Monday, September 29, 2014

La Banquise

Ah, La Banquise. An establishment known for its many poutines and for the fact that its open ALL THE TIME!

I brought my French friend, Clem, because, well, he had neva eva tasted this Quebecois tradition. I gotta say I'm not a fan of the brown sauce/cheese curd poutine but I went along for the sake of showing him the place.

As per usual, the place was packed + a line up! Dsamn! And it was only 7 PM!!! But hey, I gotta face the fact that La Banquise must be busy around the clock!

We were greeted with all smiles by the cute little waitresses (it was funny: a friend of mine works there and she has a bunch of Banquise pics on FB so I actually recognized some and knew their names... haha) and were seated about 4 minutes later. Note: if you sit outside, you can't drink alcohol! Pop music was playing + a couple songs that made me think back to my high school days (yay!).

OK, food. Obviously we were there to eat poutine.

I had the Taquise: kind of a mexican-québécois mix :) OK, so it's fries (duh), cheese curds (duuuuh!), brown sauce (come ooon!), tomatoes, guacamole and sour cream. I have to mention that you can change your sauce for 1 $ or more and I should have done that. First off, i'm not a fan of the brown sauce. Secondly, I really don't think it fits with everything. Especially not tomato, avocado and sour cream. The cheese was, well, des crottes de fromage comme on dit si bien en bon québécois! It actually fit quite well with everything else and wasn't too salty. The fries were nice and hot, not smushy (technical word, don't worry 'bout it) but not too hard. The sour cream was perfectly smooth and so was the guacamole. Oh it was goohood. Just the right amount of silkiness, the right amount of salt. The tomatoes were a bit blend though.

Service was great throughout. You'd think that since they are so gosh darn busy, that the service would go to shit but nope! Our food arrived on our table 5 minutes after ordering it and our waitress came to check on us twice. OH, and they all have short shorts. WHAT??? :)

And now, the scores!

Food: 6
Service: 8.5 (she forgot our glasses of water)

I truly don't know if I'll go back. Mainly because I don't love poutine with ze brown sauce. But hey, who knows!?

La Banquise on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, September 23, 2014


I was invited to try this self-proclaimed hip New-Asian restaurant on Crescent. It was going to be big. Oh-so-big. I invited my boss, V, because a: she's super duper fun and b: she knows her sushi. Media was at 6 so as per our usualness (that's a word, I swear!), we got there at 5:55. Kyozon joins the Nacos Group family, including Weinstein and Gabinos and Newtown on Crescent (my fave is Atelier d'Argentine in Old MTL).

The place looked really big from the outside and even bigger when you enter. Holy bejesus!!! It was HUGE! You get in and there's a huge mother freakin bar on the first floor along with many tables. Then, on the second floor, you have the kitchen, in full view behind a window and the kaiten belt. I had never experienced 'the' belt so that was fun and new for me! 

There was a huge sky light which added a certain charm to it all. So in one word it was damn huge. Ok, two words.

Anyhoot, we got in and were nicely attacked by some waiters carrying drinks around: red or white wine, proscecco or their specialty drink for the evening, the Shojo Sour. We started off with the Shojo: Bombay Sapphire, Midori, lime, simple syrup, egg white and the kicker, 3 drops of sesame oil.

It was very tasty and special (and dangerously not tasting of alcohol) at first but after a couple drinks and burping sesame oil, it became less special... Let's just say that the next day, at my sushi restaurant, I did not want to hear anything about sesame oil (my chef made a lovely joke telling me he had switched the oil in the fryer for sesame oil). And just one whiff made me want to you know whhhhaaaat.

The ambiance was great, as it usually is at media gatherings where everything, including alcohol, is free. Abeille was spinning for most of the night and it was loud! We saw many-a-people making out and almost just getting right down to it at the bar.... twas quite hilarious!

And now, food!

We were two of the first people there so we went upstairs pretty quickly to see what all the fuss was about with that belt! Turns out... no fuss. We were sitting in an arm's length of food that we could pick out so that was cool but the food itself...

-Rice not too good and this is coming from someone who knows her sushi rice
-Fish on top a bit too fishy

-This literally tasted like nothing even if, as you can see, there ARE ingredients!

-This one was my favourite
-No rice
-Salmon and tuna tasted great

-Calamari in a cone
-Great taste and crunch
-BBQ type sauce fit really well
-Not too salty, great panko crust

Sorry about awful pic
-This spring roll was just awful Sushi Shop quality
-Fake crab meat with tobiko and a tiny piece of avocado dson't make a good quality roll

-First dish with lots of flavours
-Salmon well cooked and moist (oh how I hate that word but sometimes, you just gotta use it!)

-Lobster maki
-Was there really lobster in there?

-Pork bun
-Taste was there but the pork was way too fatty and the bun was slightly undercooked

-Looked good but tasted like nada :/

-This was a great papaya salad
-Good flavours
-Very refreshing

-Popcorn shrimp
-Again, loved the panko crust
-Juicy on the inside, crunchy on the outside and just a tad spicy... just what you want!

Bah, pink ginger... really? That is all.

OK, now, I can see it now: 'Marie, you're so tough, you're so harsh...' Well I feel it's my duty to tell y'all the truth!!! Also, when there are huge openings like this one, the capacity of the kitchen to deliver the good stuff is always limited and stuff starts going awry as the night progresses. I would like to go back and experience the real deal though. As the Nacos Group promo/marketing dude told me: 'Ce soir c'est pour faire le party mais il faut y retourner pour la vraie expérience!'.

And now, let's talk service! It was great!!! Nothing bad to say about it! Not one thing. They were all smiles and they were always there with a drink or passing food around when you needed it. The barmen and women were always there for you (just like Friends!) and we stayed that much longer because our bar dude told us that 'we were fun and we should stay'. Damn him!!!

OK, and now, the scores!!!

Food: 6
Service: 9

I definitely want to go back for the real experience. You'll see it's hard to keep this chick away from asian food!!!

KYOZON on Urbanspoon

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Ma tante quiche

Ma Tante Quiche is now one of my fave breakfast spots! Whenever someone's in town, where do we go? Ma Tante Quiche. I go kayaking with a friend, where do we go after? Ma Tante Quiche. They know me now. I mean, I go there to buy a quiche or two but I mostly go for their 'everything homemade' breakfast! YUM!

This lovely establishment is run by a couple of lesbians in their 50's (ish) and employs people that are so damn nice, like my friend E would say, you'd want to drop kick them in the face. But not really. They sell a bunch of great homemade stuff. And it's ALWAYS good.

That day, I went with my best girl, we'll call her Sylvia, for a nice hungover breakfast. I think it's a given that half the people eating breakfast anywhere are hungover. Right? RIGHT? Anyhoot, the ambiance is nice and chill and the music went with that setting. Quite enjoyable indeed!

Since I'm mostly a creature of habit when it comes to breakfast: I always have the biggest breakfast offered on the menu. In this case, I had the 'Assiette Ma Tante Quiche' which is basically braised ham (in local beer--Brasseurs de MTL!), beans, cretons (hello!), baby potatoes with mushrooms in mushroom stock, homemade sausage, smoked bacon, an egg (or two), and some fruits.

Ok, so, fruits. So, I love fruit, blablabla, but they basically are an afterthought when I eat my 'déjeuner de la construction'. But hey this fruit 'cup' deserves an A: fresh raspberries, blackberries and blueberries? What what? Three of the most expensive fruits we can find in our supermarkets? Well hello foodcost! :p Nah, I'm sure they make up for it elsewhere; these are two smart ladies!

Aight, let's get down to it! The egg. OK, so eggs usually are just... eggs. But this was a GOOD egg. You know what I mean? I believe it may have been cooked in a bit of maple syrup which obviously makes it taste whhhhay better than other eggs! The ham that is cooked in beer for many-a-hours basically just melts in your mouth. It just MELTS in your MOUTH! The flavours explode and you are in ham heaven. And yes, there is such a thing! The bacon is smoked so obviously all the yummy bacony flavours come out and again, bacon heaven! The potatoes are just lovely! What a great idea to cook them with mushroom and add mushroom stock! Not too salty, just great! The sausage is also home made but it was a tad tough to eat and the beans, even if they were perfect the time before, seemed a bit fermented which was not so great. The cretons just melt in your god damn mouth. I'm a HUGE fan of cretons and these are well worth the trip!

Service was good. OK, not as good as many other restaurants but here, they seem so chill that YOU are chill, ya know? We got water quickly, food not THAT quickly and she didn't check if we liked it which, in my book, they should do.

And now, the scores!!!

Food: 8
Service: 7

I LOVE this place and anyone and everyone that lives remotely close should visit it at least once!!!

ps: and the price is right too! I believe it costs around 12$ for this plate!