Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Au Pied de Cochon [Montreal - 2015]

On my recent trip to Montreal with Dad and friends, of course I have to bring them to the most popular restaurant in Montreal, Au Pied de Cochon (see my last post from 2012 here)

Yummy warm freshly made baguette, can't beat that

They have one of the most extensive wine list I've seen in a restaurant of that size.

Foie Gras Cromesquis $4.00/2pcs
I still remember these from last time and it was such a yummy intense burst of goodness! I still have no idea why no other restaurants have something like this. Warning: be patient and wait for it to cool down a bit before eating it in one bite.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

The Best of Campagnolo 2010-2015 ~ u-feast Event

I was lucky enough to be invited to u-feast (@u_feast) 2nd event at Campagnolo (@Campagnolo_) for their 5 year annivairsary dinner where 50 lucky diners get to eat some of Chef Craig Harding's very best dishes. With the growing list of restaurants to try, I have been meaning to come back to Campagnolo since I first came back in 2012 (see post here) but never found the time.... Recently name as one of Canada's Top 100 Best Restaurants, I was excited to be back. After 3 years since my last meal here, I still remember the dishes I had and that's a good sign since it mean I like it / very memorable given how much I eat out.

 U-Feast is a brand new event company planning off-menu dinning experience where you get to meet new people that are just as passionate about food. I have experience many interesting conversation during communal dinning event like these where you get to sit to strangers, you may make a few friends along the way.

Housemade Baguette & Gougeres
 Great start with their yummy warm freshly baked bread, just as good as I remember it and the gougeres aka cheese puffs were so light and delicious. Knowing how much I love bread,  I could have been totally satisfied munching just on these the whole night.

 Warm Olives

Beef Tartare
~ 60 day aged w/ truffle sauce & brioche

Monday, May 25, 2015

Thoroughbred Food & Drink [Canadian]

Heard so many amazing thing about Thoroughbred Food & Drink (@ThoroughbredTO)
 that I have no idea why it took me so long to pay them a visit.

Bought to us by Chef Ariel Coplan previously George & Splendido which are two of my fav restaurants, I do have high expectations and let's just say I wasn't disappointed.

With a long bar thought the first floor of the narrow space with a DJ table at the end, we were quickly escorted upstairs to a more casual dinning area.

Burrata $13
~ Ramps, Beets, Watermelon Radish
Delicious, refreshing and pretty, love the simplicity of the dish but wish there was a tad more of that burrata. 

Kung Pao Cauliflower $11
~ Cashews, Cilantro, Chili
Deep fried and coated with spicy sweet sauce topped with crunchy nuts, this was just simply AMAZING!!!

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Big Crow [BBQ/Canadian]

 I finally made it to Big Crow (@bigcrowbbq) this past Sunday for brunch. Located just behind Rose and Son, it's very easy to miss. No idea what took me so long since I have been fan of Anthony Rose other 2 restaurants (here & here)

The weather was so nice and sunny, wished they had their rooftop open. Love the semi open space with the long communal picnic tables, I was surprise the kitchen was rather small and open where you can see all the meat being grilled.

Cowboy Coffee $10
Strong French Press style coffee in my fave Le Creuset color ♥

 Fried Egg Toastada $14
~ guacamole, charred mushroom & black bean salsa, pepitas & queso
When ordering, we were recommended this since the other two dishes was heavy meat one and we were told that it's a rather popular new addition to their menu. Let just say it tasted as good as it look, very light and flavorful, didn't even miss the meat here. Perfect for vegetarian at a BBQ with friends

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Cafe Myriade - Dominion Square [Montreal]

You know that me and Ben always love to explore local coffee shops when travelling since we need our daily dose of coffee anyway, so why not try something new something local. Found Myriade (@cafemyriade) online and noticed they open their 3rd location inside the Club Monaco store on Rue St-Catherine.

Since we do not feel like museum and had nothing better to do, we decided to take on the busiest street in Montreal that Sunday afternoon and I thought of this place that I saw. As soon as I located the Club Monaco store, I let my nose lead me by the coffee smell to the ground floor. Seeing the café as I came down from the stairs, I can't help but wish Toronto have something like that. So cute!!!
They even have their own custom made Kees Van der Western machine with not only their name on it but also custom pressure setting in each espresso pump.

They served and sell Vancouver's 49th Parallel Roasters coffee which have always been one of my favorite. They also sell local goodies from Patisserie Rhubarbe which we have just been that morning (see post here), Hof Kelsten Bakery, Société-Original and St.Leons Maple Syrup.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Patisserie Rhubarbe [Montreal - Bakery]

Patisserie Rhubarbe  (@rhubarbe_mtl) was recommended by a Montreal friend of mine, it's a little gem tucked away on a side street with probably less than 15 seats dinning area.

When we arrive on a Sunday at Brunch hour, the place was packed and there was a line forming just to grab some goodies to go. Go thing we were only grabbing some sweets, so eating outside the store was acceptable given the sunny day it was.

Love how most of their creation came in cake size.

Wish they sell this by slice or have a mini version.

Yes, I wanted to try everything 

Megalomaniac - Spring Open House & Release Event [20 Valley Winery]

Although Megalomaniac (@megalomaniacJHC) wasn't part of the Get Fresh passport (see post here & here), I just had to drop by my fave winery for their Spring Open House & Release Event happening that same weekend (see my previous visit here & here)

We got to taste 9 wines with food pairings for $5 which you get refunded with purchase of $24.95 which basically means free since I couldn't resist buying a few bottles.
We started with the Sparkling & the drier Riesling and I like how they put the red wines in the middle with the sweeter white saved for the end.
Here's what we got to taste:
2013 Bubblehead Champenoise $28.95
Grounded Riesling Reserve $24.95
Groundbreaker Red $19.95
Bravado Cab Sauv $24.95
Grounded Cab Franc $39.95
Grounded Merlot $39.95
Narcissit Riesling $17.95
 Pink Slip Rose $19.95
Local Squeeze Riesling $13.95

Friday, May 8, 2015

Maison Publique [Montreal]

It's really difficult to get reservation at popular restaurants in Montreal even weeks in advance, Maison Publique (@maisonpublique) was the only one on top of my list that I've been able to a reso for our trip.

When we got there at 7:00pm, the front was full already, love the bar area where you get a direct view of the kitchen. Unfortunately there was 5 of us, so we got seated at the back.

Here they pride themselves in serving all local ingredients, even the wines. There's a few things that I didn't like about the place, there's only one blackboard at the front over the bar area and not at the back room which was a hassle if there's a few of you, does that mean you have take turns to go look.... and for me I'll probably forget what I wanted before ordering. There's no wine list altogether and it's up to your waiter's suggestions, don't get me wrong but sometimes they do know best but wish I could at least take a look at what they have to offer and the price which is pretty important.
I was told that there was a wine list at the front.

This was the 3rd try, good think that they let you try the wine before ordering. Lailey being one of my favorite Ontario winery, I knew Dad would approved as soon as I see it. A full bodied red with ripe fruits and plum notes, this was an easy drinking wine perfect to go with our multi course dinner.

One of my friend do not drink (yes not sure how I could be friend with someone who doesn't drink) and seeing that, our waiter bought over a complimentary fresh lemonade for her.

We decided to go ahead with their tasting at $55pp which included all the dishes + desserts.
Spicy Lamb Tartare w/ spicy mint jam toast
Love love the refreshing mint jam with the lamb tartare which was delicious although my of my guest found it way too spicy

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

16 Mile Cellar [20 Valley - Winery]

I am sure that just like me, you haven't heard of 16 Mile Cellar (@16milecellar) before but I am sure you will very soon since I was pretty impress with all 4 wine we got to taste that day. Thanks to André (@andrewinereview) for recommending me to contact the winemaker directly for a private tasting. The place was so small that they do not have staff on duty and is currently open only by appointment, so we made one while in the area for the Get Fresh event (blog post here).
A quick bio from their website:
16 Mile Cellar is a small, family-owned and operated winery and vineyard that started in 2010.  We are located on 16 Mile Creek, at the base of the 20 Mile Bench.  Our wines exhibit the rich soil and climate characteristics of the Niagara Escarpement. 
We are zealous winemakers and grape growers.  From planting to harvesting and from production to delivery we work hard every day to ensure that every bottle meets our exacting standards.  We have grapes planted on 25 of our 30 acre property including Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Gamay Noir, Geisenheim and old vine table grapes; some almost 100 years old.
Our goal is to produce small quantities of hand-picked, hand-made and distinctive wines each year.  By doing so, we hope to earn our customers' trust and confidence.
Regan Kapach (picture above), the current winemaker and previously from Southbrook was kind enough to meet up with us and offer us a tasting plus tour of their mini winery.

2011 Rebel Chardonnay $19.95
With peach, dried apricot and a very light floral scent, it would be perfect for backyard lounging

2011 Civility Chardonnay $24.95

With perfect acidity and with citrus peach flavor, I could totally see it age for a few years. I bought myself 2 bottles so that I can save one and still have an extra bottle if I'm tempted before then and let's just say it does happen quite often.
2011 Rebel Pinot Noir $22.95
With cherry and cranberry notes, although bursting with flavors I find it not as smooth a finish as I would like.
2011 Incivility Pinot Noir $29.95
With dark fruits flavor and a smoky notes at the end, this was definitely better than the previous one and the price totally reflect it.
For being an unknown winery, we found our favorite Chardonnay of the day here even for my non-white drinking Dad.
I can really see them grow in no time and soon we'll have to line up for a tasting.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Get Fresh Tasting Passport [20 Valley Winery]

I was lucky enough to have won Yashy's (@YashYanthi) contest for a pair of passport to 20 Valley's Get Fresh event. I attended many passport tasting event in the Niagara-on-the-Lake region (see most recent one here) but never in 20 Valley. I was pretty excited since although I have some favorites there, there's a lot of the other wineries in the region that I have never been. 22 Wineries participated in this event where they pair one of their wine with food.

The passport is good for the weekend but unfortunately we could only stay for the day and only got to visit 6 of the participating wineries since they tends to be further apart.

The weather couldn't be better after a whole week of rain but Wine Country is always beautiful no matter the weather and trust me, we've been there during all type of weather.

2012 Riesling
Paired w/ The Good Earth's Cold Salad Rolls
A simple Riesling with lemon and apple notes, a perfect way to start off with the light and refreshing salad roll. And with their beautiful outdoor space, it couldn't be better.

2014 Trios Femme Rosé
Paired w/ Savory Watermelon Salad & Warm Honey Bread
Love how they tried to pair the wine with something savory and something sweet to show it's versatility. However we find the wine rather bitter tasting after the sweet watermelon but however the bread goes extremely well with it. Definitely wanted a few more pieces of that, so moist and delicious.

Our 2nd stop and I end up buying 5 bottles of white + plus 2 jars of their yummy honey.
2013 Long Rows White $13.00
A combination of Chardonnay, Riesling, Gewurtztraminer and Semillon, you can't ask for a better white for that price. With peach and lemon flavors, it's was very refreshing. Wish I bought more than 2 bottles, this will be gone in no time especially now that the weather is warming up.
2013 Sussreserve Riesling $15.00
Being one of their signature wine, it has always been a favorite of mine although being on the sweeter side. It's made by adding unfermented Riesling juice back to the wine after fermentation which adds some natural acidity and sweetness to it. Perfect to sip anytime chilled cold.

2012 Origin Chardonnay $28.00
This was so rich in flavor buttery almost that I had to get myself a bottle. Love the level of acidity in it with crisp apple lemony note.