Vacation 2017 Day 4: On the Way Home!

The final day of vacation is here! Of course, only the trip portion as I still have one week of staycation afterwards, which turned out pretty great as I caught up with movies and TV series and a ton of chores that needed to be tended to. I managed to get some cooking done as well. Getting  ahead of myself again! What’s new, right?

Let’s go home!

The way home was pretty smooth. A few clouds and a few raindrops, nothing as intense as the first day. We ended doing a bit of the Acadian scenic route. Being Canada Day, there was a lot of Canada flags but there was also the Acadian flag which we didn’t know until we saw it. Its pretty impressive to see the Acadian settlements and how prominent they are, even after so many years. Its pretty amazing. I’m not a history major by far and I honestly have the worst memory for it. Still, the drive slowly went from that to looking again at creepy country houses and barns and formulating creeps in our head. Probably not the best thing to do but still. Between that and talking about home and games and working together with my husband on his first post for Game Warp, which is still in the making, it was a really nice drive home. Super long and stretched out, but also so very beautiful.

These pictures are after we crossed back over to the province of Quebec. We took a little bit of a shortcut from the originally planned route and it cut a little off the time of driving. We did do a lot of driving over the last few days and would like to get back sooner rather than later to just sit back and relax. We got to New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island and there are some fantastic scenery there. We head back into Quebec and every time we do these drives, we remember how big this province is and while we’ve traveled quite a bit of it, there is still so many places to explore and the road trips on Quebec roads may sometimes be boring but mostly, they are just so breathtaking that its something that everyone should try.

This wraps up the vacation recap! Like I probably mentioned before,I did have a week after that where I was on staycation and it was great because I managed to prepare for Montreal Comiccon, mentally, physically and with the blog and channel. I caught up with a lot of movies which I have ready to review when Fantasia Festival ends. July is a busy month for the recreational side of things like blog duties and event coverage, but also for actual work. 

That’s it for Day 4 of our vacation!
It was a long and calm drive back home with really not a lot of stops.
Its a lot of passing images as we drove by nice scenery.

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.

Hiking: Owl’s Head

More hiking was set for us on that week of staycation we had. With a little research, we found our second location which is rather nearby to Montreal also at a offseason ski resort, Owl’s Head. I’ve only ever heard of it before. Owl’s Head, just like most ski locations but hiking spots in the summer/fall, are really another type of beast. They have some designated paths but mostly, its a free walk uphill. Owl’s Head was no different. In fact, the trek up was pretty intense. it was incredibly steep and pretty tiring for such a short walk. We didn’t make it all the way but we did get almost there except for a winding path that went up to a booth or ski station or something. However, the view along the way opened up over a lake and with the leaves changing colors, it was really breathtaking.

Here are some shots of what we saw. It gives an idea of how steep it was and also the views we saw. On our way down, we actually encountered a cute little fellow and I took a little video of it.

Owl's Head

Owl's Head

Owl's Head

And for our little porcupine encounter. This porcupine is definitely not full grown but then I’m not a porcupine expert. It was adorable as heck as it walked around forward and in circles and forward more and then went up the hill. It was a slightly windy day so sorry about all the windy  noises.

A lovely  little location for a short but challenging hike. It was getting cooler that day and on the hills near where we saw the porcupine, there was frost forming on the grass. Still, we enjoyed it a lot. Sometimes, hiking can really get to us and we want to give up but when we turn around and see all the natural beauty around us, it gets us all pumped up again to go higher and makes it all worth it!

Foresta Lumina

This past Saturday was a busy day with one event in the morning, Montreal Independent Games Festival (which I will cover over at That Moment In) and another late evening one, which is this one I’m about to talk about called Foresta Lumina! Foresta Lumina has been an event we’ve been planning to go to since last year but never found the time to last year. Finally, after our first reservation was cancelled due to thunderstorms, it was rescheduled for this past Saturday night. Foresta Lumina is located in Coaticook, Quebec which is about 1.5 to 2 hours depending where you are heading out from.

Foresta Lumina

It is located in the Parc de la Gorge which during the day is a park for hiking and outdoor activities. The Foresta Lumina trail is adorned with lights and visuals telling a story of an enchanted forest which once had a lot of fairies but was plagued by a monster that could turn into a handsome man to trick them into the fairy’s eventual demise. However, before the fairies were taken, a mysterious force from Foresta Lumina appeared and saved them. This is why the forest is magical and protected by enchanted forces.

Foresta Lumina

There isn’t really much to say about the trail and even pictures are hard to judge. Still, here are some more acceptable shots that turned out alright. I need some serious night time photo shooting practice.

For those that want to go on this Foresta Lumina trail. It is extremely dark in some parts but also quite enchanting and pretty to see. However, those with walking difficulties should be aware that there are some pretty steep slopes and the path winds up and down with tight walkways and stairs also. You do cross the beautiful suspended bridge which happens to be one of the longest in Quebec (I believe). It is also where they create it where it seems like we cross realms into the magical world.

Foresta Lumina is a fun experience however it is only 45 minutes and perhaps the hype of it got the best of us. We were a little underwhelmed while it was still pretty magical for the most part. We did discover that Coaticook may have quite a bit to offer to explore.

Festival des Vendanges 2016 (Magog, Quebec)

Summer is slowly coming to an end. This past weekend started cooling down a little with some breezes finally making its way into Montreal. Saturday was still a pretty humid day as we waited for the rain to get here but it is perfect for a small road trip out from Montreal, about an hour and a half approximately to the annual Festival des Vendanges 2016. Vendanges means harvest. This festival features a lot of local Quebec business. We had a lovely deal on Tuango for a discount on the “Prolonged Discovery Package” which had 40 coupons to taste what we wanted. We tasted mostly wines and ice ciders and you’ll see it in this post. On the other hand, we also ended up picking up some of them as well and you’ll see which ones at the end as well. However, it wasn’t just wine tasting. They also have local cheeses, baked goods, a variety of oil, balsamic vinegar, foie gras, jams, spices, tea and much more.

Let’s check it out! 🙂

First of all, let’s look at the crowd and imagine how much heat was generated in this tent alone…it was a little crazy.

Festival des Vendanges Festival des Vendanges

And they had these little basins to rinse out your tasting glasses.

Festival des Vendanges

Outside in other tents had restaurant terraces, seminars and little talks on different stuff.

Festival des Vendanges

Now lets get back to what we tasted. Just saying, I might have missed out a few because I walked away without a picture…

Vignoble de l’Orpailleur

Festival des Vendanges

On the left is an aperitif wine and the right is an ice cider by this winery. This was our first stop and it was so amazing. The wine had this hint of brandy/cognac sort of taste and when they described it to have a vanilla and spice aroma, it actually did. We’ve fallen prey to many bad descriptions on wine bottles but this one by the lady helping us with the tasting was spot on. Loved it! 🙂

Vignoble Chemin de la Riviere

Rosé, 2015

I’m a huge fan of Rosé wines. I’m always looking to find some really good ones. My husband encouraged me to try out this one. This one is pretty dry and the aftertaste was not exactly one I enjoyed. However, if you do like dry wines, this might be a good choice.

Domaine & Vins Gélinas

Festival des Vendanges 2016

Another ice cider next: this one was also really good. It had an original taste. The best ice ciders create a nice balance between the acid and sweet taste. This one does a super good job. I guess that is why its a Signature one. 😉

La Roche des Brises Vineyard

Festival des Vendanges

My husband tried this one. The distinct part of this is that it is a red ice wine. Its pretty original considering most are like apple juice colors because its either made by apples or pears. This one turned out to be very distinct in taste. The red texture made us wonder whether it was made with blackcurrants. There are actually a few of these at this festival.

Vignoble Morou

Festival des Vendanges 2016

Another try here for the next Rosé wine by Vignoble Morou called Le Rose des Vents. So…what to say? Remember the last one, I said it was dry. Well, this one was extra dry but, it had a very pleasant aftertaste. I guess pros and cons, right? I guess I’d drink this one much better since the aftertaste lingers much longer.

Vignoble d’Oka

Festival des Vendanges 2016

We tried the Ice Cider at the far left and the Rose Ice.

This place had really interesting sorts of wine. I kind of regret that I didn’t try the Rouge Berry Fruit Wine because that probably is my sort of thing. We tried the Rose Ice one and that one was on the dry side as well but it wasn’t quite as strong as the other ones. This is supposed to be served with ice and I didn’t have that so I wonder if it makes a difference. However, the ice cider blew our minds because it had this spice sort of smoothness to it.

Vergers Petit et Fils

Festival des Vendanges 2016

This ice cider from Verger Petit & Fils is pretty awesome. I think this one wins on the balance they create. It is more on the sweet side but has this nice acidity to it that makes it very nice.

Domaine Cartier-Potelle

Festival des Vendanges

Another ice cider added to our tasting! This one is pretty good. Not quite as distinct as the previous ones.

Domaine Le Grand Saint Charles (Vignoble & Cidrerie)

Festival des Vendanges 2016

A catchy logo, a nicely drawn out label for the bottle and an ice cider that wowed us. We both tried it and it just resonated in our minds. Its rare to meet a wine that not only has a really nice appearance but also has such a delicious taste. Unfortunately, this is one that we didn’t buy as you will see later because we didn’t have any cash on us and they didn’t take credit card, not to mention the line-up for the tastings was super long and there was just one guy super busy. Maybe we’ll visit the winery or check if we can get it on location if its not too far away.

That marks the end of the tastings! And for the haul…

Festival des Vendanges

We just came back from vacation or else we’d have bought almost all the ice ciders that we tasted but these ones won our hearts in the end, along with the last one that I couldn’t get at that moment. The tasting glasses came with the tickets so that is pretty cool. I actually already two from the year before last when I went to Le Grand Degustation. Actually this event was so fun that my husband is considering going to this year’s. That would be pretty cool.

Overall, Festival des Vendanges was tons of fun! Our Tuango coupon actually includes a deal for the coupon book as well as a discount on the entrance tickets.  I’ll be tell you all about the adventures to the different locations from restaurants to tastings and activities. It’ll be fun! It is valid for two years so tons of stuff to fill up our weekends gradually.

Vacation post tomorrow! Remember to drop by! 🙂

Dinner: Restaurant Le Sanglier (Boucherville, Quebec)

Its time for another restaurant outing! 🙂

Yet another Tuango coupon approaching its expiration and because of overlooking the details, it turned out to be a huge debate on when to go. Week nights are harder to manage around. Luckily, I ended up inviting my mom and she came along with me. Its not her normal type of food but spending time with her and chatting outside of both of places is a good change of scenery. This coupon was for a rather new restaurant established in 2015 called Restaurant Le Sanglier. For those who don’t know French, Sanglier means wild boar. Surprisingly, you will see that we didn’t order any boar and I’ll tell you why in just a little bit.

Restaurant Le Sanglier

Located in the suburbs of Boucherville and embedded in a restaurant or lounge area near a lake that I’ve talked about when we make the ice cream outings with friends, its not a huge restaurant but the decor is very delicate. It reflects the food that you should get.  The inside eating area doesn’t seat a lot of people but somehow it still remains cozy to be there. However, oing in the summer, most customers prefer to sit outside on the terrace. The evening we went was beautiful and the terrace was packed, so we had our meal inside.

Cocktail

Restaurant Le Sanglier

Limonade a Charlotte: lemonade, vodka, maple, basil

Normally when I’m out with my mom, I wouldn’t order a cocktail (with the exception of when we went on a cruise last year). This is a different situation mostly because I did buy a coupon that was paying $20 for the value of $40 so I try to be a little bit more generous with my spending and really giving everything a try. I ended up choosing the Limonade a Charlotte because it had some refreshing qualities from lemonade itself to basil and I personally like vodka based cocktails. Let me tell you: it did not disappoint. I liked it quite a bit actually, enough for me to think that the other choices on the menu deserve a shot as well when I come back next time.

Starter: Bread

Restaurant le Sanglier

I usually don’t talk about bread. Restaurant Le Sanglier serves their bread in a rather unique way. I don’t know a lot of people that still use those pins that we punch paper through to keep track of loose paper, but they used that for the bread. The brown paper bag also has more bread in it. Its definitely a cute way to serve it. Not to mention, the bread was delicious. It could’ve been warmed up a little but I thought it was a good start to the meal.

Main Meals

Onto the main meal, the coupon covered the main meals dishes while they also serve little sharing platters which had quite a bit of choice as well. The main dishes menu had about six choices. Three of those change around as they are the catch of the day. Is that what you call it? There’s the Dish of the Day, I guess and the other is maybe the chef’s special or something like that. Regardless, the catch of the day was Salmon Fillet. The dish of the day was paella with risotto and finally the chef’s special was…something else that I don’t remember right now.

Here’s what we got:

Restaurant Le Sanglier

Catch of the Day (My mom’s choice)

My mom enjoyed her meal. The salmon was done well. Underneath was a squash puree which she also liked.

Restaurant Le Sanglier

Surf ‘n Turf (My choice)

I’m not much of a Surf ‘N Turf girl usually but this time when I ordered, I tried a new strategy to ask the waitress to suggest. She suggested the catch of the day, which my  mom already took. Then she suggested the Paella, which has risotto so I couldn’t eat it. After that, it was throwdown between the Beef Bavette (is that even the world in English?) and Surf ‘N Turf and honestly, I’d go for something that I can’t make so much at home. This dish is really great. The scallops are done perfectly and the little pieces of beef are are well cooked. There’s a decent bit of veggies. They take good care in having veggies, especially asparagus that are not mushy but have a little crunchy texture to it. I think the beef was a little salty but other than that, there was a clear thought of how to balance the flavors in the dish here and I liked it a lot.

Why we didn’t order boar…

Its time for the curiously funny story. So, you know, I asked the waitress for suggestion. The weird part is that she suggested  most of the menu except for the Wild Boar Flank with Sweet and Sour Sauce. Honestly, I was curious for it since the name of the restaurant is literally wild boar. Since she didn’t suggest it, I figured I’d skip over it. Its just incredibly curious to me.

Overall…

Restaurant Le Sanglier is in a nice location and cozy decor. The cocktails are good and the food is delicious. The service took a little longer because we were inside and sometimes it does feel that when we use these online deals that we’re less taken care of but then there was only two waitresses and our waitress was very nice. Its definitely a place to check out if you are in the area. I’m definitely going to head back with my husband and some friends to give it another go and try something new. 🙂

Breakfast: Fiddlehead Omelette

Today we’re looking at a little more of an experiment. I’m not sure if any of you know what this vegetable called fiddleheads are. This is what it looks like.

Fiddleheads

I’ve personally never tasted it but this cookbook that bought about Quebec foods and recipes featured fiddleheads as a spring harvest in our lovely province of Quebec. What better time to give this a try while its late spring although I am still a tad late when its one of the earliest harvests. Before we move one, let me tell you what fiddleheads are. They are foraged in Quebec woods from shoots of the ostrich fern in early-May. I’m not sure what it’ll taste like but that is why we are here.

From the recipe in Made in Quebec by Julian Armstrong, here is our take on Fiddlehead Omelette.

Fiddlehead Omelette

Fiddlehead Omelette

Serves 2

Ingredients:
Fiddleheads

2 cups fresh fiddleheads
3 tbsps olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 shallot, finely chopped
3 tbsp verjus, cider vinegar, or white balsamic vinegar
sea salt and freshly ground pepper

Omelette

1 tbsp butter
4 eggs
3 tbsp whipping cream or whole milk
Salt and freshly ground epper
1 cup shredded Le Marechal, Comte, or aged cheddar cheese

  1. Put fiddleheads in a large resealable plastic bag, add cold water to cover, close and shake to clean off the brown husks and any dirt from the fiddleheads. With your hands, pick out the fiddleheads and place in a bowl. Discard water in the bag. Repeat the washing process with clean water at least once more, until water in the bag is clear. Drain and dry fiddleheads with towels.  Cut tail ends off fiddleheads.
  2. Bring a large pot of water to a boil, add fiddleheads and boil for 4 minutes.  Drain and rinse in cold water. Set aside.
  3. In a large, heavy frying pan, heat oil over medium heat and saute garlic and shallot until softened and lightly colored, 3 to 4 minutes.  Add fiddleheads and stir constantly for 3 minutes. Drizzle with verjus and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Set aside.
  4. In an 8 inch heavy omelette pan or nonstick frying pan, melt butter over low heat.  In a bowl, whisk eggs with cream.  Add pinches of salt and pepper.  Pour egg mixture into the heated pan and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, shaking the pan to distribute the egg mixture.  While the omelette is still fairly moist, spread choose and fiddleheads in the centre of the egg mixture. Continue cooking for another minute.  When the cheese starts to melt, fold half the omelette over itself and tip out onto a warmed serving plate.

Before we talk about the taste of fiddleheads and how our omelette turned out, I think we need to look at the process a little. Making fiddleheads is not incredibly time consuming but it does take a tad more prep time. It could be because I was being overly cautious about how clean it was so I did put it in the large resealable plastic bag and cleaned with water. Its a refreshing way to clean vegetables to say the least but to get clear water, I did it for 4-5 times.

There were some changes to the recipes:

  • Shallots were omitted. We just didn’t have any.
  • We used normal balsamic vinegar and not white
  • Cheese was replaced to lactose-free cheese

Fiddleheads taste a little like spinach. I was searching for that taste that it had. It is also one that some might not like, but I did. My guess is that if it was overcooked and mushy, it wouldn’t have the enjoyment of its slightly crunchier texture. Except crunchy isn’t even the way to describe it because you might think its raw when it isn’t. Although we did veer off from the recipe a little, it turned out pretty well. The thought process behind it is that we are trying something new so omelettes seemed like the way to go.

A little additional fact if you want to give this a go, according to the book, fiddleheads are actually quite easy to make. They make the comparison of cooking it like asparagus where you really can just use butter for flavoring. Its flavor will be enough to make it savoury. The two ways they suggest is to boil for 6 to 10 minutes until crisp-tender (there’s the word for the texture) or steam for 8 to 10 minutes. Just a little side tip for all of you.

I’ve been rummaging in Made For Quebec these days, so expect some more recipes inspired from there soon. Possible something to do with strawberries and rhubarb since now is the harvest season for them and I have made my first harvest. 🙂

Have you tried fiddleheads before? Do you cook them? How do you make it? If not, what are some local Spring produce in your area?