The Progression of the Ongoing Snowstorm…

Today, I feel a need to take a slight detour from normal programming to show you all the monster snowstorm that we haven’t seen in quite a while. Talk about winter going out in full-on style.

Here’s last evening when I left work. Thanks to changing our clocks the weekend before, there is still light.

Here’s when I finally made it back near my place.

Last night we shoveled the driveway once and I didn’t capture any of it. But this is what we woke up to…and theres my husband shoveling and you can’t see but our darling neighbor eventually lent us his snowblower to get rid of the few feet of snow we had.

And now..back to that (almost) same shot when I left work but this morning getting back to the office…

The storm is still going on right now so I’m not exactly sure when it is supposed to stop. I heard it should some time today.

Were you hit with this storm?

My Weekly Adventures #38

Time sure flies by! February was a busy busy month. I barely had a moment to catch my breath. As I mentioned in the previous My Weekly Adventures, its really a ton of behind the scenes stuff as I barrel through reading and TV series and movies. I also had an eureka moment over the last two weeks and have finally figured out that I’m a photographer and not an artist so to figure out a beautiful banner for Tranquil Dreams was not going to happen out of graphic design but rather, putting together a photo! It only took 2 years to figure it out. Haha! Sad, right? Now to actually put it together, right? Let’s hope that’ll be soon! Creative juices are flowing through me and it feels awesome! I just have so many ideas and not enough time but I love being busy. Things to look forward to is always great.

However, this past two weeks have been pretty cool with Montreal events picking up yet again. We got some really cold weather and now these past two weeks have been nice and cool.

Musical: Mamma Mia [Farewell Tour]

Mamma Mia

My girl friends and I were incredibly lucky to be able to go to see the farewell tour of Mamma Mia! Sure, we had to pay and all but we learned about this so late and still managed to find seats not exactly next to each other in the same row but we found seats one behind the other in a decent spot. I love Mamma Mia! Love it to absolute bits! I’ve really only seen the movie and despite it not being perfect in some ways, I really enjoy the music and humor and all. Seeing it live in its original musical form was amazing. Everyone did fantastic and it was incredibly fun the entire time.

Montreal Joue Festival

Montreal Joue Festival

Montreal Joue is going on right now. It started with the Independent Games of Montreal that ran on February 25th for 12 hours and had about 30 games. I managed to see all the games but only got the chance to try out 7 of them. Some I have tried at previous festivals and also the reason why I opted out to save myself some time. Others had incredible amounts of people all the time that I just had to skip it because I hadn’t slotted out a full day for the festival. If you want to see a more detail recap, you can find it at That Moment In where all the gaming content I do is here. It is the first time I’ve made it out to this festival and after this I believe the game festivals in Montreal start looping back to the ones I started with last year. It always amazes me how small these spaces look and how many games can fit into it and always with its fair share of surprises. For those interested, there are still lots of events going on like society games and what not. They had the retro games one as well. You can find it all on their festival page.

Oscars Night

Oscars happened this past weekend. If you’ve been a long time follower here, you’ll notice that its the first year since I’ve started covering movies that I haven’t had an Oscars recap. The fact is that since I moved out to my own place, I don’t have actual TV. Last year, I was able to stream it on the local channel online. This year, they blocked it out to only users with a TV subscription and I don’t have that. I find that a little stupid because it feels like times are going backwards. However, #firstworldproblems, right? So, I’ll stop complaining about it. I just thinking that Academy Awards should probably do something about streaming it online since you know, a ton of big shows like these do it anyways. Its the beauty of the Internet. Regardless, it wouldn’t have made a difference to me seeing as I saw none of the best picture picks and only saw Zootopia and Captain Fantastic and perhaps some random smaller categories.

Point is, I didn’t see it so no recap. I’m a little unhappy about how I didn’t get to see it but hey, my husband and I chose a much more fun choice and binged Ultimate Beastmaster on Netflix. Two more episodes to go this weekend and I’ll be doing a recap on that, as a sidenote.

Health & Class Update

Moving on to a good and not so good note, 2017 has just been a crap storm in terms of my health. Bugs and ear problems plagued me last time. Luckily, the bug never came back. I even caved and ended up going to the doctor to figure out what was wrong with my ear. Luckily, no infection so that was taken care of and I’m enjoying hearing perfectly well. Its definitely fantastic. Except that same evening that the ear thing was resolved, my eye decided to have something go wrong. If you’ve been here a few years, you’d know that a few years ago, I suffered a few months of that also. It sucks that its back but at least I’m dealing with it the best I can to hopefully get rid of it without having to go have another mini surgery because that hurts like hell. I’m not kidding when its really bumming me out and taking a whole lot of energy to stay positive and just keep on keeping on especially with work going through a stressful phase the past week. Luckily, that is somewhat over…the keyword here being somewhat.

Other than that, my online class is in the final week now. Trying to get ready to do the final assignment and final test. Not a huge fan of tests of any sort but its okay. I’ve learned some cool stuff in this class. While I would have loved to free up time, I apparently am crazy and for some deal thing, I ended up signing up for a month membership for the classes to take up something else. I’m still deciding what but I’m leaning towards photography or guitar. I do have a guitar glaring at me every single day that I don’t know how to play at all but have always wanted to. I’ll decide soon but this is going to be the last month I have planned for any more of these classes since things get busy with work afterwards and I just won’t have time. Plus, all those new segments I’m working on are going to need some time and love to put together. 🙂

Cute Kitty Pic

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Upcoming:

  • Ultimate 90’s Blogathon continues
  • TV Binge posts

That’s it for this time! 🙂
What have you been up to?

Cardinal Tea Room (Montreal, Canada)

Chinese New Year is just around the corner. Last weekend turned out to be pretty busy as well. On the mission to buy some flowers to decorate the house, as I usually do every year for Chinese New Year, my friend took me to the Cardinal Tea Room for lunch on the way. For those of you who don’t know, I love tea. Love it so much and obviously, seeing as I (used to) bake a lot (and would if I have more time), I love sweets and pastries and the likes. This cute little place seemed right up my alley.

Let’s go!

Cardinal Tea Room

Decor

Cardinal Tea Room

Cardinal Tea Room

Cardinal Tea Room is very welcoming. In fact, its almost like walking into another world. Its quaint and cute with lots of more antique sort of elegance to it. There’s old books in wooden bookcases and mirrors and old-fashioned lights. There’s a beautiful chandelier hanging in the centre of their two storey tea room and a piano near the stairs. The places are decorated with these green lights that we’d usually see at older libraries.

Tea, Pastries & Sandwiches

Cardinal Tea Room

Oolong Tea

Cardinal Tea Room

Sausage Rolls

Cardinal Tea Room

Blueberry Scone (my friend’s pastry)

Cardinal Tea Room

Open-face Sandwich (my friend’s lunch)

Cardinal Tea room

Cardinal Cake: Apple & Walnut Tart

Nice presentation with their very beautiful plates along with delicious food makes this place very nice. While these are rather simple things, the sausage roll is really good for one. The apple tart was really nice. I’m personally not a huge fan of walnut and somehow apple and walnut seems like an odd combination, maybe pecans would be better. However, this tart did grow on me, maybe a hint of the cinnamon (I think) made it tasty. My friend had the blueberry scones which is made with some milk ingredients, cream I believe, so I didn’t get to try it and I wasn’t into sandwiches, but I believe it was good. However, I was impressed with the tea selection although I would have liked a better selection of Chinese tea but that isn’t their crowd probably.

Overall, Cardinal Tea Room is a lovely little tea and pastry restaurant. The service was good and the decor is cozy and charming. The food is pretty good and the tea selection is nice. Definitely somewhere I would like to go again.

Restaurant: Portus 360

It feels like a while since I’ve gone out to explore some new restaurants. After a lovely Christmas Eve meal with my foodie friends, they asked me out for a Friday night out for dinner. I could never say no especially when good company and food are the combination, along with their little one, who just steals everyone’s heart. Let’s just say, I needed a hug that day and the first thing I got was a hug. The restaurant we decided to go to was Portus 360, which is new and takes over the restaurant previously there when it was the Delta Hotel which is now EVO, a student housing building or something like that. Portus 360 is located on the top floor of a tall building. The floor rotates 360 so that as you eat, you can drink in the views of Montreal and on the windows, it also marks where you are looking out into. We’ve all never actually eaten at the previous restaurant but its something we’d like to try out, especially for the 360 view of Montreal.

Portus 360 is a portuguese restaurant and we shared a few tapas plates. Unfortunately, my pictures of the 360 were blurry so nothing to show here except for the food.

Portus 360 

Bread and Olives

Portus 360

Wine

Portus 360

Via Latina is the white wine that our waitress chose for us when we requested something sweet and fruity (I believe). It is a sparkling wine and while we weren’t too sure about it at first. My friend who is the harder one to please in terms of wine approved, we took it. It tasted pretty good. I’ve never had portuguese wine before and its a pleasant experience.

Soup & Portuguese Tapas

Portus 360

Sopa Alentejana (Salted Cod Soup with Poached Egg)

Portus 360

Pasteis de Bacalhau (Cod Croquettes)

Filetes de Sardinha Grelhados (grilled sardine fillets, bread croutons)

Filetes de Sardinha Grelhados (grilled sardine fillets, bread croutons)

Portus 360

Polva Grelhado (Grilled Octopus)

Portus 360

Lulas Recheadas (Stuffed Calamari)

Portus 360

Costela Curta Estufada (braised short rib)

The only thing out of this meal that I didn’t try was the soup. I’m no connoisseur of Portuguese cuisine and I rarely eat tapas but as pricey as Portus 360 might be or as gimmicky it may also be to have the 360 view of Montreal and probably the price tag is for that, the food here is really good. The cod croquettes were delicious. The grilled octopus was perfectly chewy and tender (unlike the last experience I had at another restaurant a few months ago). The stuff calamari was so awesome. The braised short rib was a little salty for my taste but the texture of the dish itself was great. Now, I think that when a restaurant can transform something that someone doesn’t particularly enjoy into a good experience is one of the best feelings ever to the person eating. I personally am not a fan of sardines. It has too many bones and I don’t like the texture but somehow as I took my piece of the sardine fillets and bread croutons, there was a really nice balance. I’m still not a fan of the tiny bones that sardines have but I couldn’t help wondering what they put on the bread croutons and the lovely cooked pepper or tomatoes or onion touch on the top. It was really tasty and a great Portuguese dining experience. I do want to go back one day and try out their actual main dishes. Some of the items look particularly interesting.

Portus 360

Some other things to mention is that the decor is very nice. At one point, we turn to this seafood market sort of thing and we can look at the fresh seafood they have. Its a very nice touch. On top of that, our waitress was great. She chose a good wine and she was polite and very helpful and patient. She made sure to remind me a second time about what had dairy products and that I should stay away from, which is always appreciated, when the dishes arrived on top of telling me when we ordered. It is these little things that make a dining experience feel complete. Sure, Portus 360 is a tad pricy, but sometimes I think its nice to have special occasions to celebrate where we have great food, good service and beautiful views, add on the awesome company and it makes it worth it.

With that said, I’ll probably post again when I go another time (when I do). I believe I might take my husband and my mom next time.

Have you had Portuguese food? What do you like?

My Weekly Adventures #34: Fun and Busy December!

Ladies and Gents! All of you lovely awesome readers! Its the last My Weekly Adventures of 2016! Can you believe it? In a little more than two weeks, we’ll be in 2017! OMG, panic time!  Just kidding 😉

It isn’t too far from the truth to be honest. The last two weeks of December means a lot but we’ll talk about that in the final portion of this one. Now, let’s take a look at what happened in the first half of December before looking at what is upcoming in the plans before we hit 2017! Its kind of a mad dash as you will see!

Let’s go!

Christmas Activities

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The only thing that has really happened in the last two weeks is really this little event for Christmas in downtown and checking out Luminotherapie. It was a ton of friends to go downtown with my friends and hang out. There was a ton of beautiful and adorable decorations, street food, local vendors and lots of lights everywhere. There were dancing in the street events and just lots of fun times. Here’s the little event recap!

The next day, we headed to the annual Montreal Crafts Show and I shared my haul HERE.

Kickstarter Rewards Received

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I back a lot of Kickstarter projects when I can afford it. Currently, there’s a good few in development so I’m taking a little break. Especially when some of them thats been sitting there since 2012 or so and the updates haven’t been incredibly encouraging, so I’m kind of rethinking my strategy. I never want too many to be sitting there because its kind of like the concept of investment and rate of return. That is the one semester finance student talking to me. Still, I do have changing opinions on Kickstarter but I do still love the indie scene too much to not support it when I see something that looks like it has great potential. Obviously, when these past weeks reaped two Kickstarter rewards being fulfilled, I was thrilled! I still have to sit down and watch them but stuck in a little rush of crazy that I’ll talk about soon. I had complete faith in these ones.

The Unkindness of Ravens is by Lawrie Brewster who I had backed his previous project, Lord of Tears which I reviewed HERE. Lord of Tears is an odd little movie but I like it a lot for the atmosphere it creates. I wish there were more people talking about it. Next one is Kiss Me Kill Me, and it is one that I had seen the screener when it premiered a little earlier this year. I didn’t review it as it wasn’t officially released and now we have the DVD version so that’s awesome! I’ll be reviewing it soon once I watch it again. I remember enjoying it quite a bit.

Hopefully, in the next year, more projects will be wrapping up and sending off their rewards. I have quite a bit of confidence for a good bit of them. Knock on wood that I didn’t jinx it.

Holiday Marathon & Christmas

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Its 10 days till Christmas!! And I’m so behind! Its rare that Christmas hasn’t been full-fledged over here. Deal is that I’m torn on what to review anymore. The selection is very minimal and its starting to be the feel-good Hallmark movies which aren’t exactly great to review because its fun but really nothing to overly talk about. Perhaps I’ll take the shorter review route. However, there has been scatters of things from Christmas events like the ones above to Christmas themed short stories and I’m starting to have a few Christmas movies as well. Crazy that Avenue of Daydreams is way ahead of the game and already having snapshots like the one above. Perhaps you’d like go head over and check out creative-but-currently-only-photography space. I actually a lot of Christmas photography coming up. If you like that sort of thing, check it out HERE and maybe give it a follow (I’m sorry for the shameless self-promotion).

With that said, I do have a few more movies to review for Christmas and maybe a list post if I can fit it in. I probably will have one or two recipes since I’m responsible for dessert at the Christmas party with family. Aside from that, well, the usual Christmas decor post is coming up once I finish up decorating the tree. Everything else but the tree and the stair railing is decorated.

Netflix A-Z

netflix

I addressed the whole Netflix A-Z thing already in a previous review. It has taken a while to resume after October and NaNoWriMo. Its all my fault, of course. No excuses. However, the idea of Netflix A-Z dabbling into 2017 makes me feel some sort of uneasiness. Maybe it just feels so much like its dragging on and I like to keep these series self-contained as its not a longer project, like Baking Through Disney (which I’ll address again in the New Year). So, I did announce it on Twitter, kind of, but I’m going to make a solid effort with an already drafted tentative schedule to get it all wrapped up by the end of the year. Its a little crazy seeing as I just finished K selection and its 15 more movies to reach the end. I’ll make the best effort. Plus, I’m working on a side thing that I want to be able to review everything I watch within the same year so it tracks what I’ve seen better.

Point is, it might get busy if I can keep up with all the reviews along with extra stuff. Hope you will enjoy it!

On the other hand, the reason to wrap it up is also that I’m probably not going to keep this segment or do movies in that A-Z order but not make it into a segment, just a personal way to choose what to watch next.

Kitty Cute Pic

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*last minute post means pics are in another computer so limited edition pikachu for all you Pokemon Go players is all I got 😉

What have you been up to? 

Salon des Metiers d’Arts of Montreal Haul!

Winter is here! Christmas is right around the corner. What does this mean? Gift shopping and every year for the last few years, I would go with friends to check out the Salon des Metiers d’Arts de Montreal. In translation, it is the Montreal Arts and Crafts Show.

This show has free entrance and especially for the food and wine vendors, there are free tastings. Another addition is that it focuses on smaller Quebec vendors (at least nearby). It is a great place to see what is new on the market and learn about the new products.

Usually, I go to these shows and pick up ice ciders or ice wines but this year, somehow I had a change of heart and focused on other things. Maybe its because we went to the Magog event: Festival des Vendanges (post HERE). Lets check it out! 🙂

Timothee Tartinier Gourmand

Salon des metiers d'arts montreal

I actually picked up two items from this place. The other one I split with my friend and I forgot to take it back which is a roasted hazelnut spread. This one up there is gourmet popcorn with flavors of chocolate, vanilla and caramel. It was my husband’s gift for all the hard work and long hours he’s had to endure the last few weeks. He tasted it and loved it. You can check out this place HERE.

Ferme Guy Rivest

Salon des metiers d'arts montreal Salon des metiers d'arts montreal

Have you ever tasted fruit pearls? I haven’t. I’ve seen them before and they look cool. I just never figured out how it would work with what we eat and didn’t see the need for it. This year, I wanted to try something new and these ladies looked nice so I went over to try it out. The passion they have for these products are fantastic. Ferme Guy Rivest sells five flavors (I believe): strawberry, raspberry, apple, blueberry and cranberry. If I’m missing well, you can always go check out their site HERE. I ended up getting the raspberry. They suggested to use it either as a topping on appetizers like cracker and cheese (which was their display product) or its good to put inside champagne or wine which is what I intend on doing.

i-Sens

Salon des metiers d'arts montreal

A  new vendor at the show (I think) is this gourmet maple syrup/fruit pearls/organic tea place called iSens. The owner is chef and world traveller Philippe Morin and the maple syrup, from what he tells me is sold internationally. I bought this vanilla flavored maple syrup but also tried their Yuzu flavor and Ginseng one as well. While those latter two were pretty good, I just couldn’t decide who I could give it to that would appreciate it the same way and how to use it. However, Vanilla is also quite gourmet and there was no hesitation in getting it. It seems good to make desserts or pancakes. You can check out iSens and their products, including the fruit pearls which have mango and passion fruit flavors HERE.

La Nougaterie

Salon des metiers d'arts montreal

I buy from La Nougaterie every year. They make delicious soft nougat. My absolute fave is Christmas Nougat which they didn’t have last year so I made it point to get it this year. Its great to cut up into pieces and serve at parties. My husband likes the honey and almond and chocolate ones so I get those for him. I’m thinking of giving away the Lavender as a little gift. Lavender is a tricky ingredient to use but they actually retain a good balance, floral but never overpowering. We also went to their shop at Ile d’Orleans a year or two ago. You can check it out HERE. Did I mention that they expanded their line quite a bit with meringue and candies and my absolute fave, marshmallows!

Coach House Shortbread Company

Salon des metiers d'arts montreal

Also, a recent addition to annual buys which works so cute as gifts. I believe in giving food as gifts a lot because its absolutely great to have and its something to share with everyone especially as a general gift. While they come in salty flavors with cheese and herbs in four different varieties, I always go for these sweet ones. I usually would get sugar plum since its so festive but this year, I changed that up for Lavender and the other two flavors are Ginger (which is for myself) and Dark Chocolate/Fleur de Sel. There’s a ton of other flavors and you can find them HERE.

Domaine Labranche

Salon des metiers d'arts montreal

I can’t go to these shows and not buy at least one bottle of ice cider, right? C’mon! That just wouldn’t be right. Fire Cider didn’t quite originate in this show with Domain Labranche but we’re not here to talk about that company. However, Domaine Labranche stole my heart last year when they introduced Fire Cider but as a hot cider drink. You can make it with cinnomon stick and it’ll have this delicious apple and cinnamon smell that just gives off a lovely scent through the house. Its like the drink you picture drinking on a cold winter’s night and its snowing outside and the fireplace is roaring. Yeah…the thought of it all was what happened when I had the fire cider so there was no question when I tasted it again and just fell in love again. I’m actually starting to like fire ciders quite a bit. The way its made gives the drink a nice smooth taste. You can check out Domaine Labranche HERE.

We learned at the show that they also are a vineyard, orchard and maple shack. Maybe we’ll consider it the next time we look for those activities.

Rustique Design by Pascal Normand

Salon des metiers d'arts montreal

Surprising that it isn’t food to end it all off, right? I’ve been looking for artwork for some walls on my house. We’ve moved in for two years and its been a gradual climb to getting it all decorated. As much as I do have complaints about Montreal here and now, which I don’t share here, Montreal is a beautiful city and adding in the rustic feeling on some of the landmarks makes for a really nice touch. This art is called Rustique Design by Pascal Normand. You can check out more HERE.

And thats it! Montreal Crafts Show had a few new vendors. There are still a lot of the same but in general, its a nice place to get gift ideas and seeing as its free entrance, even if you don’t pick up anything, its a nice 2 to 3 hour walking away activity, which is always fun.

MTL a Table: Bistro-Brasserie Les Soeurs Grises

MTL a Table finally done as of this past Sunday. In a final attempt to give a brunch a shot, my friends decided to go out for one last little trip out! Well, a post I saw about the recommended brunches just made me want to go eat one of them so much and the Bistro-Brasserie Les Soeurs Grises just looked phenomenal in the article that I’m happy they agreed.

Let’s wrap up MTL a Table in style!

Bistro-Brasserie Les Soeurs Grises

Bistro-Brasserie Les Soeurs Grises

MTL a Table Brunch

First service

Mimosa with Prosecco
(another option is mimosa with beer)

Bistro-Brasserie Les Soeurs Grises

One word for this: YUM! I love mimosas. Probably because I don’t usually have them when I go out for breakfast.

 Second service

Bistro-Brasserie Les Soeurs Grises

Toutiere du Lac St. Jean (Pie pan of Lac St-Jean with deer, ox and boar, country bread, wild boar bacon jam and seasonal fruits)

Bistro-Brasseries Les Soeurs Grises

Burger des Soeurs (Pretzel Bread, blueberries wild boar sausage, aged cheddar cheese, egg, fruit mayonnaise, lettuce, tomato salsa Kumato and seasonal fruits and brown chopped potatoes)

Bistro-Brasseries Les Soeurs Grises

Pancake and Gravlax (Thin pancake with gravlax and smoked Matane shrimp, dill cream, flying fish egg, apple and fennel salad, smoked potato salad and seasonal fruits)

I had the tourtiere du Lac St. Jean for this one. The other choices, without the lactose portion just would seem incomplete. But then, I had my eye on this option. I don’t think it was on the menu displayed on MTL a Table site. Just to show that, you can never be sure about a menu until you give it a chance for these events. For those who don’t know, Tourtiere is something of a traditional Quebec food. It is pretty much a meat pie. Some people prefer to eat it with ketchup. I do that sometimes. If you look at this one, they really changed up the formula. The meat is different and the presentation as well. It was so awesome! Right from the meat in the pan to the bacon jam. As for the other options, the pancake and gravlax was delicious as well. My friend enjoyed that one. Her husband took the burger and I think it was decent as well.

In Addition…

bistro-brasserie les soeurs grises

The winner of the show for my friends was maybe the side of pretzel bread that we got. It was not only cute to look at but also tasted really good. I personally think they could have gotten another one.

Overall… Bistro-Brasserie Les Soeurs Grises is a winner. The brunch was the best meal out of the four places we checked out. You can argue that I’ma brunch lover so a little biased but this place has heart, great atmosphere, located in a nice part of town and the service was great. Really not much to complain about. I just want to go out to eat there again and try something else on their menu.