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.***

Advertisements

Restaurant: ChuChai (Montreal, Canada)

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

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

ChuChai

Appetizers/Tapas

Spring Rolls (1pc – $8)

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

Main Meal

Chu Chai

Royal Pad Thai

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

Vegan Duck with Spinach

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

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

Dessert

Fried Banana with Maple Syrup

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

Overall…

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

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

My Weekly Adventures: Birthday Post!

Welcome to the weekly adventures!

I’m 33 today! Just taking it easy like every other year. Some plans are postponed to next week and some keeping to this one. However, this post might seem a bit long although very suitable that its a food heavy post seeing as I love to try new things and hang out with friends over meals.

Festival G: Perles et Paddock

perles et paddock

Kicking off was the replacement for Battle of Ingredients in March and we went to check out Perles et Paddock and their menu for the Festival G, a new festival in Griffintown area of Montreal. I’ve already talked extensively about it in a post before so I’m not going to talk too much about it.

You can find the post HERE.

Casino de Montreal: L’Instant

L'Instant Casino de Montreal

My office move finally happened after much delay. Its a whole lot of adapting and such. I have no pictures as I don’t really want to share that part of my life. However, after that early start, things wrapped up a tad early as well and my friend who eats some expensive meals at the casino wanted to redeem some points so picked me up from work and we went to eat at the deli there called L’Instant. I hadn’t been there since it had been renovated. I got the pasta quattro which is a fairly good deal at $15.95 for pasta (where you can choose out of 4 types of pasta, 3 kinds of sauce and 4 groups of ingredients), soup, garlic bread and a drink. I like the whole having a choice to DIY your own pasta.

March Birthdays Group Celebration

Last Saturday, we had a big family party as the whole in-laws side (almost) has their birthdays in March, just like myself. We got together for a delivery chicken meal like previous years and spent time just catching up and chatting. Its always a nice time with family to just hang out. We’re all busy with our own lives so we take these moments when we can.

Plattsburgh US Grocery/Snack Haul

Market 32 by Pricechoppers

Walmart

Target

Last Sunday, I headed out with my friend to Plattsburgh to do a little grocery run. It was more for snacks and such and it was to pick up some goodies for the husband’s birthday. We had an early start so came back fairly early as well. We went to Target where I stocked up on some Spring & Easter Oreos, Easter Lindt bunnies, some L’arabar flavors that we don’t have in Montreal and some Pressed Coconut Coconut Water. The coconut water isn’t here either the last time I checked. Next stop was Walmart where I kept it fairly tight as I picked up unfrosted Pop Tarts (which I don’t get why isn’t in Montreal), Birthday Oreos (they are my husband’s favorite), and some Love Crunch granola which are super expensive and much smaller package. Last stop was Market 32 by Pricechoppers where I picked up some discounted Kind bars. They were $10 for 10 which is, even after exchange, a better deal. I’m stocked up for snacks for at least 2 to 3 months now.

Restaurant: Le Belle et La Boeuf

Le Belle et La Boeuf

For the husband’s birthday, I took him out for a long-awaited date together. We rarely go eat out together unless its for film festivals or something so we wanted to go try something new. I already posted about La Belle et La Boeuf HERE.

Birthday Breakfast & Marché Jean Talon

Le Cartet

Every year for my birthday, my friend takes me out for a big meal. Although I get to choose any breakfast place, I can’t seem to get past going to Le Cartet which is super delicious. My fave is their Brunch Canton which I absolutely love. The ham is so awesome and the sausages are good. Its really great. I probably talked about it in previous posts but still, if you are in Montreal, like breakfasts and want somewhere delicious in the Old Montreal area, this one is definitely one to consider and probably go to.

Marché Jean Talon

Westrose

Westrose

After that, we had some parking left so we headed to a new bakery that opened around the corner that I walk by to go to work called Westrose and picked up a loaf of bread for my husband. We took a quick run to Marché Jean Talon. I haven’t been there since at least 15 years ago. I remember going when I was really young so it was nice to head back. I didn’t buy a ton of food since we still had stuff at home but got so beautiful looking brussel sprouts and since I can’t eat most cakes and don’t want to bake a cake for myself, I decided to pick up a strawberry-rhubarb pie at Creations Madeleine. Its a really delicious pie.

Its my Birthday so shameless selfie time 😉

That’s it for this Adventures post!
It was a bit overloaded with stuff but hey, promise April will be much less adventurous!

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

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

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

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

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

Cocktails

20190316_181404.jpg

Left to right: Cirka Gin Cocktail, Prosecco & Mocktail

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

Starters

20190316_183009.jpg

Oysters

20190316_183043.jpg

3 Cheese Plate

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

Tasting Dishes

20190316_185054.jpg

Arctic Char

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

20190316_191718.jpg

Braised Endives

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

20190316_194421.jpg

Lamb

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

20190316_185147.jpg

Broccoli

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

20190316_185136.jpg

Duck Tataki

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

20190316_194537.jpg

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

Desserts

20190316_202110.jpg

Pamplemousse confit

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

20190316_202131.jpg

Mousse a la Noisette

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

Overall Dining Experience

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

My Weekly Adventures: My First 5KM!

Welcome to February! We just passed through Valentine’s Day yesterday which I spent with my mom for dinner and then went to do some errands and wrapped up the night preparing for a podcast recording and writing and gaming. Suffice to say that I didn’t celebrate but then I’m hoping that you did enjoy the ongoing Valentine’s double feature celebrations going on here. Its been a packed first half of February whether its personal stuff to settle or working (yay to overtime) or trying to get everyone to join into Ultimate 2000s Blogathon and much more. Its been a packed 15 days!

Let’s see what went on!

MY FIRST 5KM – MONTREAL SOUTERRAIN

While I did get forced into doing the 5km and it was a painful experience especially afterwards because I hadn’t trained for it. However, I did a pretty awesome time, coming in 10 minutes faster than I initially expected. Time was: 35:21.9 . Not too shabby,right? Anyways, I’ll be getting back to working out soon since I need to fit into dresses for two upcoming weddings in 2019. And I’m sure that after my good time without training, my friend is going to try to get me to do more 5km runs. I’m not opposed to them because it was quite fun but then running inside through the underground and running outside are two different things completely.

CHINESE NEW YEAR 2019 – YEAR OF THE PIG

February 5th was Chinese New Year and we did some nice decorations different from last year and went crazy looking for flowers to decorate. 5 flower shops but at least now, we know where to buy some flowers near-ish to our neighborhood. Yay to discovering new things, right? Its the year of the pig so Piglet and Pua made its appearance onto the shelf outside of my office as piggy decorations. I also picked up some new fake flowers from Michael’s for the tall floor vase to give it some color.

VALENTINE’S MARATHON

Valentine's Marathon

For the first time in all the years that I’ve done the Valentine’s Marathon, this is the first time its extending past the 14th. Because of the theme this year with the Netflix alphabet, I am going to continue through this until the end of February to finish out the alphabet. There are some fun changes due to lack of choices. Anyways, point is, I have a nice little tentative schedule to pair up with the blogathon as they overlap and be able to finish off the Valentine’s Marathon with the entire full alphabet runthrough. I’m pretty excited. I’ve picked a nice variety of subgenres so it still feels very fun.

ULTIMATE 2000s BLOGATHON

Sign up has ended as of last Monday. If you are just seeing this and want to join, you can drop me and email and we can see if we can get it arranged. However, we will be emailing out notices to participants on their posting date. It starts on the coming Monday! Time flies, right? I believe we have over 3 weeks of posts so its going to be a fun time because there are some nice additions this year, some new blogs that haven’t joined in before and then returning ones and some other pieces aside from written reviews. I love seeing our participants getting creative! As usual, I will have a page ready to go on the menu so you can catch up on any posts you missed on either here or Drew’s Movie Reviews.

If you haven’t followed Drew yet, then you definitely should HERE. My blogathon co-host is absolutely fantastic!

MONTREAL SNOWSTORM

We are currently in the aftermath of the snowstorm which means sitting here waiting for the city and boroughs to clear out the snow. The day after the snowstorm in the morning to work was when this photo was snapped. As you can see, not much as been clear and well, walking on the streets is because the sidewalks were pretty much non-existent or just snow-covered ice which is almost more dangerous. The city whether Montreal or suburbs have been doing a pretty slow job in general this year. As I’m writing this post, its raining outside so bye-bye to snow but welcome rain on ice and giant slush puddles at all corners of the street. You know…the fun stuff, right? 😉

However, I can’t complain too much because we are incredibly lucky at our home. I went out to shovel at 11:30pm and the city was clearing their second round of snow and the very nice guy plowing saw me, the crazy lady that shovels in the middle of the night, and decided to move his plow up my driveway and cleared it all including the path. Its the first time its happened to me so I was pretty shocked in a really happy way. Although, when we woke up in the morning, it was so very tall that I had to climb the mountain at the foot of the driveway to head to the bus stop. But we are also super lucky because my neighbor has a snow-blower and he does our driveway when we get storms or lends it to my husband.

Cute Kitty Easter Gnome Pic

**Pictures taken at Winners Homesense at Quartier Dix30**

Thats it for this Weekly Adventures!
What have you been up to?

My Weekly Adventures: Announcement Time!

Hey! A late post going up today! I had to insist on this going up today because I do have an announcement here, which if you are familiar here, you’ll have an idea of what happens in February.

Life’s pretty routine when it comes to the beginning of the year. January is a crazy month in general so I don’t have as much time to do a lot of stuff outside of work and home. I also have some personal stuff that’s been lingering in the background that I have to settle (well…follow-up at this point). Either way, enough of this serious stuff but not a whole lot to talk about in this weekly adventures.

Snow Storm

Winter took a while to get here but it finally did. We got a snow day of maybe 20cm or something. I don’t remember anymore but then it turned around a few days after with some lovely ice rain and such turn it into a slippery ice rink and then massive puddles because the city didn’t get the snow cleared fast enough.

Ultimate 2000s Blogathon

So, we’ve been attacking everyone with announcements and reminders but I’d like to share for anyone who is interested to share their fave 2000s film in a form of review (or some other format that we can discuss). You can find all the details HERE.

Yokato Yokabai

As I mention the snow storm above, the crazy people in us decided to go get ramen as per our last year’s journey with my good friend. This adventure took us to another ramen place which we’re having debates whether we like it between than the other place. I think this place is better because I like the sides. Of course, this also sparked my first time pushing a car because it got stuck. Luckily, my husband and I had a passerby that hopped in to help us both push which was the extra strength that we needed to get out. All around a memorable day, I’d say.

Montreal DemoNight 2019

A few nights ago was Montreal DemoNight 2019. I was swamped with work and overtiming like a crazy person but luckily they did stream it so I was still able to watch it. There are quite a few games that look incredibly interesting. I don’t have much to talk about right now but I’ll leave it for the recap. I’m usually more efficient but the recap will be out some time over the weekend over on the Game Warp blog.

Announcement: Valentine’s Marathon

Valentine's Marathon

And we’re here again. Valentine’s Marathon starts tomorrow! This time I’m going to be a bit more ambitious and do a little Netflix Alphabet Valentine’s Marathon in the form of double features. I couldn’t think about a feature franchise (since I didn’t finish last year’s) and I wanted to get through my neverending Netflix list so this seems like a super awesome idea. If things go well, I’ll get double features everyday from Feb 1st to 14 but lets be realistic that it won’t happen whether its not being about to catch up with watching movies that fast or writing up fast enough while having other stuff going on on the blog since I won’t just do movies, of course. So we’ll see how things go.

As this post goes up, I’ve already watched A-D films so hey, who knows, right? 😉

Cute Kitty Pic

Kitty Cat

That’s all for this Weekly Adventures!
Hopefully next time, there will be more to talk about!

BITS 2018: Montreal Dead End (2018)

Montreal Dead End (2018)

Montreal Dead End

Directors: Remi Fréchette, Priscilla Piccoli, Quentin Lecocq, Emilie Gauthier, Loic Surprenant, David Emond-Ferrat, Eve Dufaud, Frederick Neegan Trudel, Mickael N’Dour, Julie De LaFreniere, Catherine Villleminot, Tiphaine Dereyer, Hugo Belhassen, Audric Cussigh, Gaelle Quemener, Mara Joly, Charles Massicote, Jimmy Pettigrew

Montreal Dead End is a 15 part horror anthology set while “a supernatural mist is seeping through the cracks of the city, causing various evil enchantments related to the neighborhood from which it escapes, waking up a dark spirit here, a vengeful ghost there, releasing a plethora of terrifying creatures, possessing numerous citizens and even turning some of them into zombies, or entities from the beyond. The key to this paranormal chaos lies within a First Nations legend, a shamanic amulet and a guardian (Marco Collin) in search of a book of prophecies and premonitions which only he can decipher.  The quest takes us from one part of the city to another, crossing paths with unexpected events and multiple creatures along the way. ” [BITS 2018]

A fifteen part horror anthology that runs over less than an hour and a half is a marathon in itself. Some of these are barely snippets and is truly a short film in itself set in the different boroughs of the city. Between these films is one part of the anthology called The Guardian (“Le Gardien”) directed by Remi Fréchette that is the key behind all this chaos. It is intertwined between all these different stories and brings the entire story together. The beauty of Montreal Dead End is that it acts as a tour of the island of Montreal. Its panning scenes taken by drone takes a lot of aerial landscapes of this city, at the same time also showing off its many touristic areas. Being knowledgable of Montreal probably adds to the enjoyment of the city because of the familiarities and the preconceptions of each neighborhood.

Montreal Dead End

To call this anthology a beauty is not accurate because it is better described as a quirky movie experience. Many of the stories grow from some very odd ideas, for example “Part 10: Who Listens to Celine Anyways?” where anyone who listens to Celine Dion music will automatically be possessed and some can see some indirect influence from other films like “Part 13: Folie Legumineuse” that feels a bit like the gingerbread man scene in Krampus. There isn’t any story in particular that is extremely horrific however. It acts more of a horror comedy with perhaps a few slight exceptions. A lot of the merit of these stories are in its creative ideas even though some of the execution is overly obvious.

This anthology’s heavily lies on the main plot that runs throughout with the guardian played by Marco Collin as he goes in search for the book of prophecies that only he can control. It is well-timed each time the appearance of these small snippets appear from one location to the next just like a treasure hunt as it also helps gain a better understanding of what is going on. After the resolution of it all seems a little hasty. 

Montreal Dead End

A movie anthology like this has its charms. To be fair, any anthology has its great, good and lackluster bits. With one with so many different parts, it is hard to escape that fate. With that said, Montreal Dead End won’t be for anyone. Maybe one story or another will please someone but this one has some very odd ideas that might just seem off putting for many.  You can’t fault any of these directors for not putting their twist and being incredibly creative with their ideas. Its going to appeal to a specific audience who will appreciate what its trying to do here.

Montreal Dead End is showing on November 24, 2018 at 9pm at The Royal Cinema for BITS Festival.