Goodfood Recap #36

Goodfood (19)

Its been a month and time for another Goodfood box! This time had one repeat recipe and a few that I’ve seen but never found enough in the previous times to want to order the box. This time, we wanted to give it a go.

Let’s check it out!

Braised Cod
with Roasted Garlic Chickpeas & Blistered Cherry Tomatoes

braised cod

Kicking us off for any box is the fish recipe! This time we have braised cod. This meal was absolutely delicious. It would be paired perfectly with a baguette to just eat all the remaining sauce. I actually ending up making the closest thing I had: toast. The flavor is fantastic and the lentils give it such a nice bite. My husband cooked the fish perfectly. He actually took care of this one as he had a spontaneous day off. This is one that I’m definitely getting again if the opportunity presents itself.

Chipotle-Honey Chicken
with Pineapple, Cucumber & Tomato Salsa

Chipotle-Honey Chicken

This menu was pretty spicy. The chipotle completely covers any honey that was in there. To be honest, I think the meal works well because it has the whole rice and salsa so balance it out. Its still fairly intense (but that could be because I don’t eat spicy food a lot in the first place). My biggest issue of why I wouldn’t do this again was that I spent a good part of my time, extending the prep time a lot just taking out the seeds from the chipotle pepper and then chopping it up. That took a ton of time since it was my first time doing it.

Spicy Peanut Tofu Bao Buns
with Charred Miso Broccoli & Chili Mayonnaise

Tofu Bao Buns

Bring on the next fire-breathing dish. The chili mayonnaise was extremely spicy because of the sambal oelek which I only used half of the portion in the first part and then my husband also used half of the portion in the second part of when we had to use it. Props to the instructions for the broccoli being pretty accurate and it turned out to be pretty good. Plus they gave us much more than the recipe asked for. Bao buns are something that I don’t have frequently and a Taiwanese street food style and in this recipe, it is pretty decent. Its spicy but the different elements and the sauce and everything really pulls it together.

Fresh Udon Noodles
with Ground Pork & Napa Cabbage

Udon Ground Pork Napa

The last meal is the repeat meal that we’ve had before. I love udon noodle meals and this one is really easy to put together. Its almost like a one pan dish aside from the having to cook the noodles in advance and then it just basically turns into a stir fry. Plus, it tastes really great.

That’s it for this Goodfood recap!
Some new stuff and one repeat meal!
My favorite meal in box had to go to braised cod but then everything else worked well. 

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Restaurant: ChuChai (Montreal, Canada)

A random Friday evening outing and a sudden change of plans due to the original spontaneous restaurant visit my friend and I chose had a huge line-up lead us to go check out ChuChai, or according to my friend who had gone a few times before a few years back, a more hip and lounge version of it. I didn’t take any pictures of the decor but you can check out their site HERE.

ChuChai is a Thai restaurant with vegetarian and vegan foods, although to me, I think the menu is pretty much vegan as a lot of stuff worked for me. I’ve never been to a vegan restaurant before and its a nice feeling to know that I can eat everything on the menu even with my lactose intolerance. Of course, with any benefit you get, there is always a premium to be paid for the atmosphere and the vegan angle so just something to think about, for myself, it was pretty much expected.

ChuChai

Appetizers/Tapas

Spring Rolls (1pc – $8)

I’m a huge fan of Spring Rolls. I actually had learned how to do them from my best friend before but then its been years since I’ve done these. However, I always prefer them over the deep fried versions. ChuChai does a good one. It has a nice bite and its wrapped really firmly. The peanut sauce has a little spicy kick to it that really compliments the roll well. The roll does seem to also be a bigger piece than other restaurants.

Main Meal

Chu Chai

Royal Pad Thai

Vegan shrimp and vegan duck makes its appearance in this dish. Its been a while since I’ve had any vegetarian or vegan versions of anything. I do think that the vegan duck is better than the vegan shrimp in terms of how genuine in texture. But then, it was a decent taste so seeing as I don’t really go to vegan restaurant to go eat meat and have the meat taste because in my mind, its not about that. The Royal Pad Thai was alright. The noodles were done well and it wasn’t too much sauce and just right. Its a Pad Thai and it tasted like one.

Vegan Duck with Spinach

My friend took the Vegan Duck with Spinach and ordered a bowl of steamed rice to go with it. I had a little taste of it. The vegan duck is really great. The texture and the taste was pretty good. The spinach is also decent. My only deal, also a preference issue, was that the dish itself was really salty. Of course, with a bowl of rice, this might just work really well.

A little something aside from my personal preference is that the presentation for all of the dishes (appetizers, main meals & desserts) were done really well and matched the atmosphere and class that the restaurant itself presented itself as.

Dessert

Fried Banana with Maple Syrup

The dessert menu has a lot of nice little things to it that I would consider trying out. Of course, the one with the most representation is Fried Bananas with Maple Syrup. It tastes the asian dessert and adds a little Canadian twist to it. To be honest, the fried bananas were fantastic. Probably the best part of this entire meal.

Overall…

ChuChai is a decent restaurant. It targets a certain audience that appreciates a nice atmosphere and ambiance and raises the level of how we’d normally view Asian cuisine in general, in this case, Thai food and then giving it a nice little twist of vegetarian and vegan specialty. I won’t say its a challenge to make vegetarian food tasty because its doable and I’ve been to other restaurants that have done it well but vegan food has the impression (from those that haven’t had it before or less frequently) of being a lot of healthy and not so good food so its nice to see restaurants such of these pop up where it not only benefits those with allergies (like myself) but also provide a place to enjoy some good food. In terms of food and creativity and ambiance, ChuChai is a good choice. For my own standards, I think the food is still fairly basic and for that, the premium paid for the vegan angle is a bit on the higher side. If you were to ask whether I’d go back. Maybe, mostly to try out some of the other desserts and some of the tapas/appetizers/soup (they have a lemongrass one which caught my eye).

Additional discussion: The question (which I’m not vegan so don’t know how to answer): would it matter so much to someone who is permanently converted to vegan or is vegan in their eating habits from the start whether there is vegan meat on the menu? Or is it more for the normal person going in for a vegan experience to have an easier point of entry into this type of eating lifestyle?

Wine Recap – March 2019

The next Wine Recap is here! This time is very light on actual wine and more on ciders and malt drinks and such. Anyways, let’s check it out!

Crazy Uncle Hard Root Beer

hard root beer

Producer: 361 Degrees Inc.
Alcohol Content: 5%
Location: Ontario, Canada
Taste Tag: Bold & Classic

Completely based on a few sips of this as I shared it with my husband and he absolutely loved it. It tastes exactly like root beer and actually the alcohol doesn’t taste too strong either. The blend works really well together. We got this one at LCBO and we’re hoping to find it again next time and get a case of it or something (the husband’s request).

Flying Canoe Hard Cider

Flying Canoe Hard Cider

Producer: Flying Canoe/Revolution Investments
Alcohol Content: 5%
Location: Ontario, Canada
Taste Tag: Dry & Fruity

We’ve been trying out some new ciders here and there and found this one at LCBO also. I can’t say that I’m particularly fond of this one. It actually had a very dry nature to it and it didn’t blend too well with the fruity apple for myself. Its not quite as gentle as I’d like it to be. Of course, if you like the drier apple cider blends, this one should do it for it.

Jacob’s Creek Moscato (Can Format)

Jacob's Creek Moscato

Producer: Jacob Creek Wines
Alcohol Content: 7.6%
Location: Australia
Taste Tag: Off-Dry & Fruity

Its actually pretty nice to see these canned formats of bottled wine. There usually is a difference in taste but we’re a huge fan of Jacob’s Creek Moscato (see the original wine one here). Not only moscato harder to find, its sometimes so much easier to open a can and not have to worry about finding someone to share a bottle or not. With that said, the canned format does taste a little different, perhaps a little drier BUT it still has that sweetness that I like about it. Its still one of my favorite canned white wines so far.

Joiy Sparkling Riesling

Producer: Archer Mcrae Beverages Ltd
Alcohol Content: 10%
Location: New Zealand
Taste Tag: Light & Fruity

Another random pick at LCBO went ot JoiY and this one is the sparkling riesling which I normally would be all happy to try but I don’t know if there is something wrong with me or the packaging or whatnot but the taste of this was really chemical. I actually didn’t want to finish it because it tasted at times like I was drinking plastic which isn’t very fun because I was just thinking about how toxic it was. Maybe its just this batch and how it was stored, which could be a possibility but I’m going to stay away from trying it out again for my own health’s sake. Who knows, maybe its the blend itself that tastes like that and I’m just not a fan.

Zola Moscato Rosé

zola Moscato RoseAlcohol Content: N/A

Picked up this one at a local IGA. As mentioned before, I love moscato in general and haven’t tried moscato rosé. Its something that I’ve been seeing around a little more recently so maybe I’ll add that to what I will give a try to later on. This one is actually pretty good. There is a nice balance of sweetness in this one. Its a little drier than moscato (the few that I’ve tried, not Zola) however, its not a strong taste and is fairly light and fruity.

That’s it for March’s Wine Recap!
Some really great finds this time! 🙂

Restaurant: La Belle et Le Boeuf Burger Bar (St-Bruno, Quebec, Canada)

The husband had his birthday last weekend and after much deliberation, we decided to have a little date night. A much needed and delayed one. After some research, we decided to finally check out La Belle et La Boeuf Burger Bar located in the Promenades St-Bruno mall.

DECOR

LA BELLE ET LA BOEUF ST BRUNO LA BELLE ET LA BOEUF

La Belle et La Boeuf Burger Bar in Promenades St-Bruno has really nice decor. It blends in some of the old time stuff with the furniture and displays old electronics and a lot of wooden decor and walls. By the entrance is a huge bookcase that covers the entire wall which is fantastic. There are older pianos there as well as some shelves with board games and such for customers to play. Its a pretty nifty idea and adds a nice vibe. The playfulness doesn’t stop there as the bathroom is all covered in colorful graffiti. Its a little room and when inside, at least the ladies, it has this beautiful cute graffiti art.

la belle et la boeuf st bruno

DRINKS

La Belle et La Boeuf St Bruno

Drinks: Lola (Rosé Sangria) & Bloody Caesar

The cocktails and drinks (and their selection of mocktails) are incredibly extensive. A lot of very delicious blends from what it says on the menu and some nifty names as well. While I pondered over a few, I ended up going for the Rosé Sangria cocktail called Lola. Its pretty delicious and has a hint of acidity from what I think is the aloe vera juice which is usually quite strong but I like it. Just for extra info, Lola has Malibu coconut rum, rosé wine, raspberry sour puss, pineapple juice, red cranberry juice, lime juice, watermelon aloe vera, sprite and seasonal fruit. You can see where the acidity is plus the raspberry sour puss is the most apparent (as it is a very strong liquour).

The husband took his normal and that is a Bloody Caesar. They have their in-house blend but he went for the traditional one.

You can check out the other cool and quirky cocktails HERE for fun.

Main Meals

It sounds a tad ridiculous to go to a burger bar, titled in your name with The Beauty and The Beef and not have beef but we didn’t. The main reason being that we wanted to not have to modify the burgers too much like removing cheese from what is intended. Maybe next time we will but this time, we decided to stick with things that were as complete as it can be and that we can eat.

La Belle et La Boeuf

Thanksgiving Turkey

After a debate between fish and poultry, eventually the Thanksgiving Turkey burger won this time. This is a 100% turkey patty, brioche bun, avocado, apple and endive salad and fresh cranberry mayo. I also had a side of sweet potato fries. They had an extensive choice of sides and also a nice selection of mayo and dipping sauce. As for the burger, it was a mess to eat but super delicious. I wasn’t too sure about the mayo but it was delicious. The apple and endive salad worked surprisingly well also. The thing I liked the most was the turkey patty. I’ve done those before and they tend to get dry but this one has so much flavor. Consider me impressed.

La Belle et La Boeuf St Bruno

Polo Club

The husband had the Polo Club which is essentially their version of a club sandwich. Its put together with country bread, chicken filet, smoked bacon, lettuce, tomato and mayo. The husband got the garlic mayo to go with his side of sweet potato fries. He isn’t a man of great expression when it comes to food but he did mention that its one of the better club sandwiches he has tasted and complimented it on the fact that they gave him a whole chicken breast.

Overall

La Belle et La Boeuf at this location (it has a few other ones that we haven’t been to) is pretty good. The decor is good. The service was decent. Our waitress was friendly and helpful. The meals felt like it took a bit longer to get there but then the food turned out good and we did sit down, order and leave within less than 90 minutes. Maybe more like 75 minutes, which is efficient. It was a pleasant first experience and we’re thinking about going again at some point. Its even a pretty nice place for friends seeing as they have some fun games and there are lots of TVs with sports games going on and if you want to boast on how much you can eat, there’s some ridiculous burgers on the menu, specifically one that you need to sign a waiver before you eat it.

Le Festival G.: Perles & Paddock (Montreal, Canada)

Le Festival G., Griffintown Gourmand Gastronomique, is a new food festival held from March 7 to 17th. As a replacement for this month’s Battle of Ingredients that was cancelled last minute due to all kinds of different things going on, we decided to give this new food festival a go. One of our friends wanted to try out Perles & Paddock after being rather impressed with their menu so after a lot of hard hurdles to get a reservation, we finally managed to get one via their online system. Peculiar, right? Take that as a good or bad thing as you wish, but just our suggestion, try online instead of reserving by phone.

There was an option of 3 menus: Brunch (which we obviously didn’t fit because we went for dinner and was unavailable); 5 a 7 Happy Hour or Table d’hote Menu. I’m not going to go into detail about it all however we all chose the Table d’Hote Menu except for the little one who got the Happy Hour menu.

Table d’Hote Menu includes a choice of two cocktails, 3 oysters, 3 choices of tasting dishes and a dessert. ($42)

Happy Hour Menu includes a choice of two cocktails, 6 oysters or 3 cheese plate, 1 choice of tasting dish ($17)

Cocktails

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Left to right: Cirka Gin Cocktail, Prosecco & Mocktail

We had a half and half experience here. A few of us took the festival special cocktail which is made by a Quebec gin (if I remember correctly). I had a sip of it and it tasted a bit like grass but that might be the matcha powder sprinkled on top. The second one and what I took was the Prosecco champagne which is a little on the more acidic dry side of the spectrum. Its not horrible but not my first choice. My fantastic Battle of Ingredients co-host and friend Phoebe had the mocktail due to personal reasons.

Starters

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Oysters

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3 Cheese Plate

I didn’t have any of these. The little one got the 3 cheese plate. Phoebe, my husband and I all didn’t eat the oysters for our individual reasons and passed it on to our friends.

Tasting Dishes

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Arctic Char

I’m going to start with my own choices which are the first three here. I started with the Arctic Char which was really good. It is paired with Enoki and Daikon and kaffir broth. Its all very delicious.

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Braised Endives

The second one was the braised endives with a very acidic citrus sort of thing going on. I like the endives and the grapefruit but whatever other citrus was going on here was a bit much for me personally.

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Lamb

The lamb was done really nicely. It had a lot of the lamb taste to it. The pickled vegetables were also done really well. There is a nice balance to it and the sauce here is good as well.

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Broccoli

My husband choice the Arctic char, braised endives and this broccoli plate. He actually liked this one the best. He liked how the broccoli was prepared and the whole deal with the egg breaking and mixing up with the elements here worked well together (his words paraphrased).

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Duck Tataki

I can’t remember what everyone else got but I know that Phoebe chose this as one of hers. Not sure how she feels about it exactly. I was interested to see how this tasted thought because it uses argousier, which is called sea berries or sea buckthorn, something I had never tasted before.

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I’m sure that I left out some tasting dishes and then I can’t remember which one this dish was but I still wanted to add it in.

Desserts

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Pamplemousse confit

The lactose free dessert option was this Grapefruit confit. I think they deserve kudos for have a lactose free choice and its one that is pretty good as well. With the whole confit thing, it has this little citrus treasure wrapped around the sorbet. Its pretty good. I’m not huge on grapefruit so that was more a personal preference because my husband liked this quite a bit.

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Mousse a la Noisette

So, missing one dessert choice in the pictures and didn’t ask how anyone thought about this one. It certainly looks really good.

Overall Dining Experience

Perles and Paddock offered us a pretty nice dining experience. The restaurant decor is beautiful. The ambiance is also quite comfortable. There is a stable theme here from the bathrooms to the logo to the setup of the area and hallways. Its pretty unique. The waitress who served us was very nice and offered us a lot of patience and helped us clear things up. At the same time, there was a lot of people serving up the food that gave us descriptions of what we’re eating. We did have a few little hiccups throughout the meal but they were fixed immediately or compensated for in another format. These things show respect for their customers and their dining experience. The only difficulty and mixed messages we got was the reservation process and trying to get a clear answer on allergen free menu items and such.

Goodfood Recap #35

goodfood

We took a little break from the normal cooking so managed to order in 2 boxes this month for Goodfood. We’re definitely enjoying it while it lasts because if I remember correctly, we will be skip for the next month or so. This box has been some really interesting meals and to be honest, I saw most of them as being fairly successful.

Mushroom Dan Dan Noodles
with Yu Choy

Mushroom Dan Dan Noodles

The last Dan Dan Noodles weren’t awesome. I’m going to be honest that they weren’t but this one tastes fantastic. The two types of mushrooms used and the yu choy as the veggie base with the noodles and the sauce all turned out so great. I really enjoyed this noodle bowl a lot.

Skillet-Roasted Chicken Thighs
with Meyer Lemon, Zucchini & Olives over Zesty Quinoa

Skillet-roasted chicken thighs

We rarely cook with quinoa unless its for one of these boxes so its always refreshing to eat it. Its something that I have thought about incorporating more into our lives outside of these meal boxes. This meal was pretty good in general. Chicken thighs are always super tasty to eat but then my biggest issue with it was the olives and that is based on preference as I don’t like olives but my husband loved this because he loves them and loves everything else about it.

Coconut Chicken & Sweet Potato Stew
with Roasted Brussel Sprouts

Coconut Chicken Stew

So..this meal was considered somewhat of a fail on my part. I’m not sure if I just didn’t follow the recipe properly or the recipe didn’t quite work with my appliances but this meal took about 3 times its estimated time. Usually for me, if there’s more cooking involved, it might take almost double the estimated time. It tastes pretty good and stews are always very comforting to eat. The idea of coconut milk base and then having carrots and sweet potatoes is really nice as well. It just was an incredibly long time to cook..oddly.

Pork Chops
with Homemade Maple-Bacon Jam, Sauteed Bok Choy over Spinach Rice

pork chops

Welcome the star of this box. This meal is amazing! For one, the maple bacon jam is awesome. Literally, the best thing I’ve made from these boxes. Then the pork chops turned out good and paired with the jam is delicious. I like the spice blend that was mixed with the rice and the spinach. Then there’s the bok choy which always was great. I love this meal so much.

That’s it for this recap!
It was a pretty solid batch of meals.
It should be a month or so before we get another one of these boxes.
Just because of selection and time conflicts. 

Wine Recap – February 2019

wine recap

With colds plaguing me yet again this month, I took it a little easier on the whole drinking front so that it was mostly for relaxation when I needed it and not coughing my lungs out or sniffling away. However, let me just say in advance that the three choices here were all quite decent wins.

Let’s check it out!

Bulles de Nuit Mimosa

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Producer: Bulles de Nuit
Alcohol Content: 6.9%
Location: Montreal, Canada

After trying the other three varieties: Original, Rose and Pinot Grigio, Mimosa was the last one to try out. I don’t usually drink a lot of mimosas. Perhaps only one or two times before. Its a nice light drink and its usually fruity in my memory. The mimosa for Bulles de Nuit tasted a bit like spiked Crush. Its not a bad thing but I still think the other three products are much more to my taste.

Chateau Ste Michelle Riesling 2017

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Producer: Ste Michelle Wine Estates
Alcohol Content: 12%
Location: Columbia Valley, Washington, USA
Taste Tag: Fruity and Sweet

A huge thanks to John Rieber for recommending this wine to me in the last wine recap.

Chateau Ste Michelle Riesling is quite accurate in their category. Being a big fan of riesling usually, this wine is fruity and sweet. There’s a lot to love about it from the way it tastes to the undertones. Its very smooth. There’s a bit of acidity but its balanced really well. I’d say the last riesling I had that had a similar texture and taste would be Kung Fu Girl. I’m not sure if I’ve ever talked about that one in any of the recaps.

Peter Lehmann Layers

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Producer: Peter Lehmann Wines
Alcohol Content: 11.5%
Location: Australia
Taste Tag: Delicate and Light

I found this wine while browsing the sales on the SAQ site. Its unique because it has 4 varieties in one wine and three of them, I like quite a lot and one I haven’t tried any before so have no opinion on it. Its hard to find moscato in general but the few that I’ve really loved have been from Australia. With that said, this one gave me quite a bit of hope and I’m glad to say that this is one of those spontaneous purposes that turned out to be a pleasant experience. This one worked on many levels. Its a nice blend and a unique experience. If you haven’t tried it before, its worth giving it a chance.

That’s it for this wine recap!
I have to say that the two white wines are pretty good.

What have you been drinking?