Friday, April 17, 2015

Jatoba

Ja-Ja-Ja-Toba

1184 Place Phillips Montréal, QC


Walking into Jatoba, you are struck by the beauty of the restaurant. From the intricate mouldings to the gorgeous marble-top bars, no detail was overlooked in the designing of this space. Downtown is finally getting back to being known as the destination for eating out in Montreal.

Of course we decided to sit at the bar, because in my opinion, that is the best way to really get to know a restaurant. Our sweet and friendly waitress guided us to our seats (equipped with purse hooks- woohoo!) where we began looking through the extensive menu. There is an interesting array of items- dumplings, tartare, tataki, fish, meats, and unique vegetarian dishes. We ordered a good mix of Tuna Tataki, Shrimp and Napa Cabbage Dumplings, Fried Tofu with Crushed Avocado and Cucumber, King Oyster Mushrooms, and of course Dessert (their famous Suki Sandwich Square). Next time I would try the Brussels Sprout Chips, the Jatoba Salad, and the Ginger Lobster. See the pictures and descriptions of what we ordered below!

Tuna Tataki with Jalapeno

King Oyster Mushrooms with a Sweet Miso Gratin

Wok Sautéed Crispy Tofu with Crushed Avocado and Cucumber
On recommendation, we ordered the "drink in a pineapple" (for lack of a better title), which arrived in a huge pineapple-shaped glass with sparklers (just for fun!). A couple of friendly people at the bar wished me happy birthday, and I then proceeded to sip on this eccentric and DELICIOUS drink that was unlike any I have had before. It had tons of fresh ginger, and a bunch of other tropical ingredients that were unidentifiable once mixed together. An interesting spice leaves a tingling at the back of the throat and intrigues you to keep on drinking. I would say it is the equivalent of 2 or 2 and 1/2 cocktails (priced @ $28 - not that bad considering specialty cocktails were mostly priced around $14), so maybe share it with a friend.............or don't...totally up to you (no judgment here!). 




The Suki Sandwich Square- toasted marshmallow, dulce de leche, and pecans sandwiched between two blondies and topped with French vanilla ice cream- can only be described as decadent. It is definitely sweet, so I recommend sharing, but it was absolutely delicious. Another option is their Chocolate Bomb- red velvet cheesecake enrobed in a chocolate sphere that "explodes" as the waiter pours hot chocolate sauce all over it. I will definitely try this on my next visit. 

Suki Sandwich Square
*IF YOU COULD ORDER JUST ONE: SHRIMP & NAPA CABBAGE DUMPLINGS*

Shrimp and Napa Cabbage Dumplings
 The dumpling wrappers are so delicate and fine, it makes you wonder how the filling manages to stay so perfectly wrapped inside. The light broth compliments the dumplings, while allowing the shrimp and napa cabbage filling to shine through. Highly recommended.

Mind, Taste, Love.











Jatoba on Urbanspoon

Monday, April 13, 2015

Ceviches

Zomato Meet-up at Ceviches


152 Rue Napoléon Montreal, QC 

Urbanspoon was recently acquired by Zomato, a restaurant review website and app with a large international presence. If you use(d) Urbanspoon as much as I do (did), then you may have just had a small panic attack. I felt exactly the same way: "HOW will I EVER survive without it?!!?" But after an AMAZING Zomato meet-up at the adorable plateau-gem Ceviches, my faith has been restored.


The app itself is much more user-friendly and all-encompassing than its predecessor. Zomato allows for a lot more user interaction. If you post a certain amount of reviews in a specific neighbourhood of your city, you will be dubbed an "expert", and post more photos to become a "connoisseur". The platform offers a sleeker look with a News Feed concept we have become accustomed to thanks to the likes of Facebook and Instagram. Get to know Zomato and all of its awesome features, because you will be addicted sooner than you know.




Our very first Zomato Meet-Up (a gathering of food bloggers from all over Montreal) took place at Ceviches. An authentic spot found on a cute corner of the plateau offering the freshest ceviches in the city. The chef and baker are the sweetest couple and their love for what they do shines through in each and every dish.
The Sweet Owners :)
Definitely go for their Ceviche as well as their Shrimp Tacos and then douse whatever you order in one of their amazing homemade sauces and dips. I have also heard great things about their Paella, which I will be back for! Tostones, or fried plantain slices are a delicious side that you could also use to scoop up your ceviche til' the very last bite.
Cod Cakes
Shrimp Tacos 
Ceviche 
Yuca Fries
For dessert, you NEED to try their Tres Léches- sweet, fluffy perfection. Though all three desserts I tried were splendid.

Tres Leches
Quesillo
For a casual night out in the plateau, this should be your new favourite spot.

Mind, Taste, Love.











Ceviches on Urbanspoon

Sunday, April 12, 2015

OYSTERMANIA



I had my first OYSTERMANIA experience on Friday night at Vertigo STK + Bar and highly recommend you opt for a night of oysters and alcohol at such an affordable price, while you still can!






There are 10 participating Montreal restaurants who are all offering 12 oysters and an alcoholic beverage for $10 until April 16th. Don't miss out! If you don't buy your tickets in advance, you are still able to take advantage of the deal at the restaurant, but the drink will not be included. You can use the ticket starting at 5:00 pm, a GREAT 5 à 7 idea for you and your office pals. Buy your tickets at the link below:

http://www.restomania.ca/toutes-les-offres/oystermania-huitres-10-au-16-avril/


Mind, Taste, Love.










Thursday, April 9, 2015

Show & Tell Fashion

Guide to the Trendiest Montreal Boutiques


Spring and summer are coming and you know what that means.......Shopping spree!!! I'm always tempted to head to the nearest mall to get all of my shopping done in one place, but recently I realized maybe it was time to check out some of Montreal's independent boutiques instead! 

The Show and Tell Spring and Summer 2015 Fashion Preview a couple of weeks ago was an awesome event filled with fashion, cocktails, a beautiful spread of fruits, vegetables, and cheeses (by Back House Catering), and the lovely Show & Tell team! They were so helpful in identifying where I could find some of the incredible brands they distribute right here in Montreal! Some of the brands you may, or may not have heard of include Bailey 44, Front Row Society, Bella Dahl, Gypsy, CHRLDR, Lazy Pants, Black Orchid Denim, Matisse Footwear, Coconuts, and many more!


Back of House Catering
Shop Montreal: Guide to the Trendiest Montreal Boutiques
Mind, Taste, Love.




Check out some of these independent Montreal stores all over the city with the help of our Guide to the Trendiest Montreal Boutiques. Some are pricier than others, but all carry awesome brands (both international and local!) Thanks to the Show and Tell team for enlightening me on all of these great shops! Happy shopping :).

1. Chance – Old Montreal


2. Espace Pépin – Old Montreal 


3. James – Westmount


4. Joshua David – Westmount


5. Premium- Westmount 

6. Buzz Jeans – NDG 


7. Olam – Downtown 


8. Nouveau Noir- Downtown 


9. Aritmetik – Downtown / Dix 30 


10. Boutique Unicorn – Downtown/ Mile End 


11. Vestibule – Downtown/mile end 


12. Billie- Laurier


13. Lyla- Laurier 



I am always looking for cool new boutiques to explore. Comment below with your favs! 

Mind, Taste, Love.












Sunday, April 5, 2015

Gryphon D'Or Tea Room

Tea for Two!

5968 Ave De Monkland Montréal, QC 


I live around NDG, so I often visit Monkland for a coffee, a trip to Lucille's Oyster Dive, or for some froyo. This time, I ventured onto one of my favourite avenues for an afternoon tea at the cozy Gryphon D'Or Tea Room with some of my favourite girls!

Gryphon D'Or Tea Room is quaint and homey. Take a seat on a wooden bench and ask to look through their selection of loose-leaf teas. Decide whether you will have a full afternoon tea served with scones, sandwiches, a pot of tea and desserts, or just a Dessert Tea, which is served with scones, a pot of tea, and desserts. You could also choose to order brunch, dessert, or any of their daily specials on their own.
Loose-Leaf Teas
We arrived later in the day and had already eaten lunch, so we decided to go with the Dessert Tea. First, a basket of warm scones arrived with butter, lemon curd, homemade jam, and heavy cream. I could have eaten the entire basket myself. My pot of vanilla-orange tea went perfectly with the citrusy lemon curd. Next, a two-tiered display of desserts was set down in front of us. Slightly unsure of how to tackle this extensive dessert tray, we decided just to dig in. There were assorted tea squares, shortbread cookies, chocolate mocha cake, strawberry shortcake, and mini apple crumbles.

Vanilla-Orange Loose-Leaf Tea

Scones with Lemon Curd, Cream, Butter, and Homemade Jam

Desserts
Everything was delicious and I could not think of a better way to spend my Sunday afternoon than by sipping on warm tea, enjoying freshly baked desserts, and catching up with friends. Not to mention, the entire dessert tea is under $15!


FYI, all baked goods are made on the premises, they offer Saturday and Sunday brunch, and dessert tea is offered 7-days a week after 3pm. I can't wait to return for brunch sometime soon!

Check out their website and definitely visit The Gryphon D'or Tea Room!

http://www.gryphondor.com

Mind, Taste, Love.










Salon de the Gryphon D'Or on Urbanspoon

Monday, March 30, 2015

Le Bon Vivant

Saint-Henri Strikes Again

2705 Notre-Dame St W Montreal, QC


The neighbourhood of Saint-Henri is no longer "up and coming". I think it has reached a point where we could say it has arrived. Full of trendy cafés, bars, restaurants, this neighbourhood has established itself as one of the coolest in the city at this moment. People live in spacious lofts and spend their winter weekends hanging out at cafés, and during the summer, find them by the canal, or at the nearby Atwater market.

Le Bon Vivant fits the Saint-Henri mould perfectly. Cozy, trendy, and wholesome, the restaurant uses market fresh ingredients to craft meals that are (mostly) healthy and full of seasonal ingredients. The menu truly caters to everyone. Their seasonal "Farmer Bowl" for vegetarians, and plenty of meat and fish options too!

Farmer's Bowl

We started with the tacos of the day (shrimp) which were served on a grilled corn tortilla, topped with avocado and other fresh vegetables, and drizzled with a mildly spicy sauce. The char on the tortilla combined with the grilled shrimp worked perfectly. Order as a starter to share, or as a meal for yourself (they were that good!). Our other starters were the Kalbi Short-Ribs, fried cauliflower (with Brussel sprouts and Halloumi), and the farmers bowl (beats, squash, zucchini, onions and goats cheese). Equally fresh and delicious.

Shrimp Tacos

Kalbi Short Ribs

Cauliflower, Brussel Sprouts, and Fried Halloumi
For our mains we tried both the Tandoori Chicken for two and the Lamb Shank. The lamb shank was fall-off-the-bone tender and was served on a bed of Israeli cous cous and broccolini. The perfect winter dish. But the item I would definitely come back for- the Tandoori Chicken. The chicken was moist and served on a bed of quinoa and Mediterranean salad (more of a stew)- another dish to complement the cold weather we've been having, but I would truly eat this dish any time of year!

Chicken Tandoori for Two
Lamb Shank on Israeli Cous Cous and Broccolini

For dessert we ordered the "Rochers", which were kind of like coconut macaroons served with whipped cream. A sweet and light ending to an exquisite meal!

Rochers
If you are looking for a dinner spot where you could leave satisfied, but without feeling overstuffed, or greasy, this is definitely for you. They take reservations and the space is small, so reserve!

http://lebonvivantmtl.com/

Mind, Taste, Love.












Le Bon Vivant on Urbanspoon

Monday, March 23, 2015

Kinka Izakaya

Irrashaimase!


1624 Saint Catherine St W Montreal, Q



Be prepared for a loud and boisterous experience from the second you walk into Kinka Izakaya. Each time someone enters, the entire staff yells Irrashaimase! (welcome! in Japanese).


Located in the Faubourg on St. Catherine street amongst many other Asian eateries, and not too far from Imadake (another Izakaya that has definitely made a name for itself in Montreal) it is hard for a newcomer to stand out. However, Kinka Izakaya has done a brilliant job of gaining momentum on the competitive Izakaya playing field. Thanks to the stylish design, warm staff, and incredible dishes, they have mastered the recipe for success. The people behind this Izakaya are not new to this, having opened Guu and multiple other restaurants in Toronto.

Torching master!

Plum Wine Mojito

Plum Wine
We sat at the bar and watched the chefs perfectly torch sushi and deep fry takoyaki. Definitely a fun part of the experience. I sipped on my favorite plum wine (one of the special drinks of the night) and a plum wine mojito- a unique take on the classic mojito.

When you visit this hotspot, these are some of the dishes that you must try (though there were another 20 items I wish I could have tried-  I'll have to return for more!):

Rapini and Mushroom Stir Fry

Tuna Tataki

Pressed and Torched Salmon

Miso Cod

Beef Udon Noodles

Green Tea Crème Brulée

This is also a fun place to go for a birthday. The team will sing their (loud) version of happy birthday and bring out crazy dessert and shot platters for the party (for a price of course)!

When you leave the restaurant, you will be sent-off with a cheer and the entire place waving goodbye to you.

You could now make reservations, and I highly recommend that you do, because it fills up quickly!
Mind, Taste, Love.












Kinka Izakaya on Urbanspoon