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Openings & Closings July, August & September 2014

Au Bon Marche!! Starring the Shiller father and Stephen and David, his two sons. They were even funnier and cheesier in French with their heavily-accented French ("Mais oui, papa!") and exaggerated arm gestures.

Those commercials still live on YouTube if you're nostalgic for the good ol' days of CFCF-TV.

My friend lives near the Masson strip in Rosemont and the tenants and merchants on that trendy stretch have long complained about the stranglehold the Shillers have on all the commercial real estate in that area too.

Openings & Closings July, August & September 2014

Several openings/closings to report in my neck of the woods (fringes of Griffintown):

As noted above, Nini Meatball House is set to open. It's already been written about in Eater and is another project from the team behind Burgundy Lion, Liverpool House, etc., Lavy/Shiller et al. According to Eater, it's slated to be a meatball house/health food store (?)/bar. It's really a tiny space so it'll be interesting to see how they pull it off. It's painted and furnished entirely in white, both inside and outside.

A block away, Rufus Rockhead has been papered over and now announces that Shinji, the adjacent smash hit sushi place, is expanding. Same owners, the guitarist from A Simple Plan and his backing team. They are also involved in the meatball house mentioned above. I guess sushi is more profitable per square foot than the lounge/bar they had next door.

On the north side of Notre-Dame, east of Guy (next to the Italian place on the corner) a new Greek bistro/cuisine de marché BYOW named Petros is about to open. It's in a former yoga studio. An unfortunate choice of name, in my NSHO, considering it's across the street from a Petro-Canada.

A new organic grocery store is also on the verge of opening, south side of Notre-Dame two blocks west of Guy.

That Tapas place (Le Bureau) has been closed for weeks due to emergency renovations. They now have a banner announcing the grand reopening this week.

All that from a two block walk from my house last night!

Opening/Closings January to March 2014

I just checked the Bofinger website and there's a note addressing the situation at the downtown restaurant.

In a nutshell, the owners of the building are converting it to condos and didn't renew Bofinger's lease. They claim to be looking for a new location within the same area and hope to make an announcement soon.

Of course with their new partnership (they sold 50% of the company last month) we'll soon be able to enjoy vac-pacs of Bofinger's ribs and meats at all grocery stores, a la Baton Rouge, Schwartz's, St. Hubert, Thai Express, Mike's, etc.

There's even Joe Beef steak spice now at my local Metro store (for an astronomical $5.95 a jar!)

Opening/Closings January to March 2014

It looks more like a DJ-based place, not live bands.

At least that's what their Facebook page seems to be alluding. They're already hyping the line-up of DJs who will be playing there.

And the opening hours are another giveaway: 4pm - 3am. I think this is going to be more a disco/club (whatever the word for it is these days) than a foodie place.

I live a block away: I'm going to go for a walk later this afternoon and pass by the place. I think it's the strip where the now-defunct Jane was.

curing salt

Believe it or not, home curing has gone so mainstream that even Williams-Sonoma carries pink salt. A friend of mine who does charcuterie and gets pink salt in large bags bought a jar of the WS stuff just for fun.

Of course this being WS it's insanely expensive compared to other sources. Based on the price of this teeny jar it works out to almost $50 a pound.

Montreal Best Chow Mein?

Can someone explain to me what the difference is between the various chow meins listed as "chicken chow mein," "Cantonese-style" and "Chinese-style" on meus in local restaurants?

Most places add a surcharge for "Chinese-style": what more are you getting for your money?

I'm usually self-sufficient in finding information but Wikipedia was no help as chow mein means different things in Canada and the US. I never knew there was a substyle of Americanized Chinese food known as "Canadian-style" but it seems the stuff restaurants serve here is not the same as what US American-style Chinese restaurants serve.

I remember my ex-father-in-law from California was very disappointed by what was served to him at a highly-acclaimed restaurant in Ottawa when I lived there. The food had the same names but he was upset he didn't get what he was expecting. He even argued with one of the waiters that a dish was wrong, explaining the version he gets at his local PF Chang's (or Panda Express maybe) in California is the correct way to prepare the dish!

Openings in 2013

I noticed another new Chinese place that seems to have popped up recently in Chinatown II on the north side of Ste-Catherine near the Provigo, just west of Fort St. It's called Le ShowWok Cuisine Asia.

I looked at the menu and it was pretty standard fare but at what seemed like ridiculously-high prices for that neighbourhood, where you have a choice of many other places at much more reasonable, if not dirt-cheap prices. Peanut dumplings, for example, were $8.00 and a chicken dish was $16.00.

The only redeeming quality I noticed that could justify those high prices is that it's a BYOW restaurant.

I couldn't find a website online but I did find this:

Openings in 2013

I walked into the new location of Qing Hua tonight on Ste-Catherine St. (@1909) just as they were closing to ask if they had in fact moved from Lincoln.

The waitress told me the Lincoln location is still there and the Ste-Catherine branch has a completely different menu with a different type of dumpling. As she started to explain I realized she was talking about soup dumplings like they have around the corner at Mei on Mackay.

Sure enough when I left and looked at the sign outside it said "Soup Dumplings - Xiao Long Bao."

It looks like they are jumping on the soup dumpling bandwagon and that means even more dumpling options in Chinatown II.

where to find mustard seed?

I've looked into ordering from Penzey's a few times, and the shipping to Canada was exorbitant. The shipping charges double or triple the cost of the order, unless you have a US address you can use.For a basic order worth something like $20, the shipping was over $30. Things might have changed recently as I haven't checked their shipping arrangements to Canada in over a year.

As well, the price of the spices themselves per ounce was the same or even more than what I just paid at Spice Station (the Monkland location). I can't imagine Penzey's quality would be worth that much more than the quality at SS.

Mustard seed is used in smoked meat, I believe. Have you tried approaching a deli like The Main or Schwartz's and asking if they'd sell you a cup? They buy in huge bulk quantities so I'm sure they could offer you a good price for such a small amount.

10th anniversary dinner with a picky husband

i just wanted to correct myself so I wouldn't mislead you. I checked the online menu after I posted (doh!) and didn't see any ribs. I could have sworn they did have ribs last time so possibly the menu has changed. If you have your heart set on ribs you better not count on Gibby's.

Dinner for Thursday night

The Gazette's Urban Expressions wrote up Restaurant Grenouille a few days ago:

As an aside, despite the often-amateur writing and numerous grammatical and spelling errors, I find Urban Expressions is much faster to cover new places than the two restaurant critics in the actual paper. I have a feeling the bloggers who contribute to Urban Expressions watch the discussions here and react quickly to writing about new openings.

Click on the "Food" link at the top and you'll see all the reviews.There are usually several new posts each week.

10th anniversary dinner with a picky husband

Just to chime in on Gibby's, I was there about a year ago and a choice of "basic" sides were indeed included with all main courses (baked potato, fries, mashed, rice, maybe a veggie medley...)

They do have other upscale sides that are sold separately. I believe they also brought a dish of excellent homemade pickles and cole slaw on the house, plus a loaf of hot fresh bread which we sliced ourselves.

The nice thing about Gibby's is they have a large selection of non-steak items, including chicken, fish, ribs, etc. I've never ordered anything but steak however I know people who swear by their chicken and fresh fish dishes.

When we were there it was for my mom's birthday, which we told our server. At the end of the meal they brought a huge and delicious cake (for free!) which was big enough that I was able to take half of it home. It wasn't the usual garbage freebie cake some restaurants throw in; it was loaded with real whipped cream and fruit (I think peaches) and came from their own in-house bakery. We weren't expecting anything and they wowed us with this touch.

Prices there are very reasonable for the quality and ambiance. They also offer free valet parking, very nice when parking in Old Montreal is challenging and/or it's cold out.

Where can I get Sabra spicy hummus in Montreal?

The texture was one of the main reasons Sabra regular hummous won first place recently in a Cook's Illustrated taste test comparing it to other common US brands. I find the FS a bit too "fluffy." The Sabra is creamy and reminds me of the homemade hummous I used to get at a Lebanese place in east-end Ottawa. The owner would never tell his secret how he got it so silky smooth but swore he used minimal oil.

Now I'm curious about the Montreal West/CSL place lagatta mentions. I hope someone comes back here with the name. I live near the PA downtown and can check if they carry it once I know what I'm looking for.

Where can I get Sabra spicy hummus in Montreal?

The Metro on de la Montagne/Notre-Dame has several of the flavours, including the "Supremely Spicy." I'm hooked on it myself. It sells for $4.99 regularly but is often on sale for $3.99. It's more expensive because it comes from the States as opposed to the Fontaine Sante line, for example, which is produced locally.

They also have a line of fresh salsas that I love. Also expensive.

Deep Dish Pizza?

The $9.99 promotion for the medium two-topping pan pizza is currently active; I'm not sure if it will still be in effect on the weekend but is worth checking online before you order. It's quite a savings.

I think I also saw they have a special on the Brooklyn-style right now.

These specials might only be valid for online orders. That's the only way I order so I've never had to verify if that's true or not.

I find Domino's regular prices ridiculously expensive, but then again the price of pizza has skyrocketed everywhere, even at my local mom-and-pop places.

Deep Dish Pizza?

I've had it a couple of times when it was on special for $9.99 for a two-topping medium (Domino's always has online coupons).

I'm not a fan of Domino's usually but it was very good, and I'd order it again when they have it on special the next time. It's not a deep-dish pizza by any stretch of the imagination; if anything they're trying to copy Pizza Hut. The crust is much richer (almost "buttery") and does taste fresher than their regular fare.

Where can I find Blair's Death Rain Habanero chips in Montreal?

Wow--I had no idea we had Bulk Barns in Quebec.

I used to live in Ottawa and they were all over the place, but I have never seen one in La Belle Province. There certainly isn't one anywhere the downtown area--too bad. Are they allowed to use the name "Bulk Barn" or are they forced to call themselves "La Grange En Vrac" or something similar?

Where can I find Blair's Death Rain Habanero chips in Montreal?

For the longest time the Metro supermarket near me (
Notre-Dame/de la Montagne) had some Blair's chip products, which surprised me. I haven't checked lately, but the fact that Metro stocked them leads me to believe they have a mainstream grocery distributor now.

Worse comes to worst you can order them from Chily Chiles in Ottawa:

Hakka cuisine in Montreal?

I just noticed another Hakka thread here but it's quite old and may be outdated. You might be able to find some suggestions that help you:

Hakka cuisine in Montreal?

There isn't any dedicated Hakka restaurant in town like you can easily find in east-end Toronto, but this new South Indian dosa specialist does features a few Hakka dishes on the menu.

I haven't tried it yet but have heard heard good things about the chili chicken, which they claim to be a Hakka dish. They're on Van Horne near Victoria in the Cote des Neiges district in the old Fireside location:

La Petite Mangue

As a newbie here I certainly don't want to argue, but wouldn't it be more relevant to post details of a deal if that deal is for for a restaurant that has its own dedicated thread, especially if that thread is current?

As a denizen of many other discussion groups I want to follow the house rules and don't want to ruffle any feathers. I simply thought my post was helpful to people discussing this new restaurant, since it's a timely offer and the discussion is still active. It wasn't just a random post about a deal that I saw--it was directly relevant to this thread.

In the future I'll post on the other thread, if that's what the rules dictate.

La Petite Mangue

I live on the fringe of Griffintown, and about three or four years ago there was a short-lived Cambodian restaurant almost directly across the street from me on Notre-Dame W. between de la Montagne and Guy.

It seemed like it was never open (very weird hours and days of operation), then it was closed for six weeks holiday around Christmas. I don't think it ever reopened after that, and I certainly never got to try it.

It did get a rave review in The Gazette and I remember the review mentioned it was a branch of a resto the family owned in Sorel, of all places. I wonder if La Petite Mangue is owned by the same Sorel family and if this is another attempt to penetrate the Montreal market?

La Petite Mangue

There's a current deal for this restaurant on TeamBuy: $19 buys $40 worth of food (taxes excluded).

I am not affiliated with this company nor am I endorsing them. I have bought a couple of TeamBuy discount coupons for other restos but have not used them yet, so I have no idea how easy these discounts are to use. Sometimes when you show up expecting these discounts the restaurant balks or claims they are not valid.

Unlike other group buy organizations, TeamBuy promises to refund the purchase price of the coupons if the resatuarant goes out of business before the expiration date, and they also promise the restaurant will honour the face value of the coupon (the $19) even after the expiration date.

And if you refer others you get a small commission added to your account. Here's the link to La Petite Mangue deal:

Openings in 2013

I'm new here to posting but have been reading and lurking for years. "Pilot" is the new name for Toronto roasters Te Aro, which I've bought a couple of times at Pourquoi Pas in the Gay Village area.