Restaurant Le Vestibule signé Aurochs
Hôtel Alt Quartier DIX30
9395 Boulevard Leduc
Brossard, QC J4Y 0A5
Cost : $ 143.75 (tax & tip Included)
Chef Hats: 4
Le Vestibule is a trendy lounge type restaurant attached to the Aurochs steakhouse in the ever so popular Quartier Dix 30 -Alt Hotel in Brossard. It serves excellent tapas like plates, has a cool terrasse and great music. It is very convivial and a good place for Happy Hour or just unwind after a long day of shopping in the huge mega-plex mall.
It offers a large variety of bistro fare at reasonable prices. All dishes are super fresh, well presented with the food right combinations, right down to the delicious desserts, cocktails and whisky bar. New and innovative, young chef Mitch O’Donnell hits all the right notes, his talents are at his best here. There was not one dish that I tasted that did not perfectly blend well together, in a medley of colors, and array of explosive flavors to the palate.
There is a mix of dishes to please every taste bud, from tartar’s of all kinds, to ribs, mini sliders, seafood and tacos all done with class. Why not splurge and try them all with the Table du Chef menu at $ 44.00. You can’t go wrong.
We happen to have literally stumbled across Le Vestibule, after picking up Brains from her friends place in St Bruno, after driving around for an hour looking for a place to eat. On our way back home, we figured that we could find a cool hip pub for the girls to snack at the Quartier. Petit Pois and Frenchie with the discerning taste opted for Le Vestibule after looking at the menu. Luckily, they were able to accommodate us without reservations and the festivities began.
Frenchie and I started with two glasses of Rose wine Gran Feudo from Spain -$10.00. Clean and fruity with aromas of strawberry and raspberry, it was well balanced with the perfect acidity to go with our choice of salads, vegetables, fish and charcuterie platter.
We also chose to go with a few entrees instead of a large main meal to leave room for dessert. Brains and I choose to share, the trio of salmon tartar with fried egg roll wrappers and slivers of cucumber beautifully presented on a slate plate. Exceptionally fresh cubes of salmon infused with lime and gin, green onions and tobiko wasabi. Not overpowering in flavor and very light. The fried eggs roll wrappers a perfect accompaniment, just wish we could have had more. The cucumber slivers a real palate cleanser.
Our second plate was a deconstructed Waldorf salad made with Asian Pears, celery, Boston lettuce, radicchio, red raisins and vinaigrette infused with gorgonzola and topped with walnuts. The combination was heavenly. The walnuts adding the right crunchiness, the vinaigrette with gorgonzola was light and not overpowering. The sweetness of the Asian pears, mixed well with the bitterness of the radicchio. A marriage made in heaven.
Our third entree was a platter of fried calamari with a piperade of sweet red peppers, rapini and parsley. The piperade in itself lightly marinated in vinegar was delicious on its own. The calamari, tender and crispy not chewy or rubbery at all. We could have gone for seconds on everything for how tasty it all was.
Frenchie and Petit Pois two dishes were equally pleasing. Frenchie took the platter of charcuterie, which consisted of a generous portion of two sliced salami’s, one spicy and one mild, rillettes de canard, mousse de foie de volaille. As a base a spread of confiture d’oignons au porto, a medley of black and green olives, and grilled raisin bread and a slab of semi soft Quebec cheese, missing was the pickles. The juxtaposition of the tartness of the onion jam and the marinated olives went well with the spiciness of the meat. The sweetness of the raisin bread also complimenting the flavors of the cheese and the chicken liver mousse. A good example of fine pairings and successfully mastered.
Petit Pois had the Panzanella Bresaola salad. Slices of deep cured meat with marinated artichokes, cubed bread, tomatoes, basil, onions and chunks of parmesan cheese. Featuring all the flavors of a meditterean summer and freshness.
To complete this fine meal, two decadent desserts of molten chocolate cupcakes topped with brandied maraschino cherries and whipped cream and an apple pie in cocotte infused with maple syrup al la mode with two scoops of creamy vanilla ice cream.
What more can I say…a perfect compliment and ingenious ideas for apple pie.
Le Vestibule not only gets points for their great food but decor as well. Decorated in black and red with checkered floor tiles, long flowing wall to floor silver grey drapes. Mirrors abound with black and red leather banquettes; it feels like stepping into a very masculine parlor. It feels totally Illicit, illegal and caché. It has a romantic and mysterious feel to it. For those whose senses are shocked, the terrasse proves to be a great place to bask in the sunshine or under their large red umbrellas. The name is so apropos, for a minute or a few hours you even forget you are in a mall but feel like to have stepped inside someone’s parlor.
Sapori di Napoli
1465 Rue Dudemaine/St Real St.
Telephone: (514) 335-1465
Cost: $ 85.95 for two persons after tax (not including tip)
Chef Hats: 4
Sapori di Napoli is synonymous with a true authentic Neapolitan experience and excellent food. Tucked in the basement of a duplex in New Bordeaux, you will feel like to have stepped back in time to your Nonna’s house. That is if you are Italian, but even if you are not you will feel like you stepped into your Italian best friend’s home.
Sapori di Napoli is a family run restaurant; they not only make you feel more than welcome, but actually part of “La Familgia”. So it was only befitting that we host our annual cousin “cugini” re-union at Sapori di Napoli this year.
This evening was organized by our cousin Mr. Malibu who has worked with the owner and multi talented Guido Grasso on some local movie productions. We knew we were in for an exciting entertaining evening filled with good food, great conversation and a laissé faire attitude.
Opened in 2011, Sapori di Napoli has already garnished a great reputation not only within the Italian community but also among the larger than life foodies of Montreal. But what makes this place special is Guido, whose talents stretch far beyond just the makings of a good pizza. Besides being an aspiring actor, he is also a well-known comedian and teaches cooking classes at Leonardo Da Vinci center. Guido keeps himself busy, but always gives you his undivided attention, along with his family, who offer a genuine family experience while dining at Sapori di Napoli. You know the place is special when you walk in to discover that some local or not so local celebrity is sitting in the restaurant.
This was the case this evening when we entered Sapori di Napoli to find Steve Gallucio from “Mambo Italiano” fame sitting right in front of the house. Sapori di Napoli has hosted many a famous celebrity, but tonight we felt like the stars. Before commencing our meal, Mr. Malibu introduced us to Mr. Gallucio, who came to our table to talk to us. Not at all pretentious, but this can be said about the atmosphere at Sapori di Napoli and its patrons.
The staff and Guido were more than accommodating; the service was exceptionally friendly, very familiar and we felt at home among friends and family. Maybe we felt a little too comfortable, because we were having so much fun we didn’t want to leave.
We started our evening by ordering a ½ liter of the house wine- a red Montepulciano D’abruzzo for $17.00 all around. As an entree I had an insalta mista for $ 7.00, a generous plate of mixed greens with olive oil and perfectly seasoned with balsamic vinaigrette. My cousin Miss Diana Ross ordered an arugula and endive salad with copious amounts of shaved parmesan and cherry tomatoes and The Godfather ordered the cream of asparagus soup that he said was very creamy and flavourful.
Sapori di Napoli’s speciality and most popular seller is their pizza. Highly recommended was their Margherita pizza at $ 15.00, made with fresh tomato sauce, fresh basil and fiore di latte mozzarella. It was indeed tasty and different from most of the counterpart Margherita sampled elsewhere. But my favorite was and still remains the Crudaiola – $ 18.00, packed with flavor, topped with fresh prosciutto di Parma, Arugula, cherry tomatoes and fiore di latte mozzarella. The dough was a fluffy white chewy pocket, with crispy edges and a crunchy flavorful bottom. It was made to perfection.
The Napoletana pizza, basically similar to the Margherita, but with anchovies and capers added for saltiness and a punch of goodness. The house speciality pizza called so appropriately Sapori, was topped with parmesan shavings, cherry tomatoes and fresh arugula. All pizza’s ordered were above caliber and made the way pizza should be done, the old fashion way.
Do not just order pizza at Sapori di Napoli, because their pasta is exceptional. The spaghetti con vongole, was a generous portion of pasta in a light red clam sauce with over a dozen medium sized clams still in their shells forming a crown around the plate. A generous portion is putting it mildly! The sauce mildly piccante with sautéed cubed onions and garlic, elevated the clams to a whole new different level.
The penne with rapini and sasiccia (sausage) was just like mom makes it with fresh homemade Italian sausage packed with fennel seeds and bitter rapini and a hint of garlic. Great opposing flavors for those who like something different, than their usual take on pastas. This pasta dish came topped with grated parmesan and a drizzle of virgin olive oil. The pasta was “Al dente” and smooth. I was amazed by this dish as you could really taste the freshness of the pork and the flavors really popped in your mouth.
Mr Malibu went for his proverbial favorite Scaloppini piccante al limone. This came served with potatoes, broccoli and grilled red pepper. The veal was super tender and fresh and the lemon and white wine adding just the right tang.
For dessert, I ordered my favorite zeppoli. This is a must for dessert, along with the nutella pizza. Sapori di Napoli makes these like no other place in Montreal. The zeppole were not the usual that you will find at most Italian pastry shops in March for Saint Joseph Day. They were more like long fried pizza dough that my mom used to make at Christmas, which we call “scrippelli”. I thought I had died and gone to heaven, when I was delivered not one but whole plate full for $ 6.00, these are my favorites and bring back deep childhood memories when I would eat them hot as my mom was pulling them out of the deep fryer. These were even better than my mom’s (but don’t tell her that). They came covered sprinkled with granulated sugar. Totally delicious.
The nutella pizza was decadent. If you are a nutella lover, this is for you. You will not be disappointed. I brought my portion back home for my daughter to eat; she thanked me a million times.
The only miss was the crème brulee which Frenchie ordered. He felt it lacked flavor. But 1 out of three ain’t bad. Sapori di Napoli is an Italian restaurant and Crème Brulee may not be their forte but everything else is. Ordered with dessert were espressos all around and to boot, on the house a shot of grappa to compliment our meal or Sambuca to put in our coffee, depending on who wanted what.
The feeling I got from the place was very convivial and immensely hospitable. From the staff to Guido’s parents who came to talk to us, we felt we had been there at least a dozen times and we felt like we had known them for years like old friends. For a few hours we did become part of the family.
Folino’s Wood Fired Pizza & Fiddlehead Brewing Company
6305 Shelburne Rd
Telephone: (802) 881-8822
Cost: approx. $ 80.00, growlette’s $ 19.00 USD
Chef Hats: 3.5
Vermont should be labelled “the Mecca” for foodies who are looking for fresh farm to table produce and new innovative ways of engineering creative ideas in the realm of foodie land. This foodie can vouch that whenever
I am on one of my visits to Vermont, and I try a new place, whatever it be, I am always blown away by their ingenuity and creative food skills. This was the case again and a pleasant surprise while visiting Folino’s Wood Fired Pizza in Shelburne Vermont.
Folino’s pizza opened very quietly in March 2012 by owner John Koerner, without an open sign on the road and limited parking space. Today they make up to 60 pizzas a day and have partnered up with Fiddlehead Brewery Company next door in the same building. Serving the discriminating taste of Shelburne locals and those day trippers from Montreal and beyond.
Their secret a naturally leavened dough; no commercial yeast is used here. “They keep a starter alive which is a symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast (fungus). The bacteria give the dough flavor by making acid. The fungus metabolizes sugar creating CO2 which makes the dough fluffy”. I was told by my connection at University of Vermont that one of the part owners was a student in the greenhouse specializing in botany and the anything fungus. So the knowledge used at Folino’s is not haphazard, but an actual science.
Their methods do not only combine what a few others have to offer , but also an old Italian school method of mixing the dough and preparing it with a combination of basic simple ingredients. The massive fire brick oven then cooks the pizza through conduction at high temperatures with wood, creating a crispy thin crust pizza, with specks of char and a whole lot of flavor.
The other plus, cool and different thing about Folino’s is its BYOB, but with a special twist that we do not find often back home. Literally the next door over or in front as you enter you will find Fiddlehead Brewery. Here you can taste of free sampling of their brews and pick up a growler to take with you next door while having some delicious pizza. If you do not like beer, you can always head across the street and pick up some wine at Shelburne winery. Folino’s also has outdoor seating for those who want to enjoy the fresh country air along with their pizza, beer or wine.
Today we headed straight to Fiddlehead Brewery to first sample three of their weekly brews and smell the hops. Just a whiff is intoxicating. We sampled their Amarillo, Brett on the Dance floor and their Fiddlehead IPA. We chose two 32 oz. growlette’s to have with our pizza.
Next door the family had gotten seated in the corner of the restaurant in their private little nook. The pizza’s are ordered at the counter and then brought to you and placed on a multi-tiered wired stands. We started with a large family sized salad for $20.00 made with mixed greens, beets, diced cucumber, shredded carrots, pepper and goat cheese, or feta. Very refreshing and tasty, a real appetite opener.
From the pizza’s sampled , we tried the Yellow submarine made with yellow San Marzano tomatoes, goat cheese and arugula, a Margherita pizza, a pepperoni, a Prosciutto di Parma pizza and last but most interesting one was with Asparagus, 3 cheese, bacon and truffle oil. Only mozzarella di Buffalo is used on all their pizzas, with the freshest vegetables and basil that is so aromatic, even cooked it still retains its aromatic principles.
The pizzas were all good, with their different flavors. The crust not overly charred yet still chewy and not hard. You can also ask for your pizza to be blonde. Less cooked or charred, but the crispiness is more than a plus. The flavors of the wood, giving them a woodsy, almost smoky taste. The beer was a perfect accompaniment.
You can smell nature in all the products here. They smelled so delicious, everyone grabbed a piece before I could take a picture. Hence the missing pieces.
If you like American Flatbread in Burlington, you will love this place. A family run place with a mission. They also run a non-profit, “the 52 Kids Foundation”, which assists orphaned children in Uganda.
Service is minimal at Folino’s, they encourages diners to direct the tips they would give servers to the charity.
Also different at Folino’s customers can buy a $20 “gift certifistick,” which they redeem for pizza and the pleasure of watching their stick burn up in the oven. Folino’s may not be a fancy place, on the outside, if driving too fast you can miss it, but it sure makes up for it on the inside. A must try when in Vermont; it is totally worth the drive outside town.
Sushi St Jean
1000 Boul. Saint-Jean (corner Labrosse)
Telephone: (514) 697-8383
Cost $ 48.53 (including tax and tip)
Chef Hats: 1
When it comes to the A list of no -no’s for a restaurant, Sushi St. Jean hits the mark on all counts. It scores BAD on the scale for hospitality, service and food. Above all, it committed the ultimate proverbial blunder when we were there for lunch one very busy Monday afternoon.
We were meaning to try this restaurant for a while now and were very excited to finally get a chance to make it there. We chose a quiet day, so we can relax and enjoy our time together, but when we got there we misjudged its popularity. The place was busting at the seams and there was a line up outside the door, almost around the corner of the building. The wait would be approximately an hour. We patiently waited but were told not to block the aisle near the door as it was a thoroughfare for the waiters. Odd I thought! There was plenty of space for the waiters to manoeuvre around the restaurant, why not keep their customers happy by allowing them to think they were closer to getting in, especially on a crisp cold day. Once inside, if you block the aisle the head waiter or manager, who reminded me more of the “Soup Nazi”, kept yelling at you to stand behind the door and would send you back outside behind the doors in the entrance. Many people just turned around and left. Not very welcoming I thought.
Nonetheless, I ignored this while my pressure mounted at his incessant yelling. Finally, Brains and I were seated. We were given an electronic pad where we could choose what we wanted to eat. Brains and I thought it was innovative and very cool. There are no paper menus here folks and for the electronically un-inclined it can be frustrating. Albeit tons of wait staff, there is no service to help you and they seem frustrated when asking them questions regarding their electronic pad. You are on your own here to starve. Also, most of the staff that day also spoke barely any English or French or very little of both. I felt like I entered a third world restaurant in Asia and got a strange feeling that management had hired illegal immigrants straight from China. Who knows, being a franchise, maybe they have something else going and restauration is a blanket operation. It definitely is not their forte.
Well, that being said, Thank God Brains is electronically inclined, and we did not have too much of an issue choosing from the PAD. I am from the old school and going to a restaurant means i like the whole ritual of dining out, ordering from la Carte, speaking to a waiter, asking questions and all the formalities. But we managed to order a plethora of things from the PAD. Then a waitress who could barely speak English came to our table filled our water glasses, mumbled a few incomprehensible words and took our PAD away.
Brains and I looked at each other, smiled and shrugged, finally able to relax while waiting for our food; we started a deep conversation until we were interrupted but a loud clang and I felt something hitting my foot and leg. I looked down and saw a waitress picking up a broken beer bottle at my feet. Thank god I was wearing pants and leather boots as a piece of chard hit my leg, I immediately made a sarcastic comment to the waitress that it was a good premise for a law suit. The comment was not acknowledged, no apology from the waitress, she just picked up the broken beer bottle quietly and proceeded with her daily tasks, as if we were not even there and nothing had happened.
I started to get vocal at the lack of consideration and unprofessionalism, all the while, Brains noticed a piece of brown glass in her drinking water. I was not pleased and Brains was downplaying the scene I was about to create. She removed the piece of chard from her glass and asked for some more water when finally our waitress arrived.
It was all downhill after that. The food started to arrive, in very small portions, one after the other, very quickly. There was no more room on our table but they kept piling it on, sometimes not knowing what we were eating.
I felt so rushed I forgot to take pictures. The food, I can say was mediocre at best and not very nicely presented. The portions were extremely small; some dished looked soggy and limp. The waitress disappeared again, never to return and we did not get our fried squid. When we finally hailed her, it took almost an hour to get our soggy two pieces of squid. We never got to order seconds, even if we wanted to, because the service was extremely slow after the lunch rush and the place started to empty out. You would figure by now we could get some service at least, but the staff seemed to have disappeared for a long lunch break. So it’s not an all you can eat place, because the feeling here was get it all while you can in one shot, eat quickly and leave, no going back .
For $ 15.99 per person and $1.00 for tea, it was a steep price to pay for the bad experience, and for the lack quantity and quality of the food and terrible service.
Exasperated I asked for the bill and left quickly, vowing never to return to any of their establishments.
Restaurant Charles Baillairgé (Hôtel Clarendon)
57, rue Sainte-Anne / Des Jardins
Québec City, Quebec
Tél. : 418 692-2480
When I fell in love with Frenchie , I fell in love with Quebec city. So I make it a ritual that once a year we spend a weekend there just visiting, walking around, trying little cafes, shopping and dining out. I would love to stay at Chateau Frontenac which has been on my bucket list for the longest time ,but instead we stay at this quiet little boutique hotel called Hotel Clarendon, which Frenchie knew about many years back. Upon entering the hotel for the first time in 2010, I fell in love with this cute little place and its old world charm. Through our window we could see la rue des Jardin lined with flowers and people walking to and fro. It was the closest I could come to Paris at this moment. The rooms some rather small are quaint, well furnished and the toiletries alone were of high quality that one can revel about.
On this visit from the onset, I had started a cold on the drive down. Not a good sign, as I had a list of top restaurants I wanted to visit, like Panache, Le St Amour and maybe Laurie Raphael again. It never fails in November as soon as the onset of flu season arrives I always get sick. This season was no different, even though it was spring, I managed to hold off till now and bang on an important weekend out of town I sat there in my hotel room nursing my wounds.
I did manage to muster up enough energy to haul my carcass to the ground floor for a quick bite to eat at the Hotel dining room restaurant called Charles Baillairgé. With the plethora of good restaurants to try in Quebec City, I had never thought of eating here before and found no need to either. But tonight was an exception, as I did not want to descend into the bitter cold and windy alleys of Quebec City with the way I was feeling.
The restaurant really evokes the typical Parisian cafe with its dark wood and mirrored paneling, wainscoting, white tablecloths and dim lighting. Next door you will find a comfortable lounge done up in the same feeling with a fireplace ,leather arm chairs and baby grand piano and the sounds of a live jazz band playing on weekends.
Here you can sip cocktails if you are tired and don’t want to leave the hotel after walking the streets of the la rue Petit Champlain or the climbing hills of Old Quebec . My suggestion save the cover charge and sit in the restaurant sipping a digestive after your meal, you can still enjoy the sounds of the music filtering into the dining room.
The menu at Restaurant Charles Baillarge boasts having a mixed menu of both local “du terroir” and international cuisine. The chef Yan Dekytspotter brings an interesting choice of menu to the table with new trends and inspiration from local products and some of the old classical crowd pleasers from France. There is plenty on the menu to please all ages and taste buds. A must try is the local cheese, ciders and vegetables from Charlevoix, and the fish from Côte-Nord.
What I liked about the menu upon opening the front cover is the historical tidbit about Restaurant Charles Baillairgé and the hotel. Built in 1870, it is one of the oldest operating hotels in Québec City and maybe in North America; and the restaurant is one of the first in the area. For those of you who are wondering who is Charles Baillairgé , he was an architect, land surveyor, civil engineer, and an author born in Quebec city from 1826- 1906 . He was from a long line of sculptors, painters, and architects that began with his great grandfather, Jean Baillairgé. Who left an indelible mark on the city, therefore it was only befitting that they name part of the hotel after him.
The hotel which looks inside and out, very turn of the 19th century with its art deco style , is very reminiscent of the old world luxury of times. Some of the interior has been refurbished in art nouveau styles, most notably in the public areas, and some rooms have period touches, and others are more modern, but each have their own charm and are in good taste. The hotel offers all modern day amenities. The restaurant and lounge area a little cache conserves the charm of yester years.
We started our meal this evening with two glasses of Lindeman’s 99 –Shiraz from Australia at $ 9.00 a glass and a potage of leek at $6.00 each. The soup was creamy and velvety with the right consistency of leek; this was warm and comforting on a cold spring day. It hit the spot and made me feel much better. I could have had a cauldron as in medieval times with two loafs of rustic bread. The wine bold and warming spread some heat through my veins.
Not having much of an appetite I settled for a Salmon tartar at $ 12.00, that I thought would be light and not upset my stomach. The tartar was overly spicy with pepper and served with Ritz crackers, really! After a few bites I couldn’t have any more, my stomach was starting to rumble and swell. The level of spiciness was too much for me in such a delicate state. I ate the fresh cucumber slices and crackers and Frenchie finished it off for me. He waved it off as me not feeling good. He said he enjoyed it and although spicy hot, he said it wasn’t too bad for him.
For is main meal Frenchie ordered the Poitrine de Volaille, at $ 22.00. This came with a large sautéed carrot and herbs and creamy very creamy mashed potatoes. He enjoyed his meal, but wondered about the potatoes as they had more the consistency of grits; but then it was a French restaurant not southern. I write it off as maybe the cooks hand slipped and added too much milk and pepper. Even the best of kitchens have an off night. I was having an off weekend. For dessert, I had a warm tea and off to bed to sleep.
I would not completely write off Le Restaurant Charles Baillairgé, the prices are very reasonable for hotel dining and I have had much worse. Our waitress Nicole , had the whole dining room to serve, although empty when we got there , she kept her cool ,served us efficiently ,with a smile ,made sure we were comfortable and had all we needed. If you are a guest at Hotel Clarendon, this is worth a try. On a good night, the dining room and jazz are worth it alone.
Ceviches, Épicerie et Traiteur
152 rue Napoléon
Cuisine: Caribbean Latin-American
On a small street corner on Napoleon Street in the Plateau is a quaint little Peruvian family run place called Ceviche. I would have never known it was there. Up until our first Zomato meet up, I had never even heard about it. Zomato for those of you who are guessing is the company that took over the Urbanspoon website in March. For those who do not know what Urbanspoon was or what Zomato is, let me enlighten you. Zomato, not Tomato is a website where you could view any listing of local restaurants and reviews of these restaurants. It is very informative for the average dinner and very interactive and exciting for bloggers. You can download as an app on your cell phone that would allow you to use it whenever searching for a place to eat. If you are ever stuck about where you go last minute, as I am often, this is a great tool to have available at your fingertips.
This evening, I had the privilege of being invited to Ceviches for a meet up that brought together a few Montreal bloggers and introduce them to Zomato and their new platform. A bit shy at first, I was put to ease by the friendliness of the Zomato staff and my fellow bloggers. Everyone was a great bunch, not pretentious at all and the camaraderie was amazing. Our hospitable host and owner Luis was behind the bar, making us two of his special cocktails,
A sweet spiked rum Ice tea served in a mason jar and a fruity concoction of passion fruit and bitter grenadine. I immediately felt we had entered his home.
After a few introductions and a short chit chat with our fellow bloggers, we sat down and were regaled with an on slew of entrees and dishes that out shone each other. We started with a basket of fried yucca, crispy triangles of fried yucca which tasted like fries. A staple in Peruvian cuisine these were done perfectly.
Next came a platter of a dozen of the best cod fish balls I have ever tasted. Oval shaped balls of soft mashed potatoes and white salty cod, lightly wrapped in fine bread crumbs. These are my favorites and it had been a while that I had not had any. So I devoured a few more than I should have. Alongside these came some creamy coleslaw that hit the notes perfectly too and was a great accompaniment to the codfish balls.
The piece de resistance was the tacos. Soft shelled mini tacos served with shrimp, fish or pork. I liked them all. Topped with coriander, tomatoes, heart of palms, onions, peppers, marinated agave and lime juice and their special white sauce these were delectable pockets that render you insatiable.
It doesn’t end here, more food with fried plantains, and two types of Ceviche which was so refreshingly fresh and tasty it brought me back to South America instantaneously.
A big kudos for this husband and wife team who not only are amazing, but have carved out a niche for themselves in originality in a city that has no shortage of talent.
The cherry on top of the cake was their three fine desserts, of Tres Leche, Apple crumble and Quesillo.
The Tres Leche a triangle piece of flan was better than any crème caramel I have tasted on any given day. The Quesillo, a soft square piece of cake topped with delicious fluffy vanilla cream was heavenly and moist like a cloud on a sunny day. The apple crumble served in a ramekin was superb in its own right with sweet scents of cinnamon and crunchiness.
I strongly recommend Ceviches, not only for the food, which I highly recommended but the ambiance. Here you will feel at home among the art and the generosity of Luis and his wife. Kind and hard working, they have managed to transport more than a little of themselves here. They have brought to us the flavors of their homeland. Reasonably priced this little restaurant is truly a gem of a place in the Plateau.
195 Falls Road, Shelburne,
Chef Hats: 4.5
Cuisine: Local Market Cuisine
When it comes to believing that we hold the best restaurants and chefs in Montreal it can be said we are foodie snobs. Let me shed some light on this matter. In a small town called Shelburne in rural Vermont about 180 kilometers from our big city and 20 minutes from Burlington, Vermont. You will find three establishments in a triangle formation in the center of town that form a force as strong as the Bermuda triangle that must be capitulated to when it comes to talent in chefs and food culture.
On a recent weekend visit to my sister’s in Shelburne, Vermont to see her new abode, she was eager for the Foo Foodie to experience the culinary delights of her new town. She surprisingly planned on Sunday morning breakfast and a visit to Rustic Roots and Chef Contos kitchen. In this yellow house on quiet Falls Road you will find Chef Mike Orfan a charcuterie specialist creating some of his signature dishes.
Orfan left his longtime position as Chef de cuisine at Rat’s Restaurant in Hamilton, New Jersey to buy this little gem of a house which was previously known as the Lemon Peel Café & Crêperie in fall 2012, which he re named Rustic Roots in June 2013. Serving his signature Rustic Breakfasts ,lunches and weekend diners all made from scratch with local products, he wanted has brought his talents to this sleepy town in the Green Mountain state.
Not knowing what to expect this balmy yet powdery March Sunday morning in Vermont. I entered Rustic Roots dining room to the aromas of delicious maple scents. Its burnt sienna painted walls with multiple framed pictures of teapots emanating a warmth and comfort to warm up any soul. At the entrance I spotted a long bar filled with patrons enjoying their morning coffee and chatting quietly. On the right the small dining room was already brimming with families and couples having their deliciously aromatic indelible breakfast.
We were greeted by a young, fashionably dressed and very pleasant and friendly waitress who brought us to our table. The restaurant was busy and buzzing with activity already for a quiet Sunday morning in such a small town .I wondered where all these people were from and how they got to know about it. Was this a secret hiding spot for the towns locals on a cold spring morning or did they all have a sister who lived nearby and gave the secret away about this gem of a place?
Whatever it was, I was enthralled to be experiencing yet another fine restaurant in the heart of Shelburne and eager to be awed by flavors of Mike Orfan’s cuisine. I was happy and overjoyed at the fact that I knew a secret and I no longer had to be sitting at the local IHOP with the rest of the Quebecers eating a generic breakfast after my weekend shopping spree in Vermont; which was usually what we opted for in the past.
On the Menu at Rustic Roots you will find first and foremost Orfan’s signature Rustic Breakfast which consists of his original take of what brought him to Vermont , Smoky Canadian ham or bacon , Sweet coffee maple sausage a throwback from his Charcuterie days and two creamy scrambled eggs or of your choice and a decadent crisp, puffy popover spread with herbed butter, just heavenly and divine for this cold morning. This is a must for all first time visitors. The scrambled eggs and popover unlike no other I have ever tasted.
Not to miss their Omelets with wild mushrooms, truffles, Shelburne farm cheddar cheese and a brioche triangle toast on the side. If you are a fan of mushrooms, this is the dish for you. This was my brother in law and the Foo foodie’s route this morning and he can do no wrong when it comes to anything fungi because he is the mushroom expert and I am not kidding when I say this.
He taught me something this morning, as in the past the only time I got to taste anything truffle was in an oil form that we can find drizzled on top of some dishes here in Montreal. But for the first time in my life I really got to experience the taste of real truffles in their splendor, mixed in with the wild mushrooms the flavors were accentuated twofold. As my brother in law explained, it was the truffles I tasted with their strong flavoring and scent. These woodsy morsels just exploded on my palate, absolutely delicious and decadent. I truly enjoying and savoring every bite.
Frenchie and the Boys had the Baked Caramel Apple Pancake, made with Dulce de Leche (Caramel), topped with caramelized apples in Maple syrup and whipped cream. This is no regular pancake it is huge and you better have a good appetite. It is about half inch high pancake that is heavenly sweet with all its accoutrements, fluffy and perfectly cooked inside and completely filling and satisfying, especially with all the fresh local Vermont maple syrup added.
All Rustic Roots breakfasts are served with a side order of caramelized onion and herbed potatoes that alone are not only delicious, but are an added perk and a compliment to all the fresh meals served here for breakfast. All breakfast dishes cost between $9.00 $ 12.00- USD which is not only very reasonable for the quality and craftsmanship behind them but a fantastic deal.
Rustic Roots also serves a light lunch fare of soups, salads, sandwiches and sweet crepes and weekend dinners only starting at 6pm on Saturday and Sunday. Brunch is served from (9 am to 3 pm) from Wednesday to Sunday and the restaurant is closed on Monday & Tuesday.
In such a short time from its opening, it has already won acclaimed reviews and is making it mark on the Vermont food scene as a place to experience. I was wowed by its simplicity and warmth but also in its innovative twists that the Breakfast places of Montreal have yet to master. I am already yearning to return to try out their lunch and dinner specials. I am sure they will garnish five stars in that area too.
Chef Contos Kitchen
65 Falls Rd,
Next door a hop and skip away from Rustic Roots, in a blue house you will find Chef Contos Kitchen & Store.
A small gem of a place selling specialty products for the kitchen and a cooking school teaching cooking classes to local Vermonters and beyond,. Started by Courtney Contos, “whose love affair with all things culinary began at a young age in Chicago”. Chef Contos has been teaching since 2000. Her excitement in the kitchen is contagious and this is one of the ways her passion sparkles”. Contos is passionate about local and organic foods, supporting local farms in many ways. You will find her recipes celebrated by many including the Vermont Cheese Council and Culture Magazine. The latest being in March 2015 issue of Food & Wine showcasing her famous Tacos al Pastor recipe.
“Growing up among Chicago’s culinary masterminds, her inspiration for the gourmet cuisine was instilled in her by her father at Chez Paul in Chicago (1948-1992). It was through her father’s that she began to develop a true understanding of the restaurant business. She obtained her culinary arts degree (1996-1998) from Chicago’s Kendall College, which lead her to an internship & a full time chef position at Charlie Trotter’s restaurant. She has tested recipes for Martha Stewart’s magazine “Every Day Food” (2002).has been a culinary instructor at The Chopping Block Cooking Schools in Chicago (2003-2006) ,Kendall College and executive chef instructor for Cook Academy at the Essex Resort & Spa 2006-2010.
In 2006, she started her own blogs “Edible Moments” and “Eat Out Vermont” as well she wrote the very first “Cooking Fresh” article in Edible Green Mountains Magazine and Cookbook. Contos has produced and appeared on numerous TV cooking segments, on Vermont Public Television and WCAX Channel 3. She also reports on national food news on two radio stations FOOD52’s & WVMT, reporting food news the second Monday of every month.
Besides all this, she also keeps busy travelling to Yucatan taking people on culinary vacations, teaching and picking up the latest recipes and bringing them back home. If time allows I strongly suggest taking one of her classes, my sister highly recommends it. They are refreshing and fun. This is a great way to meet new people and experience something totally different from the landscape of what is being offered in the culinary schools of Montreal. You will get a personal rural feel of the local produce, culture and people.
Chef Contos store carries everything one can possibly want and more pertaining to kitchen cookware and gadgets. Products and items are of the best and finest quality. You will find some surprises and cute knick knacks l to take back home or give as gifts. I totally loved the place and last month almost applied for a job there when she was looking for part time help. But that means that The Foo Foodie would have to move to Vermont. Maybe one day cause I am totally in love with the place.