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Festival Montréal en Lumières 2010 : New-Orleans & Portugal

4 events down and 4 events to go.
Here is a review of the events I went to so far this year :

Paulo Pinto at Decca 77 : Very good but international cuisine. I could've eaten this in Montreal at any good restaurant and would'nt have known it was a portuguese chef, apart from the salt cod and the dessert. There weren't anough portuguese traditional elements to my taste. Wines from the CARM winery were good but not great. Service was excellent though.

Chef Sobral at ITHQ : The appetizers, warm entrée and portuguese cheese were delicious. The dessert was also a standout, a portuguese Abade de Priscos pouding with sweet carrot purée and a honey ginger, lemon and black olives salad. Sounds weird but it was fantastic and very original. The wine served though were a little lacklustre and they decided to put 2 Quebec wines on the menu (which were fine and good matches) but since this is a portuguese event, I would have prefered to have portuguese wines with the food.

Brian Landry at Julien : Well known (and very young !) chef of Galatoire, New Orleans' oldest restaurant (been open for 104 years). No frills and just plain delicious food, expencially the crab first course, the duck and the bread pudding (which was out of this world). Fun atmosphere and cheap on top of that (50 $ for 4 courses). No wine pairing menu that night.

Henrique Sa Pessoa at La Chronique : 7 courses of heaven on a plate. Every plate had portuguese influences and was perfectly executed. I've been to over 60 Festival meals over the last 7 years and this was definitely in the top 3. The friends I was with told me it was the best meal they've ever had and they're not easily impressed having dined in many Michelin starred restaurants in Europe. The wine pairings were simply amazing and were chosen expertly by Pier-Alexis, the sommelier. I'm a sommelier myself and am not easily impressed but the all portuguese wines chosen were very original, matched the food perfectly and and showcased the best Portugal has to offer. Also an amazing value for the quality (150 $ for 7 courses and 7 glasses of wine). The chef is still there for two more nights so call for a reservation just in case there's a cancellation !

So it's a great start to the Festival so far. I was at Portus Calle last night (review to come) and will be at Europea tonight, Newtown tomorrow and Osco on Thursday. I'll try to give you the details of these meals at the end of the week.

Bon appétit, Surfinberry

Best place for business dinner in old montreal??

Hi Julie,

I would try Graziella. Excellent food, good atmosphere and I'm sure they could accomodate you. Ask for Alexandre.

Also recommended is le Vauvert. Food is pretty good and you can drink there afterwards. I can be noisy though on thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays.

Finally, Version Laurent Godbout, has excellent food, great location and is a lot cheaper than Club C & P (it's actually right next to it). I've done events there with 12 clients and it wasn't a problem. It's lively and you'll also be close to the action.

Have fun !

Best pizza in MTL

My favorite (and I've also converted many people to it) is the pineapple bacon pizza at Tasty Food pizza on Décarie. Amazing and it has just the right sweetness to it. Do yourself a favor and try it. Simple but great !!

Best smoked salmon in town? (take out)

The hot smoked whole salmon fillet at Atkins (from Gaspésie fishermen) in Jean-Talon market is possibly the best smoked salmon I've ever had. Expensive but worth the trip. Their smoked mackerel selection is also great.

Restaurant Openings - 2008

Hi i just got a peak at Ian Perreault Prêts à Manger and the renovated area is beautiful. Ian mentioned to me that it will concentrate on high scale prêt à manger but that it will be possible to eat there in the summer, when the 40 seat terrasse will open. Should be a great spot and I look fwd to trying it next week.

Canneles??

The best cannelés (by far) are made by Marc Chiecchio, pastry chef and owner of Marius et Fanny pastry shop in Chomedey, Laval (there's also a small store close to Lachine market). He's been doing this for 35 years, was the head pastry chef at La Gascogne, and got out to start in own little place. He's also the Quebec ambassador for Quebec chocolate makers. This place is a must go for cannelés lovers and foodies everywhere.
http://www.mariusetfanny.com/index.html