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Another First Time Visitor with Hopefully First Time questions?

Re - Capri and Pointe St Charles -

It might not be the "nicest neighbourhood in the city," (depending on your definitions) but it's changing quite a bit and there are a number of good restaurants/shops there. Capri is very old school, but the food is excellent. The smoked meat platter is excellent (probably from Quebec Smoked Meats on Centre a couple blocks away). The pigs knuckles look scary, but taste great. The restaurant is absolutely nothing to look at - it's like a cavernous neighbourhood sports-bar type place.

San Francisco Style Burritos in Montreal

... Cafe Cantina in Pointe-St-Charles has "california-style" burritos. For what it's worth, they're pret-ty, pret-ty good. Rice, beans, guac, sour cream, lettuce, tomato and choice of veg, carnitas, chicken or beef.

FF pizza St-Henri

I've been ordering their delivery - unless there is another place I'm unaware of, I'd say it's the best delivery in south west (I'm in the Pointe, and it's hard to get non-chain-pizza delivered).

Pizzas are good, though hit and miss. Agree with above comments re: size, toppings, crust - ideally, you'd get a little better value but it's not bad. They have an early-week special, second pizza is 50% off, so a dinner for 2 comes to around $22 with tip.

I've tried a number of the varieties - prefer: spinach ricotta, weed eater, the one with prosciutto/brie/honey, smoked meat and mexican. The more conventional options (tout garnie) are quite bland.

I think they're great, given the available options!

Openings in 2012

After many months of anticipation, it seems O Bico is finally open in Pointe St Charles on Centre at Shearer - Portuguese chicken:

McGill wasteland?

So I realize there is probably no good answer here.

As a Concordia grad student, I'm spoiled by having Myriade coffee just seconds away. But, I'm taking a class at McGill this term. Is it truly a wasteland?

I'm looking for the best options on campus - coffee especially, but food also - entering the campus from Sherbrooke/Peel/McTavish (in the winter, probably coming from Penfield/Peel), and headed toward the library and the arts building. I am too old to eat Pizza Pizza and Tim Horton's is just swill.

What else you got?

Les 1e Vendredis - Food Trucks at Parc Olympique

Anyone else head up to the Food Trucks?

It was crazy. A little disappointing, I guess, though mostly what I expected. Huge crowds - even right at 6pm, the line ups were insane. Particularly for Grumman and La Mangeoire. (Then, of course, my friends took another half hour to show up - frustrating).

They gave out free drink coupons upon entrance, which was a nice perk. Lucky's truck was - it seemed - instantly sold out of Lobster Rolls and Duck Confit from 6:10pm onward, and they were sold out of everything and close up shop by 7pm. Conversely, the weird hot dog truck (Hotbulldog?) didn't open until about 7pm. They only sold hot dogs, nothing else.

Wound up getting a round of Nouveau Palais burgers to start - the shortest line, I wasn't sure why at first. They only offered burgers, so perhaps not as exciting - but then I realized - they were one of the few outfits actually moving people along efficiently, from what I could tell. Many lines barely moved at all. NP had an assembly line going, and the burgers were hot, fresh, tasty (but small). Still, worth the $4.50.

Then - after waiting in line at Lucky's and getting turned away - over to Pas de Cochon (?) for what was supposed to be Pulled Pork, but having sold out, Pulled Turkey instead, and grilled asparagus, which was cold, and I don't think it was originally intended to be. Nice flavour, but should have been warm. My friends had the oysters, which were "okay." The pulled turkey was actually pretty good all things considered. Very tasty, good quality, nice bun. Just not what I was hoping for I guess.

I've tried the Grumman tacos, so I wanted to try something else, but just couldn't bear lining up for La Mangeoire. In all, I spent about $16 - friends spent 18 each (oysters were a bit more expensive). Drinks: free (!).

Anyone else manage to make it out of the lineups alive?

Gvina Levana or Quark cheese?

Surprised there's no Montreal thread on this - anyone know where to find Israeli cheese or something like it (Quark) in Montreal?

I haven't looked yet, but I'm assuming it likely won't be found at a place like Fromagerie Atwater or the like. I haven't seen it when I've been there. I'm assuming a Jewish or kosher store would be the way to go. (Previously, in Toronto, I could find it at, for example, Loblaws in the kosher section - but I'm lost as to what an equivalent location in Montreal might be...) Any help is appreciated!

What's so great about Schwartz's?

Friendly and smiling?! It's ruined.

I grew up on NY Pastrami, and while I saw skeptical about Montreal smoked meat at first, Schwartz's won me over.

Haven't been since the fall, tho, so... not sure what's up now. Next thing you know, people will be allowed to be seated before their whole party arrives!

cooking beans, what am I doing wrong

So I realize there are several methods for cooking dried beans - and my question isn't strictly about cooking. I'm uncertain if I'm doing anything wrong in my bean-cooking attempts. I'd like to go over what I've done, and maybe someone can tell me if I'm doing anything wrong.

1) Buying beans - previously, I had bought packaged dried beans from the supermarket, and they yielded not-so-great results. So next I've tried bulk beans from a reliable bulk place at my local market, with reasonably high turnaround.

2) I pick them over.... (small ones, cracked, etc)

3) Soaking: I've now tried Bittman's quick-soak method, and Harold McGee's salt-soak method, with minimal cooking water. When I soak beans - no matter what - they crack quite a bit and start to fall apart. Is this normal? Is this the quality of the beans? Black beans, chick peas, kidney beans have all done this.

4) Rinsing etc

5) Cooking: My beans fall apart. Chick peas just split apart. Black beans crack and fall apart.

Help! Should I try a different source for my dried beans? A different soak/cook method? (I don't have access to a pressure cooker...)

May 05, 2012
deadchildstar in Home Cooking

Last-Minute Birthday Cake -- Help!

Know of any place else similar to Cocoa Locale for cake? Similar dilemma as the OP but I called Cocoa Locale today, and she's on "spring break" until later this week. Bad timing for me! Looking for a more homestyle cake rather than a patisserie style cake. (Prefer: no supermarket cakes)

rijsttafel at Nonya?

Anyone try the rijsttafel at Nonya? I want to go - with a Dutch friend. Is anyone here able to compare with a Dutch Indonesian place?

Laid back and inexpensive birthday

Thanks for the recs - we had an excellent night! Nouveau Palais was the perfect spot, and Helm seemed pretty great too.

Started off at Helm - they offered $4 pints until 8pm, so that was a nice bonus. Helm was very laid back, great place to drink and chat. Food coming out of the kitchen looked and smelled great, would definitely eat there another time.

Then over to NP - the perfect spot to order a bunch of things and not break the bank. (I was picking up the birthday boy's tab and my own, and as I mentioned, I never feel great forcing friends into spending a ton).

We ordered the fritters for the table just to sample - they come 6 to an order - and they were really unexpectedly yummy. I could have easily eaten the whole order! A round of cocktails (an old fashioned seemed appropriate), then a bottle of wine and mains (and sides, because who can resist!) I had the pork chop and grilled pineapple which was a little wacky - you really have to love pineapple - but the pork was excellent, and I got a side of frites, which I would call perfect in this situation. I was amazed, though, that they won't substitute e.g. the steak comes with couscous - why not with frites? And my (German) friend wanted a side of spaetzel, but that can't happen unless you order a main dish and share it among the table - next time maybe. (Though they will turn the side mac'n'cheese into a full order if you ask nice?). I also tasted the poached fish special, it was very nice, quite lite. The quality all around was solid - about what expected.

The desserts, too, satisfied: pudding, lemon curd, sweet potato pie. I think it's a place that wins on atmosphere and tasty basics. Averaged per person, it was maybe between $50-$65 with drinks, wine, apps, sides, mains, desserts. That's impressive.

And of course the service was great - the waitresses were a little aloof and almost too-cool, but the (owner? manager?) server Jacques was charming as heck and absolutely knew what he was doing. He helped round out the fun, relaxed evening. Perfect spot for a small group get-together!

I'd love to go back for brunch or lunch. And I'm keen to try some of the other mentions on a different occasion. Thanks again, guys!

New Mexican restaurants.

+1! Definitely more "California"-mex. Personally, I prefer the carnitas to chicken any day, but have never had a bad experience there. The burritos are giant. Also a nice spot for just coffee and dessert (desserts seems to rotate a bit - tried the flourless chocolate cake and the lemon tart). Fresh juices are delicious if pricey. I would say the food is pricey except the portions and quality make it worth every penny (A take out burrito runs you $10).

Openings in 2012

To answer my own questions -

1) They've since updated their website, added the menu and added a facebook page:
They're both a cooking school *and* restaurant, that seems to be about it.

2) The chicken place seems to be opening soon - their signage is up. Obico - the site is listed as but currently seems to be inactive.

3) Also just down the street on Centre heading another block west - a new ice cream shop (possibly Italian). They just opened in the last day or two. Coccinelle - no other information, but I might have to try it.

Laid back and inexpensive birthday

Ha! I can be found griping in another thread about how I didn't enjoy the atmosphere at diel du ciel the one time i was there. Thanks though... maybe I'd try again when/if they're less crowded? Been enjoying Vices et Versa.

Laid back and inexpensive birthday

Wow, thanks mimibi and Fintastic (and EaterBob) - good suggestions! And I haven't tried any of these places.

I think I might opt for Nouveau Palais this time (and we're probably only going to be 6-8 people, no kids). While the Smoking Valee looks awesome and is in the neighbourhood, I hate sending friends to places where the cheapest main is $20. Looks like a better option for a nice dinner for two.

Omma sounds really good, and I love Korean food - I'm curious, you must think it's worth the price. I'm used to Korean places where you're paying about $12 on the high side.

Read the recent review of Sardine and checked out their website - looks good, and the prices are great. For this particular occasion, I think NP seems more accessible... checked out Resevoir's website - they don't seem to do dinner? But looks like a good place for drinks first perhaps! Birthday boy is a beer-lover.

Laid back and inexpensive birthday

I know there are dozens of recommendations on here, but everyone has their own idea of what casual or cheap means. I'm getting a small group of friends together for my bf's birthday, and I'm seeking a restaurant that fits a few criteria...

- good food! Any kind. Only stipulation is that one of my guests can't do peanuts or nuts. Good desserts would be a bonus.
- not outrageously expensive. To me, this means, between $16-26 for mains. As an example, for his last birthday in Toronto, we went here: - a really nice neighbourhood-y place that you can get drinks, courses and dessert without completely destroying your bank account until the next payday
- some atmosphere, but not so loud that you can't hear the person next to you
- not too far from a metro

I still don't know the city that well, I've been going on my own instincts and Chowhound recommendations - but typically don't eat (what I consider to be) expensive dinners out on a regular basis.

I've been to Sparrow with friends - this is close to the kind of place I'm looking for (though a step up from grilled cheese would be nice). Went to Le Cartet for lunch once - if their lunches were dinner at a different restaurant, I'd say that's the perfect sort of place.

Any thoughts? I'm trying to give specific examples of what I'm looking for, hoping that helps with recommendations. Thanks in advance!

Jarred pasta sauces?

I looked, though neglected to report promptly... no Batali or Rao's at Douceurs. They carry Dave's Gourmet (, and a few other smaller "boutique"/organic brands I'd never heard of. Average price, about $7 a jar, which isn't bad. Haven't tried any of these.

Someone mentioned it above, getting a homemade sauce from an italian market or pasta shop - +1! lately, when feeling super lazy, I've been buying sauce from Pasta d'Ici at Atwater Market. Cheaper than higher-end jar sauce - between $5-6 for 500ml. I've tried the tomato-basil and the Sicilienne, both are good basic pasta sauces that can double for pizza sauce. Buy it and freeze it!

(I also tried their meatballs, and while the sauce itself tasted fresh enough, this was on one of their takeout lunches, which they nuke - so I wasn't impressed when the meatballs were still cold. If I ever bother again, I'd buy just the sauce and take it home to re-heat properly


Also tried the Pizza Mia sauce - good for a pizza sauce, but too thin and basic for anything else. Maybe somebody could zhush it up....

And on the jarred sauce front, when I used to live closer to a Loblaws, I was buying the PC Organics line, the best of all the basic supermarket brands. But I hated forking out $5/jar for something pretty mediocre.

Montreal food tour

I like their beer but found the brewpub experience unpleasant! For a place to sit and enjoy a drink - not my first choice.

Layover Montreal

Moved from TO to Mtl this year - and I know what you mean, gomes. But there is lots of great unsung food in TO, of all kinds, perhaps especially asian food (and while I love street food, you can't say Toronto's *not* a mess in that department, either: the "ethnic" food cart debacle??).

What Montreal seems to understand is that you don't need to be part of some "elite" to access good food. Food isn't good because you paid a lot for it, it's good because it's well-prepared and high quality. Something Toronto (on the whole) hasn't figured out yet. Food seems to be a bigger part of the culture in Montreal (catholic) whereas, Toronto's far more wasp-y about it all.

As for Bourdain - I thought it was a loving portrayal of the city, for AB. Some of the other eps were a snooze. Miami? The only good thing about that ep was the hot dog + whipped cream (I think he made another lipitor crack there, too).

Montreal food tour

Personally, the one experience I had at the Dieu du Ciel pub was not so hot... preferred Vices et Versa for a beer stop. ( - on St laurent near Beaubien). Close enough to Jean Talon - worth a second visit, go to eat not to shop.

Dunno if this guy is still doing tours?
Regardless, there is some good stuff on the website. (More on the cheap-eats side of things)

Breakfast and wi fi downtown or St. Henri

I mentioned it initially saying I wasn't sure if they had wireless or not...

You know, I'm OK with a wait for food - though on Saturday it seemed excessive and unnecessary - but you have to keep me at least a little bit occupied. Not bringing coffee? Coffee would shut me up for a good hour. Anyway. Funny that you know *exactly* the waitress I'm talking about.

Next time going to try Mariani!

Openings in 2012

Does anyone have any info on new openings in the Pointe:
1) The Indian restaurant/cooking school on Centre near Shearer? Their website doesn't offer much info, other than the cooking class - but walking by, it appears they're open for lunch.
2) The portuguese chicken place slated to open on the same block? Heard about it first from the Cantina owners, and it was mentioned in the article in The Mirror this week (cute piece on eating in the Pointe - I had no idea you can get a beer with your breakfast at La Fine Pointe!).

Breakfast and wi fi downtown or St. Henri

Did you wind up trying Cafe Joe?

While I don't mind their food - and the price is right - I think I'm done with that place, and it's all because of the service. It's a shame, because they're not so bad otherwise.

Went today with a friend - and we waited over an hour for food. They were busy, but not tremendously so, and several parties came, ate and went in the time it took us to get served. It was completely unacceptable. We would have left, but on a Saturday, early afternoon brunch, we figured it would be crowded everywhere. I must've waited a half hour for my espresso drink alone ("it's coming") - and which point I just asked the bored server if I could just have a drip coffee. She offered a non-apologetic apology, and finally brought my cafe au lait.

I would say that it was a one time occurrence, but my friend has been there more often, and he said that same waitress appears to be completely incompetent and has done the same thing before, he's wound up waiting far too long for decent but middle of the road food. I was too hungry to be angry, but my friend was really pissed off by the end.

Plus, they don't offer milk-alternatives, which sucks.

The search continues?


my mistake about 'made to order' - I read it in a review, so I assumed... anyway.


Haters! Went for the first time today, with a friend. We both enjoyed the dumplings - lamb/coriander and pork/cabbage. I've had dumplings in other cities (NY/Van/TO) -- I'm no expert by any means, but I've eaten a lot of Asian food (not to mention a lot of kreplach) and I have to say Qing Hua is pretty good. I would have preferred one more sauce.... their selection looks limited, but they make them to order, I don't see why they wouldn't make what you want. Cabbage salad, tasty.

Price - well, they're in the Concordia ghetto, so they can charge what they want I suppose. Yes, pricier than they probably should be, but in that neighbourhood, your options for a decent lunch are somewhat limited.

Eager to try maison du nord next.

Where to find non-BPA canned or jarred or boxed tomatoes?

I noticed President' Choice has started making San Marzanos in a jar (black label line)... and the place at Atwater - maybe you mean the pasta shop inside, toward the north end of the market (across from coffee place)? I noticed they have the tetrapaks, but they're very small. And tomato paste in the tube I see everywhere!

Jarred pasta sauces?

Haven't been looking for Rao's sauce - but it's available in Canada (I used to know where to get it in Toronto - my mom was crazy for it). I'm certain you'd find it in gourmet type shops, but it'll run you about $10 a jar, and in my opinion, you're better off buying a $5 tin of san marzanos, a bunch of basil and some garlic.

I'll have a look when I'm at Douceurs du Marché on the weekend and report back - they have a good selection of very expensive jarred sauce.

Breakfast and wi fi downtown or St. Henri

What about Cafe Joe on St Antoine? I'm not sure of their hours though.

Midi 6 (though I'm not the biggest fan, terrible service)

Unsure about wifi availability at any of these places.

In PSC, Cafe Cantina (Centre/Shearer) is open at 8am and serves espresso and breakfast burritos.

Dutch chocolate letters in Montreal?

Thanks - I'm sure a Dutch person will say they're not exactly the same thing. I was technically looking for the tiny, hard kruidnootjes.

Atlantique did have Pfeffernüsse, btw.