Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Cabane à sucre Au pied de l'érable

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

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

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

And now, les scores!

Food: 8.5
Service: 9.5

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

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

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Nacarat, part deux

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

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

And now, les scores!

Booze: 8
Service: 9

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

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

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Trou de Beigne

After eating spicy stuff at Pum Pui, Jer bear and I were lookin' for a little somethin somethin sweet. You know, a little somethin somethin. Jer had a marvelous idea: "oh, there's a tiny donut shop right there'. Ya, ya, I'm ok with that. And THAT's how it went down!
These donuts are hand-rolled, fried and glazed every morning. Actually, they have two sizes which is just gosh darn awesome. For full on fluffy experience, they suggest, nay, TELL you, that you must eat them the day of. Makes sense: no one likes a stale donut. The place itself is tiny, with only a couple tables and le counter to order. They only have a handful of varieties, but even then, they go like cray cray. We were there for a big ol' 10 minutes and I saw at least 3 peeps coming in for big orders. I was like dang this bound to be good!
Jer had the bacon+maple donut and I had the green tea one. You know, might as well make it a "healthy" donut. HAHAHA! Ps: there is no such thing. The bacon 'nut (yep, it's happening) was ubs sweet (like, more than a usual donut) and I just thought that if you're gonna put bacon on something, make it worth it, no? The answer is ALWAYS yes. Like, put some IN it... make it proud of being a bacon donut. I gotta say that the bacon that was actually on le donut was quite lovely indeed: it gave just the right amount of salty and crunchy.
The matcha donut I had was too sweet for a matcha donut. Didn't feel it, you know? It was so cute though: I had the small version and it was green with some crispy rice on top which made for a nice little crunch. It was also overly sweet which kind of turned me off.
And now, le score!
Imma give a 6. Obviously, there are some other flavours I'd like to try like the S'more and the Chocolate-raspberry. So yes, I might go back if I'm in the hood.

Trou De Beigne Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Friday, April 13, 2018

Cartagena Ceviche contest!! (Triple C)

Recently, ma girl Em and I went to Colombia. You know, cause it was getting too cold here. You KNOW. We immediately fell in love with ceviche. I mean, I've had ceviche before, yes. I've had some pretty decent cevich (not a mistake, say it with style), yes. But Cartagena had some didely damn awesome ceviche. To be clear, we ate ceviche more than once a day. #obsession
Welcome to the CARTAGENA CEVICHE CONTEST!!!! WHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAT! We rated 6 restaurants that served ceviche. Some damn good, some aight, some... just plain bad (sacrilege!!)
1. El Kilo: this restaurant was located right next to our hostel. As in, from some of the windows, you could see IN our hostel. Yep, that close. We were quite excited to try this because we had heard great things from a couple people that worked where we were staying. Basically, you choose what kind of ceviche and then you choose if you want either fish, shrimp, octopus or a mix. I obviously went for the catch of the day. Obvi. Duh. I had the bacon and sour cream ceviche. Yep, I went there. I ordered it, but I was scared of what I was going to get. Well, turns out it was DAMN GOOD! Wow! It wasn't too lime-y, and although the fish was cut in slightly bigger pieces than usual, it was actually OK. Pieces of fried plantain could be found within the fish and that was such a nice surprise every time! It added just a bit of sweetness in every bite! The bacon and the sour cream, although I would've never EVA dreamt of eating ceviche with those ingredients, was supes good. Supes! Just a bit of saltiness married very well with the sourness of the lime and the sweetness of the plantain.

Em had the reg cevich (why write the whole word when you can just write some of it, am I right?) and it was delish. You know: lime-y, but not too much, and ubs fresh. I know she somewhat regretted going with the reg cevich, especially after tasting mine!

Le score for food: 8.5

Totes worth walking 3 meters for :p 
2. El Boliche: A lot of people had suggested we go to El Boliche, so, that evening, after going to El Kilo, we headed there. We called it Ceviche Crawl. Hey, it's totes legit! El Boliche was on a side street, so if we had not had the address, I do NOT think we would've found it. It was tiny AND full when we got there in prime dinner time, so we were seated at this huge communal table. All the dishes around us looked so good! We had the 'corn textures': shellfish, white fish, foam corn breadsticks. I think it's safe to say that Em and I thought we were going to be served somethin' else. 100%. Nay. 150%. First off, popcorn? Really? Come oooon!!!! THAT was a big surprise. Under that, there was a huge mother f*ckin' layer of foam. Ugh... so unpleasant! The thickness of it was too much. The little seafood was hiding under all that crap, and most of it felt squishy. Bah. Such a miss! This was another case of Marie-picking-the-wrong-thang-on-le-menu.

Le score: 4

3. Tecado: Tecado was our first ceviche exp (get with the program people!), and it remained the one we went for the most. I think we went a good 5 times in 7 days. It cost 15000 COP (or 7,50 $ CAD) for an appetizer size ceviche. Totes worth it! Oh, and it was about a 2 minute walk from our hostel. The pieces of fish were just the right size: not too big, not too small, just bite size! It was simple ceviche, which, let's face it, is often best: coriander, lime, onions, fish. BAM. With just a tiny bit of spice, this ceviche wasn't drowning in lime juice like most were. There were deep fried plantain in the dish that were just damn awesome. It actually MADE the dish. It soaked up all that lime-y goodness and maybe, just maybe, you could put a piece of fish on it with, perhaps, a little sliver of onion. And just eat it like a sandwich. Just. Like. A. Sandwich.

Le score for food: 9.5

Obvi, we went back many times!
4. Cebiches y seviches: We were told that if we wanted to try another ceviche spot, we should try this place. It was located right at the entrance of El Centro, in plaza de los Coches, which was a nice meeting spot. Also, you could see it from everywhere, so if you'd get lost, you'd just look for the tall-ass clock tower. We also ordered limonada de coco, which, by the by, was such a nice discovery! I personally think (and I'm sure Em would agree) that if I'd do a ceviches y limonada de coco evening, it would be a HUGE success. They served us the ceviche in a to-go container exactly like the one at el Gramo, which was kind of meh. They knew we were about to eat IN the resto. Just take a plate out, dude. Take a damn plate out. But enough about their manners! The ceviche itself was very fresh, and the pieces of fish were perf. It had some crunchy corn on top which was wonderful: it's nice to have more than one texture in a dish. The avocado was just the right amount of ripe. It was actually a fish AND shrimp ceviche (I think all ceviche should be fish... I mean, come ON), so I took em' on the side. They were... OK. I mean, y'all know I'm totes in lurve with them shrimp, but I would've figured that shrimp ceviche was going to be this: cut up shrimp with some coriander perhaps, and some lime juice. But these were just shrimp in a tad bit of lime.

Le food score: 7.5
5. Agave: Em and I wanted to have a nice fancy dinner, so we went to this restaurant a couple doors down from our hostel. It looked fancy, the menu looked good, and so we went. And what a bad mistake it was (can you guess who DIDN'T win the contest?). As soon as the ceviche hit the table, we smelled it. We smelled the fish. That is NOT what you want. It didn't seem inedible, so we ate it anyway, risking our LIVES. In hindsight, we should've gotten the heck out of there. I loved the fact that there were peppers in there tho, and also that it wasn't overly acidy. The pieces were uneven and some had some fat on them: it just wasn't pretty to look at. And obviously, the fact that it was quite expensive, and that the wine was expensive, and that the bread was stale, and that my main was too oily... just made for a bad experience all together. We should have  known it was going to suck; there was no one in there. ARGH. This was a major fail on the resto's part, but also on ours.

Le food score: 4.5
We SO didn't want to go back that I think we purposely walked on the other side of the street every time we passed by it.
6. El Gramo: My friend Chris had been to Cartagena 2 weeks before me (believe it or not, we were 5 out of 8 people near my cubicle at work that decided on Cartagena), and he had strongly recommended this place for ceviche. We HAD to go! What's fun with El Gramo is that you can pick what you put in your cevich! Obvi, for me, it was fish, and I added some avocado, because who would be cray enough not to add avo?! There were some onions in there, corn, kennels, and coriander. I must admit, the onions could have been chopped finer... it was like eating an onion salad with some pieces of fish in there. OK, I exaggerate. The whole thing was ubs fresh and the corn added some needed sweetness. At first, it was perf, although they COULD have mixed the whole thang instead of just adding layers. In the end there was a sh*t load of lime juice left at the bottom and that became quite acidy very quickly.

Food: 7.5

As you MAY have noticed, le grand winner is Tecado. We just LOVED that place and it was SO close to our hostel! Cartagena was an awesome spot to eat so many types of ceviches! Our fave remained the classic fish-onion-coriander-lime cevich. Hey, sometimes, the simpler... the better... the BEST!

Friday, April 6, 2018


Cuban food. Been to Cuba, done Cuba. About 6 times. Well, I had to try the REAL thang. Cause, let's face it, when you go to an all-inclusive in Cubes, it ain't Cuban food. So I thought of La Habanera. And my girl Gigi was in! After all, I've never been to Havana ooh na na. Argh, I have that song in my head every damn second of every damn day. At least, this time, it was legit.
I absolutely LOVED the place and the vibe! You DO feel like you're in Cuba when you're in there! Super colourful, flamingo in  neon lights, palm trees, flowers in the windows, islandy festive music.
I just loved this wall!!! It totally brought me back to Cuba! Cuba Si! :)
We started off with a mojito. Duh. That's all I need to bring me back to the country where I saw my first good lookin' topless woman on la beach. And I'm totes serious when I say that it was every bit like the mojitos I use to order in the Cubes (not to confuse with pubes, hahaha). It had more lime than the usual mojito and that's what made it better, I my opinion.
We were sharing food, which is ALWAYS the way to go. Listen to me: always. It should read: 'Be smart, listen to Marie'. Yes? Yaaassss! We got the salad first. The Aguacate: avocado, nougat, red papaya, oseille leaves, cucumber and mojito dressing. Did anyone say 'mojito'? Mojito in EVERYTHING! This was a hit and a half. And no, I don't know how I got the half. First of all, oseille leaves are SO IN right now! They are so damn cute and they add just a bit of acid. The avocado was perfection. You know, when Chandler is trapped in an ATM vestibule with supermodel Jill Goodacre, and he says that gum would be perfection? Ya, THAT kind. And no, I won't stop with the Friends trivia. The cucumbers were just the crunchy greatness that they should be, and the papaya was just sweet enough.

El Cubano (forgot to take a pic :/ ). Oh YASS. Pork, ham, smoked mustard, Swiss and provolone cheese, and pickles. Get. IN. MA. BEEEELLY!!!! Yum: grilled sandwich, supes cheesy, and ubs moist. The mustard added an extra layer of flaves and that was dang on. Yes... dang.
Tostones rellenos de camarones. Basically, this was a plantain 'cup' filled with rum, coconut, garlic, and dulce de leche shrimp. Sounds good, right? Ya, we both thought so. Guys, you KNOW how much I loves me some camarones! A good shrimp can go a long way. Nothin' bad to say about them. The plantain, on the other hand, was dry as all hell. Yes, apparently hell is dry. I guess because of all the heat and fire? The coconut was nice though, but let's face it, coconut is ALWAYS nice.
Tacos de pescado OR fish tacos! I love me a good taco! Mmmmmm... tacos! The tortilla was yummers (it's a thing), but the corn was too hard (what IS this, popcorn seeds?). The fish was moist (ugh-effin word) but lacked in flava. Basically, the whole thing was a bit meh.

We got our drinks very quickly, but then it took our waiter a while to take our order for the food. And we were HUNGRY. I'd wanna say 'never go to a restaurant if you're really hungry' but that just doesn't make sense!

And now, les scores!

Food: 7
Service: 8

Although I'd gladly go back for one of dem mojitos, I'll probs just end up finding 8000 other restos to eat at before I do. 
La Habanera Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato