Friday, June 29, 2018

Villa Wellington

I visited Villa Wellington a couple weeks back with ma gurl Bridge, because who isn't hungry after the gym? I had returned a couple weeks before from Cartagena in Colombia and really wanted to have South American cooking again and that lovely taste in ma mouth! And so, we headed to the Peruvian for lunch!

The place itself is lookin' somewhat out of style (ya, I KNOW style): old, wooden tables and chairs and an outdated wall colour. The music was all over the place: Spanish, French, English... dang!

The menu was also all over the place and way too big. Guys, know that a smaller and simpler menu is always better. Always. For yourself, for us AND for the kitchen. I'm gonna quote Nike and say JUST DO IT.
The guac. I'm a BIG sucker for a good guacamole. I love it. Every time it's on the menu, I order it. Every time I have avocados at home, I wanna make some. I just want to eat it all the time. I loved the fact that there were peppers in there, it gave it a good crunch! It was a REAL good guac; the only thing lacking was a bit of salt, we found. Apart from the lack of salt, it was totes up there, flavor AND texture wise. YUM.
I just HAD to have the ceviche. You have no clue how cray cray my friend Em and I went over a good ceviche when we were in Colombia. I'm serious when I say that if we could've, we would've eaten it 3 meals a day, every damn day. Every. Damn. DAY. It's funny because as soon as I mentioned to our waiter that I had been to Cartagena and that I had absolutely LOVED their ceviche, he quickly stopped smiling and said 'it's not the same'! Dang, competition much? Apart from the sweet potatoes (what the), it really resembled the good cevich (NOT a mistake, say it with assurance) we had in Colombia. The pieces were a tad big, but there were lots of onions, just the way I like it, and it wasn't too sour with the lime. There were also some hot peppers in the mix, which was just lovely and spicy enough! All in all, a great little cevich that ALMOST won over Colombia's :p The bestest and simplest was found at this resto close to our hostel called Tecado. 7$ went a LONG way! We might even go back to Cartagena just for a little bite of that ceviche. Just sayin'.

Service was very quick and efficient. Apart from the tiny bit of attitude I detected when I told him I had just come back from Cartagena, he was quite good at his job :) We also got water rather quickly and he came to ask if our meal was good.

And now, les scores!

Food: 8
Service: 8

If I do crave ceviche at some point, I'm for sure going to think about going back to Villa Wellington!

Villa Wellington Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Monday, June 25, 2018

Pimms -- the Francesinha

I went to Porto recently with my friend Mona, because, damn it, that's how we do. On our before last day, we went to a restaurant called Pimms and we decided to try what every Portonian (it's happenin') is eating/talking about: the Francesca. No. The Francisconiah. NO. The Francesinha! Hahaha. This was only to illustrate how we tried saying that word 28 times before getting it right once, and then f*cking it up the other times.
A Francesinha is an abominable looking piece of food. Seriously. It is FULL of things. Listen (or read) to this: bread, ham, sausage, steak OR roast beef, covered with melted cheese and a tomato and beer sauce. Whaaaaaaaaaaaaaat! It reminds me of a sloppy joe, no? This dish was surprisingly way more expensive than anything (no wonder, with all that meat!) on any menu. So, we SHARED a HALF. Hahaha! Go big or go home, but the opposite.
I believe I wrote that it was 'a pile of stuff''. That pretty much sums it up. Whoever had this idea was on some hard drugs. But probably just too much pot. HAHAHA. Munchiiiiies! The whole thing was somewhat overcooked and the meat was hard. The sauce was quite tasty though! Silver lining... always find the silver lining. It was kind of like a grilled cheese on steroids.
All in all, we were disappointed with the experience.
Score: 5
And they never ordered a Francesinha again.

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

Saturday, June 23, 2018

Machiavelli - Brunch

The first time I ate at Machiavelli was, pffff, like, hum, 6 years ago? It's an actual question, people. Ya, around 6 years. I remember, I lived in Côte-des-Neiges then, and went with my ex. Right after leaving, I discovered I had to pee and instead of walking the 5 steps back to the restaurant, I walked two blocks away and peed on the church's lawn. I know, GREAT story. Best story EVA. Fun fact: when I went there from Côte-des-Neiges, I had ABSOLUTELY no idea where the F I was. It was like I had been dropped by helicopter (what? I'm fancy!) right in the middle of butt f*ck nowhere. And now, I live a block away. Ah, how life is funny sometimes. Ha. Laugh. Laugh NOW.
Machiavelli is one of the cutest restaurants around and probably one of the most underrated. It's two (small) rooms, decorated with fresh flowers, cute little wooden tables and cute little wooden chairs. Vintage dishes and tableware completed the very cottagey feel. As I said, everything is cute. Oh, and the music was cute too: indie for the most part, and very shazamable! Second oh, it's a BYOW! Quuuuuwhat! And for brinch, you can bring your bubbles and you can enjoy a mimosa or 8 :)

We went there on a very, VERY rainy Sunday. The kind of rain that lasts all day and that makes you want to stay in and watch Netflix. ALL. DAY. Instead, ma work girls Bi and Little Boo and I dragged our asses around 200 meters to Machiavelli. In Netflix's defense, I DID watch at least 6 hours of it after brunch.
First, they brought us warm bread and home made brioche (both rare, let's face it) with a little nugget-o-butter and, excuse me, homemade blueberry and rose water jam. As some of you know, I ain't a fan of jam. On anything. Meh. But this one? THIS one was effin good. Just a little bit of rose water makes the medicine go dsown! OK, that should totally be a song. Or not. We'll see :) Seriously, it was a match made in heaven! Just a tad of butta, with a tad of jam and I had myself a winner!
I had some nice and chilly AND bubbly San Pellegrino because, when I have the choice, I always choose them bubbles! Bi had tea. But not any kind of tea: home made tea! Yep, they grow herbs and flowers in their garden and make things like tea. WHAT! The waitress made her smell at least five different kinds of tea before she chose this pretty one. It was the waitress' fave, somewhat of a Spring blend, whatever that means. Oh, and we all really enjoyed the 'cuillere monster', with all dem teeth!
Oeufs à la commodore: poached egg, truffle oil béchamel, button mushrooms, rustic potatoes and side salad. One thing about truffle oil is that it's easily over used. EASILY. I love it but when there's too much, it's just not enjoyable. Like, at all. Ugh. Yuk. OK, you get it. There was just the right amount and it was loverly (that is not a typo). The salad, although it being my very hated mesclun, was very fresh and crispy. The potatoes were perfectly cooked and seasoned. The button mushrooms were so good that I had to ask which kind they were. Button. Freaking button mushrooms done oh-so good! I was like, ooooh, these must be fancy ass mushrooms. But no! The egg was more than perfect. Hard, I know. But true. It was flowin' in all the right directions. Gawd, that sounds dirty. Anyhoot, skipping over this awkward moment...The béchamel had the right consistency and the truffle oil added a certain je  ne sais quoi to it. By the way, 'je ne sais quoi'=awesomeness. The homemade brioche completed this awesome dish, with its fluffiness and great taste. Ah man, now I really want to eat that again!!!

Chocolate mousse with chantilly and banana. This was such a nice way to finish off our meal! Not overly sweet, uber soft chocolate mousse with just the right amount of chantilly and bananas. A match made in heaven, once more! AND the presentation was so cute!

Service was very good. It had better be because we were the only ones there on that rainy, cold, and ugly Sunday morning. Apparently, usually, it's pretty full. She explained everything to us and water was a-plenty.

And now, the scores!

Food: 9
Service: 9

No doubt in my mind that I'll be going back! Like, I'd say there's a 172% chance that I'm going back.

Friday, June 22, 2018


I've been to Machiavelli before: once, about 8 years ago for dinner, and the second time, about 8 months ago for brunch. I absolutely loved it both times. Like, THIS is love. And good for me (and them), I live a 5 minute walk from the restaurant. I went with ma boo, Bridge, who is an ultra regular at Machiavelli. As I was talking to the chef-owner (that, just by the by, has owned this resto for the past 4 years and is freaking TWENTY NINE), she suggested I come for dinner so I can eat to my heart's content and take pics and what have you. That sounds like a pretty damn good deal if you asked me. Go ahead, ask me. YA, iz a GREAT deal.
Machiavelli is this cute little restaurant that has a nice terrace right at the back. Like, supes cute. Lots of flowers and herbs and outdoor lights. On top of it, the ambiance is just lovely. Basically, you feel like you're in a friend's backyard, but with people serving you freaking awesome food. Disclosure: this picture does NOT do it justice.
I asked them to surprise me and told them that the only thing I didn't want to eat was pasta or anything ubs heavz (you get it). Bridge knew exactly what she wanted. Heeeere we gooooo! (Let the feast begin)
The mother f*ckin' giant oyster. This thing was so huge, it had it's own area code. Ya, I went there. Nostalgic for old 'Yo mama's so fat' jokes. Hehehe. Anyhoot. They cut up the meat and mixed in some onions, peppers, cucumbers, and horse radish. There were endive leaves on the side that we were supposed to use as a vessel... but we realized this only after pigging out with the spoon. Wonderful flavours ensued. I would like eight more please.
There was also the Trois petits bernardins (like the mason jars!): three dips with homemade pita chips. Tzatziki with orange essence, salsa of mango, tomato and cumin, and a spread of roasted veggies. My fave was the tzatziki, because it was so smooth and the orange actually fit really well with the garlicky softness. Ya, it's a thang. The middle one was a fresh salsa that Bridge found way too cuminy. I gotta say, I'm fond of the cumz but this WAS on the bit-too-much side of things. A tad too intense. On the other hand, I did love the combo of tomato and mango! The third was the spread of roasted veggies; Bridge's fave. The roasted goodness really came out, especially in what seemed to be eggplant and zucchini. Quote from Bridge: 'I want to eat this forever'. Well said Bridge. Well said!
The escargots. Bridge really wanted them escargots! And now I know why! The ONLY bad thing about this dish was that there were only six. Come oooon, I need at least 14. Sounds like a good number. Sounds like the RIGHT number. I digress. They were perf perf perf. Just cheesy enough and garlicky enough and hot AF, which is what is needed with the escargots. Of course, we dipped the remaining pita in the butter. Duh.
Le foie gras. mama likes her a good foie gras. Mmmm. They marinated it in Brandy for one day with a bit of salt and poached it at just the right temp. It had just a pinch of fleur de sel to make the flavours pop and it was accompanied by somewhat of an apple jammy. A jammy. Just by looking at it, it was spreading itself on le bread. The apple dippy was the perfect pairing. It wasn't too sweet nor too strong tasting, so that the foie gras was still the star of the dish. But when is it not, am I right?
A little palate cleanser is always what the mouth needs between courses. And also because we're fancy damn it. It was raspberry, blueberry and Brandy. It was quite refreshing and my palate called and said it was totes cleansed.

Boo's gnocchi looked DElicious. Stuffed with mozzarella, with a buttery sage sauge. Oh ma gawd. Bridge took one look and said 'oh Imma goonna take this home fosho'. Ya, with her tiny little stomach, poor thing was already ubs full. Even I was gettin' there. OK, think of a cloud. A very fluffy cloud. And now, put it in yo mouth. They were just perfectly round and cheesy. Also, usually, I'm not the biggest fan of sage because I think it's quite a strong herb that is not used very well, but this was so good! It married very well with le cheese. Sage and cheese=winning combo! Let's just say she had the best lunch at work the next day.
Pork El Pastor. I think I'd like anything El Pastor. That sweet mix of pineapple and pork, coriander and onion. That just does it for me. Gimme that every day and I'd be the happiest of girls! The pork was so tender and was breaking up so easily! That is what I love... in life: meat that falls off the bone. It was accompanied by a tasty pineapple salsa that went supes well with the marinated meat. The coriander, as we know, goes with everything. Meat? Yes. Fish? Yes. Seafood? Yes. Veggies? Yes. Dessert? Sure, why not? I had a little taste of the potato and it was just perf on top of perf. Just cooked enough (ugh, I hate over OR undercooked potatoes--it's a fine line!). With a squeeze of lime, it brought this dish to a whole other level.

(Note: my picture was SO bad that I don't feel right posting it here :o )
Le dessert. What? I HAD to have dessert! Pistachio crème brûlée and brownies with blueberry coulis. Decadent? Oh, just a bit. You know, when you've decided to pig out... The crème brûlée was perfectly hard on the outside and soft on the inside. I think I have as much pleasure as Amélie Poulain when I break through the top layer of the crème brûlée! The taste of pistachio wasn't ubs strong, just present enough. The brownie was so soft and moist, I just couldn't, you know, not eat it. And with the blueberry coulis, hello. Oh, hello.

Service was right ON throughout the evening. I gots to be honest here and say that most times, when I am invited to a restaurant, MY service is rockin' and not so much for the other patrons. In this case, everyone looked happy. Our waitress totes accepted the fact that we were speaking in Frenglish (no explanation needed), and she, herself, started speaking the same language :) We got water quickly, we got an ice bucket for le wine and she asked us if it was to our liking many times. She also didn't judge us when we got slightly drunk after drinking 1 bottle and a half of wine hahaha. We got to meet Natassia, the chef/owner after our entrées and when we left, and I half drunkenly thanked her SO MUCH for the AWESOME dinner, I don't even think she said thanks... she just said that these two other cooks (next to her) worked as hard and I should thank THEM. And then, I fell in love with her. Natassia, if you read this and you're single, please write to me. (ps: she DOES have a bf, I FB stalked her...pps: YA, I'm like that)

Just FYI, Machiavelli serves up an AWESOME brunch on Sundays!!! I've been and damn it ever was it ever mouth watering! LETS GO!!

And now, les scores!

Food: 9
Service: 9.5

You and I both know Imma be back. And I'm telling everyone I know to go. E-ve-ry-one.

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

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Nantha's Kitchen @ La centrale culinaire

My buddy Nantha is having pop-ups on top of pop-ups on top of pop-ups. And they awesome pop-ups. He's making people discover his cuisine through freaking delicious meals. And it's fun to be the one reaping the benefits. Yass. Nantha invited me to his pop-up at La centrale culinaire last Friday for a Malaysian/Thai/South Indian food feast. I loves me a good feast!
La centrale culinaire is located in the Mile-End in a random building that boasts a bunch of companies and spaces that are either empty for shows and such or equipped for food making and such. The centrale is supes cute, with hanging lights and a friendly atmosphere. On top of it, Nantha is just always happy and smiling and it's oh-so contagious.

It was a 5 service dinner (ya, we're totes fancy) for 50 bucks. Well, I mean, I didn't pay, but you know.
Tom Yum soup. I really do have a soft side for this soup: the flavor combo is a winner in my book. You know, the book of Marie! Everything about this was good. It had the perf mix of hot and sour. It was perfectly hot (I despise it when my soup is cold. DESPISE) and just the perfect amount of spicy.
Pad Thai. Who dson't love a good pad Thai? It was hot, it was spicy, it was garlicky! I enjoy le garlic, but Margo has somewhat of an intolerance to it and the waiter had told her that there wasn't 'much' garlic. Yikes. As soon as he put the plate down, I got a whiff of it. With just a bit of a lime squeeze, it was perf. With the lovely Thai basil (possibly my fave herb alongside coriander) in there, and the shrimp, it made for a great pad thai. YUM!
Rojak salad: pineapple, cucumber and jicama, in a soy, lime, and sriracha sauce with some roasted sesame seeds. This was refreshing, and, hello, a fruit salad made savoury? YES! It was tangy and sweet at the same time with a hint of spice!
The thali! I loves me a good thali! The dahl was ubs taste and one could say it was almost smoky. The blue rice. Yes, you read correctly, mam! Found in Malay cooking, butterfly pea flower is a superfood on top of being a natural food colorant. It was quite weird, yet, cool, to eat freaking blue rice! It was a tad overcooked, but the flava still came through and it was goood, Then, there was turmeric rice, which just hit my mouth with a punch of flavour. Ya, that's a thang. After that, there was the chap chai which means ten veggies: soy sticks, black fungus, mung bean noodles, and pak choi. The soy sticks had absorbed all the wonderful flavour of the sauce (toasted sesame oil and oyster sauce) and it practically tasted, AND had the texture of meat. Quwhat! Everything else just went so well together. I believe what I wrote in my notes was 'wow'. I think that sums it up. The chicken was really tender in something that tasted stew-like.
Le dessert. We actually asked to share dessert. because I thought I might just burst. Seriously. You know the feeling when you eat WAY too much and you can't breathe no more? THAT. I'm chucking it up to the carbs I'm not used to eating. Filled me right up. Black sesame and red bean ice cream. Yes AND yes. I could have this every day. They were both crisp tasting. You know? Like, not watered down. Argh, you know? Point is it was delicious. 

Service was aight. I mean, the guy was supes nice and answered all our questions AND brought us water and a bucket for us to put our wine in. But our plates did stay too long on the table and service got somewhat slow. In his defense he might've been alone, which, man, I feel you dude. Been there done that. I, by that, I mean I suck at waitressing and even if there were only two tables, I'd start to panic. And therefore, I salute you, sir!

And now, the scores!

Food: 8.5
Service: 7

I'm definitely going back to another one of Nantha's nights!

Friday, June 8, 2018

Miss OPO

Mona and I made a point of finding non-touristy restaurants while we were in Porto two weeks ago, and I think we managed to find a couple gems! We visited Miss OPO on our last night, located on a small side-street, going down to the Douro. Ugh, I miss everything I just talked about: Mona, Porto, Miss OPO, and the Douro. But enough reminiscing!
First off, it is called that because OPO is the airport code for Porto. I know this because I'm a: so cool and b: I work for Transat. Mama knows her airport codes. And Miss OPO sounds way better than Miss YUL (Montréal's airport code). This place seemed very hipster-like. Maybe a bit too much so... They had a communal table at the front, cement floors and walls and minimal deco. I'd say it was a bit industrial looking, but with wooden tables and chairs giving it a classic touch. The menu was written by hand on a notepad: they change it every day, which is very cool.
We shared two dishes: the 'Pretty Salad' and the 'Shrimp with finger lickin' sauce and okra'. And we shall start with the salad. It WAS pretty, unlike this awful AWFUL picture, hahaha! This salad was supes fresh and ubs pretty! Some crisp greens, almonds for the crunch, sweet papaya and strawberries, hot radishes and very tasty and perfectly ripe mango. I usually am not a huge fan of fruits in salads but this totally worked. There was also fresh cheese in there, which totally completed the dish. We really loved this one.
The shrimp. OK, I'm just gonna mention again, as if you didn't know, how much I loves me a good shrimp. If someone would ask me to choose between a person I really love and shrimp, I'd have a hard time. If I could just eat one thing all day, every day, I'd choose shrimp. If shrimp is on the menu, that's what I'm having. If I could MARRY shrimp, I'd need a damn good reason not to do it. get it. They were cooked to perfection and they had absorbed all the flavor from the sauce, which, as the name says, WAS finger lickin' good! The okra fit right in there and just biting into it, all that flavor would just explode in my mouth! We had soooo many carbs all day every day while in Porto, that it was nice not to be eating bread or rice or potatoes or bread again.

Service was not the best. Actually, quite bad. We entered and were greeted one. HAHAHA. She came to see us after a couple minutes and just announced that they didn't have any tables. Then, she decides to put us at this bigger 'communal' table. A waiter comes over and he was rude too. We were then asked to change to a smaller table because a bigger group had come in. Geez. Our waitress was actually nice and was able to crack a smile or two. Third times' a charm!

E agora, a pontuação! (And now, the scores!)

Food: 9
Service: 6

I would LOVE to say I'd be back buuuuuuut, myyaaaaa, I'm pretty dang far.

Miss'Opo Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Saturday, June 2, 2018

Queue de poisson

I loves me a good fish n' chips! I had already eaten at La Queue de Poisson a couple years ago but since I went with my aunt, I didn't write a review. Ya, I can be nice, you know! Anyhoot, Em and I were looking for a nice little lunch spot after gym one day and we didn't have to go very far. 28 steps to be exact. I am lying, of course.
The place is really cute. First of all, you feel like you're on a boat. I will forever remember the 'I'm on a boat' ad for Old Spice. I wanna watch it over and over and OVER. But enough about tv. They have about 30 seats and, as I mentioned, it was like we were in the ocean. Which, btw, is a pretty freaking good place to be. There was no music, but we didn't really care because we were right at the window, so we had some noise happenin' on the street. What's also very cool is that it's basically a fish shop. That's pretty damn awesome.
We shared one order of fish and chips, because a: we're poor and b: we weren't THAT hungry. We had the fried cod: moist AF and oh so tasty! We actually regretted sharing one portion of fish for a moment. Ya, it was THAT good. By the by, the fish was SO fresh: he legit took it from the display at the front and battered it up. The fries were crunchy and crispy and the salad was great. Yep. It's rare that I say that about a salad. It was just so simple and well done: lettuce with some marinated red onions and colored carrots. The carrots and the onions brought a bit of sweetness to it all and the vinaigrette was just present enough. All in all, a great little dish.

Service was OK. Took a while for him to take our order and then a while for us to get our meal. He was the only guy there AND he was taking care of the orders too, so I get it (but I don't). We had water quickly, so at least that's one good thing hahaha. He WAS a nice boy tho, very smiley, which is always appreciated.

And now, les scores!

Food: 9
Service: 6

Awesome fish n' chips: ya, imma be back!

La Queue de Poisson Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato