My Weekly Adventures: Hiking, Grand Prix and Food!

Its mid-June now! Summer is just around the corner although the weather probably doesn’t really feel like it much. Its been feeling very spring lately, which is normal but its been a while spring has lasted so long. Either way, enough about the weather. With the season well underway, we’ve been keeping ourselves eventful while different events have been showing up as well. I’ll wrap up with a little gardening update.

Hiking: Parc de la Yamaska

Parc National de la Yamaska

June kicked off with our walk in Yamaska National Park. Its a casual walk along a fairly flat walk also set for cyclists as well. Its one thats great to kick off the beginning of the season. You can see the full recap HERE.

Grand Prix in Downtown Montreal

Grand Prix

As usual, Grand Prix landed in Downtown Montreal last weekend. Its always a busy weekend. I ended going with my mom for dinner at Noodle Factory in Chinatown and then heading to see the stuff going on on Peel and Crescent Street. This year was pretty disappointing. It felt not very special with not a lot of cars in general being showcased. It was kind of boring..although the music performed on the Crescent stage was probably the best show I’ve seen so I believe the line-up might be the highlight.

Hiking: Mont Chapman

Mont Chapman

Being the hiking crazy people that we are trying to be and working hard to keep up with it as much as we can before any potential things with events all pan out in July, plus the weather being cooler works well for those long hikes. After some long debate, we ended up going to the Eastern Townships in the middle of nowhere on a mountain hiking trail that we found called Mont Chapman. I have a few good things to say about this, mostly how challenging it was and how I somewhat disagree on the difficulty level they put it as and well, some complaints as well about this location and warnings/suggestions I’d give on this hiking track. That is coming up very soon in the hiking recap for this one. 😉

E3 2019

As usual, we had our E3 2019 off site coverage over at Game Warp. I talked about it over at the What’s Up segment this past week. It did set the course off over here a tad bit but other than some late posts, most of what I wanted to do still stayed relatively on track. You can find all the written recap coverage on Game Warp blog HERE.

Shopping Haul: Prep for Bridesmaid Duty

Its a week until my best friend gets married. I decided to take care of my hair and make-up so I had to go hunt down some stuff since I don’t normally put on make-up or do my hair in any particular way.  I did also get a curling iron which was on sale. I have a general concept of how do it and its going to simple but still match with the dress. Anyways, lots of new things that I’m trying out here so I’ll have to do a test-run at some point before since its a fairly early morning.

Gardening Update

Flower Garden Flower Garden

First part of the gardening update is planting in the flowers that I didn’t get around to plant the last time. Its not too obvious but I ended up putting the Hibiscus into the patch because I lost my chrysanthemums. And then in the other patch, I pulled up some of the other plants that was there that wasn’t looking too healthy and put in some foliage and the Monarda (Bee Balm).

Garden

Cabbage, Marigolds & Lettuce/Kale

Vegetable Garden

Vegetable Garden

Gardening

Kale, Tomatoes, etc

The vegetables are all in. The garden is now all planted. The cabbage/marigold containers are growing very well. At the same time, the kale and the lettuce containers are also growing incredibly fast and pretty much ready for the first harvest. As for the poor tomato plant that was supposed to be hanging, it looks so miserable even through the last few rainy days.

Restaurants

Noodle Factory Noodle Factory

The restaurant that my mom and I went to was Noodle Factory in Chinatown. We got some pan-fried dumplings and then some fried handmade noodles. They were pretty decent.

Labothery

Labothery

A new bubble tea concept place opened up in Quartier Dix30 called Labothery. I will do a more elaborate post for it soon. Its a neat concept but as with any customizable ideas, the price increases accordingly.

Cute Kitty Pic

Cat

That’s it for this Weekly Adventures!
Its been a fun two weeks even though a bit busy as I was working out some press pass application also! 
Events are coming up in Montreal so I’m hoping to get ahead with some posts.

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Restaurant: Yunnan Rice Noodles (Brossard, Canada)

Asian food is having this nice interesting wave on the Montreal South Shore lately, especially in the Chinese noodles sort of thing. Yunnan Noodles has also picked up especially in Chinatown so its nice to see it come into the South Shore as well. Yunnan Rice Noodles hasn’t been opened for a long time (I don’t remember when it opened) but finally got a chance to go check it out.

Yunnan Rice Noodles are also known as “crossing the bridge” noodles which derives from a Chinese tale about a wife bringing lunch to her scholar husband. The menu actually had the story written out for those who didn’t know about its origins before. However, while noodles is the focus, the traditional style rice noodles is the actual experience while the other ones feel like it is more like the normal experience. I’ll explain later when I talk about the food. At the same time, there is a free helpings of noodles (just the noodles, not the ingredients). Also, there are other foods on the menu such as appetizers and such as well as a pretty good selection of tea as the back has something like a tea “bar”.

Appetizer

Peanut Butter Dumplings

Slightly spicy because of the chili oil and mixed with peanut butter sauce, these dumplings are pretty good. They definitely have a nice kick to them. The taste of the actual dumplings are a little mild and perhaps for some, even bland, but then my taste buds are adapted to the milder flavors so it was alright for me.

Main Meals

Traditional Rice Noodles

Traditional Yunnan Noodles Traditional Yunnan noodles

The concept of the Yunnan Rice Noodles is that the noodles is separate from the ingredients and the soup so everything is added in in sequence with the meats going in first, the veggies and I honestly can’t remember if you put the noodles first or last. Point is, everything ends up being added to the broth and it gives it this more crispy sort of taste and the noodles don’t get as soaked up in the broth. Its an interesting concept and as with many soup noodles style, the broth is really the key to all the flavors as well as the texture of the noodles and this one delivered on both of those elements.

Chicken Leg Rice Noodles

My friend got the Chicken Leg Mushroom Noodles (something like that..can’t remember the exact name) and its one that already has everything inside like normal noodle bowls. I had a little taste of the broth and its a little more salty and other flavors mixed in. My friend said that its good. It looks interesting especially as it has goji in it as well.

Overall, Yunnan Rice Noodles is a decent spot. The service was good, the decor was comfortable and the food was pretty good and the prices are relatively good as well.

Have you had any Yunnan rice noodles before?
Is the noodle/ramen phase hitting wherever you are?

Goodfood Recap #38

goodfood

Welcome to the next Goodfood recap! Its been about a month since the last box. This time is mostly all new recipes, except for one but I think that one had changes but can’t be too certain.

Honey-Glazed Salmon
with Roasted Pepper & Corn Salad

honey glazed salmon

Easy to make and very delicious. The husband loved this meal a ton as did I. There’s a freshness to it especially with the spinach mixed into the rice and then having other parts of it cooked separately and put together in the end. Its always a nice little addition when the rice is spiced up with whatever ingredients. Plus, we love salmon but don’t usually eat it a lot since its still a bit pricey. To be fair, I have a hunch its only supposed to be one fillet usually but we got doubles for two of our recipes. If thats a case, a happy accident for us and a huge thanks to Goodfood for giving us more food. If not, the portion was extended a little for us which is always nice. 😉

Fresh Shanghai Noodles
with Peanut Sauce, Yu Choy & Cucumber Ribbons

fresh shanghai noodles

I’m always attracted to making the more Asian style meals. Its mostly because I understand the flavors but not usually sure how to execute it myself. While my mom has great cooking skills, she hasn’t been very articulate on how to replicate it. Its why a lot of Chinese cookbooks don’t really work. However, we have had the Shanghai noodles before. however, it feels like this one changed a little as well. I can’t be certain if its actually different but it feels a tad different but its still really good. I like the thick noodles used in Shanghai noodles as well as the peanut sauce mixture. The cucumber ribbons were the part that took the longest to do.

Korean-Style Fried Chicken Thighs
with Kimchi-Cucumber Salad & Sticky Rice

Korean Style Chicken Thighs

Our spicy meal of the box! Korean-style Chicken Thighs are pretty awesome actually. I’m not sure the husband agrees since he only said that its good. However, I thought it was pretty nice. I did however tone down the sauce because in the recipe it specified to only use half of it for medium spicy and I followed that and it turned out to be at the borderline of where I found it acceptable. The rice adds in the spice blend as well and boy, did that work out great. Plus, I love Sticky rice and this time was probably the time that it turned out in texture as I like my sticky rice. Everything else was pretty good here. The sauce was a bit of a hectic job since its a bigger pan (should have used a saucer) and the oil was just hopping everywhere. Either way, at least the hard work reaped this really delicious outcome.

Crispy Pork Cutlets
with Homemade Ranch Dressing & Salt & Vinegar Potatoes

Crispy Pork Cutlets

I can’t say that Goodfood has given out some spectacular pork chops/cutlets recipes yet. They never are my first place This one was okay. The salad was alright and the salt and vinegar potatoes were pretty decent. The pork cutlets were decent as well but nothing that will make me want to do this recipe again. However, my search for more pork chop recipes are in the horizon. Don’t get me wrong though, it was still good. I’m just not a huge fan of panko crusted anything so its more of a personal preference.

That’s it for this Goodfood Recap!
Have you been trying out any new recipes? Do you order meal subscription boxes like Goodfood?

My Weekly Adventures: Let the Gardening Begin!

And May has come to an end! Man, this year is flying by. Its hard to imagine that we are almost at the half year mark. I’m not sure how to recap the last half of the month, probably in frequent garden oriented content. As mentioned before, Gardening updates might just stick to these updates now since I don’t really have too much on the schedule once festival seasons start and such (depending on situation and work, of course) so to keep things interesting, I’ll be tracking some other stuff in this segment starting with this Adventures post. 🙂

Gardening Hauls (over 2 weekends)

1st Haul: Geranium Citronella, Green Lettuce, Kale, Foliage, Monarda, English Lavender, Cabbage, Phlox

The first haul was quite disorganized. The main thing was that I wanted to go but had a lot of unformed ideas and unset plans on the whole landscaping aspect. Plus, the weather was still a bit too chilly for vegetables be in ground, without risk of losing the crop so I stuck with some safe choices and perennials. You may notice that I picked up cabbage when I had completely planned on getting brussel sprouts and only realized when I got home that it was the wrong thing. Oh well, guess that’s my experimental crop for this year.

2nd Haul: Marigold, Snapdragons, Phlox, Campanula, English Lavender, Thyme, Sedum, Aster

On Victoria Day, after some debate and discussion with the husband to clear my mind a little, we decided to go back with a solid plan on how to take care of the the bee garden plans I had wanted to do. We settled on where to plant it and how to set it up and then what flowers to get along with getting the final pieces to my mosquito repellant container garden as well.

3rd Haul: Eggplant, Cherry Tomato, Cucumber, Zucchini, Red Bell Pepper, Green Bell Pepper, Carmen Pepper

The weekend after, we went again for (probably not the final) time to get the vegetable plants. We decided since the last visit to get a hanging tomato plant (which might not be hanging anymore after some observation) and a bunch of other ones: the husband’s must-have is cucumbers and peppers, my must-have is zucchini and decided to try another variety of eggplant, hoping that its the type that I like.

Battle of Ingredients

Chicken Skewers

We finally got back to Battle of Ingredients with the whole gang and trying out our new barbecue. The husband was the grill master while Phoebe and I got all the food prep done. You can check out the recap post and some of the marinade and recipes HERE.

Ottawa Day Trip & Haul

Ottawa marathon weekend happened last weekend. While I don’t go with my friend to help with the racing anymore, my husband and I do head down to check up and hang out on the Saturday before his 5K and 10K race in the morning and leave in early afternoon. We also go because Eddie Bauer usually has great sales to replenish some hiking gear. This year, I ended up being the big purchaser and getting some new long hiking pants. I only had capris, which made the last hiking a bit complicated as I had to go in my jeans. We stopped at LCBO to pick up some Ontario Ciders and the husband wanted to get more Hard Root Beer. I went to Disney Store because to add another Disney plush to my collection. While there was a heavy debate between Timon (The Lion King) and Steamboat Mickey, the latter won the debate mostly because its price tag matched its size and Steamboat Mickey adds to my Mickey collection. I should do an Instagram post of all my Mickey plushes. We also went to the running convention to get some tape and ended up picking up KT Tape. The husband needs it for hiking while I need it for running. One of the main reasons that my running season hasn’t started yet. After that for the final visit is always T&T Supermarket to get some hot food for dinner, get some fun snacks and pick some cute stuff. We tried out this very interesting concept of heat-conducting hot pot sort of cup noodles. I’ve seen it in TV series before so was interested about how it works. It works fine except they only have extreme spicy varieties so we ate two pieces, had a bowl of ice cream to wash away the burning heat in our mouths and threw it out. If you like spicy things, its pretty cool though just to watch the process and then have this cool eating experience.

Gardening Update

Bee Garden

Bee Garden

The bee-friendly garden has gone next to the vegetable garden. Its a good spot because its next to the blueberry and the echinacea which are also bee-friendly plants that was already there. We left some space for all the perennials to grow into place while leaving room to swap around the annuals every year as I like to other bee-friendly flowers. I still have some grass and weed removal to maintain this space but I’ll get around to it soon.

Container Gardening

Cabbage & Marigold

Since I got the cabbage with not a whole lot of knowledge, I did some quick research and found that it companions well with marigolds so hence, these containers are now all over my garden. The hope is that the cabbage will grow well and have enough room. If not, it’ll be leaves I guess and beautiful flowers. I do have some cabbage going in ground so we can see which works where better.

Much of the same as last year. I have some lettuce in hanging basket and some hanging off the back patio. This year, we are changing up the garden as well so where I put my kale is where I’ll have more container gardening while also opening up a raised garden.

That’s the update for now! I’ll be doing more gardening to finish getting everything planting this weekend.

Restaurant: Yunnan Rice Noodles

YUNNAN RICE NOODLES

Not going to say too much about this restaurant visit but a new(ish) restaurant opened up on the South Shore of Montreal and I went with my friend to check it out. I’ve never had this Yunnan Rice Noodles which is quite unique in how its presented especially the traditional rice noodle variety. I will do a recap post on the experience very soon (probably next week)!

Cute Kitty Pic

Kitty Cat

That’s it for this adventures post!
What have you been up to?

Restaurant: Brasserie T! (Brossard, Canada)

Its been a crazy restaurant phase lately. Unexpected to say the very least! Next up is a relatively new restaurant in Quartier Dix30 in Brossard, which is in the south shore of Montreal. Its an outdoor complex with a wide selection of many different types of stores, restaurants and entertainment.

Brasserie T! has its first restaurant in the Quartier des Spectacles area which is right next to Place des Arts in downtown Montreal. I’ve never been to that location before which is something on my to do list however, I had heard that the Brasserie T! at Quartier Dix30 was open and that it was pretty good that I decided to go there to check it out.

While my post here is going to be fairly short with only the little bit that I tried out, you can find the menu on their website HERE.

Brasserie T! Quartier Dix30

Brasserie T! Quartier Dix30 is location in the Hotel Alt! in the Square Dix30 area. Its location is pretty nice with underground parking and side lots all around it. The interior decor is classy and nice but still has the casual feeling of a brasserie. The waitress that we got was also very friendly and accommodating. She jot down my allergies and made sure to double check on the questions I had related to make sure that I could have which food with no issues. When we asked about wines, she also made her suggestions but also went to ask the more experienced staff to make sure it was a good selection.

I went with someone who had been to the Brasserie T before and therefore, we were aware to ask for the specials which were not written on the menu. If you do go, that is very important to ask because the special menu is done with the vegetables and meats that they have fresh that week (or whichever duration the special lasts because I’m not sure and didn’t ask). There are usually some entree item and then one or two main meals, I believe.

Main Meal

brasserie t

Crab Roll

If you like seafood, rolls are a really refreshing summer meal. Usually we see these in lobster variety. Its nice that Brasserie T! swapped it up and used crab as the star of their roll. This roll was very refreshing mostly because there was a good amount of crab and a very nice crunchy coleslaw to go with it. It was also done well because it had a good balance of mayonnaise as well.

DESSERT

BRASSERIE T QUARTIER DIX30

For dessert, they have a pretty nice selection. However, as usual, there wasn’t anything else that I could have so I chose to have a sorbet. You could choose to have one or two scoops. Their flavor also changes to what they have available. The one that we got was for strawberry sorbet. I’ve never had strawberry sorbet (usually its more raspberry and such) so its a really nice one to try out.

OVERALL, Brasserie T Quartier Dix30 is pretty nice. The ambiance is nice. The interior decor is very elegant. The service was also really good and knowledgeable. The food was pretty decent as well. I’d be interested to go back and try out some of the stuff on their normal menu as well as see what else they come up for specials as the season as warmer and the produce changes.

Battle of Ingredients #13 The First BBQ of 2019

Its been a while since out last Battle of Ingredients. As usual, we have our Winter through summer months of busy and crazy schedules so our off season if you can call it that. We are back to doing Battle of Ingredients in the home setting, which is always fun.

The First Barbecue of 2019 had a change of scenery from our previous barbecue settings and that had to do with the purchase of a new one on our behalf. Its still early in the season however with the long weekend, we were able to do a nice little meal to feed our 6 adults and a 1 kid crew.

Before we start, I’ll apologize that pictures are a bit incomplete so please bear with me as I try to add more in the description.

Wine

Petale de Rose

The wine for this Battle was provided by our friend as usual. This was the bottle left over from the previous battle. It was a nice match as a rosé wine called Pétale de Rose. Its a bit on the drier side but its pretty smooth in its end notes.

BBQ Food 

First up, this was my BBQ food ready to go on the grill. There’s some skewers of marinated chicken, some sliced zucchini and some baby Shanghai bok choy. Right before the grill, the zucchini got its seasoning of the simple stuff: salt, pepper and olive oil. Shanghai bok choy had no season other than oil to prevent sticking (unless the husband put some then I can’t remember).

Zucchini

Chicken Skewers

The Chicken Skewers were done fairly quickly. For the these skewers, I used:

  • chicken thighs
  • garlic
  • smoked salt (from Les As du Fumoir)
  • Plumée poultry spice (from La Pincée)

We marinated the chicken in the fridge for about 3 hours (at least) before we skewered them and got them cooking. The chicken skewers turned out really well. We hadn’t had a lot of luck with bringing out the flavor when we used the smoked salt but it works really well on the grill. I really liked this spontaneous marinade for the chicken.

Sorry for the lack of a more focused picture. Phoebe brought us the more intricate stuff with seasoned steaks which are under the Portobello mushrooms.

Mushrooms and Steak

Her steaks were marinated with:

  • salt,
  • oregano,
  • rosemary
  • homegrown fresh basil.

I don’t have the end result. We all forgot to take a picture and I thought I had taken one when I didn’t. However, the mushrooms were great and the steaks were also marinated really good also.

Non-BBQ Additions

Pasta Salad

Pasta Salad

In addition to the BBQ food, I was worried that there wouldn’t be enough food so I added a little carbs to our meal but making a pasta salad.

The ingredients are:

  • Rotini
  • Pedon’s More Than Pasta – Green Pea Rotini
  • Cherry Tomatoes
  • Orange and Yellow Peppers
  • olive oil

We kept an Italian salad dressing (normal Kraft one) on the side for anyone that wanted to use it.

The pasta salad is pretty straight-forward. It turned as expected. The only new trial here was the Green Pea Rotini which has a very odd texture. We noticed that when cooking it more, it actually got more rubbery instead of mushier (which is what happens with some gluten-free pasta when overcooked). The texture was really odd in the sense. Pushing that aside, everything else works well. I left all the seasoning and sauces to however everyone liked it so just kept it as a base salad to be modified as desired.

Dessert

Apple Muffins

No recipe for this one as this was brought by our friends who also brought the wine. They are attempting the world of baking and brought us some dairy-free soy-based apple muffins. It was pretty decent.

That’s it for this Battle of Ingredients!
We are working on the date for the next one so things are picking up again in the Battle front.

I apologize again on the rusty organization skills and forgetting to take pictures.

Restaurant: Nom Nom Cantine (Montreal, Canada)

You can see the last visit to Nom Nom Cantine recap HERE.

Nom Nom Cantine

I recommended Nom Nom Cantine as our co-worker lunch spot last week and we ended up going there. I’ve never had the lunch menu before and only been there once before. The restaurant decor was still the same and the atmosphere is still very relaxing.

Appetizers

Nom Nom Cantine

Chicken Dumplings

The most impressed dish I had in my last visit was the dumplings so this time, I came back to try them again. These ones are steamed and the sauce is a little sweet and a think maybe a tad bit spicy. While I don’t have pictures, my coworkers also took dumplings. One of them took the pork and the other took the vegetarian. The latter is fried. I actually liked the chicken dumplings the best while the other two are pretty good also.

Main Meals

Nom Nom Cantine

Chicken Poke Bowl ($19)

Nom Nom Cantine

General Tao Chicken (They have another name but I can’t remember it)

Two of my coworkers ordered these two meals and shared it between them as they both wanted to try both of them. While I didn’t try the poke bowl (which wouldn’t matter since I’m not sure what its supposed to taste like as I’ve  never had it before), I did help them finish up the General Tao Chicken. The chicken here is done really nicely. There’s a nice flavor to it and a good texture in the bite of the chicken.

Nom Nom Cantine

Shrimps Soba Noodle

My other coworker and I ended up getting the Shrimp Soba Noodles which had some interesting ingredients like lemongrass and such that gave me the impression that in a soup, it would have this refreshing taste to it. Plus, its supposed to be pretty popular dish at Nom Nom. This noodle bowl did taste good and was quite the comfort food. The shrimps are done perfectly and the soba noodles done in a soup bowl is the first time that I’ve had it this way. Usually its served cold in my recollection. However, it was a little disappointing because the soup lacked a bit of flavor. It leaned a bit more towards the blander side. For myself, I’m used to it so it didn’t bother me too much but my coworker also didn’t quite like it as much because of that. On top of that, the disappointment came with the fact that it lacked all those flavors it seemed to have promised and turned into a very normal bowl of soup noodles.

After Lunch Tea

Nom Nom Cantine

Green Tea

I forgot to take the desserts that my coworkers ordered but I got myself a tea. Its always nice to see the care taken to present the tea and in this case, they had this whole thing. I believe the tea was sencha tea and had a fantastic flavor to it.

Overall, Nom Nom Cantine is still decent. It hasn’t really changed how I felt about it the first time around. The service is pretty good. The waiter was helpful and very friendly. The food presentation is very attractive. The flavors were mostly good except for the slightly blander soup base. The selection of food isn’t a huge amount but its a good idea to limit the options but offer a good quality of food in my opinion.

***As an ending note, the waiter did explain that Nom Nom would be changing form into an Italian restaurant later this year  because the restaurant was always meant to be more of a pop-up concept. You can see their first form was as a French restaurant called E.A.T. where we did go to in this post HERE.***