Monday, September 15, 2014

Restaurant Review: Anabel Bar et Vin

Anabel

Your fall go-to restaurant.


  • 361 Bernard Ouest, Montreal, Quebec H2V 1T6


3 words come to mind when thinking about my most recent visit to Anabel Bar et Vin: Quirky, Comforting, and Original.

Quirky: the ambience- turquoise walls, classic black and white floors, and wooden tables. It sounds like a lot of mix & match, but somehow it works creating a cozy and striking restaurant interior. You won't mind sticking around for a while, especially with the perfect playlist they have on in the background.


Restaurant interior (taken from Facebook page)

Comforting: the menu items. I would say Anabel serves modern comfort food. From a lobster french toast to a grilled pork chop with rapini, turnips, and horseradish. You will definitely leave feeling warm & satisfied (especially if you ordered a bottle of wine from their extensive list).

Original: all around. Their menu, presentation, and décor are all pretty refreshing in a restaurant scene where I'm getting used to seeing a lot of the same. They tend to do things a little differently here.

On top of everything, the staff are friendly, the cocktail list is creative, and though the menu is small, you will want to try everything on it! Plus they take a seasonal approach meaning the menu changes with each season based on market-fresh ingredients. I believe this week they are rolling out their fall menu and I am excited to see what that entails! I would imagine the perfect combo of ingredients to keep us warm here in Montreal.

What we ordered (The menu is changing this week- not sure if any of these will remain, but they were so good that I want to share anyways!):

Drinks
  • The London Pact: My personal favourite. Pimms, cucumber, mint, lemon, and some other ingredients I can't remember- but so delicious! A little taste of London.
  • The Anabel Julep: Mint, Orangina, bourbon, and some other ingredients- my lesser favourite of the two.

London Pact


Appetizers
  • Salmon tartare: Unique and delicious. Marinated cucumbers, pomegranate seeds, lemon oil, french radish, and salmon tartare piled atop prawn crackers and served with a tangy sauce.
  • Lobster french toast: Their take on the class lobster roll. Lobster salad stacked on a thick slice of savoury french toast with a homemade bacon marmalade and homemade potato chips.
  • Pan-fried gnocchi: Cozy. Pan-fried gnocchi with pancetta and peas in a crab sauce drizzled with truffle oil.
  • Tomato salad: So simple, but sooo good. Market-fresh heirloom tomatoes with coriander and homemade croutons topped with an impressive fried poached egg.
Salmon Tartare

Lobster French Toast

Gnocchi

Tomato Salad

Fried Poached Egg


Main
  • Halibut: Warm. Halibut served with clams, mushrooms, and swiss chard in a carrot butter sauce.
Halibut


Dessert
  • Fried Oreos: BETTER than any I've had before. Deep-fried oreos served with ice cream and a shot of milk.
Fried Oreo Platter

Fried Oreo


See what I mean!? Charming restaurant, on a charming street. Couldn't imagine a cozier place to spend an autumn Saturday night.

Reservations: Yes.
Date night: Most definitely.
What I wore: leather leggings, buttoned-up denim shirt, chunky necklace under the collar, leather jacket, and booties (Can't believe it's layering season already!).
The damage: $$$
Stay in the know: Closed on Sundays and Mondays.
Bonus: $1 oysters on Thursday's. 


Mind, Taste, Love.







Anabel on Urbanspoon

Friday, September 12, 2014

Lifestyle: M Salon Official Launch Party

M Salon Official Launch Party

The Ultimate GNO.


1332 Notre Dame Ouest, Montreal, QC , H3C 1K7




One of my favourite neighbourhoods in Montreal is Griffintown. I don't live in the area, but I try to make my way there as often as possible to bike by the canal, grab a coffee, or try the latest trendy restaurant. So I was really excited when I received an invite to the official launch of Griffintown's latest (and only) nail and beauty salon - M Salon. This project was started by two brothers, Laurent and Arie Benchetrit when they discovered that this up-and-coming neighbourhood had a serious gap in the market. Realizing that no nail salons existed within a short walking distance, these two took it upon themselves to start their own- but it turned into much more than that. M Salon offers a wide range of services including: manicures, pedicures, waxing, haircuts, blowouts, highlights, extensions, threading, and custom MENicures (who says men can't have nice nails too?). The salon also goes hand-in-hand with the brothers' own line of nail polish, Maniglam.



Now let's talk launch party. The brand new modern black & white space was the ideal backdrop for the event, which later moved outside to the salon's very own outdoor terrace. Sushi provided by Ryu, Oyster's from Mother Shuckers, cookies by Shticks (YUM), mojitos, Fafa Khan dj-ing, flash tattoos, pop-up shop by New Social Class, and of course MANIS by M Salon! Truly the perfect girls night and a first glance into this wonderful (and glam!) new salon, which I will definitely be visiting again in the near future! To top it all off, the space is beautifully decorated.

Oyster Bar



Shticks
Here's some more info so you can stay in the know!
Hours:
Monday- CLOSED
Tuesday- 11-6
Wednesday- 11-7
Thursday- 11-8
Friday- 11-7
Saturday- 10-6
Sunday- 12-5

Services:
-Manis
-Pedis
-Waxing
-Haircuts
-Blowouts
-Highlights
-Extensions
-Threading
-MENicures
-Spray tan

BONUS:

-Free Wine & fancy coffee
-Music
-Open in the evenings during the week- definitely a plus!

Specials:
Wednesday - $45 mani-pedi
Sunday - $25 shellac mani
Tuesday - either or a combo of the above specials
Blowouts - $30

More info: http://www.m-salon.ca/

Just ONE more reason to love this MTL neighbourhood. You should go!

Mind, Taste, Love.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Restaurant Review: La Bêtise

La Bêtise

Stupidly delicious.


6015 St-Hubert, Montreal, H2S 2L8


Since this is Montreal, we know that La Bêtise literally translates to "Stupidity" or "Nonsense" in English (...ok fine, I google translated.)- so it's only fitting that at this resto they don't take themselves too seriously...it is all about eating, drinking, and having a good time. Having been around for 4 years already, I have clearly been missing out on this spot-   until now. And now it's your turn to get to know the tiny and trendy La Bêtise.




Food & Drink Menus

Firstly, you should know that they don't do things conventionally here. They add their own asian-fusion twist to some of your classic favs (mac and cheese, poutines, tartares, and more). So I guess I shouldn't have been surprised to find a rustic/western décor right down to the cow-print upholstered chairs and wooden slab menus. The menu has lots of tapas options, but for those of you who aren't into sharing your food (I have my days...), don't fret, there is also a table d'hôte. In honour of Le Burger Week, an additional menu-item was the "Heart Attack Burger". I opted to go for tapas instead. Their drink menu is equally impressive- LOVED the clear sangria and christmas mojito (very generous portions as well).

Christmas Mojito (Left) & Clear Sangria (Right)
We ordered 5 different tapas....the max amount we deemed socially acceptable for two people: crab bites (yum), classic salmon tartare (DELICIOUS- they ran out of their truffle oil salmon tartare, but we were happy to have this one in its place), lamb and ginger raviolis (more of a dumpling, but also really good...I love the addition of ginger), fish tacos (definitely good, but not as memorable as the other tapas), and the general tao poutine (unique and inventive dish, a tad sweet for me...but I still enjoyed every bite).

Crab Bites

Classic Salmon Tartare

Lamb & Ginger Ravioli


Fish Tacos

General Tao Poutine
Whether it's for cocktails and tartare with the girls, burgers and beer with the boys, or date night, DEFINITELY trek out (a little off the beaten path) to La Bêtise!

Reservations: Yes.
Date night: Date night, girls night, boys night, good for all occasions! 
What I wore: Leggings, blouse, and a silk bomber
The damage: $$
Stay in the know: Sundays closed for dinner, but opened for brunch
Bonus: $1 oysters on Monday's (starting @ 5pm), Tuesday ladies night (free salmon tartare if you spend $12+)


Mind, Taste, Love.







La Bêtise on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Nightlife: Lorbeer

Lorbeer

Rustic Refinement.


381 Avenue Laurier Ouest, Montréal, QC H2V 2K3


More than just your typical neighbourhood bar, Lorbeer is the quintessential spot to grab a drink with friends on charming Laurier street. You may not know that Lorbeer is also the other half of Laurea (the revamped Laurier BBQ). Owned by Jeff Stinco (Simple Plan member and Montreal restauranteur) and partner Eric LeFrancois, this bar definitely reflects their passion for beer and food. The beer on tap is even from their very own Quebec-based brewery- The West Shefford Brewing Company.

The bar serves upscale bar food- not your traditional burgers and wings. Some options include curry braised lamb and chickpea tacos and Porc belly lettuce wraps. The menu is sophisticated and original, just like the décor and vibe. Unfortunately I only stopped by post-din and was way too full to order food (aside from fries...never too full for fries), but I will definitely be back to sample some of their food creations!

Fries & Mayo
As for the interior: warm and rustic with an antique feel. Industrial brass pipes run along the wall, and lit-candles provide additional coziness. For a place with such a refined menu and décor, it miraculously manages to keep a "friendly", unpretentious ambience.

Interior
My absolute favourite aspect of Lorbeer (being a girly-girl) are their Beertails- cocktails that incorporate beer. Choose from one of their whimsical creations including (my choice) the Monaco- 20 oz pint, grenadine syrup, 7up, and pale ale (LOVE). Plus, if you can't choose just one of their brews, sample 3 with their tester-sized beers. And finally, if you don't feel like calling over the waiter each time you want a re-fill, grab a seat at the back of the bar for a self-service/private tap experience!

Beertail Menu

Monaco & Alchimiste Beer

Yup! Beertails, fancy bar food, self-service taps, and ambience- I think I found your new favourite bar!


Reservations: Just walked in on a Sunday night- not sure about Thursday, Friday, Saturday.
Date night: 10/10.
Attire: Plaid shirt, jeans, & ankle booties.
The damage: $$$
Stay in the know: DJ on Thursday nights.
Bonus: Terrace

Mind, Taste, Love.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Restaurant Review: Pho Sho

Pho Sho

Pho-nomenal.


5175 Sherbrooke St W Montreal QC H4A1T4


I usually head to the same two pho spots on Cote-des-Neiges- and for good reason. I crave their authentic pho creations that keep me coming back time and time again. But there's one thing they can't give me-  atmosphere. I wouldn't typically go to them on a date, or to catch up with friends- they are literally there just to curb my pho cravings.

SO I was really excited when a good friend of mine suggested a new pho spot on Sherbrooke in Westmount/NDG for our next girls night. I was shocked when she described it as "cute" and obviously had to try it out immediately.

Just 3 weeks old, Pho Sho may sound a little tacky, but it really is (as my friend put it best), cute! With high wooden tables and walls lined with chalkboards, this is definitely somewhere you could go with friends to catch up. It's by no means fancy, but it has what many other pho places in the city are lacking- some style and atmosphere. I'm not saying this is the place to be on a Saturday night, but it's designed to make you feel as if you could linger a little, instead of the typical "eat-and-run" places I'm used to.


I can't promise that this is the most authentic pho you will have (I'm not an expert), but I have made pho at a cooking class in Vietnam, and this was definitely right up there. My friends and I also shared the coconut chicken satay- delicious, and we each got a Vietnamese coffee on the house! I'm not sure how long this promotion is going to last, but I'd highly suggest ordering one anyways. 
Coconut Chicken Satay
Beef Pho
Chicken Pho

Vietnamese Coffee (drip-brew with a layer of condensed milk on the bottom)
Vietnames Coffee (poured over ice)
Next time you want to grab a quick bite and catch up with friends, you should "Pho Sho" check this place out (sorry, but I had to...)


Reservations: No need for reservations.
Date night: In my books, yes!
Attire: Pho-ncy (one too many pho puns? whoops.)
The damage: $
Bonus: Outdoor seating


Mind, Taste, Love.







Pho Sho on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Restaurant Review: Café Santropol

Café Santropol

Sunday Retreat


3990 Rue St-Urbain Montréal QC H2W1K2


Café Santropol is considered by some a Montreal landmark- with reason. It has been around for 38 years and has yet to lose its charm. The vegan-friendly café is famous for their sandwiches (vegan, vegetarian, or with chicken salad or ham) served on thickly-sliced pumpernickel. The interior feels warm and homey, but in the summertime that's not important because you'll be sitting on their renowned terrace. Santropol is perfect for a leisurely lunch in the plateau (emphasis on the leisurely- service could be on the slow side and there is often a wait for a table outside).

Santropol Terrace

Santropol Garden
The garden is lush and serene and makes sipping a latte on a Sunday afternoon even more pleasant than it already is. Order a sandwich served on traditional Santropol bread- I went with the "Sweet Root": a mix of grated carrots, raisins, coriander, nuts, and eggless mayo, topped with fresh apple slices (+ cheese for an extra fee). Though I was not wow-ed by the sandwich, it was definitely tasty and I could appreciate the fresh ingredients. We also started with a chicken and grilled corn soup and shared a Mexican salad topped with vegetarian chili. Both were good!
Mexican Salad with Vegetarian Chili


Chicken and Grilled Corn Soup

Santropol "Sweet Root" Sandwich


Come to Santropol for the atmosphere and a healthy lunch. I would imagine it would be a cozy spot in the winter to enjoy a coffee or homemade soy chai latte, and one of their vegan desserts. If you haven't yet visited Santropol in its 38 years of existence, maybe it's time!

Reservations: No reservations.
Date night: Cute spot for a day date!
Attire: Comfy & cute
The damage: $$
Bonus: Lovely terrace!


Mind, Taste, Love.








Café Santropol on Urbanspoon