My October Adventures

In a blink of eye between 31 Days of Halloween and festival coverage, October wrapped up. Our partial lockdown has been extended for another potentially 28 days as Montreal hopes for the new cases/deaths number to decrease in the next month instead of the current constant. I’ve reverted in the middle of October to a partial work at home status which is kind of the best scenario that I could hope for. With that said, its been a fairly calm month as we kept to regional protocol and stayed home other than to pick-up the occasional food pick-up or grocery runs and mostly for work purposes. After a little glimpse at what’s going on personally, let’s see what I managed to muster up for this month’s adventures…its mostly recaps at this point. Let’s check it out!

Festival Du Nouveau Cinema 2020

Festival du Nouveau Cinema ran for the majority of the month. It was a wild ride as this festival always has deeper movies and takes a little more time to process which makes the writing process in a tad of a delay since I’m not going to lie that the movie choices started a little rocky. Still, I wanted to do a little something for it and here’s the rankings from best to worst (obviously in my opinion) of the 19 films that I watched based on my current feelings and memories of them:

  1. Topside
  2. My Salinger Year
  3. Red Post on Escher Street
  4. Caught in the Net
  5. Moving On
  6. La Hija de un Ladron
  7. Violation
  8. Undine
  9. Poissonsexe
  10. Wisdom Tooth
  11. Mum, Mum, Mum
  12. Cocoon
  13. The Book of Vision
  14. Drowsy City
  15. The Tremor
  16. The Cloud In Her Room
  17. Sin La Habana
  18. Kill It and Leave This Town
  19. Siberia

That’s the rankings. Half of the movies have been reviewed at this point and there will be the rest of the reviews going up in the coming week.

Halloween Marathon

This year was a little different as I aimed to do 31 Days of Halloween/Horror which overall worked out as I did mostly double features and then wrapped up the last few days with Blood in the Snow Festival coverage. There were some off days and I had fallen behind by one day with a week left and pulled it together to wrap up on October 31st. I consider that a win even though I didn’t count the TV Binge of The Haunting of Bly Manor as one of the days, which I probably should have. Out of all the movies, here’s the top picks that I saw in no specific order:

  • A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night
  • Raw
  • Unfriended: Dark Web
  • #Alive
  • Trick ‘r Treat
  • Happy Death Day
  • For The Sake Of Vicious

You can find all the reviews and full list of this year’s and previous year’s Halloween marathon HERE!

Blood in the Snow Festival 2020

Blood in the Snow Festival 2020 started up at the end of October and is going on until November 7th. Different from Fantasia Festival and Festival du Nouveau Cinema, its showing on Super Channel and has a specific schedule for the different features and programs airing. You can find all the info for how to sign up for Super Channel and schedule on the festival’s site.

I’ll be covering everything here: shorts programs, features, pre-feature shorts and perhaps the Web Bites if I figure out a good way to do it.

Trying New Restaurants

1930 Shanghai

1930 Shanghai is a restaurant that specializes in Xiao Long Bao which is the Shanghai soup-filled dumplings. They are one of my favorite foods. This place makes decent ones. While they look the same here, I had one order of the normal pork -filled flavor and then had one where it was chicken and mushroom. Both were really good.

Comon Restaurant

I’m usually not a huge fan of Fried Chicken nor do I tend to eat it a lot but my friend told me about this place and picked up some chicken. . Their take-out boxes for the chicken are in pizza boxes which is pretty creative. I ordered a Bibimbap which was pretty good but felt was a little overpriced for the size and the taste wasn’t anything too different from other places. The fried chicken is also pricier but it does taste really good. I ordered the Fried Chicken with Green Onions (pretty obvious) but unlike some other restaurants in Montreal, their chickens are all bone-in, which isn’t a huge problem since I like bone-in meats but definitely something that others might want to keep in mind if you want to try it out.

Cute Kitty Pic

That’s it for this weekly adventures!
What have you been up to? Any Halloween celebrations – simple or not?

TV Binge: The American Barbecue Showdown (Season 1, 2020)

The American Barbecue Showdown (Season 1, 2020)

Hosts: Rutledge Wood, Lyric Lewis
Judges: Melissa Cookston, Kevin Bludso

Food competition that follows the country’s best backyard smokers and competitive barbecuers as they compete for the title of American Barbecue Champion. – IMDB

Netflix has been really embracing this whole summer and barbecue theme in its latest food shows. Its latest reality food competition show is The American Barbecue Showdown which gathers up 8 contestants from America compiled of both female and male pitmasters in a series of themes challenges ranging from making different cuts of meats to assorted wild game and also having different requirements of sides and desserts as well as additional challenges announced in the middle of the main challenge. This show does go by very fast as its really one challenge per episode and announcement of one best pitmaster and the lowest one leaves the competition. The structure itself is definitely pretty good as well as the array of challenges set forth.

The judges and host are also pretty on point. Rutledge Wood who has been hosting a few Netflix shows from Hyperdrive (review) (which is definitely in his domain) to Floor is Lava (review) to this food competition. He definitely has a lot of energy that pairs up well with this show. I haven’t seen his partner Lyric Lewis before but she’s pretty fun to watch as well. I’m going to say that I know nothing about barbecue pitmaster competitions so whether the two judges are big names or not really is not in my field of knowledge but they definitely sound like they know their stuff and are very experienced plus they both have their own sort of personality that adds to the show especially Melissa Cookston who is the stricter judge but something about how she reacts added to the show. The discussions between the judges and/or the hosts also bring a lot to the table that adds context to their concerns or whatnot. Barbecue isn’t that much different from general cooking shows since its another cooking technique at least for myself is not that knowledgeable.

There’s not a whole lot to say about American Barbecue Showdown. At this point, Netflix has created a lot of these original reality TV food competition sort of shows and they have this similar structure with little tweaks that pair up with the task on hand that works pretty well and its fun and engaging. At the same time, its a professional barbecue competition so pitmasters are different from normal people who are barbecuing in their backyards and has a lot more knowledge to share as well as strategies whether its about the different cuts of meat and their quality or how it should be made or even the different smokers and such, there’s a lot to learn and as much as the show was fun because the competitors were a lot of fun to watch over the 8 episodes to see their abilities and what they come out with, the show also had a lot of other stuff to offer in terms of educating on the world of barbecue and the complexities of fire and seasoning paired with everything else. Overall, The American Barbecue Showdown is a good time.

TV Binge: Crazy Delicious (Season 1, 2020)

Crazy Delicious (Season 1, 2020)

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Host: Jayde Adams

Judge: Heston Blumenthal, Carla Hall, Niklas Ekstedt

Carla Hall, Niklas Ekstedt and Heston Blumenthal will judge as three cooks will battle it out to create the best feast.The set will be entirely edible and will contain edible blossom, chocolate soil, and a drinkable babbling brook. – IMDB

Joining the Netflix competition series in June was Crazy Delicious, a British cooking competition hosted by Jayde Adams and judged by three “gods”, Carla Hall, Heston Blumenthal and Niklas Ekstedt. The structure of the competition works with 3 new contestants every episode. Each episode is separated into 3 challenges. The first challenge is called The Magic Ingredient where each contestant has to make that ingredient (mostly everyday things) into some hopefully crazy and delicious and highlights its flavors. The winner of the first challenge wins 10 minutes head start in the second challenge. The second challenge is The Reinvention where the contestants need to reinvent a popular food like burgers and pizza for example. The one of comes up last in after the first two challenges will be eliminated. The next two battle it out in the third challenge called The Final Feast where its themed like brunch. Being the final challenge, whoever wins this one (evaluating overall performance usually) will win for that episode/round.

The structure itself is pretty solid. Its a good set of parameters and usually the everyday things that we encounter are good because its so familiar and yet, its hard for most to think out of the box. Of course, the show proves that tons of people do think out of the box. The reinvention is probably the best part of episode as it still maintains the three contestants and usually has some rather wild meals prepared. The structure does work and keeps it very fun. Different from other cooking competition, this one is a new batch of contestants (just like the expert cooking version of the amateur baking show Nailed it, right?). The food and cooking is much more sophisticated and its about being creative and different so its rather interesting to see all these concepts and ideas come to life (or at least partially in some cases).

As much as we can talk about the rather charming host Jayde Adams, the judges are pretty good. They are well-rounded as the different places they are from form their different areas of expertise. They are fairly entertaining although I’m not quite sure why they had to call them “gods” and then do some lame lightning and thunder when they descended to give the final winner. Its a bit odd on both of those choices but I guess its for the entertainment value. However, aside from those elements, the truly enchanting part of this competition might be the edible garden that its set up in where the contestants can walk around the forage whatever they need. Its a unique way to approach looking for ingredients.

Overall, Crazy Delicious has a lot of elements that work in the realm of whats it trying to achieve. It has a common structure that works for its cooking competition format. The judges themselves are fairly good and have some rather dynamic moments. Jayde Adams is pretty fun to watch especially the silly segments in the opening when she introduces the show and takes a bite into the different props, setting the show up for a quirky adventure. Its definitely quirky from its variety of contestants and the different angles they take. But there’s this element of this Crazy Delicious that feels like its missing a spark somewhere, maybe its all a very common route to take and doesn’t have that unique twist that makes it stand out more than an edible garden that lowers the rewatchability of the show and even the bingeworthiness of the show (although its only 6 episodes, so its easy to get through).

TV Binge: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner (Season 1, 2019)

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner (Season 1, 2019)

breakfast lunch and dinner

Host: David Chang

Guests: Seth Rogen, Chrissy Teigen, Lena Waithe, Kate McKinnon

Chang accompanied by a different celebrity guest exploring a single city, its culture and its cuisine. As the pair travels through each city, they will also uncover new and surprising things about themselves. – IMDB

Hosted by David Chang, Breakfast Lunch & Dinner is a new Netflix docuseries, much like Ugly Delicious, exploring food and culture. The structure of this series is different in this 4-episode series. Each episode sees David Chang going to one city accompanied by one celebrity  that may or may not be from the area to explore the food offered there. In some places, its about authenticity and in others, its about reflecting the place itself. The episodes span over Vancouver, Los Angeles, Morocco and Phnom Penh where the pair will go for a day out in the city eating the different meals throughout the day and talking about the city, the culture and of course, the cuisine which eventually goes to talking about their own lifestyle and more.

Four episode seasons are always a quick binge. It almost feels like this one should have been paired up with Ugly Delicious Season 2’s four episodes to create a full season. However, there is nothing to complain about. This new structure is very refreshing. To a certain extent, this one is more lighthearted to watch. Its less about those societal issues that are often linked in Ugly Delicious but takes a more entertaining level as they talk about the celebrities career and living in the city or other more casual friends hangout topics. It does touch on the societal topics every once in a while but overall, its a rather fun discussion most of the time to see the dynamic of David Chang and his guest celebrity and each one of them brings something new to the table.

Its really hard to expand too much on this show since it is not only short but also with a rather straightforward concept. Breakfast Lunch & Dinner is a pretty fun show. It would definitely be nice to see where they can take this and what other guests will join David Chang as he explores a city in one day and all the food that he tries (especially since I have some foodie friends that I’ve travelled with where our trips are like that as well). Its a nice snapshot of a city experience and in some ways, its almost like a casual hangout or interview that gives space to discuss a wide range of topics. There’s a lot to love about this show and is much more focused on one place and culture and cuisine that gives its a lot of substance as well. Its a different approach to a food docuseries and while I like both this structure and Ugly Delicious’ structure, it would be nice to see this one have more episodes if they manage to get a Season 2.

If you haven’t seen the reviews for Ugly Delicious, you can find it below:

Season 1
Season 2

TV Binge: Restaurants on the Edge (Season 1, 2020)

Restaurants on the Edge (Season 1, 2020)

Restaurants on the Edge

Creator: Courtney Hazlett

Host: Karin Bohn, Nick Liberato, Dennis Prescott

Three food and design experts travel the world to revive failing restaurants by connecting them to the local culture beyond their gorgeous views. – IMDB

Restaurants on the Edge is a new reality makeover series that uses the concept of choosing restaurants on the edge of a city with a gorgeous view but on the edge of failing and leaving their own savings in jeopardy. Its the basis of how each of these restaurants of chosen on an international scale. The three hosts go in as specialists to not only fix the restaurant by introducing better menu options and interior design elements that bring it together with the area they are in to unify the concept but also at times, to help the owners clear up some of their own mindset and mentality on this restaurant. While it does a lot of the makeover elements, what makes Restaurant on the Edge stand out is that its much more of a food, travel and culture show than a makeover reality show. Sure, it explores the owners and their own leadership and business values, giving each of these locations and restaurants their own life and purpose and exposing the world of the different beautiful views that these places have to offer but it also spends most of its time in each of these places visiting the artists and cultural elements and exploring the food and local produces and resources.

restaurants on the edge

While I’ve never heard of any of the hosts before, they each have their strengths and manage to create a nice balance in what they do. The places they go to whether its food, culture and design all brings a good element as they implement it into the end product of the makeover in the final reveal. Dennis Prescott takes on the food and local produces side of things which leads him in some locations to discover some interesting experiences. At the same time, Karin Bohn is responsible of the design and she focuses a lot on use of space and art and bringing culture together. Whereas, Nick Liberato is more of the culture and brings in the entrepreneurship know-how as he usually has the sit down with the owners about their bad online reviews and how to improve it and brings the owners back on track with finding the right mentality of running those businesses. Each of them are good in their own domains.

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Restaurants on the Edge is definitely a fun reality show. Its great on the makeover level but I love for its focus on bringing restaurants to embrace their local produce and showing off some of the culture in the area whether its with food, design or whatever else. It chooses some interesting locations to visit and really picks some restaurants that probably would have been hidden if it wasn’t for the show. Of course, for myself, I always love it when the show focuses a lot in Canadian cities as well as even making a stop in Hong Kong where I can truly relate. I’d be down for this to have a second season for sure!

My February Adventures!

February has passed us by and with the month ending, we take a look back at all the little adventures that happened! Its been a crazy month with a lot of work and overtime and just fatigue, more and more. I took some days off here and there and there were some inconsistencies in the blogging schedule. I also did manage to have some fun little moments between all the snowstorms and daily life things. I already know that it would be a hard and busy month but hey, we’re done now! Suffice to say, it might not be as eventful but still, let’s check it out!

Bouge Bouge 5KM Montreal Souterrain

Kicking off February in absolutely style as I went to do the 5KM MTL Underground Run. The second year participating and this year, while I didn’t feel tip-top and wasn’t sure whether to go for it despite the fatigue from work and really wanting to recuperate, I was the one who said that I’d do it this year, unlike last year where my friend signed up for me and was slightly forced into it. I toughed it out and my time wasn’t too bad. I’m actually enjoying these 5KM runs that keeps me motivated to train a little. This one is a bit tough on the knees with all the stairs going up and down. I’m thinking of doing one or two more 5KM runs throughout 2020 but we will see how things go.

Ramen – Lunch at Kumamoto

We had a crazy snow storm on Friday and after having to dig ourselves out and help out our neighbor and then go save my friend from a little dilemma, we headed out together for a lunch at Kumamoto. Previously, I went there for a hotpot for two people but they are a ramen restaurant so we went to give that a go. I have to say that, in terms of variety of soup bases, this one has a lot. They also have a nice bit of side dishes to choose from. The karaage chicken here is probably the best out of the few places that we’ve been to.

Ultimate 2010s Blogathon

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Just like clockwork, Ultimate 2010s Blogathon started the week after Valentine’s Day. This year, we’re celebrating the movies of 2010s the stood out to ourselves and our guests. As the blogathon is in its final few posts, nearing out wrap-up. You can find all the reviews released HERE.

Snowstorm, Family Dinner, New Plant & Souvenirs

I didn’t take a lot of pictures for any of these things so I figured I’d just cover it all in one section with what little pictures I have. First to hit in February was possibly the first big snowstorm. An actual storm with like 35cm of snow or something that made for some crazy shoveling. When we went back to shovel our backyard patio, it took the collective effort of the husband and I over and hour to clear it all out.

As holidays are a rarity in the first 2 months of the year, my mother-in-law gathered up the family to have a dinner together. We had some surprise news drop and then also had a delicious meal with Italian soup, ham, potatoes, meat pie and then chocolate dip for fruits and cakes. That was a lot of fun.

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We went shopping for something to fix my shower and ended up picking up a cactus because the husband wanted one. I’ve never had a cactus before so I’m going to read up on it and try to not kill it.

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Finally, my friend went out to UK for a few days vacation and ended up getting me some cool souvenirs including a UK themed Mickey and Minnie to join my collection. They currently occupy the empty office table so I guess they are quite royalty in my house.

Cute Kitty Pic

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That’s it for February Adventures!
Anything fun that you did in February that you’d like to share?

Happening Gourmand 2020: Taverne Gaspar (Montreal, Canada)

Happening Gourmand Vieux Montreal is currently happening held between January 16 to February 9, 2020. A handful of restaurants in Old Montreal is participating in this food event filled with special priced menus for lunch, brunch, dinner and happy hour.  We had time to as a Battle of Ingredients in January replacement to go out with the group to try out a meal at Taverne Gaspar for their dinner menu.

Drinks

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Blueberry Tea Cocktail

Taverne Gaspar

Honey Old Fashioned

Being a tavern, there is a no doubt that we were expecting some delicious cocktails. The first is one that I was recommended from the waiter as a hot cocktail called Blueberry Tea that has black tea, Grand Marnier and amaretto. Its really delicious and such a warm feeling to have a nice hot cocktail in the winter.. The second is my husband’s where Old-Fashioned is his go-to and for Happening Gourmand, the Honey Old-Fashioned which has bourbon, honey syrup and orange bitter. Its a nice taste and the husband liked it quite a bit. If we go back, he said that he’d try the other old-fashioned on the menu called MTL Old-Fashioned.

Appetizers

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I realized that I didn’t take any pictures of the appetizers except for my own replacement for dairy-free option which was a green salad with balsamic vinegar. The actual options on the menu is:

  • Seasonal Root Vegetable Soup
  • Arugula Mango and Avocado Salad

Mains

There was a good selection of mains and ended up with the Beef Mignonette which was the option that didn’t need to be modified except for taking out the mashed potatoes and replacing it with yet another green salad. I have to say, the beef itself was cooked very tasty. My only issue with this whole thing is that they didn’t think about how to replace mashed potatoes with fries or something instead of a second green salad. I was having a feeling that I had turned into a rabbit during this meal.

I believe that everyone did enjoy their meal pretty well. My husband took the cheeseburger (as expected) and he thought it was pretty good. The only meal that isn’t shown here is Mussel and Fries.

Desserts

Last for dessert, we had two main choices: Maple Creme Brulee & Sugar Pie with Chantilly Cream. I think that perhaps the dessert was the letdown for the main. My husband took the Maple Creme Brulee and it was a bit disappointing in his opinion. As for the sugar pie, I believe that as expected it was rather sweet, maybe overly sweet. I can’t quite remember that one. However, a really nice surprise for their lactose free option was to replace with a shot. The waiter chose to give me the chocolate chip (or I can’t remember if my friend went to follow-up and chose it for me..not too sure). Its really a great one that if you go to Taverne Gaspar should try because if you didn’t know what liquid chocolate chips taste like, this shot was like drinking a chocolate chip. It was absolutely delicious.

Overall, Taverne Gaspar was pretty alright. The ambiance was very good and it was overly loud as what you’d expect in bars. The food was delicious just probably not quite focused in the balance of structuring meals or not as well-thought through. However, if you don’t have the nuisance of lactose-intolerance then these issues shouldn’t occur. And of course, as a bar, their drinks are definitely a huge highlight and a place that we’d go back to try some other of their cocktails as they all sound very good. Despite some little disappointments, the overall experience was comfortable and nice.

2020 Upcoming Plans!

2020 is already among us!

For new readers, welcome to Tranquil Dreams. I’m a blog that doesn’t quite follow the successful route of blogging (meaning to focus on one topic), instead I’m a fan of doing what I like and just using this as an outlet of doing the things I love. They primarily make up 4 categories: Movies, TV, Books and Food. There are weekly and monthly segments and a whole bunch of random spontaneous things going on. Now that the introduction is done for anyone new here!

Let’s check out plans for 2020! Note that a few little changes but not too many. I’ve indicated where the main changes are. 🙂

READING

2020 Goodreads Reading Challenge: 25 books

Last year, I set a bunch of books that I wanted to read and then didn’t get around to reading 90% of them, I’d say. Its probably because I forgot about it at one point being busy with everything else. This year, I already have about 5 books set for the first 3 months which is a great start as it all goes towards blog tours and such. I’m not going to say which one and will leave it as a surprise. The goal is to participate in blog tours and then work through a ton of TBR books on my bookshelves and Kindle. I won’t change the 25 books this year and if I exceed, then so be it. In general, its been a struggle to find reading time especially in the second half of the year.

MOVIES

Movies are staying relatively the same. I’m hoping that I will still be able to get the media accreditation for film festivals like in 2019 as that is always a lot of fun and brings in some really nice film discoveries. It might not be everyone’s cup of tea but it always brings in a nice refreshing change to the normal fare on Netflix.  Fingers crossed on that, right? 😉

As for movies, we will be keeping the double feature usually around 1-2 per week, depending on time. Full single reviews are for theatre viewings and festival screenings. The normal themed months still apply:

  • February: Valentine’s Romance
  • October: Halloween Horror
  • December: Holiday Films

This year, I’m thinking of doing some themed months randomly so that I can catch up on various genre of films. Its still in the air whether I’ll do it as A-Z or simply as random screenings.

As for any other things, I’ve neglected my Sunday Lists in general and will hopefully be aiming to get one a month. I’ll set a Sunday per month for that.

TV

TV has really turned into a Chinese drama series deal since middle of 2018 and that will continue this year. I’m hoping to get a few of the TV binges that I didn’t do last year done this year as I didn’t do any for my Top 5 shows last year and that seems sad as they were all very accessible on Youtube and/or Netflix.

Aside from that, Netflix series are the other focus and perhaps Shudder depending how long I keep the subscription. A short little no change section at all: TV binge for Chinese dramas will keep the normal format I have and may actually use a part of that format for any other series I watch as well.

OTHER RANDOMNESS

After getting through the top 3 categories of focus here, its time to take a look at the random other segments at weekly or monthly frequency.

  • [change] Wine Recap will wrap up with its final one with December 2019 and it will be over. I’m no wine connoisseur and the whole 2 year experiment of doing it has really helped me appreciate wine better but its becoming more of a chore to write it up. I’ll share some of it on Instagram instead so feel free to follow me over HERE.
  • My Adventures: I’ve already changed it to a monthly segment in the middle of 2019 and it will remain that way. I’m finally happy with the structure so we’re keeping this as the fun and more personal post.
  • What’s Up 2020: will remain a weekly segment set on every Wednesday to recap the previous week.
  • [change] Baking Through Disney: has been a neglected segment over here that I’ve tucked away but never forgot about. As I aim to get back into baking, its the project that will hopefully be revived on a monthly basis. One baking day a month seems fairly reasonable.
  • [change] Goodfood recaps: have been no more since the middle of 2019. It was due to a few bad experiences that Goodfood has finally fixed on their end. I didn’t talk about it at the time and won’t go deeper into it. As I’m not paid to do this and I have to pay for the experience, its becoming a convenience choice for our life so its become less frequent as well. I’ll share some of the meals on Instagram whenever we do order.
  • Battle of Ingredients: has changed its structure since its beginning. We’ve been talking about how to get things back on track to fit its name but we are also enjoying taking the time to highlight some recipe trials as well as using local Quebec products in our cooking. This one is really supposed to be monthly but we have random hiatus due to our busy schedules.
  • Ultimate Decades Blogathon is coming back in 2020. We are currently in production phase of getting things together. If you are interested, remember to check back here. We should be announcing it soon.
  • Music Obsessions: almost got cut but this segment was saved by a recent comment. I enjoy the segment but its the one that does the least well out of everything here BUT at least its a fairly fun and easy post to put together. So its staying without any change, on a monthly basis on the first weekend of the month.

I know we cover a ton of stuff here including Restaurant recaps and other event coverage including shopping hauls and such. It shouldn’t change much on that front. I’m hoping to get some more DIY going on and other things, if possible. However, time is scarce so I’ll do what I can.

I think that generally covers everything for 2020 plans!
Its not a ton of changes but I will work on being more organized this year!
Happy 2020 and all the best to all of you lovely people!

Restaurant: Fatboys Southern Smokehouse (Ottawa, Canada)

In the string of restaurant visits that we’ve been on, vacation week off means a little day trip out to Ottawa. After a little research and whatnot, we decided to head out to check out Fatboys Southern Smokehouse in Ottawa, somewhere that we’ve never been before but the whole description from the food it offers to the biker ambiance really had us intrigued. You can check out the menu and everything else HERE.

Going for lunch on a weekday has a lot of great things. For one, its usually less crowded as everyone else has work. Second, less people means faster service and better service. I’m not sure it would make a difference as our waitress was incredibly friendly and helpful with everything from menus to making sure about my allergies and intolerances and what I could have and not have. She also came to check on us frequently and in reasonable time, ie. not when I’m stuffing my face with food (which you’d believe a lot of other restaurants don’t quite time well). Not to mention that, the menu is really good which makes us want to go back to check out more of the food that they offer, especially the ribs since being lunchtime, we didn’t have quite as much appetite for it and all the fun things like milkshakes and their detailed bourbon list as well as the great and unique list of sides.

It sounds crazy that I didn’t take anything else in the restaurant other than the bathroom entrance and the bathroom decor but I think its a good idea of how its biker ambiance in general. Its very nice and a lot of great things to look at from its bar counter to along the walls and the industrial interior above on the pipes above and such with stickers and other posters. Everything is really charming!

Appetizer

Fatboys Southern Smokehouse

Kentucky Popcorn Chicken

As appetizer to share, after much debate between Fried Rib Tips and Kentucky Popcorn Chicken, the latter won the debate. Luckily it did because this was delectable and also our first initial choice. The chicken had a beautiful well-spiced batter that had a lovely kick to it. It was also thin so didn’t have the really thick floury texture but just blended right in each bite with the perfectly cooked chicken. Its so delicious!

Main Meal

Fatboys Southern Smokehouse

Smokehouse Burger with added bacon with a side of Smoked Bacon Mac ‘n Cheese

Fatboys Southern Smokehouse

Carolina Pulled Pork (no slaw) with a side of Dusty Shoestring Fries

We only both had the burgers/sandwiches. My husband had the Smokehouse Burger which he liked quite a bit especially with the added cheese. The Smoked Bacon Mac ‘n Cheese also impressed him a lot also as he really enjoyed the flavor of it all.  I had the Caroline Pulled Pork but had to have the slaw removed due to lactose intolerance. At the same time, this lead to the choice of dusted shoestring fries which turned out to be a great choice because it had some lovely “dusting” with what would seem like barbecue spices and sugar or something sweet. Two very awesome dishes which are full of southern flavors.

Overall, Fatboys Southern Smokehouse is a great restaurant. We tried a very minimal part of the menu but there is so much to offer here as just the little that we had was all very delicious whether it is the meat or the spices or the overall service or the restaurant style which all fits together in a lovely package. Its one to definitely visit and one that we’d definitely return to.

MTL a Table: Taboo Cuisine Rebelle

On to the final MTL a Table! Our last location was in Downtown Montreal at Taboo Cuisine Rebelle.

Taboo Cuisine Rebelle is a lounge style restaurant with a rather relaxing generally bite-size food offerings and intricate drinks. With that said, the service was slow. It felt like there wasn’t enough servers to occupy the tables especially in high traffic periods like the time we had dinner at around 6pm. At the same time, they also overbooked as it was mentioned when we arrived that we had another table reserved 2.5 hours after and we only ended up leaving very close to that time with the next party already waiting around the bar. However, a redeeming point between all the stress of leaving and the slow service and the rather lacking service as well as the fact that in the lounge setting the music was rather contained but was a comfortable background addition and the ambiance and lighting was rather decent.

Now to move on and look at the food…

Aeroplan Privilege Drink: Lacroix Cider

Lacroix Cider

The Aeroplan privilege drink that was offered here was the Lacroix cider. We’ve never had this one before and it actually is on point with most of the Quebec ciders that we’ve had. Its not particularly overly sweet but it still is fairly good.

First service: Starters

Taboo Cuisine Rebelle

Sweet potato and pear soup, blue cheese on a crouton from Boulangerie L’Epicurien, walnuts

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Salmon gravlax marinated in lemongrass and ginger oil, Asian sauce, wasabi, pomegrenate, fried capers, shoots

There was a choice of two appetizers. The husband had the soup where he found it good except that its for blue cheese lovers. For him, the blue cheese was a hurdle to appreciate the dish more than he would have wanted. As for the salmon gravlax which was my choice, it was very delicious. For someone not too huge on raw fish, this one packed a lot of flavors and depth in general from the crunch pomegranate to the delicious sauce, there was a lovely balance to it all.

Second service: Main course

Taboo Cuisine Rebelle

3 mini burgers: Antipasto (salmon, mango, bruschetta, arugula, garlic); Ying Yang (shrimp, bruschetta, arugula, crispy noodles, citrus mayo); Benji (crispy chicken, goat cheese, bell pepper, arugula, garlic)

Taboo Cuisine Rebelle

Bison Tartare panache, Taboo Mix, olive oil, dijon, apples, hazelnuts, lime juice, croutons, house salad

Taboo Cuisine Rebelle

4 oz. filet mignon, crispy onion, demi-glace with maple syrup and foie gras, portobellos, grilled pistachios

For the main course, the husband go the 3 mini burgers. The three burgers were each about 2 or 3 bites. His favorite was the Ying Yang which was a surprise as shrimp usually isn’t his favorite type of seafood. The next one is Antipasto which was pretty good as well however, he did not enjoy Benji because of the goat cheese which is a rather acquired taste ingredient.

As for myself, I chose the filet mignon was a decent choice and one that usually isn’t on the menu as the filet mignon is usually 2 oz and in other mini burger varieties. The only issue here is that the filet mignon is so small compared to the three crispy onions that took up 80% of the plate itself. The sauce was pretty good as well.

Third Service: Desserts

Taboo Cuisine Rebelle

Fried crepe stuffed with cheesecake and chocolate marbled with fondant caramel, whipped cream, caramel served with apple chutney

Taboo Cuisine Rebelle

Vegan Brownie

Finally, for the desserts, the husband had the very unique fried crepe with cheesecake which was the best part of the entire meal for him. As for myself, I had the incredibly moist and decadent vegan brownie which was heavenly and rich in chocolate goodness. It was also a big highlight for my meal here.

Overall, Taboo is a restaurant with a decent ambiance and a nice selection of finger food/bite-size mini burgers and such. Its normal prices are overpriced for sure for what it offers (ex. there is a $16 mini burger, which is unfathomable for myself). While the service left a lot to desire whether it was in its efficiency for its urgency to have us out before the next party arrived and the server’s unattentiveness and rather leaning on rude service, the food here was pretty delicious. Its not someplace that I’d go back to per se as the overall experience wasn’t quite on par to some of the other restaurants we’ve discovered through MTL a Table this year and in previous years.