about how my OWN restaurant would be like and there's no doubt in my mind that I'd need a Geneviève to welcome the clients. She was very professional, yet really friendly, showed us everything and also told us a bit of the restaurant itself. I'd pay her around 49 THOUSAND dollars... an hour :)
Mint tea. It was unsweetened, which made it that much better. Cooled tea is one of my fave summer drinks! Well, fave summer drink that does not include alcohol (that's a mojito!)! The mint was very present and aaaaawesome! Can you tell I like mint: MINT tea, Mo-MINT-jito?
Salade supergreen et féta. This was so cute! They had me with all that green shtuff. I like me my green shtuff. And I LOVE me some edamame. You don't see those enough! The brocoli was nice and crunchy, the cheese was soft and just salty enough aaaand the greens were mesclun. Why? Why you do dis to me? So apart from the mesclun, which you guys know I dislike at the same level as dog poo on my front steps (what?), it was a very tasty and healthy salad. The vinaigrette could have been a tad less on the vinaigre-y side but it was still very good.

We also decided (we=Jer) to try their home made chips, not pictured because it was just THE worst pictures in the history of chip pictures. They were crunchy and tasty and although the transparent spots on the bag would say otherwise, not that greasy.
The Montrealer: smoked meat, provolone cheese, pickle, cured red onion, home made mustard on whole wheat bread. To paint you a picture of how much I used to dislike smoked meat, when I'd go with my dad or friends that 'needed to try Schwartz', I'd eat fries and a pickle. No smoked meat for me. This one was different and easily approachable. Hahaha! By that, I mean it wasn't as strong, I guess. The pickle was right on and the onion made all the difference when it came to that perfect bite. It was just cheesy enough without having cheese oozing all over the place and that bread was just spot on: soft and grilled just the right amount!
The eggplant parmesan: roasted eggplant, tomato sauce, mozzarella, parmesan, fresh spinach on a roasted baguette. The bread was crunchy and all that goodness, the cheese was cheesy and yummy and the tomato sauce was on par. The spinach added that nice colour to complete that rainbow and supplied the sandwich with greenery. I could have been a tad happier with more eggplant. After all it's called eggplant parmesan! Jer thought it would have been a bit too overpowering if more eggplant would be put in the mix but I say yes to eggplant all the way!

We also tried their bold soup of the day (they serve one bold and one simple soup every day!): pineapple and garlic. I liked it more than Jer-Bear but the garlic did not really fit in with the sweet fruit. Good try though! A for effort!
Home made ice cream. Yes AND yes. And more of that 'yes'. I decided on french vanilla and pistachio. Great choice Marie, great choice. You could see the little vanilla freckles in there. Is freckles the right word? I vote yes! And the pistachio ice cream was very pistachio-y without being TOO pistachio-y, you know what I mean? Both were just great and I'd go back right now for some-o-that!

Service was, as you can tell by my Geneviève crush, awesome. She shook our hands and smiled from beginning to end. She came and checked if everything was fine and she praised her restaurant just enough. She put someone else in charge of making us happy and that woman was just so damn proud of working there OR was the best actress ever. But I like to think it was the first one. 

And now, the scores!

Food: 8
Service: 9 (only because the ice cream dude seemed a tad rude)

I think it's safe to say that next time I'm in Old MTL and I's got a little craving, I'll be heading to Xavier Artisan to say hey to Gen (ya, we're tight like that).

Xavier Artisan Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Café International

I was invited once more to go to Café International! This time, it was to try their breakfast. They are new in the breakfast area (you know, THAT area!) and wanted my opinion. So, I brought my Bridgert, who, by the by, has been to two failed invitations because of bad food. She's one lucky girl, because this was [not] third time's a charm.
You can read all about Café International's decor and shizzle here: http://www.eatingoutmontreal.com/2016/06/cafe-international.html. There was 'jazzy' music; you know, the kind that plays in malls. Where only old people go to. That are about to dsie. But seriously. I would prefer some fancy Italian singer in my ears than that! 

I feel like it's my duty (and Bridgert would certainly agree) to mention the 800 errors on their breakfast menu. A couple mistakes is a-ok but more than a handful is just pushing it! Many accents were forgotten, syntax was all wrong and even some letters were omitted (its gruyère, not guyère---written like that every time).  It was pale blue with little drawings here and there of a sun OR a piece of bacon OR an egg. Come on. COME. ON. 

I hate bashing restaurants, especially the ones that invite me to eat fo FREE. I appreciate it, I really diddely dso! But I's got a job to do people, and that is to give my honest opinion about restaurants. And when the menu has shtuff like '2 eggs and bacon or sausage' or 'pain doré' or a fruit bowl or a damn bagel with damn smoked salmon on it, I get a little mad inside. Or a LOT mad, like the hulk. For a moment, I just wanted to leave, but I just couldn't bring myself to do it. 

To make matters worse, I was told that the chef was to cook for us and surprise surprise, he wasn't even there when I arrived and did not for a good 30 minutes. Fun. He was awesome last time I went and he's a really super duper nice guy (you get it!) but gosh darn it boy, show up on time when someone is coming to see you!

The waitress suggested we have three dishes from the menu to share and I just felt like telling her we did not know what to pick because it all looked way too simple/bad/been there done that. I'm not even being mean, I'm being realistic here, people! 
Le croque madame. The only difference between this and the croque monsieur was that there was an egg.The egg was absolutely perfect and as y'all know, I'm egg-difficult. AND it was perfectly seasoned. 8 points! The ham was nice and on the thicker side of dem cold cuts, the tomato gave it some moisture, although the piece of bread on the bottom got a bit soggy. The bread was nicely grilled but there was something missing, like some pepper perhaps. Oh, and speaking as a butta-lovin' girl, there was a tad too much of it in this dish. I do know that butter makes everything better (I can't tell you how many times my 350 pound chef-teacher at ITHQ said this), but this was on the 'too much' side.
As a friend mentioned on Facebook when I posted this picture, 'why would you actually pay to eat that?'. Well, I didn't pay for it and I wouldn't have! I don't know if you can see it but there's a whole layer of butta kind of floating near the omelet. Ya. That's a whole layer of butter. It's like the omelet is Canada and butter is a whole province. You see what I'm getting at here? I'm going to have to tell my old prof, chef Jean-Jaques Morand, that he was wrong about butter. You CAN put too much. Apart from that nonsense, the omelet was alright but nothing spectacular: the seasoning was done right,  but the cheese wasn't completely melted. The homemade sausage was full of fennel which was quite tasty but it was unfortunately dry! Ugh.

The potatoes were the best part of the dish: crunchy, hot, soft on the inside and very well seasoned. Seasoning is very important, kids! The fruits were hanging around there and apart from the pear that was nicely cut, they were pretty much thrown onto the plate.
Pain doré. Let's face it, this is NOT pain doré. It wasn't thick enough, it didn't have a nice crust, and it just wasn't pain doré. Actually it tasted more like an uncooked pancake. I can honestly say that the best thing about this dish was the fact that there was a bit of lemon in the batter and that was very refreshing and awesomeballs. This pain doré was a big disappointment.
I had to make it up to Bridgert so I ordered what I had ordered last time: tiramisu. Ah, tiramisu: the dessert from Italian heaven. And you KNOW that heaven is filled with wonderful food. MmmmmmItalian heaven! It certainly did not disappoint! That soft cream that tasted just enough like coffee. Just love.

Service was alright. Could have been better. The waitress frowned when I said no thanks to coffee but I'd want a hot chocolate please. I just don't like coffee. I've tried. I am not a fan. It took her a while to bring us the menus and may I just mention that at that point there was only one other person in this huge restaurant. We had to ask for water and I must point out that at some point her boyfriend came in with their 4 year old and although he was totes adorable, it just didn't feel right for her to have her family at work with her.

And now, the scores!

Food: 6 (tiramisu saves the day!)
Service: 5.5

I have to be honest here and say that unless they drastically change their breakfast menu, I shant go back.

Cafe international Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Sumac

I LOVE Sumac. Simple as that. It's love. And I met some pretty awesome girls that love it as much as I do. What what. It's Lebanese at its best. Forget Amir or Boustan, Sumac is where it's at. So that's where I was last week with Al and Mar, the Sumac 'experts' and V, one of my fave baby gurls from the gym.

First off, lemme say that Sumac is effin busy. All the time. ALL the time. All the TIME! Y'all get it? Obviously, there's a good reason for that! You want the best Lebanese fast-ish food, you go there, it's as simple as that. On top of being busy, it's happenin'! It was full when we got there at 8h30 pm and got even more full after that!
Happenin' usually means loud, and it certainly did in this case. Which is just fine, but when the table is as large as I am long, and you have a hard time hearing the person in front of you, it becomes a problem. A problem I would absolutely accept if I were in a night club. But this was not a night club. At least not that I'm aware of.

I've already written about Sumac so I won't dwell on the place itself (you can read about it here: http://www.eatingoutmontreal.com/2015/02/sumac.html ) but more on the food because let's be honest, this is the #1 reason why you are reading this.
I wanted to have a drink. Rum and fanta sounded like just the thang I wanted. Simple and right up my alley. You know, my drinking alley. It had just the right amount of rum in there (read: LOTS) and was nice and sweet. AND, when do I ever get to drink Fanta? I LOVE that stuff.
Hummus fries. So basically two of my favourite things. It should be part of that song in The Sound of Music-- 'some hummus on fries with lo-ooots of spices, these are a few of my favourite things!'. Yes? Let's do it! I'll call up the Von Trapp family. But before I do that...I would like to rename this dish 'The Lebanese Poutine'. I don't really like poutine and will only taste one that does not include either the crottes de fromages (ew!) or that brown sauce (eeeeew!), so this was purrrrrfect! The fries were crunchy and hot and soft on the inside. Basically, the definition of a good fry. On the fries, the spices were very present, which is what you want! Well, it's what I want! Aight so there's sumac (I bet at least 62% of you did not know that it was a spice), which adds a bit of acidity, and zaatar which is a mix of spices like thyme, sumac and sesame seeds. I remember when I was in high school, dem Arab boys would always bring pita type bread (from what I recall, it is called manouché---but I might be wrong) smothered in zataar. The spiciness came from the s'rug which was kind of sprinkled on so we never knew which bite was going to be spicy. For me, it was a nice surprise but for Mar, who dsont like the spice, it was not cool. The hummus was like a cloud: smooth and heavenly. some of the best I've had. And trust me, I've HAD hummus!
Chicken shawarma OR very full and colourful vagina. No? Come oooon! In this loveliness, there's hummus, tahina, purple and green cabbage and pickled turnip. Yes. What I noticed at first was that the chicken seemed a bit old. I guess they had cooked it earlier and hey, there were closing soon soooo. Still, obviously, the fresher the better (duh), so that kind of turned me off. It was still uber tasty tho but... the question remained: when in the hell did they cook it? The bread was very soft and fresh but maybe a bit too thin in some spots because all the liquid from the sandwich would seep through. If there's one thing i hate is having hands full of food juice. Hahaha: food juice. The turnips were perfect and I just loved the cabbage in there. Really loved the textural aspect of it. Crunch crunch crunch!

Service was aight: very quick, water on the table, but does not check if we're a-ok. How it goes is that you order at the cash (those big line-ups can get annoying) and then you are seated and wait a couple minutes for your plate. It's actually rather light-speed fast.

And now, the scores!

Food: 7
Service: 7

I can't not go back because I usually love it so much so ya, totes heading there again soon for more Lebanese awesomeness that will hopefully be a bit awesomer (don't even check, it's a word!) than the last time.

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

Monday, August 22, 2016

Le Passé Composé

The boss Val and I just HAD to see Mel before she either got too fat to move or gave birth. Val's sis once owned this restaurant and she wanted us to go there. To be honest, looking at the menu at first, AND the prices, I was not convinced. She promised me that I would not regret it so hey, as the awesome blogger that I am and discoverer of all things restaurant, I said suuuure!
Le Passé Composé has recently moved from the Plateau (on Roy) to the village. Although the place looks very small from the outside, according to many peeps the new venue is 100 times better. And bigger. They actually have a huge mother effin terrasse at the side of the restaurant complete with a little garden (with the biggest zucchinis I've EVA seen) and many picnic tables. I would say it could easily hold up to 55 people. If not more. 80 if you are tiny.
Val was somewhat known there so we were in for a treat. I love treats. And THAT'S why I love Halloween! Haha! But seriously: treaaaaaats! We sat down outside on the sunny terrasse and ordered some freshly squeezed grapefruit juice. Yaaaaaaz!!!
You know how freshly squeezed orange juice is just so damn good. Multiply that by 8. This was so fresh and sweet and served at the perfect temperature, as if it had just left the fruit itself! One second it's in the fruit, one second it's in ma glass! Mmmmm! You'd think it would be a bit sour because, well, it is a citrus after all, but it was just perfect! Perfecto mundo! People say that, right? And look at that colour!!!! Well, that's just my favorite shade of pink!
Panko crusted french toast! Yeeeeeeeeeeeees! This was courtesy of the chef, so yes again! It was crunchy and sweet and soft on the inside. It was kind of like eating candy (second Halloween reference=I can't wait!) but better. Wow, this was a big winner in my book. Adding that maple syrup just made it unbearably good. Seriously, I was like ,'what the f is this awesomeness in ma mouth?'. Obviously I couldn't eat this every day because I would balloon up to 800 pounds, but maybe once a week?
The pièce de résistance. Mmmkay so you know what a good breakfast tastes like, right? How about a great one? Well this was one of the BEST freaking breakfast I've had. In my life. And y'all know I eat out a lot (whaaaaat? it's my second--unpaid--job)! Fresh fruit, home made smoothie, poached egg with foie gras, pancetta chip, caramelized onions and foie gras sauce on brioche.

I don't even know where to start. Easy does it: the mango-lime smoothie was perfect, not too sweet, very smooth, just thick enough and uber flavorful. Fruits were very fresh but that ain't why I ordered this dish. Duh. Who orders anything for the fruit? The brioche was cheesy and spongy and airy and like a pillow. Yep, I was eating a very tasty pillow. Oh, with it absorbing all that yummy foie gras sauce, it was the best sponge ever. EVER! The sauce was a tad on the salty side but still awesomeballs. It was thick but managed to infiltrate everything and that's what made it damn good. The pancetta was a great textural element, adding a nice salty crunch to the dish. The egg was perfect. I'm very egg-difficult. This was a perfect egg. I hate having to add salt 'n peppa, you know? I'm way too lazy to grab those shakers! It was splendidly seasoned. Yes, I chose 'splendidly'. It's fitting. Trust me. Go there and you'll be saying 'splendidly' left and right. The foie gras was, well, come on, it's foie gras people! Think luxury. Think delicacy. Think $. Think FAT! It was really tasty and went really well with the whole dish. Egg and foie gras? Yes! Brioche and foie gras? Yes. Foie gras sauce and foie gras? Well, sheesh, that's just a match made in food heaven. For the record, that is the heaven I would like to go to. The only thing that was NOT perfect was that it wasn't as clean as I would have liked it to be. You always have to 'clean' the foie gras by taking out the veins of the liver. I could still taste some sinew when biting into it and that was a bit unwanted to say the least.

Service was excellent, but again, maybe it's because Val knew the owner. Kind of like when I get invited to try a restaurant; I never know if it's the real service or the fake we-invited-you-therefore-you-are-special kind of service. Water was on the table and she checked if we liked our choices. No, they were just awful, I think you should bring more so that I can make an informed decision. Mmmmthanks!

And now, the scores!

Food: 9
Service: 9

And I shall go back 8 times. Because I must, damn it!

Passé Composé Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato