Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Labarake-Caserne à manger


I was invited to try the new fall menu at Labarake so I decided to bring someone that would know what he's talking about: ze chef at Sushi Taxi, Phil.

Labarake is located in an old firehouse in the Shop Angus. So, pretty much far from everything! 


We were invited for a 5 à 7 ... although without actually knowing it. It's a good thing we got there early as to take advantage of everything we could within that time period! Anyhoot, this place is kind of family oriented, kind of a happenin' bar, kind of a new business type people place. It's very nice to get a whole view of the restaurant when you arrive. Brick walls, industrial lighting and lots of wood made it look very homey and inviting.

We sat at the bar to, you know, be closer to the drinks and all! The owner of the resto came and said hello and explained the history of the building which was nice to know and then he left....and I was like, wait, what's the deal here? Even the waiters and the bartenders weren't aware of what bloggers were getting: food from the menu? drinks? whatwhat? Turns out, and we discovered this when we were about to order our food, that waiters were to go around with bite size versions of their popular dishes. Mmmmkay. But first, we needed some drinks!

There were 4 ceasars on the menu, all of them quite original so I was excited to taste 'em! I picked the Bloody BBQ first: whisky, steak spices, liquid smoke, clamato. All I's gotta say is YUM-MY! I could have easily chugged this in less than a minute but I'm a lady after all! Well, sometimes :) It was like I had ribs in my mouth. OH YES. And y'all know how much I like my ribs! Oh, and lots of alcohol It was refreshing and all the right spices were in there. Nothing bad about this. At all.


Second ceasar was the Bloody Carnivore: cognac, veal stock, clamato, steak spices, bacon and dried beef. The veal stock made it a tad too salty and it was a biiiiit unpleasant to see little bits of fat swimming in my drink. But the rest was damn good.





Third ceasar was the Bloody Marin, or the Sea salt Bloody if you will. It was accompanied by a lovely oyster (yes, I am now an oyster fan. Can't get enough.). There was nothing to write home about the ceasar. Very basic. Maybe it's because it was my third one of the evening!

OK, food, shall we?


Beef and salmon tartare. The beef tartare was classic with a bit of mustard and shallots. So, basically, your classic beef tartare but with a bigger, quite unpleasant cut. The salmon tartare was a tad too creamy and the pomegranate pieces were too present and got stuck in my teeth. So it was a miss right there.


Scallop wrapped with Spanish ham. THIS was a hit. A total hit! With that smooth cauliflower puree, it just melted in your mouth. All the flavours just blended together to make a great dish. Lovely, really!





Beef cheek with parsnip puree. This was greatness. The puree could not have been smoother and the beef was well cooked and not too salty. Very yummy. That's the technical term, of course!


Clafoutis. Good but not great. Not too sweet and very moist.

Then, there was the 'desert shooter'. Bailey's with some cold coffee. This was good even if I despise coffee. And since we weren't aware that this ended at 7PM, when the dude said 'a last shot?', I was just sad I wasn't going to taste the last of the four ceasars!

Service was very attentive, they even came back and offered us seconds. And always with a smile :) It was a new menu so there was some confusion with the waiters and the bartenders but that was to be expected.

And now, the scores!

Food: 6
Service: 8

To be honest, I'm not going back simply because it's too damn far but it is worth a try!

ps: My mom, who is forever on the look out of thangs that might interest me, found an article in I believe Chatelaine (or Coup de Pouce?) that says that Labarake is one of the restaurants to absolutely visit in MTL.


Labarake - Caserne à Manger on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Room Service


I was invited to try this new delivery service called Room Service. Their thang is that they literally  look like room service: professionalism and suit + tie included! I'll try anything once so I told the girl who sent me the email to surprise me and my friend that was to come eat dinner with me.

So the little dude got here and just gave us the food and that was it... Last time I got an invite from a delivery service, the owner came and explained the food (and there was enough for 5 people!) and the company, etc. This time; nada! I would have loved a brochure or something. SOMETHING!

Anyhoot, we got the following: butter chicken, kale salad, somewhat of a fruity arabic drink, Chips Ahoy milkshake and a cupcake. 

Let's talk.

First, there was the kale salad. There was a creamy vinaigrette, which at first seemed really nice and tasty but then became too much.... There was just...too much of it in there. Plus, the kale wasn't cut at all so you'd end up eating a whole leaf at once. Isn't the rule to make bite size pieces? I wasn't crazy about the fact that the avocado, carrots, tomatoes, radishes and sesame bites were just put on top of the salad. The avocado wasn't nearly as ripe as it should have been and the carrots and tomatoes were pretty blend. The radishes gave a nice kick to it but it was a bit like 'too little too late'.

Butter chicken. Well, ok... it was about 15% butter chicken. Basically, if you didn't tell me what it was, I would not have known. The rice was well cooked (no biggie there) and the chicken was nice and moist with a creamy sauce. But it was not butter chicken. Girl (or boy), if you advertize butter chicken, I want ze butter chicken!!!

 
The Chips Ahoy milkshake was nice and silky but it was so sweet, I think I automatically got a cavity.
 

This drink was OK but way too apple-y for my taste. What? I'm difficult!

 
I love D Liche! I think it's great that they've partnered up with Room Service. But this specific cupcake was so rich and thick it almost became unpleasant to eat it :(
 
And now, the score!
 
Food: 5
 
I was disappointed by the fact that food for only one person arrived and I was disappointed with many flavour choices. I'm quite positive I won't be ordering from them in the near (or far) future.
 
Room Service on Urbanspoon





Monday, September 29, 2014

La Banquise


Ah, La Banquise. An establishment known for its many poutines and for the fact that its open ALL THE TIME!

I brought my French friend, Clem, because, well, he had neva eva tasted this Quebecois tradition. I gotta say I'm not a fan of the brown sauce/cheese curd poutine but I went along for the sake of showing him the place.

As per usual, the place was packed + a line up! Dsamn! And it was only 7 PM!!! But hey, I gotta face the fact that La Banquise must be busy around the clock!

We were greeted with all smiles by the cute little waitresses (it was funny: a friend of mine works there and she has a bunch of Banquise pics on FB so I actually recognized some and knew their names... haha) and were seated about 4 minutes later. Note: if you sit outside, you can't drink alcohol! Pop music was playing + a couple songs that made me think back to my high school days (yay!).

OK, food. Obviously we were there to eat poutine.


I had the Taquise: kind of a mexican-québécois mix :) OK, so it's fries (duh), cheese curds (duuuuh!), brown sauce (come ooon!), tomatoes, guacamole and sour cream. I have to mention that you can change your sauce for 1 $ or more and I should have done that. First off, i'm not a fan of the brown sauce. Secondly, I really don't think it fits with everything. Especially not tomato, avocado and sour cream. The cheese was, well, des crottes de fromage comme on dit si bien en bon québécois! It actually fit quite well with everything else and wasn't too salty. The fries were nice and hot, not smushy (technical word, don't worry 'bout it) but not too hard. The sour cream was perfectly smooth and so was the guacamole. Oh it was goohood. Just the right amount of silkiness, the right amount of salt. The tomatoes were a bit blend though.

Service was great throughout. You'd think that since they are so gosh darn busy, that the service would go to shit but nope! Our food arrived on our table 5 minutes after ordering it and our waitress came to check on us twice. OH, and they all have short shorts. WHAT??? :)

And now, the scores!

Food: 6
Service: 8.5 (she forgot our glasses of water)

I truly don't know if I'll go back. Mainly because I don't love poutine with ze brown sauce. But hey, who knows!?

La Banquise on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

KYOZON


I was invited to try this self-proclaimed hip New-Asian restaurant on Crescent. It was going to be big. Oh-so-big. I invited my boss, V, because a: she's super duper fun and b: she knows her sushi. Media was at 6 so as per our usualness (that's a word, I swear!), we got there at 5:55. Kyozon joins the Nacos Group family, including Weinstein and Gabinos and Newtown on Crescent (my fave is Atelier d'Argentine in Old MTL).


The place looked really big from the outside and even bigger when you enter. Holy bejesus!!! It was HUGE! You get in and there's a huge mother freakin bar on the first floor along with many tables. Then, on the second floor, you have the kitchen, in full view behind a window and the kaiten belt. I had never experienced 'the' belt so that was fun and new for me! 


There was a huge sky light which added a certain charm to it all. So in one word it was damn huge. Ok, two words.

Anyhoot, we got in and were nicely attacked by some waiters carrying drinks around: red or white wine, proscecco or their specialty drink for the evening, the Shojo Sour. We started off with the Shojo: Bombay Sapphire, Midori, lime, simple syrup, egg white and the kicker, 3 drops of sesame oil.

It was very tasty and special (and dangerously not tasting of alcohol) at first but after a couple drinks and burping sesame oil, it became less special... Let's just say that the next day, at my sushi restaurant, I did not want to hear anything about sesame oil (my chef made a lovely joke telling me he had switched the oil in the fryer for sesame oil). And just one whiff made me want to you know whhhhaaaat.

The ambiance was great, as it usually is at media gatherings where everything, including alcohol, is free. Abeille was spinning for most of the night and it was loud! We saw many-a-people making out and almost just getting right down to it at the bar.... twas quite hilarious!

And now, food!


We were two of the first people there so we went upstairs pretty quickly to see what all the fuss was about with that belt! Turns out... no fuss. We were sitting in an arm's length of food that we could pick out so that was cool but the food itself...


-Rice not too good and this is coming from someone who knows her sushi rice
-Fish on top a bit too fishy


-This literally tasted like nothing even if, as you can see, there ARE ingredients!


-This one was my favourite
-No rice
-Salmon and tuna tasted great


-Calamari in a cone
-Great taste and crunch
-BBQ type sauce fit really well
-Not too salty, great panko crust


Sorry about awful pic
-This spring roll was just awful Sushi Shop quality
-Fake crab meat with tobiko and a tiny piece of avocado dson't make a good quality roll


-First dish with lots of flavours
-Salmon well cooked and moist (oh how I hate that word but sometimes, you just gotta use it!)


-Lobster maki
-Was there really lobster in there?


-Pork bun
-Taste was there but the pork was way too fatty and the bun was slightly undercooked


-Looked good but tasted like nada :/


-This was a great papaya salad
-Good flavours
-Very refreshing


-Popcorn shrimp
-Again, loved the panko crust
-Juicy on the inside, crunchy on the outside and just a tad spicy... just what you want!


Bah, pink ginger... really? That is all.

OK, now, I can see it now: 'Marie, you're so tough, you're so harsh...' Well I feel it's my duty to tell y'all the truth!!! Also, when there are huge openings like this one, the capacity of the kitchen to deliver the good stuff is always limited and stuff starts going awry as the night progresses. I would like to go back and experience the real deal though. As the Nacos Group promo/marketing dude told me: 'Ce soir c'est pour faire le party mais il faut y retourner pour la vraie expérience!'.

And now, let's talk service! It was great!!! Nothing bad to say about it! Not one thing. They were all smiles and they were always there with a drink or passing food around when you needed it. The barmen and women were always there for you (just like Friends!) and we stayed that much longer because our bar dude told us that 'we were fun and we should stay'. Damn him!!!

OK, and now, the scores!!!

Food: 6
Service: 9

I definitely want to go back for the real experience. You'll see it's hard to keep this chick away from asian food!!!

KYOZON on Urbanspoon

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Ma tante quiche


Ma Tante Quiche is now one of my fave breakfast spots! Whenever someone's in town, where do we go? Ma Tante Quiche. I go kayaking with a friend, where do we go after? Ma Tante Quiche. They know me now. I mean, I go there to buy a quiche or two but I mostly go for their 'everything homemade' breakfast! YUM!

This lovely establishment is run by a couple of lesbians in their 50's (ish) and employs people that are so damn nice, like my friend E would say, you'd want to drop kick them in the face. But not really. They sell a bunch of great homemade stuff. And it's ALWAYS good.

That day, I went with my best girl, we'll call her Sylvia, for a nice hungover breakfast. I think it's a given that half the people eating breakfast anywhere are hungover. Right? RIGHT? Anyhoot, the ambiance is nice and chill and the music went with that setting. Quite enjoyable indeed!

Since I'm mostly a creature of habit when it comes to breakfast: I always have the biggest breakfast offered on the menu. In this case, I had the 'Assiette Ma Tante Quiche' which is basically braised ham (in local beer--Brasseurs de MTL!), beans, cretons (hello!), baby potatoes with mushrooms in mushroom stock, homemade sausage, smoked bacon, an egg (or two), and some fruits.


Ok, so, fruits. So, I love fruit, blablabla, but they basically are an afterthought when I eat my 'déjeuner de la construction'. But hey this fruit 'cup' deserves an A: fresh raspberries, blackberries and blueberries? What what? Three of the most expensive fruits we can find in our supermarkets? Well hello foodcost! :p Nah, I'm sure they make up for it elsewhere; these are two smart ladies!


Aight, let's get down to it! The egg. OK, so eggs usually are just... eggs. But this was a GOOD egg. You know what I mean? I believe it may have been cooked in a bit of maple syrup which obviously makes it taste whhhhay better than other eggs! The ham that is cooked in beer for many-a-hours basically just melts in your mouth. It just MELTS in your MOUTH! The flavours explode and you are in ham heaven. And yes, there is such a thing! The bacon is smoked so obviously all the yummy bacony flavours come out and again, bacon heaven! The potatoes are just lovely! What a great idea to cook them with mushroom and add mushroom stock! Not too salty, just great! The sausage is also home made but it was a tad tough to eat and the beans, even if they were perfect the time before, seemed a bit fermented which was not so great. The cretons just melt in your god damn mouth. I'm a HUGE fan of cretons and these are well worth the trip!

Service was good. OK, not as good as many other restaurants but here, they seem so chill that YOU are chill, ya know? We got water quickly, food not THAT quickly and she didn't check if we liked it which, in my book, they should do.

And now, the scores!!!

Food: 8
Service: 7

I LOVE this place and anyone and everyone that lives remotely close should visit it at least once!!!

ps: and the price is right too! I believe it costs around 12$ for this plate!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Muvbox


I'd been wanting to try Muvbox for freaking years and since I live closer now AND I always bike by, I decided to head there with my ex English teacher this week. Also because I've been craving lobster since freaking May. Ah, lobster.

Alright, so, quickly the concept of Muvbox is that it is in a container that, after moving some panels and shiz, becomes a restaurant. BAM!

We got there on a really REALLY, way too cold for summer, evening and there was NO ONE there. We were welcomed by a bunch of youngsters that were obviously having quite the partay inside and enjoying the fact that there were no customers. We ordered and quickly got our food because, well, we were the only ones there!


Ah, lobster roll! How I love thee! So, we ordered two lobster rolls, a bottle of water and chips, all for 30 something bucks. Ouch! I was oh-so-disapointed to see that the chips, which I thought were going to be homemade like most places where you get dem lobster rolls, were actually Miss Vickies. A tiny bag for 2,50$! Dsamn. But on to the roll. It had a very good quantity of lobster including claws and shiz. Oh ya, I said clawSSS. It was covered in somewhat of a thick mayo based sauce with celery pieces, which we all know is part of a wonderful lobster roll. The lobster was cooked perfectly: tender and not chewy at all. It was basically heaven in my mouth. Heaven I say! The only thing that was disapointing according to J, and I agree, was that there was no butter on the bread.

The service was OK. I mean, they were partying it up when we got there and they continued their partay while we were sitting a couple meters from them. Meh. But it WAS quick!

And now, the scores!

Food: 7
Service: 5

A lobster roll a day keeps the doctor away... isn't that the saying? 

Resto Muvbox - Lobster box on Urbanspoon

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Mémé Tartine


*Flash review alert*

I had to go on Wellington to buy something and decided to go a bit north onto Verdun Street. I had passed by there a couple times and had noticed this little bakery that looked really cute and quaint from the outside.

I was welcomed more or less warmly by what seemed to be the boss and a trainee. The fact that the trainee didn't know how to do ANYTHING (like put the sandwich on the sandwich press, or the salad on the plate) became a bit annoying.

There was some music playing on the radio: DANCE music. Dance music, really? I think they could have chosen something more à propos (whoa, I sounded fancy right there!)!

They had 4 different kinds of sandwiches so I decided on the ham, tomato, bacon and cheddar one with bbq sauce.


-Good thang they added a little salad for that price (7,95$ + taxes)
-Salad tasted like nothing except for the slightly tasty vinaigrette
-Moist bread=good
-Cheese not even melted (and they put it in a press!)
-Tomatoes were a bit meh
-Only tasted the barely-there BBQ sauce near the end

All in all, not a completely bad sandwich but not a great one.

Service was alright: they put my meal on a nice little plate, the dude at the counter was more or else helpful but I didn't get any water.

And now, the scores!

Food: 5.5
Service: 6

I probably won't go back. Their croissants are really overpriced and apparently, their sandwiches are not much better...

Meme Tartine on Urbanspoon

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Sawmill Bay Shellfish Co.


I'm not really an oyster kinda girl. Well, no, that's not true. I didn't think I was one until last Thursday. I mean, I had eaten them perhaps three times before and the last time, they were covered up with so much crap that you couldn't even taste the actual oyster. 

I got invited by my step-cousin to the Apéro quatre à HUITRE (hahaha, good one guys!) that was to be taking place at La Fabrique Annexe. Oysters from Sawmill Bay Co., based in Read Island, between the coast and Vancouver Island, were to be the stars!

I got there after work with my guest, we'll call him J. It's always nice to get invited to try new products and for me, to discover new thangs! Anyhoot, we got there and immediately went to my bros' cousin, Sim. He explained in detail how they harvest (is that the right word?) their oysters and why some oysters are different than others, etc...It was great to see someone so passionate and driven!

One specific type of oyster was the star that night and it was the Read Island oyster!


We were told that this was one of the creamiest oyster around and it suuuuure was! Dsamn, it was almost like putting pure cream in my mouth. Almost :p They are also smaller than other (but, I'm guessing, bigger than some) oysters. Apparently (I am no oyster expert!), the bigger oysters have a tad less flavour. Anyhoot, the brininess was present but not too much and they just tasted dsamn dideligood! It was basically heaven in my mouth! The only thing that was a tad displeasing was that, the shell not being as resistent as others, there were pieces of it around the actual oyster. I do not like biting on that, especially with my brittle teeth! OUCH! But OH, the creaminess! :)

J was saying how he preferred Atlantic oysters better than Pacific ones but I'd like to think that by the end of the evening, he would have said that he was 'in between'!


We had the choice of either having a little plate OR a BIG arse plate. Hello! Big plate for us please! We shared with my bro's friends who were also there, which was really nice! Man, we devoured 'dem' oysters!

Hotsup and pinneapple
Scotch Bonnet

Mignonette
We had an array of sauces and thangs we could put on our oysters! Hotsup was kind of a hot ketchup which went really nicely and brightened up the oysters, the pinneapple 'jam' which was a tad too sweet but I could definitely put on toast or what have you, the scotch bonnet sauce which was dsamn spicy but oh so good (surprisingly, the mix with the pinneapple one was greatness!) and the usual mignonette (red wine vinegar and shallots) which added to the natural brininess of the oyster! Ha, at some point, there was a competition of who could eat the most Scotch Bonnet sauce by itself. Some guy won but I swear I could have!!! If I'd only gotten there earlier :p

The place itself, La Fabrique Annexe (made for partays or meetings, or what have yous) was really nice and cozy! Quite small but with a nice terrasse outside where we spent most of the evening! A great place to chill, eat oysters and do some wonderful people watching! Plus, the dj, who was incedentally also the sauce maker and Sim's cousin (Aunt Thelma's) played wondeful tunes that included the Fugees and some more popular ones + 90's music, hello!. Mmmmmmwonderful! Me= loves Fugees! I almost felt like getting up and dancing! Almost.

Sooooo, with our entry 'price' came a free wine or beer glass. I obviously chose wine as I'm one of those people who despises beer. They had a couple natural wines to choose from and we first chose La Folle Blanche which was marvellous and dry and went really well with the oysters. Jer tried another one a bit later called La Bohème and he said it was too sweet. I'm just going to say this: we had around 8 glasses (5$ each! whaaaaat?) of wine each and La Folle Blanche remained the one to beat!

Let's talk about the service! Well, it was great! We actually were warmly welcomed by Sim's sister whom I had never met so that was very cool! Plus, there was this girl running around cleaning the tables and taking the empty plates so that you could just go get more. Lovely.

Alright! Now, the scores!

And I really DO mean SCORES cause there are a lot of em!

Hotsup: 7.5
Pinneapple: 4,5
Scotch Bonnet: 9
Mignonette: 7
Wine: 8.5
Oysters: an average of 7.5 (darn pieces!)
Service: 9,5! Wonderful and friendly!

Sawmill Bay Shellfish Co. actually delivers to many restaurants in Toronto and MTL!!! I would love to go to a restaurant in the Montreal area that serves these oysters!!! Come on, restauranteurs, dsooooo it!