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Aspiring Foodie's Profile

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What happened to...


Another new cupcake shop to open up

Thanks Superbossmom! Les Gaceurs is the only place I have yet to try...makes we want to go post haste.

Fairmount bagels better than St-Viateur bagels

I also prefer Fairmount, because like Carswell I find them sweeter than those at St Viateur but I actually like that. But you know, I have found that once I become loyal to a brand, and then have a taste of the other alternative, I actually appreciate the differences that the alternative offers. Like with Pepsi vs. Coke. I don't drink much cola but when I do, I prefer Pepsi. Every once in a while though I will settle for Coke and it will taste delicious just for being different. So yes I prefer Fairmount, but when I have a St Viateur bagel I appreciate its unique qualities and can say yes! That there is a damn good bagel!

The Ultimate Montreal Experience

Holy moly! Moh I think you missed your calling.

Best stimmés/steamies?

Normand Patate on Verdun Avenue in Verdun get my vote. They use Schnieder weiners which to me are the best you can get at a cassecroute.

sushi anyone

I don't think reserving at any time counts for much at Jun I--a few of us waited for over 30 minutes for our "reserved" table with zero apologies, and when we told the host that we would bring our stomachs (and moulah) elsewhere he engaged us in a bit of an off-putting argument at the door as we walked out.

Another new cupcake shop to open up

I have had Magnolia and have found the icing to be creamy and buttery,not firm per se. Itsi Bitsi is close to Magnolia in texture only oilier (as opposed to buttery) and not quite as tasty. Cocoa Locale icing is more like a grenache or a fondant, which I don't like as much, but which is still delicious--it's only a personal preference that I would choose to bite into a cloud of icing than into a sheet of it.

MTL-NYC and how we gained 10 pounds in a weekend

Why Scotty whyyyyyy? Now I have to go back to NYC and try every other cupcake I didn't try the first two times.

May 23, 2008
Aspiring Foodie in Manhattan

MTL-NYC and how we gained 10 pounds in a weekend

Thanks for your response, RGR. I have never had corned beef so the next time I go to NYC, other than pizza at Grimauldi's, I will have to try it out. I was recently told that Carnegie Deli is very good. What do you think?

Re: Katz's. Welllllllll here's the thing. The whole thing was a disaster and I sought to describe why. I understand that sharing tables, long lines, surly waitresses and overcharging is part of the scene--they do the same at Schwartz's here in MTL. I guess the difference is (for me) that I did not enjoy the food. I will gladly squander a stupid amount of money on something I like, and I tend to like a lot of things. But Katz's just didn't do it for me.

And you're right, I did have a great time overall. We intend to be back soon! Once you spend any amount of time in Manhattan you just itch to go back and try the things you couldn't the first time around...

May 22, 2008
Aspiring Foodie in Manhattan

MTL-NYC and how we gained 10 pounds in a weekend


May 21, 2008
Aspiring Foodie in Manhattan

Chablis recs please!

June: Forgive my ignorance, but did you mean that a good chablis should not be fruity at all? In my (albeit limited) experience, it seems I have enjoyed chablis with subtle , secondary fruit flavours. This one seemed downright chalky. If this is indicative of a true chablis, I will need to reconsider my love affair!

May 21, 2008
Aspiring Foodie in Wine

MTL-NYC and how we gained 10 pounds in a weekend

My best friend (BF) and I recently made the trek from Montreal to Manhatten and were food tourists for a while. These are our stories.

Houston’s for dinner
The first time BF and I went to Houston’s was in Boston and was a less than awesome experience. They had overcooked BF’s steak and a new one would take 45 minutes. To cover the taste of charred meat, she requested steak sauce and was told they had run out. When she complained to management she was told: O.k., we will bring you something, which turned out to be “au jus” sauce. So when she wrote a letter of complaint and received a 75 dollar gift certificate, it was well-earned but neither of us were that excited about it. We were in for a pleasant surprise!

We ordered a bottle of Walla Walla Ecole no. 41 merlot after having read about it on CH. In Montreal the same bottle retails at just over 40$, at Houston’s with markup it was $50 which was a total steal. What a great decision on our part! It was a great bottle of wine and went really well with our steaks. My filet was cooked to a perfect medium, and although I can’t say I would every order cold asparagus again, being chilled does make them extra crunchy and delicious. BF’s strip loin was aged to perfection and also cooked just right. Her loaded baked potato (the best baked potato she had ever had in a restaurant, fluffy and moist) was so massive we could share it. All in all it was what would turn out to be our best meal on the trip-and neither of us needed steak sauce!

Cost for 2 people incl. wine, tax and tip: approx. 150

Magnolia’s for Cupcakes!
This stop was part of our Sex and the City tour. We knew we were in for a treat when we saw about 30 people in line on Bleeker street waiting to get in. Part of the cost of the tour included a cupcake, so I actually got to taste one (chocolate on chocolate) while I was in line…good lord. My eyes rolled back in my head, a was doing a little dance of joy, drooling and moaning and basically making everyone around me jealous. Needless to say I bought a dozen cupcakes and proceeded to eat them all in the space of 3 days. No wonder they have a 2 dozen per customer limit!

Cost for 1 dozen cupcakes: 27$

John’s for dinner
Another foodie place with a line up to get in, also on Bleeker, this time for pizza. Rated by CH as one of the top two places in Manhatten for pizza (as far as we could tell) you knew stepping into the place that these guys are pros. With the pizza being made there in the dining room, and an excessively efficient waiter, we were in and out in like an hour. Even though the pie we wanted wasn’t on the menu (mushrooms and pepperoni) they made it for us and it was great. The thing is that you have to like NY style pizza, which neither of us do. We actually prefer Montreal pizza--but agreed that it was very good pizza.

Cost for 1 pie, 1 starter salad, and drinks: 30$

Katz’s for Lunch
Katz’s is an institution. Otherwise it would never get away with the lineups, the surly waitstaff, the sharing tables, the crazy expensive meals and the shoddy treatment. Organized to give you cardiac arrest before you even get your pastrami, this place is not for the weak of constitution. Perhaps this is where you can get the best pastrami in New York, but you better like pastrami! I opted for the 14.95 turkey sandwich instead and picked at it. BF got the pastrami but her heart (and her tastebuds) remain loyal to smoked meat in Montreal. The best thing about our meal was the pickles—they were damn good and when BF asked or more they gave her a plateful. We shared an order of french fries that we’re standard, however quite good in comparison to the rest of the meal. Worst thing had to be the cost. I would have much rather gone back to Magnolia’s and bought another dozen cupcakes.

Cost for 2 people incl soda, tax and tip: 50.00

Vice Versa for dinner
The first thing I noticed as a diner and as a foodie was that the bread had been previously frozen. As a Montrealer this is one of my biggest pet peeves. The wine list was short but had a bit of variety, and the fact that we could order half-bottles really made us happy. We ended up with a half bottle of Alsace gewürztraminer (Hugel) that was quite pleasing and went rather well with the meals we had ordered.

Our starter salads were both delicious. BF had the dried cured beef on arugula with goat cheese dressing, while I had the mixed greens and endive with beets, pears and parm (rather than gorgonzola.) The interesting thing about both salads was that flavours only worked when together, not separate.

For mains BF had opted for the roasted chicken with zucchini and prucshutto filling, which was so subtle she didn’t even notice it was there and we embarrassed ourselves by asking the waiter if it had really been stuffed. That being said, it really was a very expensive piece of rotisserie chicken that she could have done without, or rather ordered something else.

My main was baby chicken with rosemary which was good but not something I’d order again as it was sort of boring. I guess that's what happens when you order chicken in a restaurant--something neither of us ever do-but we wanted something simple.

Cost for 2 people incl. wine, tax, tip: about 140.00

May 21, 2008
Aspiring Foodie in Manhattan

Chablis recs please!

Thanks everyone for your suggestions. At the recommendation of a very trusted source, I went with a bottle of Chablis premier cru Montée du Tonnerre Château de Maligny--but erred with the vintage and chose a 2003 over a 2006 at the suggestion of the SAQ employee. Apparently 2003 was a bad year--I didn't realize before the purchase was made. Anyway, the wine turned out to have all of the minerally, stoney qualities you would expect in a chablis but sadly not fruity enough for my taste. I intend to get the 2006 just to taste the difference!

May 21, 2008
Aspiring Foodie in Wine

Chablis recs please!

I am hosting a Chardonnay wine tasting event this weekend, and want to offer a bottle of Chablis. My price range is 15-30 dollars (in Montreal, where things tend to be more expensive,) but I would be willing to spend a bit more for something that is highly recommended. Do you have any recommendations?

May 17, 2008
Aspiring Foodie in Wine

What happened to...

My DH and I attended a brunch at Byblos some weeks ago and were delighted by both food and company. I think Phedre had a great idea when she decided to put these meetings together--this way we can try new things and get to meet some of our fellow CHers.

With regards to Byblos specifically, the brunch was delicious. We literally got to taste a bit of everything (for 11 dollars each, if memory serves). The highlight for me personally was the feta omelet which was creamy and rich and something I am not likely to forget.


Had a burger at Baton Rouge last night for the first time and was impressed! They can't do ribs anymore but they can do a pretty juicy burger. It was well grilled and tasty, nothing fancy, but worth the 10 bucks.

Groceries imported from out of town

Ah what a novel idea--DIY! Never would have thought of it. But then, not much of a cooker or food preparer. Thanks Lagatta!

Groceries imported from out of town

My BF has gotten me addicted to crumbled feta without brine that is simply delish and cannot be found anywhere here....that I know of. Also there is something hynotically alluring about American donuts that Tim Horton's just can't compete with...but I have a hard time tracking them down in the US these's like mom and pop donut joints have gone the way of the dodo.

What is your favorite restaurant for a date?

Oh I forgot wine bars! Bouchonne would be awesome for a date, as would Aszu, which I very highly recommend, and even prefer.

What is your favorite restaurant for a date?

In the summer, I have always thought Santropol is a good place for a first date because it is casual, the terrace is lovely, some of the items on the "granola" menu are often easy to share. The service tends to be slow (in this case a good thing), and it's quiet, so you can really get to know your date.

For something a little more formal and romantic, here is a list of places where you will be able to take your time and enjoy your meal, and where the food is good:

-Les Mas Des Oliviers, though when I went with my husband on valentine's day this year, the service was horrific and the food was only just OK given that the place wasn't even half full. However I hear nothing but good things...

-Trattoria on Crescent. I sort of feel like an extra in The Sopranos when I eat there.

-Fondue is always a good date food. Something about the skewers and the sharing and the little flame...mmmmmmmm. Anyway, Alpenhaus has always been good...Fondue Mentale on St Denis is a good value.

-For the same reason, sushi is also a good idea, even better for summer. Shodan on Maisonneuve maybe?

-BYOBs are always good too. I like Petit Plateau because the food is really very good and the ambiance is warm and cozy. It's a restaurant I associate with colder climes though so maybe not really summer fare.

-Concept places like Dual or Robin Des Bois are good because they are conversation pieces (though let it be said that I have been to neither of these places. For shame!)

More CH demographics

I'm 28, female, from Montreal and recently married. I think the foodie thing happened as a result of being inspired by my father in law who is obsessed with food/wine pairing. His knowledge of wine made me want to learn about it too, and from there, a love and appreciation of food developed.

Unlike a lot of Chowhounders, I am not a cook and don't even try. But I am a pretty voracious taster and will gleefully squander an insane amount of cash on food on a pretty regular basis. Thankfully my husband is a bit of a cook and so I do get to eat pretty great homemade food on a pretty regular basis.

Two thumbs down, way down

I had been there as well a little while back and did not at all enjoy it. The food was just OK, but the service was abysmal. The food took forever to arrive, was only just OK. Plates were never cleared. The place was full, and had two waiters that seemed to be more interested in bitching at each other than taking care of the patrons.

When does bad Customer Service supersede good food?

As someone who has worked for years in customer service management, and has had a stint in the service industry managing a cafe/bar, customer service is a big deal to me--and I have rather high standards. I also know what it's like to work in customer-centric industries so I know that sometimes people in these industries just start hating their clientele. I can tell when a waiter/waitress/manager simply just does not care. Conversely I can tell when they are just trying to shut me up.

I think that a lot of people in these industries could benefit from sensitivity/empathy training--it's been my experience that those who are most empathetic tend to give the best service so I always teach my employees to think about how they'd react and what they'd expect if something were happening to them.

Terraces; the good, the bad, the food, the drinks...

The one on Montagne does.

Terraces; the good, the bad, the food, the drinks...

Or lack thereof, correct? :P

But let me say this: granola or not, Santropol is a good place for a first date as it's fun, slow, quiet, the lighting is good and the food can be shared. In fact, my husband and I had our first date there and then three years later that's where he proposed.

Which reminds me...on our first date we also went to Reservoir which has a very small but very awesome terrace and their blanche is delicious.

Terraces; the good, the bad, the food, the drinks...

I have to agree with you SnackHappy--it's a total hippie paradise.

Terraces; the good, the bad, the food, the drinks...

OK, now that you mention Baton Rouge, and please, forgive the tangent! But has anyone else noticed a serious downward shift in rib quality recently? I noticed it about a year ago, thinking they were having an off night, but since then it has not improved.

afternoon tea

Ooops please ignore--I did not read the "Quebec City" part. The Queen E is in Montreal.

afternoon tea

I know that the Queen E does one for about 30 bucks a person. Not sure if it is worth it or not (I've never been) but know it exists because I got someone a gift certificate for it. (To my knowledge, she hasn't been yet either.)

Cabane a Sucre: Des Gallants or La Goudrelle??

I recently visited Les Gallants and it was great. I'm not sure how La Goudrelle is set up, but Les Gallants is a buffet so you can get as little or as much of the things you like, and at your own pace. Also the service was attentive and friendly.