Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Cafés: Kitsuné Espresso Bar

Kitsuné Espresso Bar

Sip your stress away.

19 Prince-Arthur street Ouest, Montreal, Quebec

Sometimes a change of environment is necessary. When it starts to get cold outside and we begin hibernating within the 4 walls of our home, it could start to feel pretty lonely. We live in a city with coffee shops galore, so even though my work was piling up, and I had plenty of writing to do, I decided to leave the house and head over to one of Montreal's artisanal cafés- Kitsuné Espresso Bar.

Aside from the fact that this place feels hip as anything, it also serves delicious coffee. My latté was perfection- and was definitely made with love. I watched the barista create my drink with such precision and care-  it was definitely not given the Starbucks treatment (not that I have any problem with Starbucks! It's just nice to see so much effort go into creating the perfect pour). Apparently they are currently offering a pumpkin spice latté-  I will definitely be back to try one of those! There are also delicious treats like muffin tops and croissants-  so treat yourself!

One communal high wooden table is the focal point of the café. So sit with other studiers, writers, and readers, or drink your coffee by the window and do what I do best- people watch!

To all those stressed out about work, school, exams, or whatever has been keeping you indoors lately, I highly recommend grabbing a coffee at one of MTLs lovely cafés. It was truly therapeutic.

Keep calm and drink coffee :)

Mind, Taste, Love.

Kitsuné Espresso Bar on Urbanspoon

Monday, October 20, 2014

Restaurant Review: Fenêtre sur Kaboul

Fenêtre sur Kaboul 

Wine & tea lovers-  read on.

901 Rachel Street East, Montreal, QC, Canada

There are only a handful of really great bring your own wine restaurants in Montreal, so I am always opened to trying new ones. Aside from BYOWs, there is nothing I love more than trying a new type of cuisine. So I was REALLY looking forward to trying Fenêtre sur Kaboul.

The 3 things you should know about Fenêtre:
  1. They serve delicious Afghani food
  2. It's BYOW
  3. They have a tea room 
Could this be any more perfect for a fall or winter night out? If the warm and comforting Afghani specialties can't warm you up, then the wine will, and if not the wine, then the tea! You'll forget how cold it is outside by the time you're done, and you'll have a new found appreciation for Afghani food. Each dish was full of flavour. Afghan cuisine uses tons of spices, so nothing tastes bland, and there is an added punch that comes with each and every bite. The use of sweet and savoury ingredients work in perfect harmony and each dish truly tastes and feels homemade and authentic.

The space itself is cute. Nothing too fancy, but definitely cozy and tasteful.

What we ordered (but don't forget to check out their menu, as there are so many amazing choices):

Bread, spicy dips, and pickled vegetables (on-the-house)

Borani Badenjan aka sliced eggplant topped with homemade tomato sauce and garlic yogurt

Bolani aka homemade afghan flatbread filled with potatoes, scallions, and herbs, and served with homemade yogurt on the side

Zardak Chalow aka premium veal cooked in Afghan spices, sautéed with candied glazed carrots, served with basmati rice and afghan salad

Tarkari Chalow aka sautéed eggplant, spinach, okra and potatoes in a delicately seasoned Afghan stew, served with basmati rice and Afghan salad

Afghani Black Tea

The restaurant has over 50 types of teas, so if you're a tea-lover like me, you'll be back for more!

If you're looking for a warm and inviting place to wine & dine, this is the place for you.

What are your favourite BYOBs in the city? I am always looking for new places to try! Comment below!

Reservations: Yes! They take reservations on their website or over the phone. The place (especially the tea-room) was full!
Date night: What more could you want for date night?
What I wore: Leggings, v-neck sweater, scarf, booties, and a leather jacket (pretty casual)
The damage: $$
Bonus: Vegetarian-friendly options!
Stay in the know: Closed on Mondays

Mind, Taste, Love.

Fenêtre Sur Kaboul on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Montreal Events: Chocolate Week (Part 2)

Chocolate Week (Part 2)

Juliette et Chocolat.

525, promenade du Centropolis, Laval (Québec) H7T 0A3

To top off chocolate week (like the perfect cherry on top!), I was fortunate enough to attend the opening of Juliette et Chocolat's latest location in Centropolis Laval. Firstly, I don't go to Laval very often, so I was SO impressed by how Centropolis has been built up. There are countless trendy restaurants, and family-fun activities. I will definitely be making a trip over there for dinner and some Putting Edge one of these days. Secondly, Juliette et Chocolat, already a Montreal staple, has really outdone themselves!

The place is quite big and gives you the option of taking something to-go from the "boutique", or sitting down and ordering. The fall-themed event was, to say the least, DELICIOUS. To sum it up in one word: chocolatey. We were served fondue, truffles, brownies and hot chocolate, as well as other sweet treats. I also took-out a delicious tiramisu in an adorable mason jar for later.

If you live in the Laval area, or are looking for a good time (dessert, glow-in-the-dark mini-golf, and a movie perhaps?), make your way to the latest Juliette et Chocolat! To all who organized this sugary event- thanks for the sugar buzz and the good times :).

Baking with chocolate: Dark Chocolate "Almond Joy" Granola (for you chocolate AND coconut lovers)

Recipe (made 2 full jars of granola- keep sealed and should last for about 2 weeks)
-3 cups of old fashioned rolled oats
-Almonds (as many as you desire- I like to keep them whole, but you can chop them too & feel free to substitute with any other nuts)
-Pumpkin seeds
-2 tablespoons of maple syrup
-3 tablespoons of coconut oil (warm in microwave to melt)
-1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
-1 teaspoon of salt
-Dark chocolate bar roughly chopped

Preheat oven to 325 and line baking sheets with parchment paper. 
Mix coconut oil, maple syrup, vanilla, and salt. 
In a separate bowl mix oats, almonds, pumpkin seeds (and any other nuts)
Pour wet mixture over dry ingredients and mix until well incorporated
Spread mixture onto baking sheet(s)
Bake for 10 minutes, then stir.
Bake for another 10 minutes and let cool.
Add the dark chocolate while the granola's still warm if you want it to coat the granola, or add in when cool if you want chocolatey chunks!
All Done!

Pack it in a jar and use some parchment paper and ribbon to decorate and label the top, and VOILA! The cutest gift for fall!

Make your own variations and send in your pictures, or tag me on instagram! I am always looking for new ideas.

Well, that just about sums up chocolate week! Stay tuned for the next post on an incredible restaurant I tried this weekend!

Mind, Taste, Love.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Montreal Events: Chocolate Week (Part 1)

Chocolate Week (Part 1)

L'Académie du Chocolat Opening and Some SHTICKS.

There's no such thing as too much chocolate!

As you may already know, I have declared this week CHOCOLATE WEEK on the blog. The reason behind this week's theme? Well, there are two. 1) When fall comes around and the temperature decreases, my coffee, tea, and CHOCOLATE intake increase. 2) I happen to have a few events this week that revolve around heavenly chocolate. Some say chocolate is bad for you, some say to eat dark chocolate for its antioxidants, I say...who cares??? The world is a better place with chocolate in it.

So the first event of the week was the opening of the Chocolate Academy, or L'Académie du Chocolat at 4850 Molson Street in Montreal. The event was so classy and well done, and really brought to light that this establishment takes their chocolate seriously. There were espresso shots mixed with melted chocolate, chocolate samples, chocolate sculptures, foie gras dipped in chocolate, chocolate wine pairings, and miniature chocolate desserts. Aside from all of the chocolatey-goodness, there was also some seriously impressive food: hors d'oeuvres, Dunn's smoked meat, sushi, waffles, tartare, and amazing paella cooked right outside! There were demonstrations showing how to make chocolate sculptures, do-it-yourself stations, and the staff were clearly all professionals. It was truly an amazing event and everyone needs to check out their website (http://www.chocolate-academy.com/ca/en/) for courses they offer and more information. They have some really intense courses for those of you looking to polish your already expert skills, and some beginner courses (the macaron class caught my eye!). Could make a great gift too!

Next up, Shticks. Intrigued by their name alone? You should be. Not only are these cookies delicious, they also came about in the sweetest way. A father who baked cookies with his daughters in the shape of "Shticks", realized that he had perfected the recipe and had to share them with the world. I was lucky enough to sample a batch of their new peanut butter chocolate chip flavour and will definitely be back for more. The only way to describe these: ooey gooey, peanut buttery, chocolatey, bliss. I am not lying when I tell you they melt-in-your-mouth. If you like your cookies crispy, these are not for you, but for those of you who are into chewy chocolate chip cookies accompanied by a tall glass of milk, place your order by e-mailing: shtickscookies@gmail.com. Have them delivered to friends on a birthday, or just because. Or order them for yourself. Ya, definitely order them for yourself.


Favourite chocolate product of the moment: dark chocolate almond butter spread- AMAZING and healthy -ish? Antioxidants, right? Perfect for breakfast on a toasty english muffin :).

Mind, Taste, Love.