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.

My January Adventures!

2020 is among us and well, January has passed, hence why this post is here! January is always a busy month for myself especially on the personal life and work front. Its unavoidable and just regular clockwork and expected in general. This year kind of hit a little as it included some health issues like infections and whatnot. However, first line of business is to apologize for the second half of January lacking posts in general as life kind of destroyed me between preparing for Chinese New Year (a happy thing) and working crazy overtime (a more exhausting process). Its been a rather negative first month but I’m still trying to stay positive. If I can’t change the situation then just change my mindset, right?

Re-Organizing the Office and Bookshelves

The first in the operation is to free up two levels of bookshelf filled with Disney plush toys so that I can use it for some other overflowing books sitting around the different bookshelves elsewhere. It was a debate to use the new utility cart for plush or for books. The final decision was plush toys and use the book shelf for actual books or other little gadgets lying around.

Announcement: Ultimate 2010s Blogathon

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If you missed it, this year’s Ultimate Decades Blogathon was announced. We’re looking at 2010s movies and the ones that made your favorites whether it identified the decade or it was one that highlighted the decades best. Here is all the info on the blogathon. There’s still time so don’t be shy and share with your friends who you think might be interested in joining!

Happening Gourmand: Taverne Gaspar

Taverne Gaspar

Happening Gourmand went on as an Old Montreal event. The past few years, we’ve missed out on our group dinners due to work or whatever other reason. This year, we ended up making it for Taverne Gaspar. I’m still working on the recap and its going to happen.

Chinese New Year Celebrations

Chinese New Year happened on January 25th which is a week before of just deep cleaning the house and preparing everything. In our case, it was a day of taking down Christmas and then jumping into getting into Chinese New Year vibe from getting flowers to doing some grocery shopping to stuff up the fridge and buying things that bring good luck. Looking back at this, we can only hope that its a long term luck thing because we’ve got some pretty meh updates lately. Apparently, Tigers are supposed to do well this year so fingers crossed 😉

Montreal Auto Show 2020 & La Centrale

Kicked off the actual Chinese New Year day with friends at the Montreal Auto Show. It was a crazy 5 hours of walking about looking at cars. We did have some solid goals for friends who are looking for the next car and also to see whats new on the market. The highlight this year was the electric cars as well as the one hydrogen car from Toyota. Its pretty interesting as well to see the other fancy cars as well, of course.

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After that we all went out to see Le Central which is a new concept food court style food but with some classier food. We tried out the fried chicken place called Ho Lee Chix and had their burger combo. After that, we went ahead to Mignon Churros & Nougat to pick up some churros and chose their house chocolate dip and then bought some nougat to go.  Everything tasted pretty good. I’m definitely a fan of Le Central than Timeout at Eaton Centre.

Valentine’s Marathon Coming Up!

I’m a bit behind in everything because of the work rush. Obviously, as this post is also going up later than I expected. However, I’m lining up the start of the Valentine’s Marathon with some romantic film double features and of course, a review for the upcoming To All The Boys: P.S. I Love You, among a few other things!

Cute Kitty Pic

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That’s it for this January Adventures!
Its been kind of a crazy month with lots of stuff going on and probably the definition of work hard play hard, if anything else!

My December Adventures!

Its the last day of December. Isn’t that crazy? I’m doing this on the last day instead of tomorrow since we have 2020 business to take care of then so shifting things up a little. We’re going through the very busy December and all kinds of recap and seemingly a bunch of shopping and gifts and fairs and outings, etc.

Fingers crossed that all will go as planned as writing in December has been a bit all over the place… (it hasn’t because this is going up much later than expected)

CRHS Annual Craft Fair (December 1)

DIY Christmas

You can see the post on it HERE.

Marbled Ornaments

Next up, I went along and tried out some Marbled Ornaments as well! Which was mostly a failed attempt in general but did decide that its a project to further pursue and figure out. Plus, its some nice way to use up old nail polish so that its not just thrown out without some form of recycling/repurposing. You can check my post on that HERE.

Marché Casse-Noisette & Mini-Comiccon

Marche Casse -Noisette took place from November 28 to December 8 at Palais des Congres which happened to overlap with Mini Montreal Comiccon held December 7 and 8 also at Palais des Congres just one was in the main hall and the other was upstairs. With that said, it made sense to go and check out both at the same time. While the haul wasn’t particularly a lot, it was a first time visit for both place for myself. Some nice discoveries to be found. I will definitely go check the Marché Casse-Noisette again but probably not the Mini Comiccon as its rather lackluster.

Salon des Metiers d’Art 2019

Salon des metiers d'art 2019

  • Coach House Shortbread Company: Dark Chocolate & Salt; Almond & Rose; Ginger
  • La Nougaterie: Salt Flower Caramel; Dark Chocolate; Christmas
  • Nutra Fruit: Chocolate Covered Cranberry; Dark Chocolate- Cranberry Spread
  • Cidrerie du Minot: Des Glaces
  •  Choco Chocolat: Dark Chocolate; Dark Hazelnut

A lot of the SMAQ 2019 sales is about the same as previous years, the exception being that I bought the spread from Nutra Fruit and the chocolate from Choco Chocolat, which I believe is a new booth this year at the Salon. Most of this stuff is for festival party time and gifts and whatnot.

Ottawa Day Trip

Mavericks Donut

We took a quick trip with a friend to go to Ottawa to do some quick errands. We had a nice lunch at Fatboys (post about our first time HERE) and then finally found time to go grab some donuts at Mavericks Donut, which they had 4 dairy-free flavors and the husband and the friend each chose 4 to get a dozen. After that, I finally brought home Pumbaa from Disney Store to join Timon at our place and then picks up some wine at LCBO and some food in preparation for NYE dinner plans at T&T Supermarket.

Holiday Festivities: Christmas Dinners & NYE Hotpot

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Christmas Eve dinner was a ton of fun with a lot of people at the in-laws. It was a fun little event with some surprise gifts for ourselves which we didn’t expect to get anything in the first place. My mom wanted to have a turkey feast (as shown above) so she held a dinner and invited us and some of her own friends for dinner and here we have the overzealous food galore. Everything was delicious as usual. NYE is a hotpot meal and part of the Battle of Ingredients festivities so a separate post will be done for that.

Boxing Day Shopping Haul

Boxing Day this year has been a little less exciting. It has to do a lot with the fact that we’ve been trying to decrease expenses and its truly changed the spending habits into being very cautious with our expenses. Its not going to seem it since we’ve done a lot of shopping this past month…seemingly..but then its all useful things or food. Either way, without further ado (as this is the last part before this post ends)..the shopping haul from Boxing Day.

  • Adidas outlet: Running Shoes
  • Dynamite: Sweater and 3-pack scrunchies
  • Steam Sale: Life is Strange 2: Complete Edition, Detention, Gris, The Infectious Madness of Doctor Dekker, Glass Masquerade
  • Playstation Holiday Sale: Overcooked 2, Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey
  • Amazon: Playstation 4 Controller Charging Dock
  • Walmart: John Wick 2

Cute Kitty Pic

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That’s it for this December Adventures!
How was your holidays? Had a lot of fun with family? Did you do some Boxing Day shopping?

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.

MTL a Table: La Classe (College Lasalle)

Another MTL a Table adventure is here as we head to the second restaurant on my list (out of three). This time we head to a much more familiar spot to the College Lasalle restaurant which employs the students of College Lasalle to hone their various skills related to the restaurant business. La Classe was previously called Fuschia and serves French cuisine at a very reasonable price to the public.

Aeroplan Privilege: Gin Cirka, pear puree, rosemary syrup and Labrador tea

La Classe

The Aeroplan privilege drink was this La Classe cocktail that was very unique. I haven’t tried Gin Cirka before and I rarely drink gin in general and this one was very strong in flavor however it was pretty good.

Amuse-Bouche

La Classe

The amuse-bouche is a tuna of sorts with sesame seeds and whatnot. I don’t have the actual dish name but while I’m not a huge fan of raw fish, but this had quite a lot of depth with the one bite. It was really delicious.

First service: Starters

La Classe

Mushroom veloute, chestnuts, hazelnut oil

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Seared scallop, squash ravioli

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Arctic char gravlax from Baie des Chaleurs, beet-crusted soft boiled egg

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Crusted poultry

I had the crusted poultry. I’m not quite sure what poultry it was but it had this foie gras sort of texture to it. Paired with the crust and the dijon in the middle and the little jelly and other adornments in the centre, it all gave it a nice balance in flavor to compliment it. However, foie gras texture, even though it is poultry is denser so felt a bit much in the last bite or two but it still tasted really good.

Second service: Main course

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Halibut filet, mussels, cauliflower

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Pork served in three ways

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Smoked duck magret

La Classe

Citrus lobster tail

For the main course, I went with the citrus lobster tail which was absolutely delicious. The puree seemed like some squash puree or pumpkin puree or something and the sweetness it brought meshed with the citrus flavors and the perfectly cooked lobster tail gave it a really lovely balance in flavors. Plus, they had these crunchy sides which I’m not quite sure what it was as it didn’t have quite a lot of taste to it but it did add a depth to the texture itself.

Third service: Dessert

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La Pomme

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Passion-Coco

As for desserts, they all look so wonderful. The dessert list actually had two more options from the original MTL a Table list on the website so I don’t have the info for it. Luckily, they did add in one that I could have which was the Passion-Coco. Its a lovely little citrus taste which was a nice blend of aromas and flavors of passion fruit and coconut that actually wasn’t overpowering and worked well together to be a good blend without being too acidic.

Overall…La Classe Restaurant is a great location. Its MTL a Table menu is in the $23 range which is incredibly affordable and a good bang for the buck  especially for French cuisine. While it is primarily student run, they have very patient servers and the kitchen makes very delicious food. Its a very thorough experience and always enjoyable atmosphere. Its a restaurant well worth visiting even outside of this event.

MTL a Table: Rose Ross

The Battle of Ingredients is taking a break in November as normal to check out the MTL a Table. We’re definitely back on track as this time, we kick off the eating earlier in this restaurant event. The first we’re hitting up is Rose Ross.

Rose Ross is a cozy little restaurant. Its actually just one strip of restaurant that was easily missed when we were first looking for it until we crossed the street and saw the sign. Its rather nicely ambient and while its fairly close quarters, the decor is very comfortable. Right off the bat, the service here was fantastic. They made an effort to make sure that allergies and intolerances were addressed and confirmed before ordering and was patiently answering all our questions and then when the meal came, they made sure to assure that anything that might look like it could trigger food allergies were confirmed to not be the case.

MTL a Table menu was rather good with a good few choices for each course and they also offered the Exclusive Aeroplan privileges for Aeroplan members.

Exclusive Aeroplan Privilege: Glass of Suriol Cava

Suriol Cava

They offered everyone with the Aeroplan card on hand a complimentary glass of sparkling wine, Suriol Cava as a starter. I’ll talk more about it in the wine recap for November. I can say that I’m not usually a huge fan of sparkling wine but this one was pretty good and matched well with the meal.

STARTERS

Rose Ross

Honeynut squash, pumpkin seeds and herbs, pesto, mozzarella di bufala Maciocia

Rose Ross

Mushroom cream, fried shallots, chive, curry oil and crispy chicken skin

Rose Ross

Brussel sprouts a la vietsesame oil and coriander

A big group is always nice as we get to at least see everything on the menu. With the starters, we got the 3 out of 4 choices. My husband having the first one with the honeynut squash where his general comment about his meals throughout the evening was that they had a lot of depth in the food with the different textures combined and the flavors and such.

I had the last one (which was the one that I had my eyes on) with the brussel sprouts. I’m always on the lookout for new ways to cook and eat brussel sprouts. While this one was a tad powerful in the vinaigrette, it was really delicious for the majority of it and we all had a debate on how to fry or roast the brussel sprouts to be like that. Very lovely dish and it says a lot about it as I’m not a huge fan of coriander to begin with but the vietssesame oil and coriander was great with the brussel sprouts.

MAIN COURSES

Rose Ross

Gnocchis, pecorino romano, chanterelles, fried cauliflower, chard, tarragon and cream

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Blood pudding from Cochonnailles, squash puree, embeurre of cabbage with lovage and bacon, glace de viande moutardee

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Coregone, carrot mousseline, beluga lentilles, fennel and basil

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Onglet de boeuf IPE, cognac sauce, fries and mayonnaise (+$10)

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Kid’s meal: Penne with tomato sauce

The husband’s choice was the Gnocchi, Phoebe’s choice was the Onglet de boeuf and mine was the Coregone fish option with the carrot mousseline. Everyone liked their main course. Mine was very unique as I’m not sure that I’ve ever had this type of fish before. The fish was cooked nicely and then the carrot mousseline was heavenly then it was paired with the sides that gave it a lot of depth and the flavors blended really well together.

Worth noting here is that they gave the option for kids menu where they had various types of pasta and two types of sauce to choose from which is always nice to see it having a certain level of accommodation on that level.

DESSERTS

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Hazelnut cream puff with vanilla ice cream, salted caramel and goglu cookie crumble

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Carrot cake and miel d’Anicet

In terms of dessert, they also landed quite well. The group enjoyed the hazelnut cream puff while I had the carrot cake which was a change in the original MTL a table menu which was some almond milk rice pudding. This one was also lactose-free option and tasted really  nice. It was very aromatic and not too sweet and the cake texture was moist as well.

Overall, Rose Ross is definitely a restaurant that we’d go back to. For MTL a Table, it was in the 2nd tier pricing at $33 a meal with a lot of options in each course to choose from. The service was impressive and very friendly. The restaurant atmosphere was really efficient and very comfortable. The food also delivered really well especially since it has a mix of French and North American food which sometimes is rather sensitive on the possible allergies but they were all very knowledgeable about their menu so had options for the basic allergies. It was an awesome first impression and first experience that we’d gladly go back a second time, even during a non-MTL a Table event for their regular menu if the opportunity presents itself. If you’re in Montreal, this one is a definitely one to consider.