Le Mousso

Le Mousso is a relatively new restaurant in the Village in Montréal. My awesome friend Eva made the reservations and had planned for us to go when I was visiting MTL, and she did not do us wrong! The restaurant is opened by Antoin Mousseau-Rivard, a man with the vision of exploration and experiencing new things. I definitely think Le Mousso is a must-go for all foodies.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Amuse Bouche

Continue reading “Le Mousso”

Advertisements

je t’aime, Montréal

It’s so interesting coming back to MTL after several months of moving out of the apartment I’d grown to love after 4 years. I don’t even know where to begin sharing my experience over the last few years, the things I’ve learned, the feelings I’ve felt, the people I’ve met ❤

Of course, most of my close friends know how in love I am with this place. Though there are elements that are indescribable, I try to show them my experiences by taking them to the spots I have loved.

Coming back now, I’m visiting old spots and new, and the feeling is both so familiar but so different. Perhaps it’s because of my more care-free life now, no longer a student, but not fully employed.

Here are some spots I’ve visited on my most recent trip:

Dinner at Hoogan + Beaufort, a new restaurant

Cafe Kitsuné, an old favourite

Dinner at Le Mousso

Here’s a sneak peek, but check out the full blog post!

Squid ink pasta on charcoal, Macaron with Caviar, Maple syrup cotton candy with foie gras center
Squid ink pasta on charcoal, Macaron with Caviar, Maple syrup cotton candy with foie gras center

New cafe in McGill metro

It always seems to be my curse that amazing cafés open in places I frequent the most after I move. Having a quick chat with the owner, Bertrand, I learned that they were merely 5 weeks, and pull from all Canadian roasts (and all roasteries and cafés I frequent!): Dispatch from Montréal, Transcend from Edmonton, and De Mello Palheta from Toronto 🙂

2016-03-10 10.37.19_DxO

Lunch at La petite Maison

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Coffee at Dispatch

2016-03-10 14.05.05_DxO

Coffee at OSMO

2016-03-10 17.08.26_DxO.jpg

Breakfast at Panacée

2016-03-11 11.50.46_DxO.jpg

New Cafe – September Surf Cafe

IMG_9568-1

Buck15 – of course a must-go for me

IMG_9557-1.jpg

Obviously the whole trip was amazing because I got to experience mtl in the mentality of a graduate, without school work or internship looking down on me. I was able to really feel what it’s like to live inMontréal as an adult. I was also able to see my friends and had some really amazing bonding moments and conversations with them, which was also great.

If anyone wants a personalized itinerary for Montréal, please don’t hesitate to message me!

~ kehwon

 

Chef à l’érable – Scena Jacques Cartier

So I finally went to a Cabane à Sucre event, after 3 years of living in Montreal. Thanks to eva for coming up with the place and idea, we booked for three people for the Chef à l’érable event at Scena in Old Port. Since we’re all city-dwellers and don’t own cars, this was the perfect place to go!

Fittingly, it was extremely cold that day, so all the hearty and warm, cozy food was perfect for the weather.

The space is extremely bright and open, which was really nice to just relax and chat in.

2015-03-22 13.22.13

Continue reading “Chef à l’érable – Scena Jacques Cartier”

Maison Boulud – Golden Square Mile

tfung and I had the pleasure of celebrating some special occasions all in one. It’s our 4 year anniversary in two months, I’ve finished school and just have internship now, and he had just finished carms tour. We’re moving on in our lives to the next stage and we’re both very excited. So we decided to spend some money on a nice meal. Since he was visiting Montreal, I proposed going to Maison Boulud, which is by the famous Daniel Boulud, a glamorous restaurant located inside the Ritz-Carlton Montreal.

We glammed up for the occasion, which ended up being a little awkward, as when we first walked in, we saw two people in jeans and a v-neck sweater. But I thought, it’s our night, we want to make it special. We were seated near the fireplace, and the waitress came to make sure we were comfortable. She briefly explained the menu, as we had inquired about the tasting menu.

The tasting menu is $95, and +$90 with wine pairing. She informed us that it would be an amuse bouche, and appetizer, a pasta, a fish, a meat, and a dessert. The dishes would come from the a la carte menu that we were given.

In the end, we decided on just getting an appetizer and a main dish each. Thus, the dinner began.

2015-02-19 20.04.50_DxO Continue reading “Maison Boulud – Golden Square Mile”

MTL Cafes – Montreal main island

So in my absence from the blog, I’ve had a lot of chances to try many new cafes in MTL. I’ve rounded up some of my favourites!

Buck15 Espresso

Processed with VSCOcam with a6 presetProcessed with VSCOcam

IMG_20141130_144103 IMG_20141121_152720 113201412486IMG_20141203_113908

Just love the decor in this small, cozy cafe. The simplicity of the furniture, the fact that they burn byredo candles in their bathroom (not to mention the interesting mirror they have in there), and of course the warm smiles of the baristas there. They recently added to their toastboss selection a favourite of mine: Avocado Egg Toast with Sriracha. This definitely upped their game in my books with regards to making me want to take the metro there for this sweet breakfast or brunch!

Cafe 8 oz.

Processed with VSCOcam with a6 preset Processed with VSCOcam with kk1 preset Processed with VSCOcam with kk1 presetProcessed with VSCOcam with kk1 preset Processed with VSCOcam

A super relaxed big, bright space with many tables and one communal table for patrons to study their insane course and have enough space to have all their notes sprawled out – oh wait, that’s just me. Cafe 8 oz does amazing sandwiches which is perfect if you’re looking for a quick lunch. I’ve become their “cortado, english-speaking” customer, and their warm welcomes are always something I look forward when I go in to do some work. Their coffee has a slight sharper note than most of the other ones I have, slight acidity, but not too acidic for my tastes. A quick walk from the metro, 8 oz is new to the Rosemont area and definitely worth checking out. Make sure you order some of their food!

Larue et Fils Jarry

Processed with VSCOcam with a6 preset Processed with VSCOcam with hb1 preset

Although Larue et Fils isn’t a new cafe, its new addition is somewhat newer. I love again the white tiles, the yellow communal tables, and just how relaxed the shop feels. You get a mix of patrons here, people studying, people walking their children, people coming to chat, couples stopping for some coffee. I love it. The only bone I have to pick with them is the fact that they use Quebon as their hot chocolate. Personally that’s not what I expect in a hot chocolate, but to each their own. They don’t have as extensive of a food selection, but the coconut/date squares we had last time were pretty good, not to mention their cookies 🙂

There will be more posts on cafes but for now I’m really taken by these three. I am dreading the day I leave Montreal for good, but hopefully I will discover my way through the cafe world in wherever I end up later in life!

~ kehwon

My unhealthy love for cafés

I’ve never done a post about an espresso bar or café before, but I really think it’s time. I mostly frequent cafés in montreal, but on my recent trip to NYC, I’ve discovered just how much I’m in love with the whoel culture behind cafés and how terribly awful the coffee is at all the chain stores.

Back when I was completing my first degree in Physiology, I fell in love with Starbucks. I went there whenever I needed to study because I’m someone who can’t just stay home to study all day, everyday. My friends started to know me as an avid Starbucks fan, and I embraced that. I knew exactly what I wanted everytime I went, I knew their drinks well and opted for healthier options on a regular basis.

When I started my second degree, moving to Montreal was extremely difficult for me. I had no friends in this very foreign city where everyone hated me because I didn’t speak French. In the recent months, I’ve really grown to love Montreal with regards to the life in the city, the diversity of various cultures (ethnically related or not), and first and foremost, their cafés.

I’ve been café hopping for a year and a half and still haven’t tried the majority of them yet. I’d like to say I’ve tried half of the more popular and well-known ones, but what do I know!

Processed with VSCOcam with lv03 preset

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

Currently, my favourite in Montreal is definitely Kitsuné. This is for several reasons. Firstly, they are quite close to where I live. Many of the cafés I’ve yet to try are situated in the Mile End, which is a big further for me and requires me to not be extremely stressed about exams (aka, Clinical Nutrition). The second is how easy their payment is. $4, $3.50, $2.50…no fussing with those cents, and the baristas are subsequently a little more at ease and “chilled out” with ordering and paying. They have a sleek iPad to card terminal system which I love and is definitely trending in NYC (from what I see). My favourite to order are their lattes. Be it hot or cold, it always hits the spot for me. Definitely not as rich and creamy as the next café I will mention, but I definitely think in my taste range. Last but not least, the croissants they serve!! The croissants are from a boulangerie called Regal Matinal. They deliver freshly made croissants everyday, and I’ve seriously contemplated having them deliver it to my house – obviously that’d be terrible news for my cardiovascular health and weight, so I restrained myself. Not to say they’re the best croissants I’ve ever had, but they’re the type I like: doughy, soft and only a slight crunch to it. It is the combination of all this that makes me love Kitsuné so much and regard it somewhere I will always come back to. I love the owner and the baristas he’s hired, I love that they’ve built a small outside patio in the back, and I love the industrial décor they’ve put in place.

2014-06-23 11.50.48 2014-06-23 11.57.28

The other café I fell in love with is a little out of my reach. It’s La Coloumbe near Soho in NYC. tfung was looking for his tonic at a liquor store on Lafayette when I knew I needed some caffeine in me. I spotted a café across the street and decided I might as well try it. I ordered a latte for myself and damn. The latte was very smooth and creamy (evidently using a milk with higher fat percentage), but the richness of the espresso still pulled through without tipping the balance. The harmony between the espresso and the milk was near perfection. I hate to say something is perfect until I’ve lived my last breath, but I wouldn’t mind living off this latte for the rest of my life…

Other notable mentions in Montreal are: le couteau, st. henri.

~ kehwon

Bouillon Bilk (Newly renovated) – Latin Quarter

Since tfung’s parents came into town, we decided to bring them to some of our favourite spots. On the second night, we brought them to the newly renovated Bouillon Bilk. I was quite excited to see their new decor, since I had caught a glimpse of it whilst walking back to the Grand Prix on Saint Laurent, and it had looked incredibly sleek and modern.

2014-06-21 18.56.17

The menu had changed quite a bit since I was last here, but definitely still had  the flair of the old Bouillon Bilk. They had refreshed the menu for the summer, which was great to see, and the desserts were completely new.

I started off with the linguine which was one of the specials. The pasta was done a little over al dente, a consistency I like, and was mixed in a buttery sauce that had hints of seafood flavours. Along with the linguine were chanterelle mushrooms, and garnish. Definitely a great dish on its own, I thought they were able to bring out the flavour of the chanterelle mushrooms well, without overpowering the sauce and the linguine. The slight crunch in the mushroom and its lighter consistency was a good contrast to the firmer, denser texture of the linguine.2014-06-21 19.43.39

2014-06-21 19.43.59
Lobster Soup
2014-06-21 19.44.17
Foie Gras served with Polenta

As for tfung, he started off with the asparagus appetizer, which came with asparagus purée. It was also served with veal tongue and a sunny-side up egg on top. To start, the presentation of this dish was fantastic. The purées were arranged nicely and was sprinkled with micro greens. The veal tongue was cooked very nicely. It was soft, but still had firmness in its texture. It was not overseasoned, but rather seasoned conservatively with salt just to bring out the natural flavours of the meat. Pairing it with the asparagus puree gave it that summer freshness that it needed. The egg on top was a nice addition to the dish, providing a bit more sustenance and flavour to the veal tongue. Adding the rich and earthy morel mushrooms was also a nice touch. Overall a very good dish in terms of presentation, creativity and combinations of flavours.

2014-06-21 19.44.11
Asparagus and Veal Tongue

I was able to taste a bit of the carrot risotto, and let me say this: definition of summer. I love how they’ve (in my opinion) a seemingly boring and over-done dish and freshened its colour and its flavour to fit the heat. The carrot base in the sauce of the risotto was light and slightly sweet. It was definitely a good start to the meal.

2014-06-21 19.44.55
Carrot Risotto

For me, I ordered the octopus with sweetbread. This was definitely the priciest of the dishes, but well worth it. The octopus was done to perfection: enough texture and chewiness on the inside without being difficult to chew, while retaining its true octopus taste; crispy on the outside, with an ever so slight smokey taste. The contrast in the texture and the flavour was great. The sweetbread was fried on the outside with a light batter, and retained a soft texture on the inside without overcooking it to a mushy consistency. To go with the fried sweetbread was a sour and slightly spicy, sriracha-based sauce. Finally, fiddleheads, mushroom and sliced pear as sides along with some greens for garnish.

2014-06-21 20.07.50-1
Octopus and Sweetbread

The rabbit was roasted perfectly. It was soft, tender and juicy. Wrapping the rabbit with bacon wasn’t really necessary as the rabbit was tasty enough, but the bacon certainly enhanced the flavour. It was served with a rabbit au jus that was sweet and savory, which complimented the rabbit well.

2014-06-21 20.07.57
Rabbit wrapped in bacon
2014-06-21 20.08.18
Scallops and Chanterelle mushrooms
2014-06-21 20.08.26
Side: Fiddle Heads with almonds
2014-06-21 20.08.32
Halibut
2014-06-21 20.44.15
Baba with strawberries, rhubarb and mascarpone

Overall, Bouillon Bilk had given me a refresh in terms of modern dining. I thought they did an excellent job in balancing delicacy with creativity and thinking outside the box. They were innovative, yet still incorporated elements according to the season, which I believe is crucial for a more modern dining experience. As delicious as a heavy truffle cream gnocchi is, it just isn’t as enjoyable in the heat of the summer. The service was quite good, not outstanding for the calibre of restaurant it is.

The decor was absolutely stunning. I love the bar in the middle, creating a more relaxed feel, especially for the younger clientele. There were three longer tables that were of higher elevation (a very popular setting now), which I personally love, but is not for everyone. Their washroom is extremely modern, with the style of communal hand washing station in front of 3-4 individual rooms solely for the toilet. This may not sit well with more traditional folks, but for me, I absolutely love it.

I highly recommend you to come try their summer menu. Make sure to make a reservation, and let them know of any delay or cancellations!

Service: 4/5
Food: 9.3/10
Atmosphere: modern, fresh, clean, white-table cloth meets industrial
Price: $40-60

~ kehwon and tfung

Brit & Chips – Old Montreal

So tfung finally came to Montreal to visit and we decided to try Brit & Chips as I’ve heard so many good things about it. We sat outside on so we could enjoy the sunshine, while at the same time avoiding the chokingly greasy smell of the store.

Image

We decided to just order two fish with chips, no drinks or other appetizers as we weren’t too incredibly hungry. The first was Sole in sour cream and onion batter. This batter was quite greasy. There was a very subtle hint of sour cream and onion flavour but it was masked mostly by the taste of heavy oil. The fish itself was a bit on the bland side but it was cooked quite nicely. Their tartar sauce was quite delicious and the chips were excellent as well.

Image

 

The second was the Fish of the Month, which happened to be a Cod fried in tempura batter with a sweet ginger sauce.  The batter in this one was a “tempura” batter. It was certainly lighter and less heavy than the batter on the sole, however it was definitely not “tempura batter”. At least, not the light airy and crispy tempura batter that Japanese restaurants use.  The portions were slightly smaller on this one, but we enjoyed this one a bit more because it was less greasy and heavy as the first. The tangy and gingery sauce went well with this fish.

Image

Overall, the fish was done quite well, not overdone. But it was the batter that we were disappointed in. Based on the description of the items on the menu which boasts interestingly flavoured batters in various styles, we were a bit dissapointed, since the batter was tasteless and very greasy. This restaurant will definitely do the trick if you are craving some fish and chips, but don’t expect something extraordinary.

Service: 4/5
Food: 7.1/10
Atmosphere: Fast food, fish and chips
Price: $15-25

KazaMaza – Plateau

I was set to get icecream with my friend at Kem Coba, but to lead up to that, he had suggested some Lebanese food. Many of his friends had recommended KazaMaza, and though I had never had lebanese food, my recent love for essiebuttonvlogs has peaked my interest in this cuisine.

DSC_0268 We arrived fairly early on Sunday evening and the restaurant was very quiet. Eventually more people filed in, all around 6:30, but was not too busy. It had a very relaxed vibe and our waitress was very friendly and genuine.DSC_0270I started off with the Fattoush, which we shared. It was composed of lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, red peppers, pomegranate, fried pita, and was topped off with a pomegranate vinaigrette. Absolutely delicious. It had the perfect balance of freshness with tartness of the dressing, but the pomegranate seeds sweetened the dish just enough. The fried pita added that earthiness to pull the freshness back down. I think I could eat this salad everyday.DSC_0271  My friend got a humus, and I had a small bite. It was the smoothes, purest humus I’ve had. No added flavouring or ingredient. Just pure humus garnished with some olive oil and chick peas. I would have liked the pita bread to either be warm or a little more fresh, but seeing as how it was complimentary, I couldn’t complain too much. Unfortunately, the pita bread just didn’t complement the humus well, and for that it didn’t reach its potential.DSC_0274My main was the grilled octopus “leg” on lentils and a sour salad with cilantro. The octopus was cooked very nicely, chewy enough but not tough at all. It was that perfect balance of tenderness and chewiness that I look for in octopus. The lentils and the salad was a good complement, but did not leave a large impression on me.

The service was on point, my glass was always filled and the waitress knew when we wanted her attention. She was the only waitress for the 4-5 tables that were present at the time, which was probably a good amount to handle. I didn’t feel like she treated any table differently, and was very pleasant to talk to. She was genuinely nice and made this foreign cuisine (to me) that much more comfortable.

I definitely recommend this restaurant if you haven’t had much Lebanese food, but as I’m no expert in this cuisine, I cannot comment on the authenticity of it. Though I can tell that everything was done in-house and done quite purely, without any extravagant commercial ingredients.

Kaza Maza on Urbanspoon

Service: 4.5/5
Food: 8.6/10
Atmosphere: middle-eastern, comfortable
Price: $30-40

Il Focolaio – Latin Quarter

 

My friend had suggested this restaurant to me several times and we finally decided to go. Located across from Square Phillips and across from The Bay, it was an extremely easy location to get to. I had never thought much about this busy restaurant even though I’d passed by it numerous times…DSC_0260The wood oven could be seen in the back with 3 chefs making the pizzas. Each pizza is done fresh within a very reasonable time (I’d guess around 10 minutes, our pizzas were served after we ordered).DSC_0261Their menu is quite extensive, with around 75 choices. As you can imagine, it was quite difficult to make a selection. Thus, you can ask for half a pizza. We didn’t realize this until after we’d ordered, but if you want to try several pizzas, I’d definitely get the half pizza option!DSC_0262For our first pizza, we ordered the Carré Phillips as our first pizza, packed with capicollo, pepperoni, hot italian sausage, ham, mushrooms, mozzarella, and green peppers. This is essentially what one would taste when they think about pizzas. Lots of meat and sausage flavour with a dash of green pepper and mushroom. It’s an all-round pizza that I really enjoyed.

The crust was thin, slightly crispy but not tough. The middle of the pizza never got soggy or wet and the slight burnt taste makes each bite a little more interesting.DSC_0263For our next pizza, we had the Tarfuto. Mozzarella, goat cheese, black truffles and cherry tomatoes. The truffle was very fragrant and as soon as the pizza was nearing our table, we could smell the richness. Paired with the goat cheese and the tanginess and sweetness of the cherry tomatoes, the dish worked perfectly in harmony. The goat cheese and truffle boosted each other up in richness and fragrance, while the cherry tomatoes brought a tart kick to balance out the other two ingredients. A genius combination.

Overall, I thought the food was phenomenal, the price was very reasonable and the service was so-so. I can’t say the service was bad, but we did wait over 20 minutes to get the bill. It was a busy night as it was grand-prix weekend in Montreal, but I still feel that a little more attention could have been paid. Either way, I definitely do recommend this very successful pizza joint (having been opened for 25 years), and challenge you to try all their combinations!

Il Focolaio Pizza Resto on Urbanspoon

Service: 3.5/5
Food: 8.9/10
Atmosphere: bustling, low-key, neighbourhood joint
Price: $17-30