Friday, May 27, 2016

Pétale Sucré

Since I had finished writing my blog on Le Mousso, I was on the hunt for my next restaurant to visit. I had 20$ in ma pocket. I was going to boot camp from 12 to 1 and I had dentist at 3. It was going to have to be close and it was going to have to be quick. I glanced at the eateries near my gym on zomato and quickly saw this. I basically pass by Pétale Sucré every time I go (so, you know, 8 times a week) so it was the obvious choice! 
I got my pal Vanes and our fave gym teacher Daizz to join, because it's always more fun to get other people's opinion too! As we entered, we noticed that it was really small. I dunno, in my head, it was going to be 4 times the actual size. It's rather made on the narrow side, which is not the best when people are in the way or when there are strollers. Just sayin'. It was still rather cute, although the flower shop side of it seemed kind of anything but organized. But hey, we weren't there for dem flowers, we were starving.

The woman at the counter, who was definitely the owner (when you have a place this small, you can't afford to have actual employees and you do everything) seemed a bit nervous/overwhelmed at first with our orders and trying to memorize them. I say, take a piece of paper, write em' down! That's what I do with everything. Meet someone new? Write their name down. Want to watch a specific show? Write it down. Anything? Write the damn thing on a piece of paper! I certainly don't judge waiters that write down shizzle. How are you supposed to remember a whole table's orders? OK, it's just my brain surgery and subsequent memory problems talking. Feel bad for me. Now. I kid, I kid! Going back to the lady... She was really nice and since not everything was on display, she said that wasn't a problem and she could make it right then and there. I mean, it's a little café; the choices weren't that abundant but there were 4 or 5 salads and 4 or 5 choices of sandwich type thangs. Oh, and dessert of course. Duh. It was not called 'Pétale Sucré' for nothin'.
Celery root remoulade and pressed tortilla. That tortilla looked like a tiny little gift. The emmenthal was ooey and gooey and made it taste different than any other tortilla which was a welcome change. The tomato made it a bit soggy; no surprise there. The pesto could have been a bit more present. I was looking for that herbal quality but had a hard time finding it. All the ingredients tasted fresh and it was a mighty good lunch bite. The salad was good. It had a bit too much dressing for my taste but apart from that, it was also very fresh and had just the right texture. Plus, it was seasoned just right (you know me and damn seasoning!). I'm not sure what the cucumbers were doing there but hey, more veggies for me!
Pear and chocolate tart. Imma gonna say yes to THAT! Yummy. Daizz had the Écureuil which was basically a mousse and lots of nuttiness and Vanes had an éclair au café! Lots of goodness there! It was very chocolaty and thick with a little layer of pear. Perfect for me since I'm not the biggest fan of fruity desserts! It was obviously too small but that's the story of my over-gymming-I-lose-1500-calories-per-workout-session life. Not too sweet but sweet enough. Yuuuuummy! Overall tho, Daizz' dessert won. Nuuuuuts!

Service was good. She came to check if we were pleased, she gave us water. She was right there if we needed her :) She was very attentive. We got our food in a timely manner. Oh, but Vanes would have liked her coffee quicker. 

And now, the scores!

Food: 7.5
Service: 8

I mean, there are so many restaurants in the area...but if, let's say, I'm having a girlie party that includes flowers and desserts... I'm totes there!

Pétale Sucré Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Le Mousso

*disclosure: half of these pics are retardedly bad. Blame my phone in the darkness.

Sometimes, you get to experience a once in a long while experience (does that even make sense?). Le Mousso became one of those, very quickly. My really good friends were in town from the states (and yes, Donald Trump came up about 8 times) and Neush, I'll call her, had made reservations at Bouillon Bilk. Yep. When she said there was an opening at Le Mousso, I got so excited, I may have gotten some chills. See, Le Mousso is special to me because my mom's family are Mousseau! Whaaaaat! Dudes, I was basically going to eat at my 3rd cousin twice removed' restaurant! Or something.
The resto is located in the village on Ontario, near Amherst. Jesus, I wish all the awesome restaurants that have sprouted around there could have been there when I lived at the corner of St-Hubert/Ontario! This neighbourhood is definitely blossoming when it comes to restaurants! It has a definite vibe when you come in: hustling and bustling, the waiters are running around, aiming to please everyone. Le Mousso is still somewhat of a small restaurant if you think about it: a small dining room when you come in, you go up some stairs on the left and there's another space with roughly 8 tables, and then you continue and go down some more stairs and there's a couple more tables and a big booth where we were seated. FYI, those were the best seats in the house. It's kind of like a tiny maze, because if you continue, you hit the bar and there's no way out so you have to go back from where you came from. OK, you have to be there to get it. Geez!
It's pretty effin awesome to have a view on the downstairs kitchen from your seat. I absolutely loved that. I found it a bit weird to go downstairs, pass by the kitchen, say hey to the cooks and head to the washroom. To see all the spices, all the colourful veggies, the good lookin' plates and the communication between cooks/chefs was great. Especially since, even with that many dishes, things seemed to be running smoothly.

Le Mousso has a fixed menu of 7 courses for 65$ (55$ on Wednesdays) with an optional 8th course that you can add on for 15 buckaroos. All ingredients are either local or close to except, on this menu, the calamari, the daikon and the truffles. It's pretty darn tootin' awesome to know that everything on your plate comes from a field very close to home. It's like when I make myself a huge salad with the veggies from my garden. Mmmmmmm. OK, summer needs to get here now. But on another can also get the wine pairing for 45$ I believe. They don't actually have a wine list so they just make you taste a couple wines. Tasting wine? Wait. Tasting a couple wines? Count me in baby!
Appetizers 'around the fire'. To be honest, I do not remember which one is which. It was very... black. One was a financier (a cookie) made from squid ink, with some caviar atop it. It was spongy and tasted just fishy enough! The black garlic calamari was oh so original but it could have been a bit hotter and the texture did not please me much. I must say though that the taste was as special as they come! So for that one, A for effort :p 
Foie gras cotton candy. Uh, excuse me? The waiter, in my head, just said: ' heaven, heaven, heaven'. Yep. And holy shizzle was he ever right! He instructed us to take the whole thing in one bite. I don't think anyone at the table did that but I would not dare contradict him and it was well worth it! Woooooow!!! So it was basically a cloud of loveliness. A CLOUD of LOVELINESS. Damn yo! Ya, I just yo'ed you guys. The whole thing melted as it should and then you had a hit of foie gras that was like butter (or should I say 'butta') on your tongue. It was the perfect vehicule for such a wonderful and fatty dish. Hands down the best foie gras I've had in my life. My LIFE! And ps, I ain't gettin' any younger!
Scallops with dashi, brown butter and dikon. OK, this specific mix of flavours sounds really far fetched and out there but you know what? It totes worked for me. Well, and for everyone else since we all absolutely loved this. Firstly, may I just say 'you had me at scallop'. They are like candy. Seriously, when I eat them, I'm like a kid in a candy store: I go all cray cray and I want more and more. The daikon was perfectly cooked and oozed flavour. Oozing is a technical term here, of course. The scallops were p-e-r-f-e-c-t: lightly charred and seasoned just right. The dashi added a certain umami to the plate, which, by the way, does not happen every day. Even when umami is trying to be reached, it does not transpire every time. Marie: umami expert! The brown butter added a certain nuttiness to the dish which paired really well with the scallops. They could have dialed down the sweetness a bit: for a second there, it was a bit desert-y. Dar thought it could have been served hotter and I thought it was just the right temperature. 
This is possibly THE worst picture my phone has ever taken. And it was such a pretty plate, gosh darn it! Arctic char with quenelles of borsch, onion, sour cream (or was it crème fraîche?) and caviar. The borsch quenelle was like beets X 100; yummy and rich and thick. The flowers and shoots atop the fish were actually quite spicy which was a surprise for us all. They were quite strong and tangy and a welcomed side to the dish! The onion quenelle was wooooowza! OK, imagine you are eating a french onion soup. Got it? Well all those flavours were concentrated in just one little quenelle. Yep! The cream quenelle was effin awesome and so smooth. I'd have a bite and it would melt directly on my tongue. Mmmmmm... meeeeelting. The caviar quenelle was my least favorite. I know, I know, it's caviar. But mama doesn't like it because it's expensive. It was actually overly salty and I didn't find that it went well with the rest of the components on the plate. The fish was just to dsie for. I know I say this over and over again but it actually DID melt in my mouth. It was so fragile and soft and just tasted like dynamite. Note: no, I've never tasted dynamite. Just take a little bite of the fish with a bit of the borsch or the onion or the cream and BAM, you got yourself paradise. It was seasoned perfectly and lord knows how important that is when you are eating fish, or anything for that matter. Everything is in the seasoning.
This was the extra course we paid 15$ for. We shared three for the table. I liked the fact that we could add something! Crab with green strawberries, wild leek and verbena. Let me first explain something. My name might be Marie-Christine but I could just as easily introduce myself as the princess, nay, the queen of all seafood. Let me explain somethin' else. I swam before I walked and I ate seafood as soon as I could eat solids. It's just how I dso. Alright, enough with the stories! The wild leek sauce may look like a slug on the plate, but it was the freaking best tasting slug ever. It was tangy and full of loveliness. The verbena was the wow factor. First of all, well, it looks damn good, and second of all, that special aroma it has paired uber well with the crab. That citrusy, almost lemongrassy taste was like lightly squeezing a lemon on top of the crab. Yes AND yes. Oh and that crab: dsaaaaaamn! Dsamn. I can't say it enough: dsaaaaamn. So tasty and, well, straight from the ocean pretty much. It was like they just fished it out and put it on my plate. And then I put it in ma mouth. And enjoyed the hell out of it.
Coq au champignons de Paris, poudre de peau de volaille et beurre blanc. I wrote it in french cause it sounds about 100% better and fancier. This was goooo-hooood! I'd totes go back for one these bad boys! So button mushrooms=boring right? Wrong. They were sliced very thin and seasoned just right and had almost a buttery texture to them. I would absolutely hate not being able to put at least a little salt on everything. We all know it brings out the goodness in meat, veggies, well, all food really. The beurre blanc was a tad on the salty side tho but it was still amazeballz. It was smooth and creamy. Mmmmm... I just want to dip everything I eat in THAT butta. The skin was the best part: crunchy tasty goodness. And the meat. OH, the meat. It was so tender that it was breaking in pieces just by looking at it. This plate was definitely a winner. Totes def. Man I sounded cool right there. I just ruined it, didn't I?
Holy Christmas! I just felt bad for my friend Beans who's pregnant and couldn't eat the lamb the way it is supposed to be enjoyed: blue. You do not eat fully cooked lamb. You just don't. It was tender and juicy and darn tootin' awesome. The flowers on top were so delicate and the basil, even more so. They kind of made up a tiny lovely salad atop the best damn piece of red meat I've eaten in a whhhhile. Oh and the smell emanating from that dish: dsamn! The basil and the harissa. Oh yes! The harissa seemed like a weird choice at first but it quickly became the BEST choice for this meat. Everything accompanied everything else so well. All the flavours married well together.
Obviously, I did not take this picture. I forgot to take one so thank you, Le Mousso facebook page.
How pretty does this look? Man oh man! Think about a beautiful painting and put it on a plate; you get this. The taste to prettiness ratio was up there too! They probably have their tweezers handy when plating because everything is so pretty and so well placed. Especially those little flowers. I love having flowers in my plates so I was a happy camper throughout the meal. This was the pre-dessert. Or the anti-dessert as they called it. It was described on the menu as so: 'shallot/blood/apple'. Mmmmya lemme jump right on that. Or not. But oh yes! This was full of textures: creamy, smooth, crunchy, soft. Blood sponge cake. It was really rich, moist and airy all at once. It tasted like cinnamon, which is an obvious pairing with apple. The apple butter was a bit tart but that was very nice. Apple=tartness. I don't like sweet apple thangs anyway! Anti-dessert hello! The shallot ice cream was, and I know I've written this word many times throughout this review, but, WOW!!! Naturally, I had never, neva eva tasted that before. I don't think anyone has! And it was so effin good. So original. Who knew? Again, very rich but the shallot was just present enough to not make it feel like I was eating a salad. Pouahaha. The cider vinegar was very sweet and kind of counter balanced the ice cream. Hey, a great dish is a well balanced one. The oatmeal crumble was needed on this plate. Again, with the balance! I needed that extra texture. It was just sweet enough.
Dessert! I'm quite saddened by the state of this picture because it was actually 1000 better than what it looks like here. Squash tuile atop frozen yogourt, buttermilk mousse, honey and honeycomb toffee. Hello! The mousse's job was to make sure the dish as a whole wasn't overly sweet because of the honey. I liked the contradiction. The tuile was pretty awesome and although I know how they did it, I still don't know HOW they did it. Hahaha! The crunchie bar... I mean honeycomb was such a great thought, flavour and texture wise. I would have liked a bit more of it but, hey, imma pig. The frozen yogourt melted in your mouth as soon as it hit it and it resembled semi freddo. It was a bit tart, which was much welcome. I could have licked the plate when I was done... or DID I?

Service was awesome. Actually we had two waiters. The first one finished his shift in the middle of our meal so a girl took over. She was less personal, less friendly, more get to the point. Not as fun for us. Our water glasses were always full, our utensils were changed between every course and our food came in a timely fashion. We had 8 courses so we left at aroud 12h15, which was waaaayyy too late for us old folk. But hey, we got there late too so it's all our fault. By the end, half of us were snoozing in our plate.

And now, the scores!

Food: 9
Service: first half 9, second half 7 (sorry girl!)

As you MAY have noticed, I totes fell in love with this restaurant. Every time I see one of their dishes on their facebook page, I drool. I guess the only thing for me to do now  is to go back!
Le Mousso Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

September Surf Café

Val and I needed a cute place to eat at. We wanted something different. And cheap. OK, more cheap than different. But different nonetheless. I AM aware I just said the 'd' word like three times. Still. We decided on THE newest place around: September Surf Café. Which, by the way, sounds like they will have their first run in soon with the Office de la langue française. I mean come on, they're just begging for it.

So, we all know that for a new restaurant to be successful, it needs to have either extraordinary food, a great concept or really rich owners (as I've seen before, even uber rich people sometimes can't save restaurants). Well, I'm just going to go out on a limb and say that they are going for the concept here. This is a coffee shop with, wait for it, a DIY surf board repair shop! BAM! Whaaaaat! Oh and a little surf-related store-ish (definition: a couple shelves). I mean, I would have never, ever, EVA thought that I'd see this in Montreal of all places! I mean, we only have two natural waves for surfing and an indoor one at Quartier dix 30 if I'm not mistaken.The surf shop is in the back and hardly seems like anything else but an excuse to be uber cool and different.
The space itself is quite big, with really high ceilings and lots and lots of room wiiiith... one big table!?! I mean, they could be making much more money if they added a table here and there (think W Station on Wellington where every inch of the place has a table). Basically, it's that huge table, seats at the windows and a couple at the bar plus some random chairs in one corner. I don't believe that's using the space wisely. Anyhoot, it's very industrial meets cottage style: brick wall, single bulb light fixtures, big wooden table, clean lines.  The music was a bit too relaxed when I got in but then it became more upbeat which, compared to the first one, did not make me want to sleep ;) The vibe in there is nice tho: you can see that they already have regulars that come in often and that know the employees and on a weekend day, I've seen this place full with parents and kids and a many hipsters. 
I had to have a hot drink. When in Rome right? Val and I were there for lunch but a nice chai latte sounded like just the thing I needed. First off, they drew a heart with the foam! Aaaaaaw! OK, I know it's apparently not that hard to do but hey, it's the little things. It was smooth, hot and creamy. Three aspects I look for in my foamy hot drinks. 
To be clear, we had three choices for the eating lunch part: homemade granola (this is obviously a breakfast item), a cheese toast (it was more elaborate than that but still...) and the bol balinais (which is what we had---duh). I must say I was quite disappointed with the lack of choices, especially since I had read that you could eat there. The bol balinais was made up of coconut rice, cabbage, peppers, cucumbers, green onions, lime zest and peanut sauce. First off, the rice was largely (and this is an understatement) overcooked. I mean, when u can smoosh it as easily as I was smooshing it, iz because iz overcooked gurl. Oh, it's overcooked!!!! Plus, I did not detect any coconut until my last bite (to be fair, Val did). The lime, both our palates had a hard time finding. We could see some but we just couldn't taste it. The veggies were a bit too raw and crunchy for my taste: you got rice in there, why not cook the vegetables just a bit. Blanch them for all I care but having crudités in my rice is not what I like best. The peanut sauce was way too present and overpowering. It was too strong and this is coming from someone who absolutely loves her peanut sauce.
I had to have something better to make myself feel... better about going there. Hahaha! They only have a couple dessert type thangs so we had the zucchini and chocolate chip bread. The sides were a tad dry but the inside was moist and chocolaty but not at all zucchini-y. I could see it but there was no hint of it when I took bites. All in all it was still good.

Service was meh. Seriously. Neither of us were impressed. On top of it, we were AT the bar, right in FRONT of them. We had to ask for water, and come to think of it, we had to ask to get the menu AND to order. They were not busy at all; that would have been the only possible excuse. They were actually a bit rude, to boot! It seemed like there was a September Café club and we were totes not members. And I must mention this: when we were paying, she asked us if it was separate and we said yes and THEN she asked us if we wanted two bills. Some people.

And now, the scores!

Food: 6 (but only because of the chai and the OK dessert)
Service: No. OK, a 5.

I know I seemed harsh but hey, when you have a bad experience, you can't be Mr. Nice Guy. I might go back for one of those chai lattes tho.

September Surf Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Yokato Yokabai

I always want to try new and exciting AND awesome new restaurants. Especially of the Asian kind. What? Guys, y'all should know I'm totes half Asian! Or I'd like to think so. Maybe in another life? Anyhoot, I was totally excited to try one of the best (or THE best?!!!) ramen houses in the city.

My token Asian friend Jer suggested this place a couple weeks back and I was OH so damn excited. That's right, THAT excited.
You get in and it's a great looking isakaya with a bunch of lanterns and a bunch of cooks behind a bar. It was small and cozy looking. If you look really hard, you can see two other friends in the back that were there because I had mentioned it on facebook :) Ah, social media. 

We sat in the third room on the main floor (apparently there's an upstairs too, what!). We were welcomed by a very nice guy who you just know could become your best friend and go out on the town with you. But first things first: food. The menu is really simple: 4 entrées and 2 kinds of ramen (+1 veggie----but dat don't count---OK I'm kidding. But not really.) You can choose between the spicy ramen broth and the non-spicy one, with pork or chicken. I had to have the 'best' one: spicy broth with pork. Ya baby!
Karaage chicken. I've eaten karaage chicken before. Quite a lot of many times (yes, that's right). This was by FAR the best. It was lovely and crunchy and moist (God I hate that word), oh and all that chickeny (new word alert) goodness.With a sake, mirin and lemon sauce, this dish could have seriously kicked some karaage chicken competition butt. The chicken itself also had a lemon flavour to it and that was awesomeballs. Ya, awesomeballs. Oh and sesame and ginger too. I love that flavour profile. loves it. I don't know how, but they actually managed to make fried chicken taste fresh. What up.
Gobo fries. Or burdoch root. It was fun for once to not eat the same old fries that we're used to! It was nice and hot and crunchy but I found that it could have been cooked maybe for a few minutes longer. The sauce was somewhat of a mixed mayonnaise that went really well with the fries. Wait. Mayo and fries? Big surprise!
Chasu-don. This was one of my faves. Pork with veggies, seaweed and rice. Oh, and an egg, of course! Every dish should include an egg I say! The rice was so creamy and soft and all that goodness, the egg was unctious, the pork was melt-in-your-mother-freaking-mouth good. The seaweed gave it a bit of a salty side and the green onions gave a little kick to it and all in all, the different tastes came together in one big bang. Taking a bite with all the components of this awesome dish was like a little piece of heaven in my mouth. 
Ramen: pork kara-miso. Look at that heavenly dish. Just look at it. And then look at it again. Basically, kara-miso means spicy miso. You see that red ball right there? That's the miso ball. OR ball of oh-god-yes I should call it. It was pretty much an explosion of goodness. That kind of salty, kinda thick, very umami (that's right, I'm using the 'u' word) kind of explosion. The broth was thick and creamy (they make a 12 hour pork bone broth that requires lots of care and affection--yes, I'm still talking about food) and had so many levels of flavors. The noodles were perfect: not tooooo soft but not al dente, just perfect. The pork was very fatty but that's what makes everything good. It literally melted in my mouth (yes, I like this expression). The green onions were a bit tangy and obviously went really nicely with the dish. The egg was perfect. It was THE perfect egg. Just so smooth and warm and that yolk.
Yuzu sorbet. Holy effin Jesus. You know I'm serious when Jesus is mentioned. This was like a breath of fresh air. Seriously. There were pieces of citrus in there, like little bites of a citrus orchard. Is that a thing? Well it is now. And hello, they had me at Pocky sticks. I had some hot green tea with dessert because I have a tooth that started acting up and it worked like a charm, on top of being one of the best damn green tea I've tasted so far (as in, in my life).

Service was great. Our waiter was super friendly. So much so that I felt like we should have gotten his number so that we could hang out later. He explained everything to us and we wrote our order on that piece of paper. You can have extra eggs, extra green onions, you choose your broth, you choose your entree, you choose your meat, and your dessert.

And now, the scores!

Service: 8.5

They have a tiny menu, but that only means I'll have to go back to taste all of it.
Yokato Yokabai Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato