Thursday, February 23, 2017

Sammi and soup dumpling

As you know, I'm half Asian (it's basically a fact) and so, being half Asian, I like to hit up some Asian restos. Makes sense. My Asian connection, Jer, told me to go to Sammi soup and dumpling when I asked him where I should go eat near Concordia. And so, I went!
 Sammi is a small spot on Ste-Catherine right in the middle of le second Chinatown. Ya, it's a thing alright. They have lots of tables in a small space and have benches that hurt yo ass. Kinda like the old McDonald's. Meaning, DON'T take your time to eat, we want more money. OK, McDo was like that but I'm sure Sammi just took the benches from the resto that was there before. There were a couple people sitting at the back, a couple at the window and a man, that looked quite miserable if you asked me (until the buns arrived) sitting on the ass-hurtin' bench. It felt a bit weird to have absolutely no music and no ambiance. Just not used to it.
Obviously, I was there for the buns. According to Jer, they are some (if not THE) best in Montreal. Well hello there! I like big buns and I cannot lie! Or something less weird.
 Hot and sour cucumber. This did NOT look awesome. But as the rule goes, it WAS awesome! First of all, this was like 3 bucks. 3 bucks for awesome? Yes please! Huge pieces of cucumber marinated in vinegar and lord knows what but packed with flavor. On top, it was spicy and lovely with some chilies, chili oil and a bit of vinegar. And then, as I was digging, I found more awesomeness in the shape of ginger. WOW!!! Intense and oh-so-good! I'd like some more now please!
Los buns. OR tiny little heavenly thangs. I asked which ones I should have and she said that if I had never been there, I should have the pork buns. Done!

So, ten buns. TEN! Let's calm down here, people! I obviously brought some home for a friend. Who can eat ten buns? They were just perfect. Totes serious. Perfect size, and perfect level of juiciness, as in they didn't actually explode in my face when I took a bite. The meat was very tasty and very moist (ugh!). The dough to meat ratio was perfect! The sauces that were on the table were also uber awesome (do you even have any idea what 'uber awesome' looks like?). There was this sauce with chilies in it that was just like DSAMN GIIIIRL. Let's just say I was satisfied.

Service was mmmkay. It took my waitress all her might to crack a smile. Come on, is it that hard? I didn't have any sauces on my table so I had to go get em' from another table, which is just fine, but I'm thinking it's part of her job description (yes, I'm harsh). Water was served quickly and refilled not so quickly. Service was fast though, which was great because I needed time to digest before le gym.

And now, the scores!

Food: 9
Service: 6

I'd totes go back for a bun or TEN!
Sammi & Soupe Dumpling Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Viet Express

I was walking along Wellington Street in Verdun the other day, you know, shoppin'. And by shoppin', y'all KNOW I mean looking for restaurants. I don't necessarily want/need to go to the most popular/talked about restaurants. Actually, most of the times, I just want to do they opposite! Hey, I became the number TWO blogger by going to random restaurants and not by going to the newest places or the ones with celebrity chefs. That's just the way I dso shiz.
Viet Express is one of the new babies on Wellington, a very bustling and ever-developing street in Verdun (ps: Verdun rocks). It's almost like Notre-Dame West where there's a new restaurant every freaking week (ya, that's a fact). Anyhoot, I found this tiny place and, being half-Asian and all, I was automatically drawn to it. Tiny: 4 seats and very narrow. They have a tiny altar for Buddha and his friends on the ground, that is actually embedded in the counter. Wow, Buddha be special. They sell other things like Pocky (yes!) and Pringles (what?).
I knew exactly what I was having: something I had many times before at marché Hung Phat (oh how I love thee): grilled chicken with vermicelli + veggies with some nuoc mâm (a fermented fish based sauce). YES. For me this is some kind of heaven. I gotta say it was not nearly as good here. Don't get me wrong, it was aight, but the meat, although nicely grilled and tender, lacked in flavor and seemed a couple hours too old. The vermicelli, a tad on the overcooked side. The veggies were nice and crunchy and slightly marinated which was AWESOME in ma mouth. The green onions, like the chicken, seemed a bit on the old side. I loved all the different textures though. I just love putting everything together and mixin' it up. THAT is what I like. And then, drizzling that lovely sauce on top. YES!

Service was good. I had it as take out because of 2 reasons: a: I was in a hurry and b: I think I would've taken up the whole sitting space with my gym stuff. Took about 10 minutes to get my food. I just kept on looking at the girl preparing it, with her long black hair dangling over my food. Ugh. Trust me when I say I looked for hair while I was eating.

And now, le score!

Food: 6.5

Lots of places to try. Yep.

Viet Express Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Baguette Cali

I would eat banh mi every freaking day if it weren't for the massive (yes, I'm going there) amount of carbs in that bread. DAMN that bread! Baguette Cali is strangely located: in a Thai Express. Except for the fact that both are Asian (I should write 'ish' for Thai Express), they have absolutely nada in common. NADA! I would NEVER eat at Thai Express (Disclosure 1: I've eaten there once, never again. Disclosure 2: also why I didn't want a pic of the resto!).
I spotted this place when walking to and fro the gym. Located on Wellington, it's about 2 blocks from my gym. Ever notice how I always describe restos in Verdun with how many blocks from the Énergie Cardio they are located? Yes, I'm that obsessed. So, you enter the restaurant and you look to the back, far far away. And then you see a little Asian woman and she has the cutest, most welcoming smile. Go to her. Oh, you go to her.

They have other stuff but I was there for dem banh mi. They do have quite the selection so I asked the woman what I should have. She said they are all good. I refused. She then suggested the Spécial Cali.
Pâté, ham and pork. Double pig; I love it. Obviously, there was the usual coriander, daikon, carrots and some mayo type sauce. Let's just say that for a girl that watches her carb intake, I did NOT watch my banh mi intake. I pretty much inhaled it. As in 'breathe in, breathe out'. Apart from the fact that there was a tad too much sauce in there, it was amazeballs. That's correct. She had asked if I wanted it spicy. How is that a real question? But seriously. She put some hot peppers in there and as I was eating my way through the sandwich, I found that the couple peppers were few and far between. And then, I hit the motherload. Tears came a-flowin'. But apart from the tears, all the other ingredients were perfect. The slightly marinated carrots and daikon were pretty much out of this world (yes, I'll go that far) and the meat was awesome. I can't say for sure which meat was what but I do know it tasted good. The meat that was most likely pork (I need a meat class) was a tad too fatty for me but added a sh*t load of flavor in there. Oh and there was cucumber that added a nice crunch and some freshness to it all. We DO like it fresh!

Service was fast AND happy! Not much more to say... I had it as take-out.

And now, le score!

Food: 8.5

Knowing myself, I'll try other banh mi places but this place was too good for me not to go back!

Baguette Cali Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Palais d'Ajit

NOT my best pic
Every time I went to an Indian resto, I always went back to the same one: Bombay Mahal on Jean-Talon. Every.Time. And I call myself a restaurant blogger! Pfff! I've been eating lots of Korean food, Japanase food, Chinese food, but Indian food? Scarcely. Yes. I used the word 'scarcely'. And I LOVE Indian food. On top of it, it's really like I'm doing it on purpose to not eat at Indian restaurants, because I have two perfectly good ones about a two minute walk from my place. I really do try.

Alex from work has visited le Palais d'Ajit a couple times and suggested we went there so I was totes in. I had a MAJOR butter chicken craving. And that ain't a craving you shake off. As soon as you enter, you notice that A: there are too many tables and that B: they are understaffed. OH, they are staffed good (I can say that!) for now, but in 10 minutes, when it'll get busy, they'll be in sh*t. And I'm all for 'the more tables we have, the more money we'll make but there's a limit to the madness. It was so tight that I had no room to get out from behind the table at the end of my meal. It was either go under the table and play peekaboo with Alex (which, in hindsight, could've been fun :p), or put my ass in someone's plate. Let's face it, neither my ass nor the people eating would have appreciated that. Thank goodness our neighbours were nice enough to get up and let me pass on their side!
The place itself looks like a lot of the Indian restaurants out there: kind of run down, yellow and brown with some more yellow-ish tones on the walls, a tv or two and some quick and rather bad service. Elephants, and lots of Hindu type-o-things (let's face it, not sure what those things are) hung out on the counter at the far end of the restaurant where you pay. Oh, but this place. This place had somethin' else. This place had Bollywood. Oh yes it did! Alex was right in front of the tv and pretty much had her mouth opened in awe the whole time. Because of this, I almost had my head permanently turned, which is probably how I got this crick in my neck :p But seriously, dem peeps are skilled fo shizzle! That choreography! Those 150 backup dancers!
I had what I've had many times: the non-vegetarian tali. Which, I must point out, was about 9 bucks or something ridiculously cheap like that. Basically, a mix of Indian goodness. You've got le butter chicken (for me, the pièce de résistance), the tandoori chicken, potatoes in a yummy stock, rice, salad (oh-so not necessary), nan bread (hello!) AND papadum, my favourite new thing. Let's start from the lower left and make our way clock wise! They were heavy, but that's how I always feel 'bout potatoes. They were bathing in some kind of stock which made them quite tasty. The perfect level of seasoning was used. Tandoori chicken was tasty but was slightly dry. The butter chicken didn't really meet my expectations, sadly. I mean, I LIVE for butta chicken when I go to Indian restos. The chicken wasn't... buttery enough. Not rich enough. Not good enough, damn it! The nan was heavenly. OK, so there's heaven, right? And then, well, there's the nan bread. And THEN, you put em' together! I had to stop myself #carboverload. It was just so fluffy and soft and, well, absorbant! Hahaha! What's better than nan bread? Dipped nan bread! Oh, and there was papadum. It is crisp, very thin, made of flour and chickpeas. This one had fennel seeds in there. It was quite lovely. Especially dipped in shtuff like the butta sauce! The rice was a tad dry and since I was apparently going cray cray on nan, I wasn't gonna eat that much rice #supercarboverload. That salad was there for no reason, like most small, tasteless salads made of iceberg and cabbage. USELESS. OK, I'm OK.

Service was meh. So meh that Alex gave it a 2 but I thought that was a tad exaggerated. First of all they shifted us twice because they had bigger groups coming. Second of all, the waiter gave me my thali while the plate was f*cking burning hot. Thanks for that second degree burn. The wait staff was not  looking very happy. Understandably... they were two for, at some point, about 60 people. I would not be smiling either. As Alex put it: the experience could be summed up like this: awesome Bollywood, very precious water. Hahaha!!! We had to run after the waiter with our hands up to get more. I hate asking for water, and you know it!

And now, the scores!

Food: 6
Service: 5

I really enjoy Indian food. Not sure if I'll go back because as much as I enjoy it, I do NOT enjoy bad service.

Palais D'Ajit Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Kantapia

I'm a sucka for good Korean food. A sucka I say! Of course I was going to Kantapia with ma main Asian boy, Jer. You know, the one from the Asian persuasion. This lunch was planned about 2.5 minutes before going, so it was that much more exciting. What? I get excited about food. Especially when I don't think I'm going to the restaurant and then BAM, I am. An Asian resto on top of it. That's a score in my book.
Relax, and enjoy your life :) Kantapia is a small and very busy (especially at lunch time) resto right on the corner of Sherbrooke and Parc. It's that kind of place that when the door opens, a wave of cold hits you. There's also no hooks for jackets. And we were sitting on stools at the bar. A bit awkward and a tad annoying to have a bump under yo butt while you eat. Silver lining is that whilst annoying, it was the only thang warming up my butt. Twas a bit weird that you must go through the kitchen area to go pee but hey. Oh and speaking of the washroom....Let's just not...talk...about it. Point made.
Before they brought us our dishes, they brought us little amounts of kimchi (let me make this clear, I will ALWAYS want a BIG amount of kimchi. ALWAYS). According to Jer, some of the best kimchi he's had. What! Props Kantapia. Props. It was just fermented heaven. Mmmmm. So fermented that I still smelled like it at the gym that night. Hahaha! They also brought  us gamjajorim: boiled potatoes in soya sauce and, surely, somethin' sweet. Seriously, it tasted like maple syrup, but I doubt they would include this in their weekly food order. Let's just say we got another order of both. Way too delicious.
Pajeon! This, ma boy Jer and I had at Haru Hana and it was a tad undercooked. Not the best according to Jer. This, on the other side, again according to Jer Bear (there should be a show called 'Jer knows Asian' OR 'Asia according to Jer), was right on. I felt the same way. There was more seafood and it was less doughy than the other pajeon. It was browned and hot and with that soya sauce mix on it, dsayum. That's right: dsayum. The green onion in there added just the tang I needed and went very well (duh) with the seafood.
Galbi. Jer told me (forced me) to order this when I was thinking of sumthin' else. This is how it happened:
Jer: Don't have the bibimbap, take sumthin' else!
Me: I think I'm going to have this then.
Jer: No, have that!
Me: But...
Jer: Have that!!!
Me: Ok.
Don't even get me started about that salad. Apart from the miso vinaigrette, there was nothin' goin for it. The ribs, on the other side, were an explosion of flavor in my mouth! They obviously had been marinated for a while in soya sauce and had absorbed all that wonderful flavor. I quit trying to use my chop sticks and just went for it with my bare hands. Went back to my cave woman days, you know.  That meat was tender and oh-so-tasty! The wild rice was perfectly cooked but could have been a bit hotter. Not super fond of cold rice.

Service was good. Simple. They sat us down, they brought us food in a timely manner, they checked up on us. They put water on our table. Good.

And now, the scores!

Food: 8
Service: 7
Cleanliness: 2

Jer told me that in order to become an honorary Asian, which I thought I already was, I'll have to properly learn how to A: use chopsticks (I really do suck at it and always end up using my hands), B: eat the sinew off the bones (he ate mine...ya, we share stuff) and C: accept and eat (I added the 'accept' part) strange meats. Lots of work to be done here. Lots more Asian restos to visit!

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

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Bagel St-Lo

I love trying new places when I have my bi-weekly (ish) breakfast with ma dad. I looked up breakfast spots in Verdun and found Bagel St-Lo. I loves me a good bagel. Let's dooo it!!!
Bagel St-Lo is a small restaurant with lots and lots and LOTS of knick knacks. Everywhere. I absolutely loved it. Looked really nifty: Tintin, cartoons, old kitchen apparati (you know, the plural of apparatus, geez!), old signs, old sporting equipment. Some nice dream catchers completed the eclectic décor. Chill music (hello, Bob Marley, master of chill!) was playing and the place was empty when we got there at 8 am. Duh. There are about 26 places with mix matched chairs. Apart from a bit of cold that was seeping through the door, it was a very comfortable place. I could've imagined just reuniting with some friends there. You know, let's have a reunion n' bagel kinda thang. Maybe this is why they seem to have many regulars!
So, everything that you get there is served with/on a bagel. I rarely eat bagels, or any kind of bread for that matter, so this was an exception. I was happy to make the exception at St-Lo, where they make their own.
First, I gots to warm myself up! Mmmmm. This was surprisingly good! Although the foam on top could've been hotter, the hot chocolate was uber tasty, with the undertone of hazelnut. I just love me some hazelnut in ma hot choco! Let's face it, it just makes the best kind of hot chocolate!
The bacon benedict. Listen, if there's bacon on the menu, it's bound to get in my mouth. It's almost a prerequisite. Bacon directly in ma mouth. I must say, 2 years ago, I would've been happy to see all this fruit on my plate. Healthy, right? WRONG! Full of sugar. Thanks to my nutritionist, Lucie, I now eat 2 portions of fruit a day. I used to eat 12. Roughly.

The sesame bagel was very fresh, as if they had just baked it. Wait. Are bagels baked? OK, there's was a heat reaction and those things were cooked. Yes. The beans were right on. Almost on par with the ones at La Binerie on Mont-Royal. And, for you who know La Binerie, it's sayin' somethin'! The amount of bacon was very disappointing. It was gone in 2 seconds. I can say I would've easily wanted 5 times the bacon. FIVE. The cheese was also disappointing. It was a piece of Kraft Singles. No. Just no. First of all, that can barely be called 'cheese'. Second of all, what is it doing in a restaurant? I will never know. The hollandaise was so thick, one could have argued the fact that it was liquid  (it was solid). You know when it sticks to your teeth? Ya. I gots to give em' props for the egg: it was perfectly cooked and seasoned.

My dad, who, usually, would totes eat somethin' cheesy and bacony like this, chose, for some unknown reason, their 'healthy plate' with a plain bagel and fruits and cottage cheese. Kinda wish I would have chosen that!

Service was... comme ci comme ça :) When we entered the resto, it looked like the waiter was somewhat ignoring us so we just sat down on our own. Ya, were savvy like that. The waiter ended up being super friendly and even reheated my dad's coffee (if my dad could/would describe love, this would be it). We did not get a water refill. You KNOW how I feel about that, boy.

And now, the scores!

Food: 6
Service: 6.5

So many breakfast spots, so little time.

Bagel St-Lo Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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Monday, January 30, 2017

Barcola Bistro

I was invited by the owner of Barcola Bistro a couple weeks back. First thing she said was that she'd been reading my blog and loved it. Well, let me get my freaking #2 food blogger in MTL ass down there, and quick! I invited my lunch time buddy, the Asian persuasion man himself, Jer, to join me.

Barcola Bistro is located on Parc, in the mile-end, right at the cusp of Outremont. Just by looking at it from outside, it looked like such a cute place! A place I really wanted to eat at. A place, I'd later find out, I'd be at all the time if it were closer to my apartment. Damn it. A place, by the by, Anne-Marie Lortie has written rave reviews about. What! Anyhoot, the owner/chef is from Trieste, located in the North East of Italy, on the Adriatic coast. Ps, with my new Transat benefits, I'm heading there, pronto! They opened a bit over two years ago. The chef, Fabrizio, is Italian (duh) and his wife, Danielle, is the nicest person EVER. I'm being serious here. She came to greet us and throughout the meal, was very present, and after our meal, came to sit down so we could chat for a good 30 minutes. Now THAT's good customer service!

Barcola's menu changes twice a day. TWICE. It kind of reminded me of my old fave resto (this, obviously, is my new one), Olivieri, in Côte-des-Neiges. Fresh products and fresh ideas. DEEEElicious dishes. To be honest, I totally fell in love with this place.

Inside, it looks great: dark walls, with black and white pictures, big mirrors, long banquettes, vintage lamps and lots of wood. Some soft music was playing, which made it that much more charming.

WOW! This was lovely. LOVELY! We both tasted it and we both went 'mmmm' (X10). It was the perfect dish. I, not being a strong cheese lovah like gorgonzola, decided to have this as somewhat of a challenge. Well, I dsidn't regret it one bit. This dish was full of surprises! Cheese, pistachio, ginger gelée, caramelized pears. WOW! I really can't stop saying that. The pear was perfect and not overly sweet. The bread was perfectly grilled. The gorgonzola was soft and yummy and had a touch of citrus, which made it that much better. Fresh pistachio right on top gave it a nice texture, without being too salty. The ginger jam was not too ...gingery. Just a touch. Now, that was an awesome dish. One to tell the grand kids about. Or, I guess, my nephews and niece :p Seriously, all those ingredients i'd never thought would marry well, did! Hats off, chef. Hats off.
Celeriac purée with green beans. OK, this sounds much better in french! Purée de céleri rave avec haricots verts. Yes, much better. That purée was so soft and smooth. The haricots verts were cooked to perfection and the bread was nice and slightly buttered. A drizzle of oil to finish it off and you've got yourself a winner. The only thing we both found was lacking was a tad bit more salt. That's it that's all.
Artichoke and shrimp risotto. You had me at shrimp. I'm sure you guys would've guessed that one. How beautiful is that risotto? Cooked in artichoke stock, it had taken on the green hue of the vegetable. How many of you can say they've eaten a green risotto? I'm guessing 0.2. My face pretty much lit up when Danielle brought this to our table. With some charred artichoke, some pieces of shrimp and a pinch of parmesan, this dish was flawless. The risotto itself tasted very herbal and a hint of lemon could be detected through all that yumminess (technical term, of course). I would've liked more shrimp, but even if you gimme a mountain of shrimp, I'd still want more.
Cod with purée de pommes de terre and chickory. The cod was nicely charred, and, in all seriousness, was flaking just by looking at it. Cross my heart, hope to die! The potatoes were awesome (what ISN'T awesome here...) and moist but maybe a tad too much liquid had made it's way in there. The chicory, which, by the by, I neva eva run into (on the street, you know), was very earthy, a bit on the hard side, but nice and peppery. Again, every ingredient went very well with one another.
Nocciolino n' coffee. Y'all know I ain't a coffee fan. I've tried it, many a times, and I just cannot dso it. CAN'T do it. But this was different. Nocciolino is basically nutella but WHHHHAY better. You nutella and coffee lovers out there, just imagine your too favourite things, put together. Hello. It was a hazelnut explosion. That's one of the best explosion I know. Actually, the first thing that came to mind when I took my first bite was this: holy f*ck. Yes, I can be very vulgar when it comes to food. Cocoa powder mixed with hazelnut= creamy loveliness. I could drink that all day. ALL. DAY.
Chocolate cake oh ma gawd. This had the perfect level of sweetness. And thickness. The whipped cream was perfect and the chocolate dust on top was just heavenly. Can you tell I liked it? There was some fig purée to add that extra fruity element. We ate this in 2.5 seconds flat.
Panna Cotta with berries and nuts. The layer of berries was just a tad too sweet for me but I loved the nuts that added a nice crunch to it all. The panna cotta was very cold and super smooth. It was the most excellent panna cotta I've ever tasted. Granted I haven't yet tasted 25, but still. The nuts, on top of adding some texture, added another aspect to the dessert that was lovely. The taste of the pistachios in there fit with the fruit. Every ingredient in this dish was welcomed in ma mouth. Even the berries! Ps: I'm not an uber fan of fruits in dessert, so this is a step!


Service was right on par throughout the meal. We got a great welcome and Danielle explained everything to us and made us taste stuff like the nocciolino, that I would have never tasted otherwise. The wine service was ITHQ grade (there's no other way!) and our water glasses were always full because we had a bottle on our table (oh so important and THE way to do it, in my book). She was just so lovely. I would've put her in my pocket and brought her home with me. We never thought for a moment that we weren't taken care of.
And now, the scores!!
Food: 9.2 (because I can)
Service: a well deserving 10
As I've mentioned, this is hands (AND everything else) down. My new fave resto. And although I rarely go back to the same restaurant, oh, I WILL go back to Barcola!

Barcola Bistro Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Campanelli

My mama and I were going out for breakfast (ya, we cool like dat), and of course, that meant I had to choose a new restaurant. Yay! I chose Campanelli: looked good and it was close. Two things that are musts. Turned out to be a tiny little place for coffee and rustic muffins and not much more but hey, now I know.
Campanelli is a small place with some good indie rock playing. At some point, Jean Leloup played and I was suddenly brought back to my early twenties when I used to over listen to Ballade à Toronto while smoking a nice little joint. And since my mom reads this, joint means unicorn. And smoking means... petting? Wait, am I high now? And in other news...there's not more than 20 seats in the house. I'd describe the décor as being half industrial and half lets-go-to-the-cottage. Let's just do it.

My mom ordered a latte, because she felt fancy (she's usually a straight up coffee kinda gal), and I ordered a hot chocolate. We got a carrot and apple muffin and a chocolate chip muffin.
The hot chocolate was good but not thick enough  for my taste. A bit too watery. The carrot/apple muffin was pretty much out of this world (ya, far out there): it was moist (ugh) and delectable. I could've eaten 8. My mom actually said that it was one of the best muffin she's EVER had. What! The chocolate chip muffin was a tad too dry for both of us. It lacked... well, it lacked apple. Hahaha.

Service was good. The girl warned us which muffins would be too sweet for breakfast ...I can do sweet but not TOO sweet! She brought our stuff to the table and told me that if need be, she could add some sugar in my hot choco.

And now, the scores!

Food (and drinks): 7
Service: 8

Cute little spot to go to if you're lookin' for a good MOIST (ugh!) muffin and a nice coffee, fo shizzle!

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

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Les délices de l'ile Maurice

My friend Alex convinced me (I mean, come on, how much convincing do I need to go to a new restaurant?) to try Les délices de l'île Maurice last week. Plus, it's a BYOW! I was totes down. Down to go out on the town! Aaaand the rhyming has ceased. Alex's dad is actually from there, and she goes on the regular. Well, enough that the owner came to say hi, hugs were exchanged and she knew her by name. I'd say they're in the friend zone.

I can't recall how many times I've passed in front of this cute little restaurant on my way to the gym. I was always intrigued and this gave me the perfect reason to explore this matter further. This very important matter that is a new restaurant. It was going to be brilliant! I swear, I was clairvoyant. And at that moment, I wondered, am I wearing any antiperspirant?  Wow, what a poem! Don't say it, I know I'm gifted.
When you step inside, you are wrapped with a coat of warmth and loveliness and homeyness. It's a very comfortable looking place that feels like someone's living room. It's a small restaurant with about 35 seats gros max. Frames are hanging left and right, up and down, with pictures of the island. I wish I were on a freaking island in the middle of the Indian ocean right about now (#cantwaitforsummer). They even had one, right beside my head, with a dude that is fishing with a really long fishing rod. Ya, I think you know where I'm going here. At first glance it tooootally looked like a huge... pecker. With...two balls! A big Johnson if you will. A wiener, a willie, a .... you catch my drift (big thanks are in order here: Austin Powers baaaaby).

I found it really different that there was garlic oil AND mint oil on the table. Right up my alley! Mmmm, that mint oil on rice: deeelicious! How the menu works is that you choose your protein and then you choose your sauce. There's a lot to choose from: créole, curry, sweet and sour, cajun, garlic butter and honey.
Fried cabbage. Unconventional, but very good! It wasn't overly greasy and I had to stop myself because a: it was fried and b: I needed room in ma stomach for the rest of my meal!
Lentil and coriander soup. This was nice and hearty! Turns out lentil and coriander=perfect match. It didn't taste overly coriandery (ya, it's a thing) and it had just the right level of thickness.
The main. I had the shrimp, obviously. For those of you that know me, you know I always have the shrimp. Even if it ain't on the menu! Ha! This is how it goes when I go to a burger joint: 'What would you like?' Me: 'I'll have the shrimp please' Them: ' Uh, mam, we don't have that on our menu' Me: KAMEHAMEHAAAAAAAAAA!!!! Ok, I agree, that was ridiculous.

I chose the créole sauce because, hello. Qui dit Ile Maurice, dit créole! It was a great choice: tomato, onion and garlic sauce caressing and enveloping the shrimp so. Please, leave us alone so that we can cuddle. Hahaha. I must say that the shrimp size was a tad disappointing. They were the size of a cocktail shrimp, which, in my head, is way too tiny. Then again, I loves me huge motha f*ckin' shrimp. The sauce was just spicy enough, the rice was perfect and you know what I'm gonna say here: put em' together man! The salad, I almost didn't touch because it was not looking very appetizing: iceberg with lots of vinaigrette. You know how I feel about iceberg. It's second in line after that damn mesclun!

Service was great throughout: we got our food in a timely manner and water was refilled. The waitress/owner was really nice and friendly. I guess I was in for a treat since I knew the girl that goes there the most :) When I went to pay the bill, it was about 33$ for the two of us (and that is INCLUDING tip!). Whaaaat? I'll take four please.

I almost forgot; I must also mention the candies. They have big jujubes in a jar when you get in. Probably meant for the kids that go there with their parents. But also meant for me, right? That'll be all.

And now, the scores!

Food: 8
Service: 8

I'll definitely go back, but I'll definitely try other restos first :)

Délices de l'île Maurice Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Sumi Dojo

I'm continuing my Asian craziness!!! Might as well become an only Asian resto blogger at this point :) My Asian persuasion friend Jer wanted us to go to Sumi Dojo. He goes there for lunch sometimes and said I needed to try it. ALWAYS listen to Jer. Always.
When you enter Sumi Dojo, it almost looks magical. I ain't talkin' unicorn magical, people! I'm talkin little child at Christmas magical. You know! Right? Little lights are dangling from the ceiling and at the (huge) bar, light bulbs of different lengths are also hanging right above it. The whole place is made of dark wood. And I do mean the WHOLE place: the floor, the bars, the stools, the walls...I absolutely loved the fact that there was some Asian music playing until Jer told me it was the equivalent of  Spice Girls in a steak house. Pfff... I still agree with the non-English music. Fo shizzle.

The lunch menu is UBER (yes, uber) cheap there. I'm serious, when I saw the bill, I got weak in the knees. Hey, you want to make me happy? Get me weak in the knees!
The appetizers! I mean, how freaking lovely does this look? You do always eat with your eyes (wow, mental image) first! This was so damn cute! So.... spring roll, miso soup, pickles and salad. Let's start with the spring roll: it was nothing special, really, but it was hot and pleasant in ma mouth. And I love things that go good in ma mouth. Don't get any ideas here. It had carrots and cabbage in there, it was pretty much exactly like the ones we used to sell at Sushi Taxi. Ah, the memories! The soup was hooooot! Duh. It wasn't too salty and the soft tofu just melted in my mouth, which was just loverly. LO-VER-LY. The salad was a: mesclun and b: wilted. Two EXTREMELY bad thangs in my book! The cucumbers were good and vinegar-y (it's a word!) and actually went nicely with the spring roll! Whaaaat? One bite of spring roll/1 cucumber was perfection.
The main. Le pork. Or tonkatsu. The pork was moist and crispy. I'm not an uber fan of fried stuff but this was goo-hood. Jer says it's THE best in Montreal. What!!! The sauce on it was an Asian BBQ sauce (tonkatsu sauce), which can only mean good things. Asian? Good! BBQ? Goooood! Asian BBQ? Un -f*cking- believable! My Canadian self wanted a sh*t load more of sauce to dip my perfectly cooked rice in a pool of Asian BBQ sauce. Mmmmmm. There was shaved cabbage on the side which made me think, for a second, that I was eating all healthy and sh*t. It had a bit of vinegar and a touch of sesame oil on it which gave me that extra sesame taste that I LOVE.
The pork belly. The daikon was packed with flavor it had absorbed in the cooking process. It basically acted like a sponge. A delicious sponge. The shishito, the bitter green pepper, is apparently the most hated vegetable by Japanese children. Kind of like North American kiddies and brussel sprouts. The pork was like a prison of flavor. Ya, I'm deep. So tender, it was breaking up just by looking at it. Totes true. The broth was very tasty and peppery and I would've drank (drunken?) it all. But I need to be somewhat sophisticated. I'm an esteemed food blogger, for God's sake. AND I have a damn business card! That's right. The egg was right on and the Korean chili threads (ito togarashi)added another texture and certainly another taste to the dish.

Service was alright. I know I'm annoying with this but at some point, we had no more water and my mouth was craving it. Our waiter did come back to answer a question we had about the Korean chili threads so that was nice of him.

And now, the scores!

Food: 7.5
Service: 6.5

Jer and I already have plans of going back for ramen. The ramen quest continues!

Sumi Dojo Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato