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Pan de Meurto?

Also, Mestiza (www.mestiza.ca -- the "épicerie fine mexicaine") on corner of De La Roche & St-Zotique is having a little festival of dégustations, etc., featuring pan de muerto, and culminating on November 1 with tamales, hot chocolate, and spiced coffee.
Oct 29-30: 10:00-20:00
Oct 31-Nov 1: 12:00-17:00

Who makes the best Challah in Montreal?

If you're lucky enough to snag a table at Fuchsia on one of the weekends they decide to make Challah for brunch, prepare yourself for yeasted beauty. Recently, a friend and I enjoyed an aubergine ragout over rosemary polenta with a vivid baby greens & purple cabbage salad, accompanied by challah, which emerged from the kitchen in an arm-length towel-wrapped basket for diners to tug steamy chunks from. Memorable, though made problematic by two factors: 1) the challah isn't produced (as far as I know) on a schedule, so you can't plan to get it, and 2) since it's a communal loaf making the rounds of the café, you can't just sit and eat the whole loaf, which is, of course, what we all wish to do.

Finding good espresso in Montreal

Has anyone else been to the new "Lapin Pressé" on Laurier East, near Maître Corbeau? I went earlier this week to scope it out. Prices seem a bit high (higher than Myriade, at least), but my onetime experience was really nice. I ordered a double espresso and had it neat (no sugar) to get a sense of LP's seriousness. Maybe I was expecting it to be not-so-hot, but was surprised at what I thought was a thoroughly enjoyable shot. Friendly barman, and a great range of music (from rock to Lieder). I sat outside. I'd love to hear what others have experienced.

Robin des Bois, anyone have been recently?

I was there a few weekends ago, and found it to be pretty good -- nothing that I'd write home about, but the ambiance was festive, the service was thoughtful, and the food was good (I use that last word intentionally -- not great, not poor). My dining companions like it more than I did. RDB has received so much press attention that I'm surprised you haven't heard from more people.

Italian "Day of the Dead" cookies?

When I lived in Italy, the first week of November (and especially November 1) was one of the best times of year for cookies. One of the real treats in Lombardy and Piedmont was "pan dei morti" ("bread of the dead"), a delicious cookie shaped like an almond or a deflated football. They were made with powdered almond macaroons, sweet wine, dried fruit, chocolate, pignoli, and spices. Like panforte or panpepato, they were sticky and dense, so were baked on top of rice-paper disks, or, if you could find them, unconsecrated hosts.

You'd bite into a shattering, icing-sugar-dusted outside that gave way to a rich and chewy interior that was almondy, chocolaty, and spicy.

Well, the point is, I'm craving them today. Does anyone know of a great Italian bakery in Montreal that bakes these death-defying cookies? When I searched for them in Boston's (very Italian) North End last year, all I found was the southern Italian "ossi dei morti" ("bones of the dead"), a very dry meringue resembling white bones. They're good too, just a different thing.

Any tips for my search today?

(PS, for those interested in seeing what "pan dei morti" looks like, I'm including a link to some photos. Yes, there's a recipe at the link too, but I think it'd be much safer to be able to buy a few cookies than to make them myself and have several dozen sitting around the house!)

http://www.cookaround.com/yabbse1/sho...

Finding Farm-Fresh Eggs

Hmmm. The plot thickens! I wondered too, when I went to Capitaine, how he was able to charge so little, though I'll say that I've gotten farm-raised organic eggs in Massachusetts for not a crazy amount. The half-dozen I bought at Capitaine cost, I think, less than $2 (maybe $1.50?).

Since I don't have access to a CSA, I'm still hoping I might find the kind of small-scale producer locally should Capitaine prove to be perhaps less than an ideal source, or even to support someone who's producing in Montreal's suburbs, at home. I know that there are lots of people raising hens in Brooklyn, believe it or not. It's illegal to raise chickens in Boston; I wonder what the law says in Montreal, and whether there are "downtown" small-scale producers.

Richelle, you don't happen to be connected to other people who raise hens and have "subscribers" or clients, do you? I would love to support someone who just has a few hens and a surplus of eggs...

Mexican in Montreal?

Has anyone tried "Épicerie Mestiza" at St-Zotique & de la Roche? They're a new Mexican grocery store, and serve what looked like a really nice little Sunday brunch on their outside patio when I stopped by a couple weeks ago.

www.mestiza.ca

Finding Farm-Fresh Eggs

Many thanks to both of you for confirmation that the best place to hit is Capitaine (I hadn't noted its name when I was last at JTM) -- and thank, too, for the article in the Gazette; nice to know all the details about the proprietor and how the hens are raised.

My cousin in Western Massachusetts is considering raising heirloom hens for eggs and currently buys hers from a farm where the eggs sit out in a basket, unattended. You just drop your cash and collect your eggs. They were so delicious that I was hoping to recapture something like that here in Mtl.

I went up to JTM this aft and got some hens' eggs -- looking forward to tasting the results of the search!

Finding Farm-Fresh Eggs

Inspired by this morning's story in the New York Times on eggs (see below) I'm wondering where to find the best eggs in Montreal.

NYTimes story: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/09/17/din...

I've seen the egg vendors at JTM with alluring varieties ("pintade," "caille"), but wonder about their provenance. "Pasture raised?" "Humane raised and handled?" (These terms may not have any regulated meaning in Canada, where oversight and language is different from the USA: a problem all its own).

What I'm hoping to find is a reliable farmer (or, in a pinch, a good supermarket brand) that produces the nicest, most naturally-raised, and most flavorful eggs.

What's your experience with eggs?