Last year, I was fortunate enough to have been able to fly out to Montreal for Osheaga. It was the first time I had ever gone anywhere in Canada. It was love at first sight for me and Montreal. I even said that if it wasn’t for the company and the job I had when I went in 2013, I would have never gone back to the Rock. So, as I jumped from one job to the other at the first half of 2014, I also started to cancel my travel plans — mainly Osheaga 2014 and Hawaii.
Fortunately I have been blessed with the awesomest aunt and uncle who offered to fly me out to Paris in a few days. Wee! So to prepare for my trip to Europe I flew out to Montreal to acquire a Schengen visa and well…do what I didn’t get to do last time I was there!!!! And that is…EAT. EAT TO MY HEART’S CONTENT.
I arrived at my hotel at 9 AM. Way too early. My consulate appointment wasn’t till 12:30 PM. I needed a coffee and some food. I searched for a coffee shop as soon as I got settled into my room. No Starbucks for this girl. HAHA No hate, I still drink Starbucks, BUT THIS IS MONTREAL!!!! I remembered that I went to this nice coffee shop during my last visit but it was on the other side of downtown. Google suggested Cafe Myriade on Rue Mackay, it was a good 20 minute walk from my hotel, mostly because I was relishing the early morning in the city and because I didn’t really know where I was going. It was packed when I got there. I managed to get my usual latte, this time soy latte and a pain au chocolat. I even scored a table and was able to write a few recipes on my book before I decided to look for the consulate. By the time my interview was over I was starved. Like, I-do-not-have-the-time-to-search-for-a-restaurant-I-want-to-eat-at starved, so I walked towards Chinatown. NO. I wasn’t gonna make it to Chinatown and that’s when I saw Sushi Shop on Rue Ste Catherine right by Place Des Arts. It’s a chain sushi place, so much like your supermarket sushi. But who cares?! I only eat Tempura Maki Rolls anyway!!! And only paid CDN$5.00 for it!!! Now off to Chinatown where I finally had a Chatime Taro Bubble Tea. My friends from the Philippines have talked about this bubble tea franchise on Facebook a lot about 4 years ago…and here I am 4 years later and after all the bubble tea rage in the Philippines passed, having my Chatime Bubble Tea. Oh the irony! I walked to Old Montreal and stumbled into Olive et Gourmando and even if I wasn’t hungry, bought a piece of walnut blondie. I heard many good things about Olive et Gourmando! I thought I’ll eat the blondie later, but it ended up in the hotel fridge. I was also trying to find Garde Manger to creep on Chef Chuck Hughes. HAHA
Some of the things that I had looked forward to in going to Montreal was ramen. Weird right?! Because I have been deprived of ramen for the past few years, I have been dying for a bowl of hot ramen. I even tried to make it myself once but I couldn’t find the right noodles for it. So, Montreal being a bigger food scene than St. John’s, I made a conscious note to have ramen while I was there. First stop, Yuki Ramen located in a food court on Rue Ste Catherine. It reminded me of the mall food court me and my friend passed by when I was in Queens, NY. The noodles were pulled right after I ordered. The broth could have been seasoned better, but I am able to adjust this to my taste. I was happy. I finally have a steaming bowl of noodles and broth in front of me that I can eat with chopsticks and slurp off the bowl if I want to!!! It was also right around the corner of my hotel. And walking back I stopped by Juliett Et Chocolat for a macaron, which I didn’t get to eat because I had passed by a Rolopan and got myself a cone-shaped crepe with nutella and strawberries that I ate all the way back to my hotel. My macaron thrown into the hotel fridge for the next day.
My second day in Montreal was the biggest day of my visit. I ate a lot. I woke up bright and early! I had reservations at Au Pied De Cochon at 5:30 and Joe Beef at 9:00. This day had food coma written all over it. I walked to Cafe Myriade for a latte and a pain au chocolat — that I didn’t eat and ended up in my fridge later, I walked to Rue Peel hoping to find a nice place for breakfast but I couldn’t find any. I finally had to ask someone for suggestions. I was directed to M Cafe on Rue De La Montagne. Breakfast was eggs, bacon and toast. I wasn’t about to get picky! I managed to arrive in time for the early bird special so breakfast was only CDN$6.50 — compared to the CDN$15 that I pay for in St. John’s for brunch. Oooohhh and they have macarons that they import from France. I went back to the hotel to freshen up and drop off my pain au chocolat and macarons in the fridge.
For lunch, I decided to hop on the bus to Westmount and eat at Park Restaurant. I had previously worked with Chef Antonio Park for a day when we had him at the restaurant for a charity dinner. I wanted the tasting but after telling my waiter that I have reservations at PDC and Joe Beef later that day he told me that the tasting menu will be too much, so I had the Omakase (Japanese for I leave it to you) bento box. It was Newfoundland Tuna Croquette, the blue fin tuna was sent to him by my boss, and maki roll, green salad and lentil salad. Everything was delicious! I know, don’t roll your eyes, the green salad was as good as the other dishes on the box. I enjoyed the lentil salad the most, and the relish the came on the tuna was very good. The maki was not your regular California maki. I forgot what was in it but it was so good. Top it off by a lychee martini and a wave from Chef himself. I was talking to one of the sushi guys and when I said that I was visiting from Newfoundland, he said “Oh Shit! Our tuna came from NL!” That was funny because we also had tuna everywhere at the restaurant that week. I was so full after that bento box that I wanted to walk all the way back to downtown. But I had to be at the consulate for 2 PM, I was running late. I had to stop at this specialty bookstore beside Park and was distracted by the cookbooks!
4:30 PM: I was planning my way to Au Pied De Cochon. I’m going to be brave and take the train!!! So what if I all I know how to say in French is “Oui!” aside from the usual cooking terms like brunoise, foie gras and béchamel! LOL Of course, I was running late for my reservation after getting lost. The restaurant is so obscure that you really have to know where it is or what you’re looking for to know that it’s there. There is no sign for the restaurant, just the amazing aroma of food being cooked! I walked past a cute neighbourhood I fell in love with instantly (like I want to live here when I move to Montreal kind of love) and after giving the restaurant a call to make sure that they don’t give away my reservation I half ran, half walked to my destination!
I ordered a cocktail to take the stress off from getting lost and being late. While studying the menu (not that I haven’t read it online) I was torn between the Foie Gras Burger or the Foie Gras Poutine. Now, I know I can’t have both or have appetizers, because I still have to go Joe Beef at 10 PM. But when my server pitched the specials to me and said Duck Duo, I was sold. The duck confit cannelloni was huge!!! But it was so good!!! And the seared duck breast with the maple sauce was amazing!!! I felt my spirits lifted up on my first bite. YUM.
And you know, I cannot leave without dessert!!! I ordered some pecan pies and sugar pie to go for my pastry chef friend, Adam and as treats for my colleagues at work! The pies are usually served with homemade vanilla ice cream which they served to me with my pudding!!! The pudding was served warm with the ice cream it was delicious, the cold ice cream lowers the temperature of the dish and also cuts into the sweetness of the maple.
9:00 PM Planning my way to Joe Beef. I took the train to Little Burgundy, and you know what — yes I got lost. I walked around Atwater Metro for a bit trying to get situated so I know which way to go. Joe Beef was packed when I got there. I was literally squished in between two gentlemen at the bar. I mostly spoke to the guy on my left. He was from New York and at the end of our meal we were sharing restaurant opinions and he was recommending places to check out in Paris. We were both taking pictures of our food too and apologizing for it. I kind of found a kindred spirit. FUN! The guy to my right was really obnoxious and annoying. HAHA Joe Beef was fun though, the interaction with the oyster shuckers and bartenders. It was good times. The guy from New York, found it amazing that I was in 3 restaurants all about 3 hours apart. He even offered me a bit of his food to taste, because I couldn’t order as much as I would’ve liked since I was still pretty full from my meal at Au Pied De Cochon.
I ordered a bottle of Joe Beer, I always make it a point to try local brews. It was actually pretty good for a non beer drinker like me. I had the Jambon, Buerre et Truffes, it was my first time to eat black truffles. It was a lot different from having truffle oil or truffle paste, a lot milder. And whatever spread they put on the sandwich was really good. Pork, butter and truffles — WHAT MORE CAN YOU POSSIBLY WANT?! Now, I can’t say that it’s as amazing as my meal at PDC, but I was satisfied.
And as always, dessert!!! My server tried to twist my arm into not choosing this dessert and I found out why. I wasn’t expecting this! But when I read “Tarte Tatin”, my mind was set. I love apple pie ala mode. I wasn’t expecting a tall ice cream with bits of apple pie. LOL A bit of an overkill since I already had ice cream much earlier. And really overall too much ice cream as it is. I would’ve appreciated a little bit more apple pie stuff!!! But the drink I had, The Patrick, was delicious and strong — I was warned though. There was no getting on the train, this girl is cabbing it home. HAHA
I don’t know if it was the bourbon or the gin but I woke up with a kick ass headache!!! It’s my last day in Montreal and I have a headache. Nothing can deter me from making the most out of my last day though! My flight leaves at 7PM. I have the whole morning to explore! First things first!!! Coffee!!! And then I walked to Old Montreal! I stopped by Place Ville-Marie to buy my bus ticket to the airport because I lost my metro pass coming home from Joe Beef, walked underground for a bit…got lost again. When I resurfaced to ground level I was in Square Victoria where I saw food trucks!!! At first I was just curious which food truck those were because I knew PDC also had a food truck. I walked closer, I saw Dimsum and Raclette food truck, WHAAAAT! After much going back and forth, I got two red bean rice balls at Camion Cuisine Chinois and a classic raclette at Boîte A Fromages. I have been craving for raclette since my cousin’s dad stopped working at a restaurant back home which served raclette. This one was served with fried potatoes, gherkins and pickled baby onions. Tastes almost like the plate of stinky cheese and pickles I used to order when I was a kid. I honestly didn’t need the potatoes. I sat down at Square-Victoria to eat, scraped off as much cheese as I can from the potatoes and put my red bean balls in my purse. I can eat it later…just like all the forgotten pastries I had in hotel fridge. I continued on to Old Montreal and let myself get lost. I had planned to go up Notre Dame Cathedral but the tower tours were only on Tuesdays and Fridays, it was a Thursday. Boo. I also decided to scope out Garde Manger again. HAHA
2:30 PM I started to walk back to the hotel and be on my way to the airport but I am starving!!! I decided to walk back to Rue Ste Catherine and check out the restaurants. I stopped for some pictures of the Cathedral Marie Reine Du Monde. I walked around the corner on Rue Metcalfe and stumbled into Taverne Square Dominion’s patio! Wow! I heard this place was also pretty good! So I sat down for a meal and had the duck confit. I know…I overkilled the duck during this visit!!! But it was on special!!! Served with a middle eastern inspired yogurt sauce and eggplant caviar. I didn’t even really like eggplant but I ate this one. HAHA Plus, I found it cool that the were serving confit on a plate. Most restaurants these days pull it and put on pasta, in a filled pasta, or toppings for pizza or nachos. Topped of with a nice glass of red. I was pretty content.
And then I had to say goodbye. I hopped on the bus to airport. I cut it really close too my flight too. HAHA I also took with me all the pastries and ate some of them at the airport or plane. And then some when I got back home. I had a good trip. While travelling with a companion might be enjoyable. I have to say that being alone on this visit was as enjoyable if not more, alone. I got to experience a little bit of Montreal better. I will definitely be back for a visit or maybe even stay till I can speak French. 🙂
Check out these links for information on most, if not all, of my eating adventure in Montreal!!!
Cafe Myriade: http://www.cafemyriade.com/wp/
Sushi Shop: http://www.sushishop.com/fr
Olive et Gourmando: http://oliveetgourmando.com
Juliett et Chocolat: http://www.julietteetchocolat.com
M Cafe: http://mcafe.ca
Park Restaurant: http://parkresto.com
Au Pied De Cochon: http://aupieddecochon.ca
Joe Beef: http://joebeef.ca
Boite A Fromages: http://boiteafromages.com
Camion Cuisine Chinois: http://dimsummontreal.com
Taverne Square Dominion: http://www.tavernedominion.com/fr/