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.

Casual Fun Date Ideas!

Date are fun, be it in the day or night! Its Saturday and some of you might be heading out for a little fun time with your companion (or even friends). I have friend dates all the time too. I have dates with my girl friends. Of course, I also have dates with my husband. Living in Montreal (or metropolitan) has tons of great ideas because we are pampered with access to lots of cool locations and new stuff to try out.

With that said, let us talk dates.

Movie and Restaurant

An oldie but a goodie because if its not broke, why change it, right? Being a movie blogger, movies are the constant fall back and many reasons of why we’d go  out for a date. A lovely date night doesn’t fail with a movie of our choice. 2017 looks like the year of guilty pleasure sequels, by the way. Before the movies (or after), its always great to choose a restaurants. Normally, we go to our normal favorites but there are also times when we grab a discount voucher online that peaks our interest to try out some restaurants we’ve never been to before. These vouchers have opened our eyes to many cool ideas.

A budget friendly way, and one we’ve been doing frequently, is just having our meal out, or making our own pizza/hot dogs/burgers and fries (or perhaps ordering in if we’re feeling particularly in the mood to take it easy), and pop in a movie from the trusty movie collection, rent a movie from Play store or pick out a movie from Netflix!

Checking out Local or Nearby Events

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Every big city or small town has stuff going on, no matter big or small. There’s always something happening. Or at least a lot of times there will be and these events are perfect ways to go out on a date night. It gives a nice change to the weekly routine and gives a chance to go out and reconnect with the outside world together. Its exploring and trying out something new. Even an event that you’ve been to the year before will most probably have something new to offer, even if its just the weather being colder or warmer. It can be a date to a wine festival or food festival or film festival. In the walking around and waiting in lines, its a time to chat and see new things. The point is the experience and the change in pace. Its memorable and fun and refreshing. Sometimes, if the city doesn’t have something going on, perhaps a nearby city or suburban area will have something to offer and it’ll be even a nice road trip.

Hiking

Parc Regional des Sept Chutes

We’re outdoorsy people. Maybe less than most because of crazy schedules but one of our favorite dates is getting up on an early morning, grabbing our car and heading out take a hike. Sure, its all frantic and crazy in the packing phase but the preparation of it is also fun as we look through the area for what national parks have hiking trails and what locations are feasible and worth the hike. The one thing in hiking that really kills is spending all that effort and the payoff is a lackluster scenery. Luckily we’ve never had that experience, except for one time. However, its nice to add a little twist to this formula and try something new, like renting an SUV or Jeep from Turo, a peer to peer car rental company in their “Backroad-Ready Cars” selection. You can find more info on their rentals page here. It could make the trip up the off-road/steep gravel paths more durable. We learned that after a recent experience where our hatchback had to inch up the mountain to where the trail started in the most painful way. Its hard to find a balance between city life and our leisure activities but for these special occasions, it could open up a lot more areas and authentic natural hiking trails.

Leave it to Spontaneity

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One of my first projects when we bought the house was to make sure that our lives were never going to be boring. I soon realized that we really do love our routines incredibly a lot however once in a while, we like to let things go its course, and that is why I made this easy little DIY craft. Its our spontaneous date/activity ideas glass. Different color popsicle sticks will have a different category of something different or new to do. There are some generic choices but as we think of things, we pull out a popsicle stick on the side and add it in if we have something to add, that way we both have our ideas in there and on the nights when we can’t decide, we just pull one (or two) out and choose from what destiny has set for us.

This post is inspired by Turo, a peer to peer car rental company that helps you connect with others to find what you need in whichever area you are in and can also be a source of income if you have a vehicle that you can rent out as well.

These are a few of our date ideas for whenever you like: day, evening, night.
What do you like to do for your dates?

TV Binge: Chef’s Table (Season 2, 2016)

If you  missed Season 1 TV Binge of Chef’s Table, you can find it HERE.

I’m not much of a documentary girl, very much less a documentary series girl but Chef’s Table is about chefs and creativity and food. To be honest, I don’t know a whole lot about the world renowned chefs despite being a food lover. There’s something so charming in learning about how someone pursues what they love. In this case, its being a chef but there’s a lot to learn when looking at someone’s story that can apply even if you aren’t particularly pursuing a chef dream but rather a creative goal. I love listening to someone’s stories and their experience and that is what made me love watching the first season of Chef’s Table. It took a little while to get onto Season 2 but I’m excited! However, keep in mind that I did watch this a little while back and never had the time to write up the review so maybe some details might be fuzzy but it was a memorable series.

Chef’s Table (Season 2, 2016)

chefs-table-s2

Chef’s Table goes inside the lives and kitchens of six of the world’s most renowned international chefs. Each episode focuses on a single chef and their unique look at their lives, talents and passion from their piece of culinary heaven. – IMDB

Chef’s Table is a documentary that truly takes a nice look at chefs. I like the stories and the lessons that they offer as well as the eye-opening creativity. This time, there’s Grant Alinea who decides to create a meal on a table. Alex Atala that takes Brazilian cuisine and Amazonian ingredients and incorporates it into his dishes. There’s Dominique Crenn who serves a menu which is a beautiful poem. Enrique Olvera who takes on the challenge of making known Mexican street food into fine cuisine to show that his culture can have more. Then, there’s self-taught chef, Ana Ros in Slovenia who cooks out of her house and has her husband as the sommelier to make a great team. Last, there’s Anand Gaggan who lives in Indonesia but has an Indian restaurant who took quite the journey to get to where he is now.

I can’t highlight everything and I think their stories are best felt when you watch the series which I highly recommend but these are a few of my favorite episodes. There’s only six so its a little hard to narrow down but I felt the most inspired by these ones.

Episode 1: Grant Achatz, Alinea – “Turning a meal into an emotional experience”

Chef's Table

Usually, the showstopper of the Chef’s Table season is the story of the first chef they highlight. In this case its Grant Achatz who owns Alinea in Chicago. Every chef has their unique approach and his story is one where he turned what he grew up with into something more creative that would break the norms. His history tells us that even the most successful people grow through different people they meet (which is a similarity between a lot of the chefs in this series). They also have doubted their career but found enlightenment through another way. The dining experience at his restaurant is not only for the guests but for the ones cooking it in the kitchen also.

 

Episode 3: Dominique Crenn, Atelier Crenn

chef's table

Possibly one of my favorite episodes in the entire Chef’s Table seasons is this one with Dominic Crenn, the owner and chef of Atelie Crenn in San Francisco. She cooks with the focus on the importance of memory and telling a story. Her menu is a poem and she serves it with the intention of making the dining experience a feeling. There isn’t much more to say but the episode itself and her story is one that I just fell in love with, especially her food as well.

 

 

Episode 6: Gaggan Anand, Gaggan

Chef's Table

Everyone has a hard story of how they became successful in in Anand Gaggan’s case, it was being the best restaurant in Asia. He talks about Indian food being a religion. He takes the ingredients and makes it into something more to emphasize its importance. Other than great dishes, I think his story is one of the most heartfelt as he talks about his support system and his brother. The failures and decisions he had to make to get to where he is now.

Overall, the second season of Chef’s Table seems to have a common theme of not only passion and creativity but also that these chef’s look not only for recognition but to be proud of their culture, their upbringing and to share their story in their food and create an unforgettable dining experience that isn’t just in their taste buds but a complete experience. These are inspirational stories.

MTL a Table: Restaurant Etre Avec Toi (Montreal, Canada) 

This past weekend was a fun one. We had back to back dinner dates on Saturday and Sunday. If you missed Saturday’s dinner, you can check it out HERE!

On Sunday evening, we met up with friends for the next MTL a Table dinner. It was time for our most anticipated choice, Restaurant Etre Avec Toi (E.A.T) located inside the W Montreal. E.A.T. has a beautiful environment complimented by the classy decor of the hotel itself. The restaurant had fun and quirky art on its walls. It had a rather artsy vibe.

Lets look check it out! Just saying, between the six of us, we managed to see almost everything on their MTL a Table menu at a decent $31.

Restaurant Etre Avec Toi (“E.A.T.”)

Restaurant Etre Avec Toi

Restaurant Etre Avec Toi

First service: Appetizers

Restaurant Etre Avec Toi

Tuna Tartare (Moroccan spices, quail egg, dates, almond and mint)

Restaurant Etre Avec Toi

Salmon Tartare (lemon, coriander, olive oil)

Restaurant Etre Avec Toi

Grilled Caesar Salad (grilled romaine, smoked black cod, parmesan and lime)

Restaurant Etre Avec Toi

Foie Gras Mi-Cuit with granny smith salad (+9$)

Second service: Main course

Restaurant Etre Avec Toi

Paella (calmari, grilled octopus, saffron rice, mussels, shrimp au jus, chorizo)

Restaurant Etre Avec Toi

Mussels & Fries

Restaurant Etre Avec Toi

E.A.T. Signature Burger (Angus beef, bacon, black beer cheddar, romaine lettuce, tomato, sweet onion butter)

Restaurant Etre Avec Toi

Burger paired with fries with individual little bottles of Ketchup and Mayonnaise

Third service: Dessert

Restaurant Etre Avec Toi

Le Mont-Royal (Brownie Sundae, selection of ice cream, caramelized banana, creme chantilly, chocolate sauce, caramel sauce)

Restaurant Etre Avec Toi

Churros (originally paired with creme chantilly) Lactose free modification: fruit sauce

Restaurant Etre Avec Toi does so much right from the atmosphere to most of all, the service. Our waiter made a great effort in making sure we were all good from trying his best to get a wine for us, which didn’t work because their selections didn’t fit our tastes unfortunately to making sure the kitchen knew of my allergies and making those necessary changes for every portion of my meal. As for the food, I can’t say that it was great and I doubt my group felt it was spectacular however, the presentation was very nice.

I started with the foie gras mi-cuit appetizer. Seeing as I’m not particularly a foie gras fanatic, I did like this one a lot. It was done really well and paired well with the granny smith salad and the sauce they used was really delicious. It balanced the whole dish along with the crunchy bread on side. I liked this a lot.

As for the main course, I took the paella. There was a huge debate on my part between this and mussel and fries and somehow the paella won. The paella was rather different but in a relatively good way. Let me explain: the saffron rice and the balance of the tastes were all there. The only issue was that there was one rogue piece of chicken that tasted good but seemed out of place. The calamari was done really well, along with the two pieces of shrimp and mussels as well. The one thing I felt a little disappointed by and probably made this dish the most challenging to eat was the grilled octopus. It was a giant piece and we had a butter knife to cut it, making it a tiring task and then it was very very chewy. I’ve never cooked octopus before but while I do remember eating it before and having it chewy, maybe this one was a little overcooked. Just a tad, perhaps.

Finally, the dessert was churros. I had one piece at the restaurant and took the rest home to finish because I just needed time to digest, which is a rare situation that arises at MTL a Table meals but it happened. The churros are fantastic. If I could go back for one thing, it would definitely be this. Plus, the fruit sauce was a nice touch which tasted something like strawberry and some other fruit perhaps. We had a debate of whether it was banana or orange or maybe both. It was really awesome.

As for the other dishes, I do remember that the other dessert had the constant comment about its sweetness. The burger was a little overpowering with the sweet onion butter taste (according my husband). As for the tartare, perhaps my friend Starry Traveler will share her thoughts on it. Her family is my constant companion every year for MTL a Table (and other Montreal-based food events).

Vinyard Terrace Restaurant (Kelowna, Canada)

We talked about lunch in the last vacation post. It was a classy lunch at the Cedar Creek Winery Estate. The restaurant is called Vineyard Terrace Restaurant (or some spots say Terrace Restaurant).

Cedar Creek Winery Estate is absolutely gorgeous. You can see the pictures on the day recap HERE. To sit on their outdoor terrace to look out at the vineyard with a little bit of breeze and eat a delicious meal was really a fantastic experience. Especially with great company.

Let’s check out the food! 🙂

Wines

Cedar Creek Winery Estate

We only had 3oz-6oz glasses, not the entire three bottles.

Appetizers

Cedar Creek Estate Winery

Wise Earth Carrot Salad

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Can’t find this one’s name but I think something to do with heirloom tomatoes or something….

I’m not sure if you’ve ever had those nantes carrots variety but we love it at our place. We recently started eating the multicolor ones and they are so good. This one with a little bit of spices to aid the taste but not overpower the actual carrots’ natural deliciousness was awesome!

Main Dish

Cedar Creek Estate Winery

Wild Moon Organic Pork

Cedar Creek Estate Winery

Seared B.C. Albacore Tuna

Dessert

Cedar Creek Estate Winery

Maple Apple Tart

Cedar Creek Estate Winery

Callebaut Chocolate Mousse

Cedar Creek Estate Winery

Okanagan Fruit

Okay, I’m guessing you all can figure out that I got the Okanagan Fruit. I always complain about how the alternative for lactose-intolerance is either sorbet or fruits. I’ve never honestly enjoyed a fruit cup more than this one. Okanagan fruits are so good. The peaches and berries. This fruit cup was with sabayon which they described as a sweet hollandaise sauce. I only learned then that hollandaise sauce is just egg whites, same as sabayon, which is why I could have it and it is a really good balance.

Overall, this was a great restaurant experience. We all enjoyed the mains as well. The dessert was delicious as well as the appetizers. The wine was quite good as well. I had the 2014 Riesling. My cousin has the 2015 Senator’s White. My husband, my mom and my aunt shared a bottle of 2014 Gewurztraminer. I guess I should have mentioned it up with the wines.

Have you ever eaten at a winery restaurant? If so, where?

My Weekly Adventures: Festival Season is Here!

I did it again! There was supposed to be vlog but then I got a little intimidated of putting it up. Anyways, it was not so great since I recorded super late at night and was all rambling and stuff.

Summer festivals are here and its just the start of a lot of fun stuff here. The weather is hot and humid and while I did recap a lot of the stuff in actual full posts. I’ll talk a little a them here and I’ll have a little update of little life stuff.

Before we start, I guess the most important is that I want to address the crazy weird schedule here. I usually do have a schedule but I’m seriously thinking of going back to a five posts week and leave a break as optional days on the weekends. Especially during festival season as I need to find some time to work on some other projects. Nothing changes here but rather I think I feel a little burnt out. It could be because of the heat that kills a bit of the motivation for everything. However, I feel the energy coming back now that it isn’t 40 degrees Celsius outside. What I’m saying is that 5-7 posts from now on. I’m still working on some backlog for my upcoming vacation in a good few weeks so it’ll be fun! 🙂

I’m skipping the rambling so I’m going to just get going! 🙂

Trying Out Miss Fresh

miss fresh

I’m huge about being efficient as mentioned in my post unboxing the Miss Fresh meal service subscription. You can find that HERE. I think this is such a great idea. Obviously, its still a little expensive to have every week but its a nice treat when its a busy week. I won’t be unboxing my later ones since I don’t think it’ll have anything new to offer except different recipes. However, I did manage to make one of the recipes and still mix up the ingredients a little. It was a Tuna Bake. In the end, here’s how it turned out.

Miss Fresh Miss Fresh

For a good idea of what it is, the ingredients are on the top pre-portioned for what your plan is set at. This makes for two people. However, my husband was the only one that could eat this meal and it served three meals for him.

Montreal Comiccon

Montreal Comiccon

 Montreal Comiccon was last weekend. I only made it to the Friday but it was a ton of fun. I did a general coverage earlier this week HERE! I chatted with some cool indie game developers and tried out games, saw the Outlast 2 live demo and more. I didn’t get an autograph but walked past the autograph booths and saw a ton of celebrities from afar. I’m not sure if I mentioned in Comiccon recap post but I specifically wanted to see Bob Morley, unfortunately I had to skip Saturday so I didn’t get to his Q&A but I did walk past his autograph spot which was at the side so I got a really close look at what he looked like in real life. I was pretty happy about that.

Overall a very cool time there. I’m going to try to get a media pass for next year or simply get a 3 day pass and check it all out. Something to think and plan for in the coming year! 🙂

Song of the Deep!

Song of the Deep

With Game Warp comes great responsibility! Song of the Deep is one of my most anticipated for this year. I ended up preordering this one even if I kind of knew there really wasn’t a point but I was just so excited for it. Plus, its the first time I pre-ordered a game! Kickstarter projects don’t count. I’m still waiting for most of those to see the light of day. You know I love shameless plugs for Game Warp so maybe you’d be as excited as I am that Song of the Deep is August’s featured game!

We have a new episode for Game Warp coming up next week and we’re getting ready for the episode of the featured review for this month’s game, Oxenfree! 🙂

Garden & Harvest!

We had our first harvest! The crazy rain grew my zucchini plants so much that after two days of intense rain, my plant was like 40% larger and the zucchinis were ready for harvest. Well, two of ’em. Look at it! They are huge!

Zucchini

We even had some delicious lettuce to cook with it, all from the garden. It just makes me so proud that I didn’t manage to kill anything else and that the fence reinforcements have been fantastic. I’m going to probably be harvesting more lettuce and kale this week. I don’t have pictures yet but raspberries and some strawberry harvests are happening also! 🙂

Fantasia Festival!!

Fantasia Festival

Fantasia Festival is here! It started on July 14th and runs till August 3rd. Unlike most years, I actually have it really easy for the first week so so far, only one movie! This was from the first film that I attended on Friday night. It started in delay so I guess its cool I was standing in line next to some cool people that I striked up an interesting conversation about everything. If some of you don’t know, Fantasia Festival usually means at least 45 minutes to an hour of line-up, at least if you want decent seats. Since I go to this alone a lot, its really nice to meet people at least for line-up company. Regardless, this was also the first time I’ve ever experienced delay at Fantasia Festival but the movie ended up starting half an hour late but I think its alright even if it meant that I couldn’t stay for all the Q&A since I needed to catch the last bus home. Thank goodness, my schedule doesn’t usually hinge on these crazy moments this year mostly.

I’m pretty excited about the rest of the movies. You can see my line-up HERE! And usually expect the review about two days later to give some time to think about what I’ve seen and gather my thoughts. Which means that my first one I saw, Rupture’s review will go up tomorrow (Monday!).

Calypso Water Park

While the heat is getting me super tired and just not want to do anything in general, I’m also loving it because it means that I can go in the pool and cool down. Last week, I actually did and enjoyed some outside reading time and Netflix time and even got in a pool workout session which was really great.

However, the thing I looked forward a lot was going to the water park with my girl friends. We’ve been trying to plan it for two summers and we’re finally going. The weather threatened us a little but we decided to give it a go. It turned out to be the perfect weather. We ended up going to Calypso Water Park near Ottawa.

Great company, nice weather, and a ton of fun! We weren’t all about doing the super adrenaline rush stuff but we ended up doing the wave pool which was definitely a winner since we went back four times. We also did two times of the Kongo Expedition (which is something like a lazy river concept). There was a part in there in a dark cave that kind of tapped into my fear of the dark but still it was really fun even if I got capsized by some stupid kids on purpose. It was more unexpected than that I got angry or scared. We also went for two rounds of the Jungle Run which is like balancing on a paddleboard and letting the current push you through the course and it was done really well. There was also the Canyon Rafting that was a ton of fun to get drifted along the sides of the tubes and then we had the fancy idea of going up one of the tallest rides thinking it wouldn’t be intense and it freaked me out. It was a ton of fun actually. Its the double-edged sword of amusement parks in general for me.

After that, we headed back home and had dinner….

Trying Out a New Restaurant Jerry Ferrer

What’s a perfect day without having a great meal at the end as well. I told you all about Jerry Ferrer on opening day and just trying a few things but we went to try it out.

We ended up sharing a fried calamari.

Jerry Ferrer

Fried Calamari

I loved the texture of this so much! It was super delicious!

While all the girls got burgers, I was really craving a pulled pork sandwich so I got exactly that!

Jerry Ferrer

Doesn’t that just look scrumptious? It was so awesome! 🙂 I think this place might be a new fave spot for me. At least I’m definitely coming back to try out a few more things. Plus the decor and service was nice and that is always a plus.

A perfect way to end a fantastic day out with friends, even if I got home and realized that I forgot sunscreen on my chest area and super sunburned…haha!

Cute Kitty Pic

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Some of you that follow me on Avenue of Daydreams would have seen this pic but this is just so cute I couldn’t let you all miss out on it! 🙂

Upcoming:

  • Fantasia Festival Movie Reviews!!

That is the recap of the last two weeks!
What have you been up to? Any festivals, summer heat, activities, etc? 

Janvier A La Carte Dix30: Houston Avenue Bar & Grill

Thanks so much to my awesome friend Starry Traveler who told me about this event and rounded up her family for a hangout and discovering food.  They are still one of the best foodie events companions.

We’ve been to MTL a Table two times together and now we’re venturing to check out this new event at Quartier Dix30.  There was about 10 restaurants to choose from in this complex.  Its a pretty scattered district.

Houston Avenue Bar & Grill

Houston is right at the intersection of the busy area so you can’t miss it. I love bar and grill restaurants.  Houston does have a pretty classy atmosphere and the decor is mostly smooth unless you are facing the red tinted transparent panels which my husband was, and he thought it was a pretty aggressive choice of color and decor.

The four of us managed to cover the menu pretty much and try the three menus at each of their prices.  Starters and desserts are the same for each meal so I’ll only put the price tag next to the main dish so you can get an idea.

Drinks

Houston Avenue Bar & Grill

Bloody Caesar & Raspberry Mojito

Peach Sangria

Peach Sangria

Starter: Soup of the Day
(no one took the salad)

Houston Avenue Bar & Grill

Main Dish

8oz. Filet Mignon Burger, with foie gras mayonnaise and fries ($20)

Houston Avenue Bar & Grill

Tartare Trio ($30)
4oz Tuna with Wafu Sauce, 4oz Salmon with citrus sauce, 4oz filet mignon dijon sauce with fries and salad

Houston Avenue Bar & Grill

Surf ‘N Turf ($40)
5oz filet mignon, 3 shrimps and brie cheese, served with mashed potatoes, vegetables and red wine sauce

Houston Avenue Bar & Grill

Dessert

Houston Avenue Bar & Grill

Profiterole stuffed with Ice Cream

Houston Avenue Bar & Grill

Wild Berry Crumble
(alternative from the regular menu due to lactose-intolerance)

Overall…it isn’t the first time that I’ve been to Houston and its well-ranged diverse menu options for this event was what intrigued me.  Houston makes some rather decent drinks, depending on the choice. The Raspberry Mojito is pretty good and I believe my husband liked the Bloody Caesar (but then he usually does). Another thing that made this meal really great was the fact that on some really great timing, the soup of the day was beef and vegetables and not some creamy soup.  It was really good.  There was some spice in there that I couldn’t figure out but gave it such a delightful taste. Plus, soup on a cold day is so much more enjoyable. As for the main course, I had the burger and it was good.  I’m not a burger fan but the filet mignon was really great and the one worry was that the foie gras mayonnaise would be too much and it wasn’t. My husband had the Surf ‘N Turf and he really liked it.  The brie cheese worked well with the filet mignon and the shrimps were done really good.

Going on to the desserts, they were able to accommodate my allergies and let me choose from two lactose-free options and I decided on the Wild Berries Crumble. I have to say that it was a little on the sweet side and it was probably because of the maple syrup drizzled over it. Apparently, the profiteroles with the ice cream instead of whipped cream was a really nice twist and everyone seemed to enjoy it quite a bit.

Houston is a good place to eat.  Its never exactly my first choice but on events like this, trying these new dishes really gave it a nice little twist and an opportunity to give something more unique a try.  It was a decent experience!

MTL a Table: Le Petit Opus Café at Omni Hotel

We’re in MTL a Table now! Can you believe it? Events and events, right? 😉

This MTL a Table event, we have 4 restaurants, which I think is one more than last year.  I’m not sure but I think so. We also have a little six month baby in tow as well so our restaurant choice had to be very careful.  It took us a while to plan it all out but these 4 had very interesting menus, fit my allergy restrictions and also was a tad more baby friendly. We’re in business.

First up was on Halloween night.  We made our choices carefully because we feared for parking, which ended up not being too much of an issue as we found a spot in a side street across from the hotel where this restaurant was at.  Our restaurant of choice is Le Petit Opus Cafe in the Omni Hotel on Sherbrooke West with North American cuisine.

Hotel Omni

Hotel Lobby decorations

Hotel Omni

Halloween decorations in restaurant

What we usually try to do is order everything on the menu so that we can get a good look at what it is. Its better with more people but we were four for this one and we managed to see everything. There was one item on the menu that was removed in the 2nd service but its all good.

MTL a Table/Taste MTL: Le Petit Opus Cafe

Wine

Le Petit Opus Cafe

Dreaming Tree, USA

Our meal was paired with certain sorts of wines to match it but this one intrigued me the most and everyone thought it looked interesting so we had a bottle. I’m sure you can get why I like it 😉 It had a very smooth texture: a little sweet and not dry at all.  Which is exactly how I like my Riesling 😉

1st service

Le Petit Opus Cafe

Pan-seared scallops with *green pea and butter puree, apple chutney, bacon and maple vinaigrette

Le Petit Opus Cafe

Chicory and endive salad with blue cheese, walnuts, poached pear and white balsamic vinaigrette

*my entree was without green pea and butter puree as I’m lactose intolerant

The scallop was super delicious.  The mix of the apple chutney was great.  Only one of us took the salad and he seemed to be okay with it.  I think its very strongly based on how much you like blue cheese.

2nd service

Le Petit Opus Cafe

Deer osso buco, pimbina and Labrador tea risotto with hazelnut and orange zest gremolata

Le Petit Opus Cafe

Beef bavette with vegetables

Le Petit Opus Cafe

Nagano pork chop with *garlic mashed potatoes, Brussel sprouts with bacon and pecans, sauteed apples and apple cider sauce

*Garlic mashed potatoes were removed due to lactose intolerance and in its place, I had more vegetables.

Nagano pork chops are awesome.  This one was done perfectly and it was super tender and tasty. It was too fat either but it just melted in my mouth.  The vegetables were perfect as well full of variety with some green beans, asparagus, Nantes carrots and baby turnips.  The bacon was so delicious and added a nice extra taste.

My husband had the beef bavette with vegetables.  This choice is not on the menu but we had remarked that one of the choices, specifically the mixed grilled plate which looked fantastic,was removed and the waiter was no aware so he asked and they accommodated with this one.  He liked it except he didn’t ask for it to be cooked well enough but it was tender.

I had a taste of the osso buco which I considered getting also but the risotto would have had quite a bit of change with the milk removed and whatnot so my friend’s husband took this one.  The piece I tasted of the venison was very good. It had a nice braised meat sort of texture and quite flavorful.

3rd service

Le Petit Opus Cafe

Warm apple tarte tatin served with *french vanilla ice cream and local carminée apple reduction

Le Petit Opus Cafe

Paris-Brest

*French vanilla ice cream was changed to raspberry sorbet

I had the apple tarte tatine and it was really good.  I’m a huge fan of apple flavored desserts.  Its sad that I couldn’t try the french vanilla ice cream. That is quite original but I do like raspberry sorbet.  This one was perfectly sweet but leaving a bit of sour/tart taste.  It worked really well with the apple reduction on the side.

My husband had the Paris-brest.  In case you don’t know, Paris-Brest is a French pastry made with choux pastry and praline flavored cream (Wikipedia).  He thought that it was rather maple flavored and thought it was okay.  I wonder if it was too much for him.  He wasn’t very specific.  He enjoyed it okay.

Overall…

My meal for all three services were pretty great.  I liked all of it really well and the taste was rather spot-on.  I think what I love even more than the food and would make me come back is the service.  Its hard for restaurants, especially during the MTL a Table set menu to make changes on the spot but they were fantastic and knowing my allergies, adding in the lactose intolerance and modified every service so that I could eat almost all the choices without an issue.  That sort of service is actually quite rare so I appreciated it a lot. Part of a great eating experience is the service and this place is really  awesome.

A great way to start this food festival!
Look out for the next restaurant visit on Sunday! 🙂

Restaurant: Jack Saloon at Quartier Dix 30, Brossard, Quebec!

Its been a good few months that I’ve posted anything on going out to restaurants.

A few months ago, I found a pretty good deal on Groupon for Jack Saloon in Quartier Dix30 in Brossard.  Its been a place I’ve been wanting to go check out with my boyfriend.

Situated down the main strip of Quarter Dix30, Jack Saloon has a great location where there’s accessible underground parking.  When you first enter Jack Saloon, the one thing you will not miss is its beautiful decor creating a very stylish ambiance.

Jack Saloon Dix30

We went for a 5pm reservation and outside was still bright but the copper counters of the bar situated in the middle and the racing and older style pictures dangling above it match the vibe they want to give.  The walls are lined with animal skulls and there are some classic lamp shades to match the lights decorating different corners.

We started off the evening with some cocktails.

Jack Saloon Dix30

Bloody Caesar a la Course

Jack Saloon Dix30

Mojito a la Mangue (Mango Mojito)

My boyfriend took the Bloody Caesar.  Its his thing.  He orders that everything.  Jack Saloon’s adds a little spicy twist to it with a few extra ingredients.  My boyfriend said that it tasted pretty good but the taste was definitely stronger than normal. I had the Mango Mojito.  I’ve turned into quite a mojito lover and I adore mango so this combination worked for me.  I can’t say I’m extremely wowed by it but it was quite delicious 🙂 Mango is a tricky fruit for cocktails in general, I believe (or maybe I’m just a little picky).

Moving along, Sundays at Jack Saloon’s meant that there was $10 on selected burgers which we could not take because it would render our Groupon useless and we’d have to use it another time.  We ended up both picking something else on the menu and I took the half rack of ribs while my boyfriend took a full rack with a side of onion rings.

Jack Saloon Dix30

Half Rack of BBQ Ribs

Jack Saloon Dix30

Accompaniment: Onion Rings

Jack Saloon Dix30

Closer look at onion rings: Its drenched in Honey!!!

I love ribs, oh do I love them? The choice for me was relatively easy, although I equally love pulled pork sandwiches as well.  There’s a ton of stuff to try here.  It sucks that I’m lactose intolerant or I’d have tried the Chicken ‘n Waffles which they also have here.  Anyways, we both had the ribs and the very nice waiter told us that because its done on the smokehouse at the actual restaurant, its going to be drier than the normal ribs that we have elsewhere.  We both were cool with that.

The ribs were spiced differently from other places and honestly, it may look dry but the taste was really awesome.  I’m glad I took the half rack because I don’t deal too well with spices (completely my own digestive issues) and this was just enough to satisfy my appetite and still be happy.

The onion rings were the star here.  I didn’t realize it was drenched in honey until I took my first bite.  The onions were cut large and usually I don’t like that but with the honey and the delicious crust, it just melted in my mouth.  It was so awesome and heavenly! 🙂 I took the second picture so that you could see the honey while the first one is the portion size of the accompaniment.

Jack Saloon’s is a pretty cool place to go.  The prices are a little higher than average and they may not have a huge selection on their 2 page menu but every choice is unique and original and they add their own little flair to it.  The ambiance and decor is extremely stylish and comfortable and well, the food was satisfying and delicious.  Oh, and the service was also very good.  We had a friendly waiter and that makes the experience every bit more pleasant.

All in A Week(end)’s Work (plus some blogging help please)!

I have no idea how to title these things anymore.

My highlights of the week are so similar that they really don’t have any titles.  Maybe I’ll just give it a segment name, once I figure out something witty and fun 🙂

Moving right into  this past week..it was a short work week because of Labor Day weekend and the weekend came incredibly fast with a few little fun things!

1) Completing Nike Training Club program on Saturday night

nike training club

Its been hard to get back on this whole working out routine.  The first was the hardest of the program where I felt my body didn’t belong to me.  I could barely do push-ups anymore and every move was a mega chore.  By this last week, I was able to pull off a good bit of burpees, push-ups, even figured out the whole plank row deal once and for all.  I’ve sweated buckets and buckets of sweat over the last few weeks and although I did the Getting Lean (Intermediate without running) program and I’m not sure I got that lean but it sure did make me feel absolutely fantastic 🙂

Now its back to one or two weeks of self-disciplined workouts.  If I can keep it up for a month thats great, if not, I’m jumping back into Nike Training Club for the Getting Toned program.

2) ARROW Season 1

arrow cast

Montreal Comiccon is this coming weekend and for that, I went on the mission to binge-watch Arrow Season 1. Arrow is amazing.  I love the main character but everyone else is fantastic.  Its absolutely fun to watch and I’m pretty sure I’ll be done in a night or two at the pace I’m going 🙂 I’m going to admit that I love watch Stephen Amell as Oliver Queen doing those crazy workouts (shirtless of course), I also love the rest of the cast. Everyone is just so awesome! 🙂

I think the CW dishes out the most series that I like. Its pretty amazing!

3) After Work Adventures: RedBall Project

RedBall Project

 Through the RedBall Project I utilize my opportunity as an artist to be a catalyst for new encounters within the everyday. Through the magnetic, playful, and charismatic nature of the RedBall the work is able to access the imagination embedded in all of us. On the surface, the experience seems to be about the ball itself as an object, but the true power of the project is what it can create for those who experience it. It opens a doorway to imagine what if?…That invitation to engage, to collectively imagine, is the true essence of the RedBall Project. The larger arc of the project is how each city responds to that invitation and, over time, what the developing story reveals about our individual and cultural imagination.Kurt Perschke 

RedBall Project is travelling the world to spark imagination.  Has it landed in your city yet? You can check it out: HERE

4) After Work Adventures: Fountain House

Fountain House

Fountain House is a temporary exhibit on the streets on Montreal.  Its built on the concept of water flowing throughout and the idea to celebrate drinking water.

The Fountain House is first and foremost a space open to the public, like a park. Inside, at the centre, there is a basin with water flowing in it. Why did we choose to celebrate drinking water, a public good that might seem rather mundane? Precisely because we take it for granted, and we tend to forget the previous generations that built the infrastructure that now allows us to benefit from this resource.- Quartier des Spectacles

Its open to the public till October 26th.  It has water flowing down the center, the plants on the side grow (I presume), and they have stairs to go up where you can look out into downtown around us.  I love water so this was a pretty sweet concept.

5) Getting out right in time

Montreal

On Friday evening, the sky went dark shortly I left work.  Taking my time, I’m walking to the bus terminus, hoping that it doesn’t rain.  And then it does.  I feel the first drop and then the drops come a lot faster right when I spot where I am and dash up the stairs to the OACI building, which is part of the underground passages in Montreal.  As I went in, I got out of the rain right in time.  Another 10 seconds and I would’ve been completely soaked.  Yay to perfect timing or should I say, being at the right place at the right time 🙂

6) Saturday: Friend’s Birthday Brunch and Shopping Ventures

Saturday was one of my very good friend’s birthday.  He’s almost like my brother and we hang out quite a bit.  For his birthday, I usually offer to take him out for a meal, this year it was at this brunch place in Old Montreal that he’s been talking about forever called Le Cartet

That was possibly the best brunch I’ve had ever.  For one, the coming in the cast iron pan made it so delicious and a very unique experience.  Plus, everything was cooked in duck fat which just melts in your mouth.  Except it also means, I probably won’t eat this all the time, for my health’s sake.

After that, he wanted to go shopping so we went on a little venture around town and ended up in Mountain Equipment Coop out across town since that one is gigantic.  I managed to get my boyfriend and I a new hiking backpack and got myself a yoga brick because I’m not flexible and to avoid injuries. One of the few purchases that day, along with a few movies: The Shining, Moon, Weird Science.

A very fantastic day with good company and nice chats! Hanging out with friends is really quite awesome! 🙂

7) Sunday Gardening 1: Fern 

Fern

Everything deserves a chance.  With that in mind, I decided to give my fern a second chance.  It was looking monstrously huge and just totally out of control.  I gave it a little trimming and pruning.  Took some branches out (dead and alive), shrunk its size and gave it some structure and voila! I think its looking pretty nice! 🙂

8) Sunday Gardening: Autumn Flowers

Autumn Chrysanthemum

I haven’t quite finished with fixing up the side area in the front yard but I pulled out the frustrating vine plant and now the area is completely clean after I cut a part of the tall stems that are done blooming.  Things are starting to look good.  This week, Rona had a fantastic sale on Autumn Chrysanthemums so I thought it’d look nice in that spot. After a lot of pulling and cutting and shovelling, these two got planted and ready.  The one on the right is coral and the left is orange chrysanthemums 🙂

I can’t wait to see them bloom!

Now to end this off, there are a few highlights which I’m going to give an update for some coming blogging stuff!

  • I have drafted a general list of movies that I’d like to watch for Halloween marathon but I’d also like to give you all a chance to choose what you’d like to see so I’ll be putting together a small poll soon.
  • The original plan to do recommendations month in September is not happening as I want to continue to put extra focus on books so BRING ON MORE INDEPENDENT WRITERS! 
  • Pinterest Therapy session coming up!
  • I owed you all a review showing my new movie crush. That did not happen last week unfortunately since I’m shifting my schedule a little, but it will go up in the next few days 🙂
  • Following that, I’ve been thinking of making a new segment either for Crush of the Week (or something along those lines), highlighting an actor (or sometimes actresses). Maybe it’ll be a monthly basis.  It really depends how impressed I am with what I’m watching. Is that a yes or no for you?

To recap, a few questions this week:

Do you know where to find online yoga routines?  Have you seen Arrow? Have you started fall gardening yet and what are your favorite autumn flowers?

What do you think about a new segment for sexy actors or beautiful actresses? 

Thats all for today! Happy Monday! 🙂