Les 3 Maria
4886 A Boul. Des Sources/ between Anselme Lavigne
& Joseph Paiement
Dollard des Ormeaux, Québec
Tel: 514-683 1333
Cost: $ 41.37
Chef Hats: 4
Les 3 Maria Portuguese Grillades located on Sources Boulevard stands alone in this neck of the woods when it comes to serving authentic Portuguese food. It is the one and only Portuguese restaurant in the West Island that brings you a sample of the authentic flavors of Portugal with its grilled chicken, grilled fish, chouricio sausages and other classics.
The restaurant may be small and unpretentious, as its original intent was suppose to be a take-out counter; but in the last couple of years it has evolved into a full service restaurant with a liquor permit.
Les 3 Maria has been newly decorated in a modern theme that is pleasing on the eye with its white walls, simple wall art of pictures of Portugal, dark wood floors and ample lighting. It is the epitome of clean, in an area where many of the local restaurants have been fined with big contraventions by the city of Montreal that they had to close down this year.
In the last few years Sources Boulevard has been in a sort of decline. Unlike its other main artery St. John’s Boulevard which is booming and keeping many of its restaurants, Sources has been having a slow death in terms of restaurant establishments in the past year. This year we lost some landmark restaurants like Mc Bays, Tutti Giorni, Fu Lam and Pavillon Wong.
Anh Thai closed in January which happened to be a few doors down from Les 3 Maria. On a positive note, Sources Boulevard also has a few remarkable ‘’mom & pop” places that have sprung up over the years that are affordable, original and very good. In March, two new businesses will open in the now defunct Tutti Giorni restaurant, Pizzeria Piccante a take- out pizza place and XO chocolaterie that will serve anything chocolate including crepes.
It is these types of places that make Sources Boulevard original in its own way and Les 3 Maria can fall into this category. It is a quiet place with seating for about 15-20 people. The service is friendly, professional and courteous, the experience is pleasant and the menu though simple covers all the basics at very reasonable prices. On certain evenings you can get their promotional specials which allow you to obtain a second meal at ½ prices. You can enjoy a convivial meal with family, a quiet hassle free evening night out with that special person in your life, or among friends. You can enjoy a glass of wine, an authentic delicious meal that will not break the bank. It is great for the locals who want to grab a quick bite or take out when they don’t feel like cooking. The grilled chicken is comparable and even better than many of the great grilled Portuguese places that occupy space in the Plateau area and other parts of our great city like Romados, Doval and Mavi just to name a few.
Les 3 Maria Grilled opened in December 2012, by Maria Augusta, a 25 year veteran in the field of restauration and hospitality management. It sits in a locale that once housed another Portuguese restaurant called Rico’s Grill for a few years. For the last 3 years it has flown under the radar as many of the restaurants have in this strip mall, unnoticed , unmentioned, but it has grown over the years to become a much needed and welcome spot in the West Island that is filled mostly with generic chain restaurants.
On this particular evening we walked in without reservations and not knowing what to expect to grab a quick bite. We were greeted by our friendly waitress Eva who accommodatingly seated us at a table against the wall. We were given a brief explanation of their specials and a menu. We ordered a glass of white wine Vinho Verde for $ 5.00 and bottle of Sumol -$3.00, a local Portuguese type soda with flavors of grapefruit. We decided to go with their grilled chicken special at $ 12.75 which came with a salad and fries. The second meal was at half price for $ 6.38.
For starters we were brought a basket of homemade Portuguese bread and Piri Piri sauce to spread on our chicken or wherever we chose to slather this spicy pepper sauce. The bread was devoured in an instant. It was so fresh and heavenly soft. We asked for seconds at no charge.
Then the festivities of the palate began, we were amazed at the quality of the charcoal smoked chicken, with its mild spicy kick and marinade of Piri Piri sauce done just right. The chicken was very tender on the inside and its crispy flavors of perfectly grilled but not burned charcoaled skin on the outside gave it that special je ne sais quoi. The dish was further complimented with perfect mix of green salad and crispy fries, which we further, dipped in the sauce. The salad was a mass of very green leaf lettuce, slivers of red peppers, and sliced red onions in a light oil and house vinaigrette base.
Since we were on the run, we ordered two Natas for dessert to take home and have with our espressos after our shopping expedition. Nantas a small is a Portuguese custard cup made with egg that is just heavenly and must be sampled at the end of any Portuguese meal. These were perfect as can be and very tasty.
Bevo Bar + Pizzeria
410 Rue Saint Vincent/ Rue Saint-Amable
Chef Hats: 3
Cost: $ 192.05
This week we wanted to try another restaurant participating in The Happening Gourmand Festival before it concludes on February 7th. Wanting to take full advantage of the great prices and meaning to try another one of the restaurants on their repertoire, Bevo Bar + PIzzeria was on our list since its opening in 2012. After some difficulty trying to book a table, due to our group availability and schedule we managed to get the group together last weekend on Saturday at 6pm. Our intentions were good and we wanted to try their special menu, but when we got there, our palates got the best of us and we went a la carte, with no regrets.
Some may remember the location of this restaurant as being the Old Galliano’s on St Vincent in the heart of Old Montreal one block east of Place Jacques Cartier Square. In 2012 it changed names to Bevo Bar + Pizzeria and Chef Giovanni Vella took charge of the kitchen as Executive Chef. After that life has never been the same, in this tensely filled tourist section of Old Montreal. A serious contender to the Montreal Pizza scene with its wood burning oven, soon others followed in the area, but one can say that it is the leader of the first true Italian Pizza in this part of the city dominated by food catering to the tourist masses.
What I did not realize before last night was that BEVO is as much of a bar then a restaurant and it not only serves pizza but great Italian food. Upon walking in and opening it big glass front doors, you are met with a red neon lit bar on the right and a restaurant on the left. To some the red neon may disturb the senses, to other it is an appetite opener. Cool and urban in setting, one would think odd in this part of town that houses historical landscapes. The outside with its stone brick façade is typical of many buildings in Old Montreal creating a turn of century feeling and a bygone era of European charm and flare. Once inside the stone walls create a warm rustic setting. Bevo has multi level floors and an open air concept design, broken up into two spaces, a bar & a restaurant, it has a dining area with tables and a bar area with stools and high chairs. The bar looks like an enclave, with its subdued red lighting and high ceiling, a perfect place to hide and be cool. The restaurant area has an exterior wall with large black windows that open up in the summer onto Ruelle des Artistes; the atmosphere is festive and relaxed at the same time. On the right side, in the main dining room the wood burning oven warms up the atmosphere and its glass floor to ceiling wine case warms up the senses.
We were shown to our table by the host who gave us the corner table near the window. A brightly lit spot, where we were able to admire every angle of the restaurant, and the workings of the cooks at the wood burning pizza oven and the activities on the street on this particular night. Our friendly and very attractive young waitress introduced herself, letting us know that she was on training this evening and it being her first night here. To some at the table this was an open invitation to hardship and teasing.
We were given two menus, the Happening Gourmand tasting menu and the regular menu. We chose from the regular menu as none of us were too enthralled and in the mood with what was on the tasting menu. So much for the inexpensive meal, going cheap this evening was not an option.
To start off our drinking festivities we began with a glass of Prosecco Sangria, which consisted of Bubbly, 7up, orange juice and brandy. Light and not very strong, it is a woman’s type drink and more suited for brunch than a night of hard drinking. To go with our meals we ordered again (because we liked it so many two weeks ago) the wine being highlighted this year during the festival at all the restaurants participating in Happening Gourmand.
The Vina Carmen, Chardonnay Reserva 2015, and the Chili Red wine Vina Carmen, Carmenère Reserva 2014, Chili by the glass for $ 9 .00. We enjoyed this wine so much that seconds were in order. Not knowing how much we were going to drink, it would have been more economical to go with a bottle at $40.00. A decent price for a good wine. A word of warning, bold in flavor on the onset this wine needs to decant to improve the flavor. It went well with the tomato sauce on the pasta and pizza. The white chardonnay wine offset the risotto beautifully.
Our choices were simple tonight, after much after thought, Giancarlo our second waiter suggested the rose sauce for the Pescatore dish for $ 21.00. It consisted of Linguine with seafood. A good choice as this was one of the better dishes of the evening. Topped with parmesan, the pasta was fresh, the rose sauce delicate and very tasty, and authentically Italian and savoury. The highlight of the meal it consisted of lots of baby scallops and shrimp. As an accompagnement with the Pescatore Pasta, we ordered as an entrée a salad of baby arugula for $ 9.00 topped with parmesan shavings and balsamic vinaigrette. It was light with a little olive oil, balsamic vinaigrette and a sure appetite opener.
Another entree of Insalata Verde for $ 9.00 was ordered. This consisted of a mixture of romaine lettuce, red and green salad frisée and quartered tomatoes in a red wine vinaigrette. It lacked in flavor and seasoning and the tomatoes were a little overdone and tasteless. Additional pepper was required to give it a kick.
The zuppa del giorno for $6.00 consisted of a cream of broccoli soup, this was tasty and creamy and warranted on such a cold night. An additional order of Foccacia $5.00 was ordered to go with the salads. The Foccacia came served piping hot, with specks of oregano and sprinkle of parmesan. The dough was heavenly and chewy and the flavors divine. I could not wait for my main meal. I heard the pizza was good here and I wanted to try it for a while to add to my list of good Italian Pizza’s sampled in Montreal. This is a must, guaranteed you cannot go wrong, especially if you are a pizza aficionado like me.
I chose the Pizza Emilia Romagna this evening, meat ragu, pancetta, mozzarella and parsley for $ 17.00. The pizza was cooked to perfection and half was filling enough for me. I loved the flavors, but thought it heavy on the ragu sauce. The pancetta was cooked, but I still prefer, fresh prosciutto any time. Sometimes I do not deviate from my likes and wants too much, I can be a creature of habit. But I gotta say it was not disappointing and the remainder was taken home and had for lunch the next day, the dough still tasted heavenly even cold.
The last main course was the Risotto Porcini for $ 18.00, a generous portion of perfectly cooked creamy risotto and porcini mushrooms, topped with parmesan cheese. The plate consisted of enough porcini to give the dish its woodsy flavors. It was satisfying and filling enough to please and comfort the soul on a cold evening; a carbohydrate lovers paradise.
Too stuffed to have any desserts, we opted for coffee, in three forms short espresso, caffe latte and Chocolate latte. Worth a mention is their nutella pizza, which has become a fixture in many pizzerias of late that host a wood fire oven.
The service at BEVO was outstanding tonight, not made easy with the excessive drinking and the sardonic comments flying back and forth, the waitress did not know how to take us, literally! Being her first day on the job she must have gotten a rude awakening and a lesson in hospitality and a lesson on how to handle difficult customers. She handled it well and with lots of class, always keeping her smile but sometimes not knowing if we were serious or joking. At some point Giancarlo stepped in and took helm, he turned an almost sour situation into a lively one. His suggestions were on the mark, especially with the pasta dish and even though we threatened him with death the true Italian Way, he took us with a grain of salt. Funny he must have thought “the characters you meet in old Montreal in the midst of winter, the cold does brings out the weirdest of people.”
With a few bruise egos and lots of liquor in our systems we concluded the Happening Gourmand Festival for its 9th edition. Au revoir and a l’année prochain if god willing.
Cost: $ 127, 53 (tax and tip included)
Chef Hats : 4
Welcome to the 9th Edition of the 2016 Happening Gourmand Festival that takes place in Historic Old Montreal from January 7th to February 7th, 2016. This is a great opportunity for all foodies to try any one of the several restaurants owned by the Antonopoulos Family. Every year at this time and for the next month you can sample at reduced prices three course meals at any of the eight restaurants participating in the event, starting from $ 22-$39. The restaurants participating in the event are Bevo, Vieux Port Steakhouse, Modavie, KYO, Suite 701 Mechant Boeuf, Taverne Gaspar and Verses located in the ever so popular boutique Hotel Nelligan.
This year I headed out early and attended the festival during the first week. I needed to get out of the winter blues and get out there and enjoy life a little. So I decided to try Verses as always it has been on my repertoire of Montreal restaurants to try for years. This week a few of my friends are celebrating their birthdays so it was appropriate to celebrate these special occasions with a convivial meal. We were all feeling down and out these days and we wanted something special and going out to celebrate in style in and haute cuisine restaurant was the right way to start the year. I have to say that Verses is the best and swankier out of them all. Beautifully decorated, its romantic atmosphere is accented with soft candlelight, large mirrors and beveled glass cases that play against and reflect the grey stone exposed walls. To further set the mood, the seating arrangements with it large circular matching burnt sienna banquettes and chairs, dark wood floors, crisp fine white tablecloths and quietness leave you with a warm feeling inside . On this cold January evening we sat facing the street front of Old Montreal people watching and leaving us with the impression we were in Old Style Europe.
But what cemented our good mood, especially mine was the hospitality we were shown upon entering the lobby of the hotel. I have an aversion to old Montreal as the parking situation is horrendous. Having parked in a permit zone and afraid of being ticketed, the young man at the valet with a minimal explanation was able to find my car on the side street and parked it for me inside their parking garage for a fee of $ 13.00; a small price to pay for comfort. The front desk staff was more than accommodating and friendly and our waiter Christopher likewise. His stories broke the ice in a situation that may have been intimidating to some. But he made us feel as if we were in his dining room and home; he made some great menu and wine suggestions and gave us ample explanations. We started by ordering a bottle of sparkling water at $ 7.00 and three glasses of wine.
The wine highlighted for the evening and appearing on The Happening Gourmand Festival menus is from Vina Carmen, Carmenere Reserva 2014- & 2015 from Chili. We took a white Chardonnay Reserve 2015 and two Reds 2014 for $ 9.00 each. Both light and young, the flavors were like a Beaujolais Nouveau at the onset but as it aired the flavors got bolder, it went well with meat and the strong flavors of the mushrooms. The chardonnay complimented the entrees of fish and The Swordfish as well.
In the kitchen at the helm is Executive chef Sylvain Levaillant whose start and speciality is in desserts, not diminishing from his other talents, as all sampled at Verses this evening was creatively innovative with different flavors and textures exploding on your palate. But the desserts were intoxicating and a must here. It would be a shame to miss them.
We chose the $29.00 menu and started with the Tuna Carpaccio and Instant soup. It sounds simple but it was an array of complex flavors. The Instant soup was so called that but was not your generic instant soup. It came served in a mason jar flipped upside down on a plate. It consisted of root vegetables and juice of beets. It burgundy color spilling over into the soup plate as the waiter gently lifted it from the base; a majestic show of ingenuity like a circus trick to entice you with the starters. The Tuna Carpaccio was as magnificent with its explosion of flavors and textures. Each morsel could be eaten separately and then combined together get the full effect of the different flavors. Atop tuna was a rectangular shaped lime mousse and strategically placed sweet croutons that melded a sweet and sour taste. Little dabs of basil jelly pesto and a nutty praline mixture. The dish was decadent.
For our main we had, Braised Swordfish with a French marinade topped with greens and braised baby squash.
The fish was tender and not overcooked; the marinade was wine based and delicious. Not much on the platter in terms of food, but nicely presented and very appetizing. I would have preferred a little more in terms of sides.
My picture does not do it justice and its time a get a better camera. The cell phone is not cutting it these days.
For my main meal I ordered the mushroom gnocchi with parmesan cheese and basil. I was craving potato gnocchi all week and this dish satisfied my craving and more. The mix of mushrooms was just perfect with the soft pockets of gnocchi. The brown cream sauce just decadent. It came sprinkled with chopped basil and cheese.
My friend ordered the Star anise beef blade with smoked potato puree. A little disappointed with the dish as the star anise flavor was lacking and not strong enough. I sampled her dish and thought the meat tender. I liked the flavor and thought too much star anise would be overpowering. The flavors were gentle and I preferred it like this.
But we don’t all have the same likes and taste buds.
The desserts were all light and special in their own way. We started with the Ile Flottante, hidden raspberry flavors in a pool of exotic fruit and their sweet juice. It came served deconstructed, with meringue and ice cream quenelles. This was flavorful but the quantity of liquid was too much.
The second dessert was a Feuillète de Marron, a Puff pastry stuffed with Apple compote, whipped cream and a demi glace ice cream. The puff pastry had a distinct chestnut flavor, topped with chocolate cookie and cream and sprinkles of raspberries. I liked this the most as it was a full dessert and very creamy and filling.
The last dessert sampled was a deconstructed Pistachio iced parfait, with strawberry espuma, rhubarb sorbet.
The pistachio came in a form of a spiral that sat atop the plat like a tower, holding it in place was a scoop of ice cream and strawberry. It looked simple, but he flavours were there, the strawberry espuma I could have done without. It did not do much for the plate.
All in all the meal was complete and well rounded. We were pleased and surprised with the innovative presentations and style of the entrees and the different flavors that were incorporated into them that gave the meal that extra edge. They may have been some lack of flavors in the beef blade dish, but we were basically not disappointed. The desserts were also not lacking in flavor and presentation.
The price is very affordable for the quality of a tasting menu and a sampler meal at a high end restaurant such as Verses. Although the choices may be limited, we got a sampler of what Verses has got to offer and this is the point of the Happening Gourmand festival. A trip back to try their regular menu is in order. The service and hospitality alone sets it apart. Sometimes, that is just what is needed to create a mood and bring up the spirit of a special person on a day that celebrates their inception.
Pan Chanko Bakery Cafe & Restaurant
44 Princess St,
Kingston, ON K7L 1A4
Cost: $ 38.99 ( tax & Tip) for Breakfast
Chef Hats: 4
On the Rock Star theme, a continuum of the article above, Pan Chanko Bakery was started by a true Rock Star.
Again I had stumbled across this place on my last visit here three years ago, when we walked inside to pick up some bread and to sample olive oil. I did not know its history until I started to do research this year after visiting for my second time. But I can tell you from the aura of the place it is that it is electric.
Pan Chanko was founded in 1979, by Canadian rock musician, Zal Yanovsky of The Loving Spoonfuls and his wife Rose Richardson after his retirement from the music industry. Established in 1984, it has evolved from a small bakery originally at Johnson and King Streets into an unmistakable landmark in downtown Kingston.
It was on a humid August day and dying from heat and thirst that we stumbled into Pan Chanko on our second day in Kingston to get some respite. I had read on the Zomato app on my phone that it served great breakfasts.
On my last visit here, I also didn’t notice the restaurant and fantastic terrasse at the back of the bakery which served food and drinks. What can I say , sometimes you are blinded by what is in front of you and you get side tracked by the task at hand. Today upon entering Pan Chanko a whole new world opened up. I discovered their gluten free and speciality products , their prepared foods and fantastic baked goods that are all beautifully displayed.
The aroma of vanilla and maple wafting through the air was intoxicating. I was getting hungry. So we got a seat in the tastefully decorated restaurant at the back. The waitress seeing I was parched quickly brought us some refreshingly cold water. We immediately ordered a cappuccino, orange juice and Arizona Ice Tea while scanning the menu.
I knew what I was going to order, the French Toast with yogurt and maple syrup. Thick slabs of Pan Chankos homemade toast bread, dipped in egg and cinnamon, topped with apple butter infused yogurt and maple syrup for $11.00. It smelled deliciously good as it passed by and filled the air with its aroma of sweetness; the plat du jour was selling like hotcakes. Although the presentation left much to be desired, the flavors were all there. You will not find any sides or garnish served with this platter. Sides can be purchased from 1.50 to $ 4.50.
Brains had the Carne Picante, chorizo sausage in a huge hamburger bun with lettuce tomato and bacon for $ 12.00,
She was in the mood for something with a kick. She was pleased with her order. Not overly spicy with just the right amount of chili to give the meat flavor. The fresh lettuce and tomato cooling down the flavors and adding sweetness to the plate. The bun was so fresh it practically melted in your mouth.
We lingered a while enjoying the remains of our coffee and juices. A quiet moment we enjoyed before our drive home. Pan Chanko left with a good impression of a good quality of life in small town Kingston and an eager wanting to return soon.
66 Princess St. / corner King St E
Telephone # (613) 542-8040
Cost: $ 42.37 –tax & tip included
Chef Hats: 3.5
It is sometimes with a heavy heart that you write some reviews and that can be said of this article. It is the last one of the year, a closure of sorts for me and a renewal for the year ahead. As I have mentioned before our experiences in life are sometimes affected by our head space at the moment. Our adventures eating out can go two ways. Sometimes it has nothing to do with the restaurants we frequent, but the people we are with, the ambiance, the conversations that ensue and our mood at the moment.
I have been to Kingston three times in my life. The last time was in 2011 with my partner at the time. It had a special meaning for me as that weekend we got to discover Kingston a little as well as each other. We walked around a lot, visited the little shops and cafes and appreciated the finer things in life. We ate at Lone Star that weekend a Mexican Eatery, had Margaritas on the terrasse, laughed, discussed future plans and enjoyed the moment. Life was simple and easy and this small town embodied just that.
So when Brains expressed interest in going to Queens University, the conversation came up about this little town and the great things it had to offer. Being the home of John A. Macdonald, one of the fathers of confederation which I only discovered on my second visit there; a second trip was warranted to allow Brains to experience life here.
I have been going through the motions of life these days almost void of all feelings. I have lost my joie de vivre. Not a good place to be in by any means. The last four years have been difficult, but with my survivor skills intact and a little push from Frenchie that I mustered enough courage to pack up and make the trek to Kingston, Ontario. I had an inkling that there was a hidden agenda, on his part, to which I a discovered the total truth a few months later. I knew that something was amiss that weekend; nonetheless I put on my brave face and wanted Brains to get a feel of Kingston especially if it were to be her new home.
The drive down the scenic highway through a Thousand Island was great; it brought a serenity and inner peace, but also a feeling of solitude. I thought of what was and what could be. I thought of the times we camped in the National Park with family and the visit to Boldt castle which I never got a chance to revisit, and the trip to Finger Lakes that was not going to materialize this year. I thought of the good memories but also the bad. I convinced myself to snap out of the mood I was in and to move forward and make new and better memories the way I wanted to, with the freedom of my convictions. This weekend was about Brains and her possible future and a new life.
We rented a dorm room at Leggett Hall on Queens Campus to get the full experience of student life. We got two adjoining rooms with the bare minimum, but they were clean, but not luxurious. Leggett Hall provided free parking, free internet and coffee in the morning in the lobby. I used my Zomato app to start scanning places to eat for dinner.
On our way in we had stopped at Popeye’s to eat lunch and use the bathroom. I spotted it in a mall and mentioned to Brains how I wanted to try it again. The last time I ate a Popeye’s was in Louisiana in 2010 at the suggestion of my friend the Lone Ranger,a Texan who had a penchant for fried chicken and Omaha steaks. I still cannot believe they had one in Kingston, I thought it was a southern thing, it was also a sign that brought me 6 years back and reminded me of where I was and where I had been; maybe an omen of sorts or a foreboding. Call it what it is, but I believe in cosmic energy. My life has always been full of signs and I rely on them greatly. We ordered the classic chicken fingers, mashed potatoes, gravy and biscuits. We were pleased with the tender morsels of chicken and surprised that for fast food it was tasty and filled up the hole in the pit of our stomach. Good comfort food to feed the soul as well.
After a little nap, and a drive around campus, we had chosen a place to eat for the evening. Since it was all about Brains this weekend, I chose Siam Sushi, voted as number # 1 on Trip Advisor and Zomato it was a sure bet, so we headed down to Princess & King Street but not before finding parking on the Tragically Hip Way. Yes you guessed it right, the home of the Tragically Hip and the street that houses the Rogers K Rock Center, a sports and music venue. The people of Kingston are super friendly and we got offered a free spot for parking by a stranger who was leaving and gave us his ticket. I was very appreciative. Life was easy.
Sima Sushi is a busy place and they are always line ups outside the door. This was the case this evening and without reservations, it can be a wait. We gave our name and went for a walk up Princess Street to revisit some of the boutiques and novelty shops I had visited on my last time here three years ago. After Clergy St. Not much was to be seen and we headed back to Sima Sushi as our table was ready.
The hospitality and service at Sima Sushi is like no other. Our waitress Mina was exceptional; she helped us with our choices and made great suggestions. Her contagious smile and sweet voice, unwavering politeness brought back belief that humanity is good and there are still good people out there.
The decor at Sima Sushi is unpretentious and casual, a small place seating 28 people, it is easy on the eyes with opposing burnt red walls and exposed brown grey brick wall. At the back long sushi counter where the sushi chefs create their art. Typical of many sushi restaurants, with the exception of the wood tables, chairs and floor giving it a country rustic feeling.
We started our meal with a Sapporo beer -$4.95 and lychee juice-$ 2.75. A good start for a warm day .
Brains started with ordering the Sushi Dinner-A at $ 13.95, which consisted of Miso Soup and a Green Salad with Yuzu dressing and 6 pieces of sushi and 6 California rolls.
I can’t say much about food presentation, the salad portion was not generous it consisted of two carrot rounds, three lettuce leaves and a half slice of tomatoes and cucumber, with a dollop of yuzu dressing, shaken not stirred .But then it was a teaser to the start of the meal, and probably meant to be that way, I believe it would have been better served alongside the sushi to compliment the sushi and sashimi which were super fresh. It came served on a simple white plate with no accoutrements; no wasabi, no sliced marinated ginger. Nonetheless, Brains was pleased.
I ordered of course the Rock Star-$ 10.95 which consisted of 8 pieces of Shrimp tempura, spicy salmon, avocado, and cucumber and fish egg. This was a great palate pleaser and very fresh as well, it made I feel like a Rock Star and the staff made us feel really special. I am the proverbial Rock Star mom (to a few) although lately I don’t feel like that but I must say this dish boosted my ego and my mood for a moment. I forgot the present and thought of my past accomplishments. So uplifting, I thought, that some food & good words can have this effect.
SIMA Sushi focus is on “simple foundations of quality ingredients, exciting dishes, at fair prices” They hit the mark with their assortment of sushi, sashimi, rolls and cooked Japanese dishes, a warm locale and great service.
Three years in and they are still going strong; the line ups are long and the food consistent. A must try for any sushi lover when in Kingston and locals alike. We left with a good feeling and energy to walk around the waterfront contemplating life in Kingston. So easy we thought, this small town life with no stress is so soothing for the soul and the morale. Albeit a heavy heart this was a real moment to cherish and a new good memory to add to my book of pleasant adventures.
Caribbean Tasty Treats
4410 Boul. des Sources (between Roger Pilon & Belcourt)
Dollard des Ormeaux, Québec
Telephone : (514) 542-4410
Cost : $ 28.74 (tip excluded)
Chef Hats : 3.5
When passing in the vicinity of the rows of stores in the mall that houses Caribbean Tasty Treats you can smell the aroma of grilled meat wafting through the air. It is not the regular aroma of your typical BBQ, but that of a specific and particular spiced smoky air filling and permeating the skies above. By now from the name of the restaurant you can imagine that it serves Caribbean food.
I have walked by here many times taking in the great smell of what was cooking in their kitchen. The local who once housed a sushi restaurant seemed small and almost obscure. Very different from what you would find in West Island with their clones of fast food big market chains. How quaint I thought, must try this one.
It is not often I get cravings for this type of food, but once in a while I get cravings for a Rôti, a particular one that I used to eat at work that was sold by one of my colleague who wanted to make an extra dollar here and there.
A Native of Jamaica, his wife used to make them and he would sell them to anyone at lunch who forgot to pack one of their own that day. After leaving that job I tried many roti’s around Montreal but none did the trick like this one I used to have, until I went to Caribbean Tasty Treats.
Caribbean Tasty Treats is owned by Andre Campbell and his dad Danny. A resident of the area for many years, his idea was to bring to the West Island the basic everyday dishes of the islands and of his homeland’s cooking. The restaurant is a definite first to the West Island, I know of none other that serves Caribbean food in this hemisphere. It has all the Caribbean favorites like jerk chicken, Jamaican patties, and Rôti and more.
Nothing is synonymous to the islands than fish and here you will find the most popular ones like codfish, snapper and King Fish.
All meals are served with rice and salad and/or plantains. The portions are generous, the prices are reasonable and the taste authentic. Caribbean Tasty Treats is a cute little restaurant, painted with bright colors and a wall to wall mural of a tropical beach that serves as a back drop against the sunny walls and tropical dreams of vacation.
The place evokes relaxation and the slow pace of the islands. The service was one on one, friendly and very amicable, like you stepped into some one home and we did. We were served by the owner on this quiet night. With only a few tables occupied, we had his full attention, which made our experience genuine and convivial.
We started our dinner with some beef patties for $ 1.50. I was craving Rôti, so I ordered that as my main meal.
They did not have goat Rôti this evening so I opted for a chicken Rôti for $9.50. Served with fried plantains and salad. The Rôti was huge and took up most of the plate. It was mildly spiced with curry and had a good spicy kick, just perfect. Inside the chicken pea wrap was tender morsels of chicken in a chick pea wrap. Even to bring home and have for lunch the next day and just as flavorful. My dining partner had the Jerk Chicken, which came with three pieces of chicken, a mound of rice and salad for $9.50 as well. More than satisfied and with our doggy bags we opted not to have dessert.
Caribbean Tasty Treats is a must try for a casual night out when you don’t feel like cooking or to experience good home island cooking with friends. Reservations are not a must on quiet nights but always a safe bet on the weekends. Caribbean Tasty Treats is great experience for locals and for those who want to venture out to the suburbs, but a pleasant break from the chain restaurants that permeate the West Island.
Bistro des Artistes
489 Rue de l’Église,
Phone: (819) 320-0899
Cost: $54.29 (tax & tip included)
Chef Hats: 3.5
This is my second article in my series on day tripping around Montreal and Québec. The article may be a little late for a visit in the summer months, but just in time for the winter season. You can always revisit next year in the summer, when the snow has melted. Val David is charming in all four seasons, the little town is a replica of a small Swiss town, both in feel and setting; a true hidden gem in the hills of the Laurentians. The town during the winter season becomes the ideal spot for cross country skiing, with the P’tit Train du Nord being the longest of trails for outdoor sports such as snowshoeing and cross country skiing. In the summer it turns into a bicycle path, a hiking trail or a in- line skating track. You will experience miles of beautiful majestic scenery on Le P’tit train du Nord, which once served as railroad for a commuter train which ran from Montreal to the Laurentians for 90 years from 1891 to 1981. I just discovered that the area is also a very popular for rock climbing. The town has a vibrant artist community and some great dining spots. Except for skiing and aprés-ski, which are the only sports I do in winter, I would rather be lounging in a café or restaurant talking, eating and people watching.
Being the perpetual gourmand and always looking for a fix, for years, Hotel La Sapinière was my favorite go to place in Val David. I would venture there at least once a year for either brunch, dinner or to spend a long weekend during mid-term break skiing with family in the national park just next to the inn. I loved it; I thought the trails were perfect for small children. It was quiet, serene and calming to the senses; away from the crowds, with its picturesque overpass bridges and half frozen streams and super smooth trails surrounded by pristine and an undisturbed nature.
Unfortunately, in December 2013, after 77 years of being in operation La Sapinière closed and was put in receivership. The closure, I hear was due to the high cost of operations and millions of dollars in expenses for major renovations that were needed badly. The fact was that it had declined severely in popularity over the years and people stopped coming. I had stayed there one last time in 2010 after an office Christmas party in the Laurentians. I was really unfortunate to stay in a motel room across the street from the main hotel. The room was so outdated. The heating did not work, the comforters and decor were from the 1960’s and the room had mildew, moldy odor. I was horrified that they would even rent this room to anyone.
The next morning brunch in the dining room proved just as disappointing. The salle à manger looked dark and dingy with stains all over the carpets. No maitre D to greet you at the door. We were told to grab a seat. There was a small buffet with basic items, gone were the elaborate dishes of endless food. The food being served was basic b for the cost of $ 25.00 per person, obviously a rip off. Hailed for being a gastronomic destination in the early 2000, their dining room had won many gastronomic awards. After our experience there in December 2010 we nixed La Sapinière and I am sure many others did too. Although I was somewhat sad to see the little Dame fall, as we had many good memories of the place.
I did not return to Val David, until this year with a friend to visit the 1001 pots exhibit in August. Once there I discovered a different aspect of Val David with its artist community and little cafes and restaurant on de l’ Église Street. The 1001 pots exhibit is a must for all pottery makers and home makers alike. There is a big array of beautiful ceramics and art that you can purchase for very reasonable prices. Each piece is original in design and made by creative local Québec Artists. The exhibit held outdoors is visually appealing and stunning with all its different forms and shapes of pottery. Held in a beautiful hidden garden on the corner of De l’Église Street and Ruelle des Artistes, the location is expansive and beautiful with its different nooks and different gardens.
While at the exhibit, we stopped for tea and a snack at La Maison Camelia Sinensis located in a private corner of the garden surrounded by beautiful elephant leaved plants. The exhibit is held in partnership with teahouse Camelia Sinensis, which promotes many of the ceramics on display. The experience was totally soothing and Zen. You can take your tea in a newly purchased cup in the Mousse, Zen or Secret Garden. They also have workshops on tea discovery and floral ikebana or just listen to musical concerts and poetry readings in the Silica Garden.
After wandering around the gardens looking at the pottery and taking lots of pictures for the better part of the afternoon, we had worked up quite a thirst and went walking on restaurant row looking for a terrasse to have a brew and a casual bite. We found Bistro des Artistes which suited everyone’s palate.
Bistro des Artistes owned my Nathalie Monette is not a pretentious place, situated on Main Street /de L’Église in Val David’s town center it is housed in a store front building next door to a Boulangerie. We chose it basically for its lovely exterior teal green colors and its long terrace. Inside you will find the warm colors of cream walls, red chairs and wooden tables. The walls with its wainscoting give it a timeless classic look. The menu is casual mix of French and Italian dishes. Let us call it fusion cooking. You can find items like duck or bavette on the menu as well as pastas, pizzas, burgers and sandwiches. Bistro des Artistes is a sure crowd pleaser for either the simple eater or the gourmand with a more sophisticated palette.
The chef Pierre Andre Cantin, who started at Le Lutéce, but has worked in some notable places like Bistro a Champlain, Le Club St-James and Fourquet Fourchette. The menu is a good mix of dishes and sure enough to please anyone. The presentations are modern and you can find some of the items served on some of Montreal finer table; like poutine with duck, salmon tartares, bavette and frites and of course all your Italian favorites.
They have a good list of wines and some good local and imported beers.
We started with the poutine with confit de canard at $ 12.00. We were served a generous portion of crispy homemade fries in gravy topped with shredded duck meat and cheese curds. This was delicious and very filling and satisfying on its own. The duck meat was tender and not at all dried out.
For our main meals, I had a beef burger for $ 14.00, with a mix greens house salad and aioli sauce served on a slate plate. The burger was a generous patty of Angus beef that was charcoal grilled on a sesame bun with fresh tomato slices, lettuce, and condiments on the aside. Just the way I like it and to compliment my burger a local pale ale beer- La Blanche de Chambly for $7.00, definitely the influence Chef Cantin from his days at Fourquet Fourchette or I like the fact that they are promoting local microbreweries. These days you can get Blanc de Chambly at your local grocery store as well and is one of my favorites.
The second main meal was a Chicken Croissandwich -$13.00. Not served on a croissant as led to believe, but on a multi- grained pressed Panini from the bakery next door. It was heavenly, served with grilled chicken breasts and bacon, cubed tomato, lettuce and their speciality aioli sauce. With a side order of crispy Belgium fries and an accompaniment a Yulupa Red Cabernet for $ 9.00, it was a really great lunch break.
The next time in Val David, I will try the new Tables des Gourmets that has been getting rave reviews this year.
But Val David has no shortage of great places to eat at after a day of visiting. You can always pick up fresh produce from the Farmers Market on your way home, held every Saturday morning on rue de l’Église and Academie.
You can pick up some local specialities like Gaspor pork and maple cream from Domaine Kildare. Otherwise there is plenty of other fresh produce from other local farms that would make a great addition to any meal.