Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Les 400 Coups

Les 400 Coups (400 Notre-Dame Est , Montreal)

BEST MEAL OF THE TRIP and now in my top 3 meals from around the world! What a memorable evening of fantastic food and there was not a single dish of disappointment. It would be very hard pressed to choose a favourite dish but some that were just spectacular were the foie torchon, beef tartare, the Atlantic cod and the Litchi Granita dessert. The food is exceptionally creative and the flavours are something unforgettable. Although the service could have been warmer, it was the type of food/meal that you wish would NEVER END!!!


 

Beef Tartare + Mustard Ice Cream + Anchovy + Croutons
This rendition of tartare is probably the most creative I have seen and is absolutely stunning. The flavour of the beef was fresh and luscious, paired with the silky mustard ice cream and these mini bites of perfectly fried croutons. Great texture and seasoned to perfection. Tied for best dish (along with 3 others lol)
 
 
Hamachi + Cara Cara Orange + Cucumber + Avocado + Salmon Caviar
A very refreshing dish, the Hamachi was very fresh which paired nicely with the citrus burst and cooling cucumber.
 
 
 
Foie Gras Terrine + Apricot Puree + Kohlrabi + marcona almonds
This terrine was just sublime. The subtle sweetness from the apricot puree + the nutty crunch from the almonds  + intensely creamy foie = flavour heaven.
 
 

1) Altantic Cod + Grapes + Caramelized Salsify Puree + Lobster Bisque Sauce
2) Seared Scallops and Suckling Pig from Gaspor Farms + Cauliflower + Bluefoot mushroom + Cardamom + Pork Sauce
 

Both main dishes were fantastic but I have serious praise for the Atlantic cod. Cooked perfectly, the mixture of the almonds and sweet grapes paired perfectly with this incredibly creamy, unctuous lobster bisque sauce. The flavors which I thought would be a strange pair, worked in perfect unison and I was wishing the dish would never end.
 
The scallop and suckling pig dish did not fall short either. Perfectly seared and seasoned scallops, intermingled with the fatty yet tender suckling pig was a combination not to be missed. Paired with the savoury pork sauce, mushrooms and cauliflower -- intense flavours and simply delicious.


  




Litchi Granite + White Chocolate Yogurt + Grapefruit + Campari + Flowers
They are known here for their epic dessert menu and I was not disappointed. The litchi granita was a beautiful combination of textures, flavours and temperatures. It was cool, sweet, creamy, fresh, bitter, floral = perfectly balanced. To be honest, to try and describe this dessert would do it injustice, you just have to go get it.  
 
 
  
 Chocolate Pot-de-Crème + Maldon Salt + Caramel
Everything you would want in a chocolate dessert. Decadent although not too rich, perfect with a cookie layer, a luscious cream, notes of caramel and maldon salt to balance the sweetness. 
 
 



Les 400 Coups on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Montreal Eats (Excluding dinners)

Montreal Eats

Featured below are some of our Montreal eats, excluding our three dinners at Garde Manger, Les 400 Coups (BEST MEAL OF THE TRIP) and Joe Beef. I will apologize in advance for the lack of photos in the actual restaurants or of missing food items, either in my excitement, laziness, my distracting bellyache or for consideration of other diners (due to lighting issues, my persistent flash could not have always been welcome). I hope you enjoy what I have here and stay tuned for my dinner posts coming soon!


1. Schwartz's Montreal Deli (3895 Boulevard Saint-Laurent, Montreal)

Our very first stop in Montreal, we had to get our hands on some smoked meat. As my boyfriend and I are huge fans of Katz's Deli in NYC, it only made sense to go straight to this Montreal institution. We arrived late afternoon, so lucky for us we did not have to wait in any lineup (which I hear is often very long). We ordered two MEDIUM FAT sandwiches (in hindsight, I should have probably ordered FAT) but nonetheless the smoked meat was thick, juicy and well seasoned. Paired with the perfect, jumbo dill pickle and the classic yellow mustard, it is a definite must.

 

2. Fairmount Bagels (74 Ave Fairmount Ouest, Montreal)

Another landmark we had to hit -- Montreal bagels! We were planning on going to both Fairmount and St. Viateur but the next little detour instead at Fous Desserts proved to be worth it (photos below). The shop is incredibly tiny but bagels are turning out fresh every moment. We got some bagels to go with and we also brought a little tub of Liberte cream cheese (I swear I will never go back to Philadelphia, it rocked my world). Delicious, sweet, chewy and warm.







3. Fous Desserts (809, avenue Laurier Est, Montreal)

Shortly after our bagel stop, we detoured to Fous Dessert. It came highly recommended from a friend when I was searching the internet for a great croissant in Montreal. She was so right. This transported me back to Paris (even a close second at Ceci Cela in NYC). These croissants were so amazing we ordered four in total. They had that perfectly crispy, crunchy exterior that flakes all over you when you take a bite. Then what comes next is that perfectly soft, buttery, light croissant that is just perfection. I highly recommend this place and as a croissant LOVER, you will not be disappointed.






4. Arepera du Plateau (4050 Rue De Bullion, Montreal)

Located very close to our hotel, I had heard great reviews about this little restaurant. We were feeling in the mood for something fresh, so we opted for Arepera du Plateau. Fresh juices made in house (featured is the guava and passion fruit, we decided to mix them which was amazing). The fresh plantains were soft, crispy and sweet with that savoury cheese (I presume queso?) piled on top. We also got the creamy avocado chicken arepa which reminded me of a delicious, creamy chicken salad and our favourite was the Pabellon which features shredded beef, black beans, queso, fried plantains. We doused our arepas in the green and red sauce they bring to the table (completely necessary but I am also a sauce fiend); makes all the difference in the flavours of the arepas.






5. Olive et Gourmando (351 Rue St-Paul O, Montreal)

This café/bakery in Old Montreal has been well reviewed and with incessant line ups at lunch hours, we decided to check out what all the hype was about. We ordered:

- Caesar Salad
- Raspberry Lemonade & Fresh Squeeze OJ
- Gustavo = grilled chicken + red caramelized onions + portobello mushrooms + havarti cheese + maple dijon
- Cajun Chicken = grilled chicken + Cajun spices + guacamole + tomatoes + fresh mangos
- Croissant (Meh), Banana Chocolate Brioche (Heaven), Chocolate Chip Pecan Cookie (Heaven)

Overall I was a little disappointed with this place. The Cajun Chicken sandwich, while fresh and delicious, was really overly salty in random bites. The Gustavo was a delicious hot panini albeit a little greasy. The Caesar was very average considering the $13 price tag. The fresh juices were overpriced ($5.00 for a TINY fresh squeezed OJ). The highlights were probably the treats LESS the croissant (too dense, not a good texture). I loved the banana chocolate brioche which was dense, rich and extremely decadent. The chocolate pecan cookie was also very delicious (no photo).

 


 

 

6. Main Deli Steakhouse (3864 Boulevard St-Laurent, Montreal)

Luckily a short walk from our hotel and with the late night hours, we got to check out the Main Deli located directly across from Schwartz's (also known for their smoked meat sandwiches). The Reuben was delicious but the smoked meat was very different from Schwartz's. On the thinner side but still very juicy and flavourful. I still prefer Schwartz (I like my large slices of Pastrami). The slaw was very refreshing and light, a nice addition.




7. Resto la Banquise (994 Rue Rachel E, Montreal)

Open 24 hours, after a night of drinking this is a great place to find yourself. Come here for a classic Poutine. To be honest, the poutine was good (not life changing) but a Montreal institution nonetheless.



Schwartz's Montreal Hebrew Delicatessen on Urbanspoon Fairmount Bagel on Urbanspoon Fous desserts on Urbanspoon Arepera du plateau on Urbanspoon Olive Et Gourmando on Urbanspoon Main Deli Steak House on Urbanspoon Resto la Banquise on Urbanspoon

Monday, 4 February 2013

ODDSeoul

ODDSEOUL (90 Ossington Avenue, Toronto) 

Oddseoul is a newly opened restaurant on the Ossington strip by the Han brothers (Swish by Han). The late night eatery, open until 2am is inspired by the Han brothers upbringing in Philadelphia featuring an array of Korean "snacks".  The decision to come here was last minute, thus I sadly did not have my camera (sorry for the phone photos but they are not too bad!). The interior is dimly lit, outfitted with a wood aesthetic and communal tables. It is extremely casual and a place you could find yourself drinking and grazing for the evening (which we did for about 4.5 hours). Overall a fun night with delicious Korean comfort food .. I will be back to try the squash poutine and pork belly kimchee fried rice!

** We had 3 orders of the Tempura Prawns (4 per order). SADLY my phone died and we could not capture these delicious beauties. The prawns were perfectly cooked with a robust crunch/snap to the actual prawn, very juicy and breaded in a wonderfully saucy concoction (possibly mayo/hot sauce related). I have to admit, I am a sucker for fried shrimp and these were done very well.


What we had this evening:

To drink:
Soju (featured below) as well as the Reverend Palmer cocktail (my personal favourite) and the Lady Boy.





The "Loosey"
Easily the favourite of the night. A juicy, smashed griddled short rib/brisket patty adorned with american cheese, kimchee hollindaise, pickles and buttery challah bread. The texture of the beef was crumbly, incredibly juicy and well seasoned. I could not help but have two orders. Who would not like a korean inspired big mac??




O.S. Wings
Korean fried chicken executed well. On my boyfriends recommendation we went with "half sauce" and they were still incredibly saucy even with that request! The chicken was perfectly crispy on the outside with juicy chicken meat on the inside, again with those familiar Korean flavours dominating.


 


Pork Bun
A saucy, juicy rendition of a pork bun and it reminds me so much of the Korean flavours I grew up with (particularily Daeji Goji). I found the ratio of the pork to steamed bun off, as the filling is incredibly saucy & rich and the bun cannot stand up to it. Not my favourite in the city; nonetheless it was tasty.


                                

Mackerel
Reminiscent of the classic Korean style mackerel growing up, they fire torch this rendition at your table. Well cooked and seasoned with a nice smokey flavour but my only wish was that the temperature was warmer (although this is how it is meant to be served). 

 

Yakitori & Lamb Skewer 
Yakitori (bottom) and the Lamb (on top) both skewers of meat came with an assortment of sauces and bibb lettuce to wrap. The yakitori was extremely succulent and flavourful, while the lamb had great flavour but it was a bit chewy.



ODDSEOUL on Urbanspoon