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The Traveller's Profile

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Chez Vito Closed or Open

Thanks for the responses. You'd figure he'd leave a message.

Is it normal in Montreal for retailers to close like this? What is generally the norm, so that I can anticipate in 2009. Whilst we're on the subject of "norms" - when does Christmas begin in Montreal? Example: London, UK - stay out of the city late November/December and order what you need early October.

Chez Vito Closed or Open

Anyone know if if Vito's still operating. I've been calling all week, but there's no response.

Kitchen Equipment

Good advice. I learned this some years ago when I became disatisfied with the capability of the domestic ranges - I just couldn't get the flame low enough to create that simmering bubble which pops up every 5 seconds and high enough to deal with a cauldron of water full of pasta and keep it at an aggressive rolling boil - it lost heat too quickly and became more of a simmer and affected the cooking. Eventually, I chose a Viking range, but left that behind in another country and I think I'll be choosing another make. Do you know the Wolf products? What would you recommend?

Preparing Meat Course

Keramel: Cor! yes please; I'd be willing to work for nothing in return for tuition. Would you let me have details and I will call him. Thanks for this.

Restaurant "La Verita" (West Island): Outstanding

I stumbled across this restaurant in the Marche de l'ouest (West Island) area. Having spoken with the owner and walked through the restaurant with him and met some of the humorous waiters, I made a reservation for that night, and my husband and I spent a very, very satisfactory evening on the patio'd area enjoying every element.

Few restaurants, in our own experience, successfully deliver excellent food, excellent service and excellent ambience - if you're lucky, you will get two out of three - more often than not, you only get one, if any at all.

The food (Italian):
Good to very good (I'm a tough audience). Cooked to perfection, had depth and ratio of filling to pasta, for example, was very good. The choices of appetisers, mains and desserts had clearly been thought through and were exciting; nothing is bought in, including desserts which are all made by the in-house pastry chef.

The service:
Excellent - supremely delivered by intelligent, dyed-in-the-wool waiters (you know the sort... have been doing waiter-ing on and off forever whilst trying to make a name as a writer, actor etc) who appreciated and knew food in general and could relate to what we were saying. The level of "interaction" vis-a-vis "doesn't he know when to go away" was outstanding.

The ambience:
Excellent. The decor is unobtrusive; elegant; contemporary; "approachable"; light and airy using hues of beige and brown. Space and various textures have been used intelligently and professionally. The tables are dressed beautifully with crisp, clean linen table cloths and napkins, but again, unpretentious, inviting and warm.

The tables themselves are roomy and the spacing between tables is very good, allowing you to have private and/or intimate conversations if you like, or close enough for you to interrupt your neighbour.

I was also surprised when Derek, the owner, told me that his newly opened restaurant had a mixologist (or is it mixatologist) - his name is Nick, and Nick knows his stuff and will mix any kind of drink you that you like. My husband explained to him how he liked his Gin Sling which was delivered to him just as he'd asked - the ratios were perfect, as was the style of glass and quantity of crushed ice. After a few of these, Nick could see that the cherry kept coming back untouched, so our waiter (Tommy) explained to us that Nick noticed that we were not eating the cherry and so left it out of the drink (attention to detail and taking the time to explain to the waiter who in turn explained to us why the cherry was no longer there).

All food is made to order versus pre-made with the exception of those things which simply cannot be made in advance (formal reductions, osso bucco etc); even so, the timing of delivery was good. The food was presented beautifully and unpretentiously and everything had flavour and depth and was cooked to perfection.

We were surprised to see salt and pepper shakers on the table, given the very high level of skill demonstrated in the cooking, but this too is indicative of the "unpretentiousness" style and delivery of this hopefully, upcoming restaurant on the West Island.

Price: surprisingly good.

La Verita
11680 Boul. de Salaberry, D.D.O, H9B 2R8
Telephone 514 684 4999 (you won't find it listed on any of the restaurant guides right now - it's too new).

Preparing Meat Course

Kpzoo and Carswell: thank you for the detailed responses. My French is not good enough to follow someone speaking at normal speed all day, unfortunately (although I'm working on that). I would be very happy investing several months of my time (Carswell) and if I had a choice, I'd probably opt for French cuts. I'll check the data you gave to me kpzoo, and Carswell... would you let me have more details. Cheers.

Preparing Meat Course

I'm a self-taught gouurmet cook, and would like to formally learn the anatomy of the animals we eat and how to prepare/cut the meat from the bone whilst both raw and cooked (a butcher's course in effect). Does anyone know of any courses in Quebcec?

Quartiers Gourmands 2007/8 publication

Cool... now we're cookin'. We'll check out Lemeac this weekend and Maurizio next weekend (thank you Em24). Another hang-out which looks interesting is Navia on Dollard - anyone know it? It looks interesting for an evening haunt. I know these latter two are on the West Island, but don't get hung up on that - we're happy travelling - it's just a bonus when it's nearer to home.

Quartiers Gourmands 2007/8 publication

Moh

Gosh! I'm so excited about having found a decent place (I did some independent research after I read your post) that opens from 10.30am til midnight and provide good food, liquor, wine and beer and plenty of space all in the same restaurant. We've reserved a table for Saturday and will let you know how everything went next week. Any more suggestions gratefully received.

Quartiers Gourmands 2007/8 publication

Thanks. Yes, you're right about Beaconsfield. If the Reservoir standard and parking thing is common, at least I know what I'm working with and can adjust my expectations accordingly.

Quartiers Gourmands 2007/8 publication

I picked this edition up from my recent visit to Chez Vito (thank you Carswell). Do any of you have it and which stores have you recently visited, recommend and why?

By the way, I recently asked you all for "More Informal Eating in Montreal"; we were out-and-about at the weekend and I didn't have the list, so having called the likes of Au Pied who like many others don't open until the evening, and having swung passed Joe Beef which was also closed (from the outside it looked permanently closed), I then remembered I had read about Reservoir on Duluth. A long story short, I was really pleased to see that Reservoir was not one of the places you recommended (but I could have sworne I'd seen it somewhere as a recommendation). Having spent 3 days finding a parking spot, then going into a grungy and dirty (tetanus recommended after visiting loo) small room where there was barely elbow room, we walked out having laughed about the $10 they wanted for an omelette.

Where in this town can we hang out, have a beer, spirit or wine, over some good, but informal food, shooting the breeze? Is it not common here to service liquor, beer and wine in the same establishment, and do eateries generally not open for lunch at the weekend? Anyone been to Brazil and visited Fogo de Chao? (If you've been to Brazil, you'll know this place). If you have, where can we go here for similar service, opening hours and standard of fare?

We finally ended up in Clyde's (nearer to home and recommended by someone near home [Beaconsfield]) which is a bar and just way, way too American/Canadian (quilted jackets, baseball caps, 25 TVs playing sport, 3 guys propping up the bar glued to said TVs and wooden food). Carswell, Moh, Maximillien - shout out a place we can visit this weekend and we'll check it out and get back to you next week.

Kitchen Equipment

Can anyone tell me where to buy:
1. High end kitchen equipment?
2. Commercial grade kitchen equipment (but who sell to the public)?
3. A generalist kitchen emporium that just sells everything connected to the kitchen?

As a guide I am currently using Bourgeat, Matfer, Le Creuset, Meyer; I'd like to try and avoid the likes of Cuisinart, if possible.

Thanks.

Corn Fed, Outside Free Roaming Chicken

Where can I buy corn fed, outside free roaming chickens? I am happy to travel to the farm if necessary.

Where to buy FRESH fish

What is commonly accepted as the best place(s) to buy fish which are fresh versus previously frozen and/or has been sitting there for the last week?

More Informal Eating in Montreal

Maximilien and Moh:

Yep... you're right. Would you be willing to keep this post a "work in progress"? I would like to try some of the restaurants you've mentioned below and then by giving feedback, you can fine tune your recommendations. We just arrived here from South Africa last Friday and live in Beaconsfield; for now then, can you recommend two local hang-outs for us to try? In terms of cuisine - we pretty much love everything (I'm a self-taught gourmet cook), but how about we start with Italian and a pizza joint (great pizza is rare - in all of our travels around the world, I would recommend 3 pizza places: two in London, UK and one in Cote d'Ivoire of all places). Fyi, we recently had pizza from the Tennis Club (Cheeze?) which was highly recommended by two locals, particularly the signature Thai Chicken - I give it 4 out of 10.

Butchers in Montreal and Areas

Excellent! Thank you, Moh - my husband and I are off exploring these this morning.

More Informal Eating in Montreal

I saw the posts for fine dining - I'm looking forward to trying them.

These days, I'm less inclined towards fine dining on a regular basis - the older I get, the less pomp and circumstance I want. I enjoy a more "hanging out" kind of place, where I can relax with my husband, catch up on the week's events and eat and drink a leisurely pace. Can you recommend good places to hang out? Open and airy, roomy, and in order of priority: good service, good food and good ambience. The food is important, but again, these days, I've concluded that so long as the service and ambience is good and the food is not bad, I'm happy. Let me have your top two favourite eating places for hanging out and relaxing.

Thanks

The Traveller

Butchers in Montreal and Areas

Just moved here, and I'm looking for gifted butchers, preferably organic or at least animals not fed growth hormones. Looking for good marbling, not a butcher who prides themselves on lean and mean meat who should know better. I'm happy to travel to wherever the best can be bought. By the way, as well as looking for the pricier cuts, with the exception of fillet, I am equally interested in the tougher cuts (skirt, blade, brisket etc).

Cheers

The Traveller