Friday, November 30, 2012

The Hammer of Glamour

Hi Folks,

Join me at the Russian Hall tomorrow night for a fabulous fundraiser for the grunt gallery with two fabulous visiting artists and a couple of hot local bands! Please buy or reserve your tickets in advance.

Dress code = glam!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Nourishing Teas from Montreal

Near the UQAM Metro Station there is a tea room that sells Manga and books related to Japanese culture called Manga Thé.

I found a cute cookbook called Mes Petis Bento by Laure Kié which combines influences from her Japanese and French heritage.

I thought this would be a good incentive for my son and I to practise our French and make his lunches more exciting.

Just around the corner from Manga Thé is Montreal's premier tea shop and tea room, Camellia Sinensis. I decided to buy some herbal teas because they are unique blends made locally.

I love the way the teas are packaged with very detailed information about how to prepare the tea. This Exhilerating blend is made from fennel, anise hyssop, bee balm (monarda), and orange. I love this blend because it contains both hummingbird bumble bee and honeybee plants and it tastes wonderful.

I also bought "La Nourricière" (The Nurturerer) which is a healing tea containing vitamins and minerals with mint, nettle, cornflower, and pansy. These are butterfly and bee plants.

The final tea I purchased was poetically called "La Bergère" or "The Shepardess." It contains oats, catnip, mallow and lavender which aids digestion and soothes and relaxes. The teas are fresh and beautiful, with colorful dried flowers that nurture and heal. You can order their teas online. Sadly, I didn't have time to sit and enjoy a tea in their tea room. I love that you are asked to be quiet while enjoying your tea and if the room gets too noisy, someone bangs a gong to remind you to keep it down!

Friday, November 23, 2012

Fresh Ginger Cake

 My host in Montreal is an amazing baker. One night her partner made a fabulous curry dinner and S made a cake with copious amounts of fresh ginger. I bought some local rosé sparkling cider to accompany the meal made by Michel Jodoin. Actually, our baker made two cakes, one for our dinner party and one for the café where she works called Santropol.

This summer S made cupcakes for a wedding, so she made these pretty cupcake stands out of found china and glasses.

 To  garnish the cake, she made her own candied ginger.

When I arrived back in Vancouver I put in a request for her recipe and in the meantime I made a ginger cake using David Lebowitz's recipe. Apparently it is his most requested recipe.

When she heard I was going straight from YVR to my FIL's birthday, S was delighted. "I can make him a cake!" She made a lovely chocolate cake with hazelnut pastry cream filling. It was awesome!

Missing S, M  and Kitty. Thanks again for your wonderful hospitality!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Petit Dejeuner

 Okay, so it's time for breakfast in Montreal. What will it be? Should I choose a buttery chewy pastry from Breton called Kouign-Amann? (It's pronounced queen ahmahn.)

Shall I pop down two blocks and buy something from Boulangerie Guillaume baked with locally milled flour? There are several kinds of brioches and breads studded with different kinds of chocolate, or you can choose from the savory options loaded with nuts, seeds, cheese, figs, etc.

 I could go next door to Sardine and pick out some yeast raised donuts with attitude.

 So many options, so little time!

We could stay in and my hosts could serve me a big bowl of oatmeal porridge with homemade yogurt, brown sugar, and whatever else we can heap on, followed by freshly made beet and ginger juice.

We could go for a donut sandwich at Chez Boris where they fry your donuts to order. Fresh sweet donuts are 75 cents a piece.

I love that they store their tea samples in maple syrup jars.

Isn't that 49th Parallel parked on the shelf?

 We could go to a little hole in the wall called Le Vieux Vélo and chow down on a BAB Bennie: brie, avocado and bacon.

And I haven't even mentioned wooden-oven baked bagels, fresh and warm in a brown bag in your arms on a bright and sunny November morning.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Juliette et Chocolat

 Juliette et Chocolat is a chocolate shop that has a few locations in Montreal. I had time to kill before my rehearsal near UQAM, so I had lunch at the location there. What you see here is my spinach Galette de Sarrasin--a buckwheat crepe. As with other food I had in Montreal, I kept thinking, now THIS is le vrai chose, this is real crepe, not some wimpy facsimile. This crepe had gutsy flavors and as you can see, a good portion of salad on the side. This is a proper lunch.

 I was on a budget, so didn't try their chocolates, but I did drool all over the glass case.

These babies come with a scoop of ice creme and caramel sauce.

 These are the machines to look for if you want an amazing chocolat chaud. I have never seen three of them in a row!!!

 I was a bit puzzled by the chocolate lipsticks--are they for adults or children? I can imagine they could go both ways.

 So dessert in a jar is also a big thing at this shop. There were lots to choose from. I choose caramel pudding, garnished with bits of the brownies that they make. They make ten different brownies and have an extensive dessert menu. Brownies are a big thing in Montreal right now, it seems every chocolate shop I visited makes signature brownies.

Juliette et Chocolat also makes a decent cup of tea. You choose your loose tea from samples in a chest brought to your table and then they put it in a bag for you to steep. I had a good cup of heady jasmine green.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Spice Station

 There is a magical shop in the Mile End that looks like it might belong in Diagon Alley, with shelves of jars full of mysterious ingredients. The Spice Station sells teas, their own spice blends, dried goods and individual spices.

Sarah and I participated in a olive oil tasting at the front of the store before we started exploring the shelves. When you make your decisions, the spices are packed in the size you choose. The flat packaging means that the spices make great gifts to tuck into your luggage.

 The owner is thinking about opening up a store in Vancouver, so please contact him if you know a good spot for this kind of store. Personally, I would love a store like this within walking distance!!!! Last night I made meat balls with their South Indian curry blend. The spices are very fresh and lively. Highly recommended!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Fuschia Epicerie Fleur

When I read about Montreal's "Flower Grocery," a tea room named Fuschia featuring edible flowers I knew I had to find it. Luckily it found me and I was able to go twice during my visit. The first morning we sampled rose and cedar tea, a rose chocolate cupcake and pumpkin mousse. We returned another afternoon for chai and pumpkin-carrot crisp and just took in all the loveliness of the room.