A trip to Montreal - Part 9: Houston Steaks Côtes Levées Trudeau Airport

Image of Houston Steaks Côtes Levées Trudeau Airport, Montreal, Canada

After a fantastic time in Montreal, it was time to go back. We showed up early at the airport to make sure we had enough time for customs and...lunch! Of course, we were not expecting the same level of food like the one we got used to in the past few days in Canada, but wanted to avoid fast food for sure! That is how we ended up at Houston Steaks Côtes Levées. 

Yes, this is a steakhouse and Côtes Levées means spare ribs (in Canada - in France it is travers de porc). I was not really motivated to have a steak there though and decided to order a burger:
Image of Burger at Houston Steaks Côtes Levées Trudeau Airport, Montreal, Canada

It was the Houston burger, composed of a beef patty, BBQ sauce, herbed cream cheese, caramelised onions, capicollo and arugula. The bread that was a brioche bread was a bit dry and the arugula was so overpowering that I removed it. It was then just ok: not the best patty for sure! The onion rings however were real good, but there were only a few on the plate!

Jodi ordered the House salad:

Image of House salad at Houston Steaks Côtes Levées Trudeau Airport, Montreal, Canada

It was composed of mixed leaves, cherry tomatoes, cucumber, endives, onions and croutons, drizzled with raspberry vinaigrette. Let say that it was just a salad! Nothing extraordinary...

Well, what can I say: we were not expecting fantastic food at the airport and it was an ok alternative to the fast food. If you are in a hurry, this is not for you: the service was slow and not that friendly!

Enjoy (...)!

Houston Steaks Et Côtes Levées on Urbanspoon
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A trip to Montreal - Part 8: French Bistro L'Express


Image of Restaurant L'express in Montreal, Canada

On Sunday night, we went rue Saint-Denis to eat in a popular Parisian style bistro called L'Express. It was definitely a trendy place with an elegant decor and a typically French menu, from the appetizers to the desserts. The menu, elaborated by Chef Joel Chapouile, offers classic French dishes such as the rillette, oeufs mayonnaise (deviled eggs), foie gras or steak frites. 

When we arrived, there were not that many people. Normal I thought as it was Sunday night. But, as the evening went, more and more people arrived. When we left, the place was packed!

After we ordered, they brought us some bread and butter:
Image of bread at Restaurant L'express in Montreal, Canada

As well as some crunchy cornichons in a jar that gave a relaxed and rustic feel to the experience:
image of cornichons at Restaurant L'express in Montreal, Canada

Jodi decided to order only a salad as she really wanted a dessert. She picked the goat cheese salad:
image of goat cheese salad at Restaurant L'express in Montreal, Canada

Goat cheese salad is pretty standard on a French menu. Sometimes the cheese is toasted, sometimes it is not. At L'express, it was not. The goat cheese can also vary, from buche to crotin de Chavignoles. It was a good salad: simple, refreshing and not overdressed.

I decided to order the salmon tartare:
image of salmon tartare at Restaurant L'express in Montreal, Canada

It was served on a bed of micro greens. I liked it but would have liked more texture to it, maybe by cutting the salmon thicker. 

Then, for the main dish, I ordered the veal kidneys in mustard sauce:
image of veal kidneys in mustard sauce at Restaurant L'express in Montreal, Canada

This is a very classic French dish and I was looking forward to it! I was not disappointed! The kidneys were cooked as ordered, medium, and were tender with a delicate but particular flavor that I am not sure how to describe! They were mixed with delicious mushrooms and the sauce was phenomenal. I do not know how they make it but it was so good! And then there were sauteed potatoes that were awesome! Cooked all the way through, they were a bit crunchy. This was the best dish we had on that trip!!!

They it was time for dessert! Jodi got her long awaited Ile Flottante!
image of ile flottante dessert at Restaurant L'express in Montreal, Canada

Ile flottante is made egg whites topped with caramel (sauce or harden) served on a vanilla custard sauce. It was delicious: light, not too sweet, the egg whites were perfectly firm and melted in my mouth immediately. The vanilla custard was creamy and tasty, a perfect complement to the eggs. 

I could not resist and ordered the Baba au Rhum!
image of Baba au rhum dessert at Restaurant L'express in Montreal, Canada

The portion was big too. It was just ok: the cake was not as light and airy as it should and the rum was watered down a little. Between the two desserts, I clearly preferred the Ile flottante!

The walk back to the hotel was really necessary after this excellent feast we had at L'Express! It was a great dinner and if you go, I recommend the veal kidneys! 

Enjoy (I did)!

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A trip to Montreal - Part 7: Schwartz's delicatessen!

Image of Schwartz's delicatessen in Montreal, Canada

On Sunday, after visiting the Fine Arts Museum, we decided to got eat Rue Saint-Laurent. We noticed some delicatessens the last time we walked there and decided to go there to have some good deli sandwiches. We ended up at Schwartz's, located boulevard Saint Laurent.
Image of Schwartz's delicatessen in Montreal, Canada

The place has been opened since 1928 and reminded me of Katz's in many ways, although Schwartz's is much smaller and the staff is courteous...
Image of Schwartz's delicatessen in Montreal, Canada

The place was packed and we had two choices: try to get a table at the restaurant or go to the takeout section. We tried the restaurant and got lucky to be seated right away! We had to share a table with other patrons. Over there, the menu is on the wall only. Interestingly, the menu is small and if you are vegetarian, your choices are limited to fries, slaw and pickles...

Contrary to most of the delis in New York, they do not bring you pickles or slaw: you pay for it! So did we...
Image of pickle at Schwartz's delicatessen in Montreal, Canada

We decided to order two sandwiches:

The salami sandwich:
Image of salami sandwich at Schwartz's delicatessen in Montreal, Canada

The smoked meat sandwich:
Image of pastrami or smoked meat sandwich at Schwartz's delicatessen in Montreal, Canada

Smoked meat is what we call pastrami in the US. You can order it lean, medium (our choice) or fatty. It was very good, tender, with just enough fat in it.
image of pastrami or smoked meat sandwich at Schwartz's delicatessen in Montreal, Canada

The salami sandwich was also delicious with a nice quantity of meat for sure! As people come and sometimes share, they impose a small fee:
image of Schwartz's delicatessen in Montreal, Canada


With her meal, Jodi ordered a black cherry soda.
Image of Black cherry drink at Schwartz's delicatessen in Montreal, Canada

At the end, they gave us our bill and we had to pay at the cashier, cash. So no fear of losing a ticket like at Katz's!
Image of Schwartz's delicatessen in Montreal, Canada

It was good and comforting. The atmosphere definitely reminded us of Katz's, but I thought it was much better. 

Enjoy (I did)!

Schwartz's Montreal Hebrew Delicatessen on Urbanspoon

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A trip to Montreal - Part 6: French Patisserie Boulangerie O Gateries in Longueuil

Before reading this post, please note that, in accordance with the FTC guidelines, I must disclose that the meal was complimentary. However, the opinions expressed in my blog are 100% my own!

image of O gateries in Longueuil near Montreal, Canada


When my friend Malika came to New York, we told her that we were going to Montreal for a week end and she suggested to visit her friends Jean-Francois and Lise who own a Pastry shop in Longueuil, a suburb that is a few minutes from Montreal. 

Jean-Francois is a French pastry Chef who was trained by Les Compagnons du Devoir, a companionship that originated in the Middle Ages, during the construction of Cathedrals. The goal was to  teach and train very skilled workers during many years of apprenticeship. They then expanded to more traditional jobs. Being part of Les Compagnons du Devoir is not a small thing and not everybody can be part of it: you have to be dedicated, motivated and skilled. It is during his apprenticeship that Jean-Francois ended up in Canada, where he met Lise, and together, they opened O Gateries, that will celebrate 20 years this year, in July.

Besides talking about personal stuff with Jean-Francois and Lise, we spoke about being a boulanger - patissier and I could really sense a passion that I always like to find in people. One thing that I still remember that Jean-Francois said, was about technique: when making something, what matters is not the ingredients, but the technique. It makes sense, otherwise, each time I follow a recipe, I should have the same result as anybody, no? No.

To give you an idea of O Gateries, now: I was expecting a smaller place, but it was of a good size, with a terrace and a dining room. In fact, O Gateries is not only a bakery and pastry shop: it also does some catering (apparently their duck confit pie is a big hit) and serves meals. 

image of O gateries in Longueuil near Montreal, Canada
But, because of all the work, Jean-Francois decided to hand over part of the products he sells to local artisans: for the bread and the chocolates (at the exception of the truffles that he makes). This way, he can focus on making viennoiseries (croissants, chocolate croissants called in Canada "Chocolatines" and in France, "Pains au chocolat",...) and pastries. He tries to stay traditional and looking at the pastries, we saw the classic ones: eclairs au chocolat, mille feuilles, religieuses...

As we were there for breakfast, they proposed us to try few things. Jodi ordered the chocolatine or Chocolate croissant.
Image of chocolatine or chocolate croissant at O gateries in Longueuil near Montreal, Canada

It was very good: flaky and buttery!

Lise suggested to me to get the Eggs Benedict: I could not refuse, especially as I love that dish! But the way they prepare it is with a French twist!
image of eggs benedict at O gateries in Longueuil near Montreal, Canada

It was composed of a slice of French bread, sauteed mushrooms that were fantastic, brie and a perfectly poached egg topped by Hollandaise sauce. They added some moutarde de Dijon / Dijon mustard that gave a nice kick. 

We also got the opportunity to try the palmier or elephant ears that were delicious: fresh, flaky, crunchy and buttery.
image of elephant ears at O gateries in Longueuil near Montreal, Canada

As well as the religieuse that is one of my favorite pastries!
image of religieuse at O gateries in Longueuil near Montreal, Canada

I really appreciated the fact that it was not too sweet and we could really taste the chocolate in the custard that is inside the puff pastry. 

We definitely had a good time there whether it was for the food or the company! O Gateries is definitely an address to know!

Enjoy (Id did)!

Patisserie O Gateries on Urbanspoon
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A trip to Montreal - Part 5: Kitchenette

Image of Kitchenette in Montreal, Canada

On Saturday night, we went to Kitchenette, a restaurant located in the Gay Village, close to Radio Canada. We found this place after watching Unique Eats that is one of our favorite shows! 

This place is located in a residential area and if you do not have the address, you can easily miss it! 
image of Kitchenette in Montreal, Canada

The interior is modern but has an old feel to it thanks to its leather banquettes. The dining room overlooks the kitchen that is right behind the bar, where you can see the Chef, Nick Hodge, who is from Texas, prepare some comforting dishes upgraded for fine dining. 
Image of Kitchenette in Montreal, Canada

They started by bringing us bread and butter.

It was funny to see that the bowl in which the bread was looked as if it has been bought in a garage sale. In fact it gave the impression we were at a friend for a casual dinner.
image of bread at Kitchenette in Montreal, Canada

For starters, Jodi ordered the albacore (tuna) tartare "beach style" nachos:
image of tuna tartare nachos at Kitchenette in Montreal, Canada
It was very good, light and refreshing. The nachos gave a nice crunch to the dish.

I ordered the crab cakes, served with Ranch dressing:

image of Crab cakes at Kitchenette in Montreal, Canada

They were good: not the best I ever had but good. The crust was a bit too thick though and the crab was probably from the claw, as I noticed some sweetness so particular to it.

For the main dish, Jodi ordered the Brussels sprouts, parmesan grits and soft egg:
image of brussels sprouts, parmesan grits and egg at Kitchenette in Montreal, Canada

It was a great dish, proposed as an appetizer rather than a main dish, but with a nice portion. The egg was perfectly cooked and having the yolk oozing from it and getting mixed with the grits was divine. The Brussels sprouts were very good, proving once again that this little known vegetable is not as bad as its reputation.

On my side, I ordered the dish I saw on TV: blackened halibut with sweet potato mash, toasted marshmallows, Hoppin' John and fried brussels sprouts.
image of blackened halibut with sweet potatoes and toasted marshmallows at Kitchenette in Montreal, Canada
When the dish came, I was a bit disappointed because there was not as many toasted marshmallows as on TV! But this dish not only looked beautiful, but was phenomenal! The fish was perfect: a bit flaky and moist with a nice blackened skin. The Brussels sprouts gave a bit of crunchiness and the sweetness of the mash and marshmallows was a bit addictive! As if I was eating the main course and dessert at the same time, but with a combination that works!
I admit that I did not know what Hoppin'John were: rice and black eyed peas, this is a recipe from Texas, the origin of the Chef! It was good, but I would not have minded if it was not present on the plate that was already busy.

We skipped dessert as we were too full after our first day in Montreal. I regret it because this dinner was  memorable.

Enjoy (I did)!
Kitchenette on Urbanspoon
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A trip to Montreal - Part 4 - Ice Cream at Chez Catherine!

Image of Chez Catherine in Montreal, Canada

Walking around near the Vieux Port, we saw this place called Chez Catherine that was packed! It is a cafe with a terrace that serves a menu as well as crepes and ice cream. Most of the people who lined up inside were there for the ice cream though!!!
Image of Chez Catherine in Montreal, Canada

They had plenty of flavors like cookie dough, bubble gum, black cherry, but there was no coconut for Jodi. So she ended up with vanilla ice cream in a sugar cone:
image of vanilla ice cream with sugar cone at Chez Catherine in Montreal, Canada

I ordered praline and cream in a waffle cone:

image of praline and cream ice cream with waffle cone at Chez Catherine in Montreal, Canada

The ice cream was rich for sure! The vanilla was flavorful and the praline and cream delicious, although a bit sweet. We paid $12 for both of us (one scoop each), but there was a lot of ice cream, down to the tip of the cone!

It was fantastic and surely a destination to know in Montreal!

Enjoy (I did)!

Cafe Terrasse Chez Catherine on Urbanspoon

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A trip to Montreal - Part 3 - Fish and Chips at Brit & Chips!


Image of Brit & Chips in Montreal, Canada

Fervent fans of the show "Unique Eats", we could not miss the occasion to be in Montreal and not eat at Brit & Chips! As you may guess, it is for the fish and chips that you would go there. Yes, I know: having fish and chips in Montreal might not seem the first choice for a visitor, but the show made it sound so exceptional that we had to try it!
image of Brit & Chips in Montreal, Canada

We really though that it would be packed so we decided to show up early on Saturday...Well, we were the only customers, but it was probably because it was too early. I mean 11am...

The restaurant was interesting with two rows resembling a casual bar seating. 
Image of Brit & Chips in Montreal, Canada

The menu offers seven different types of fish with some recipes that are traditional with a touch of Quebec. For instance, the fish and chips made with haddock that Jodi chose, was prepared in a maple syrup batter. 
Image of Haddock fish and chips at Brit & Chips in Montreal, Canada

It was delicious with a bit of sweetness to it. The fish was perfectly cooked and flaky, and the batter that had a nice golden color was soft. 

I decided to order the traditional one, made with cod and a Burgundy batter:
Image of Cod fish and chips at Brit & Chips in Montreal, Canada

The batter was crispier and darker, a bit greasier than the haddock one. But it was fine and I liked it a lot. The fish was also perfectly cooked, flaky and seemed fresh. My favorite was the one Jodi ordered though...

The chips or fries were just ok for me. They were soft on the outside and good with some vinegar !
Image of vinegar for fish and chips at Brit & Chips in Montreal, Canada

If you are a fan of fish and chips, Brit & Chips is definitely the place to go to! 

Enjoy (I did)!


Brit & Chips on Urbanspoon
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A trip to Montreal - Part 2: dinner at Leméac, a French Bistro!


Image of Lemeac French bistro in Montreal, Canada

For our first dinner in Montreal, we went to Leméac, a French Bistro. 

The place was gorgeous with four sections: the bar that was very busy with not only people drinking but also diners, the main dining room, the patio with its large windows and the garden. 
Image of Lemeac French bistro in Montreal, Canada

We decided to walk to the restaurant from the hotel and it probably took us close to an hour, discovering leisurely part of the Old Montreal. So no wonder we arrived hungry! For sure the bread and butter were welcome!
Image of bread at Lemeac French bistro in Montreal, Canada

For appetizer, I ordered the escargots (snails):
Image of escargots snails at Lemeac French bistro in Montreal, Canada

They were served with some pasta, with portobello mushrooms, a tomato coulis and a basil butter sauce. This was fantastic with plenty of different flavors coming from the different main ingredients. Even without the snails, I would have had appreciated that dish as an appetizers. The basil butter sauce was fantastic: smooth and tasty, it brought the dish to an entire level!

For the entrees, Jodi ordered the hanger steak with French fries and "Maitre d'Hotel" butter (called a "compound butter," which simply means that there is some sort of flavoring or seasoning ingredient added to the butter, usually parsley).
Image of Hanger steak with French fries at Lemeac French bistro in Montreal, Canada


The steak, ordered medium, was perfectly cooked and tender, and had some kosher salt on it. I just wished it was a bit warmer so the butter could melt a bit more. The fries, served with mayonnaise, were like I like them: crispy outside and soft inside. 

I ordered the Duck leg confit, roasted fingerling potatoes and salad:
Image of Duck confit at Lemeac French bistro in Montreal, Canada

This was a fantastic fish: the duck confit was not too salty that is the issue sometimes with this dish. The potatoes, served skin on, were delicious, tasty and tender. I ate them with the salad that accompanied the duck. Overall a very good dish!

For dessert, we went for the French toast, milk jam ice cream & maple caramel:
Image of French toast at Lemeac French bistro in Montreal, Canada

I have to say that it was a big portion!!! I could not resist though! The bread was a buttery brioche bread that, although thick, was saturated with the batter. Adding to it the maple caramel that was not too sweet and the delicious ice cream, it was the perfect dessert to end the meal. 

We definitely had a great dinner at Lemeac and the service was courteous and efficient. This is definitely a great place for fine dining without being pretentious. 

Enjoy (I did)!

Leméac on Urbanspoon

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A trip to Montreal - Part 1: Introduction

Image of Place d'armes in Montreal, Canada
Place d'Armes in Montreal
Jodi and me decided to go to Montreal in Canada for the week end. In fact we were planning to go last year, but it snowed heavily in New York and in Montreal, causing our flight to be cancelled. So this time, we decided to go in May. It was a great choice as the temperature was fantastic: 25 degrees C / 77 degrees F!

That was perfect to walk around the Old Montreal and take some photos! 
Image of Rue Saint Urbain in Montreal, Canada
Rue Saint Urbain in Montreal
Image of Random street in Montreal, Canada
Random Street
What was great is that the city has lots of parks!
Image of Parc du bassin Bonsecours in Montreal, Canada
Parc du Bassin Bonsecours
Image of Bassin in the Old Port in Montreal, Canada
Bassin in the Old Port area
The city of Montreal is an island (1.7 inhabitants approx.), so the scenery near the water was beautiful and peaceful. 

People there speak French, with some particular expressions that are either what we would call old French ("breuvage" for "boisson" or drink) or very practical! For instance, dépanneur in Canada is a convenience store; in France, it relates to a mechanic. Both terms mean "helping out", but are used in different ways! I also found some similarities with the US. For instance, the "How are you doing?" ("Comment ca va?") when you go to a restaurant or at the hotel, that you will typically not hear in France. 

Food wise, I could eat my way out there! It is a cosmopolitan city, so no wonder why there are so many restaurants serving ethnic cuisine: Chinese, Japanese, Thai, Burmese, Indian, Portuguese, Italian...I was really excited to go there and try some of their well known restaurants that you will discover this week. 
I kind of retrieved the relaxed atmosphere that you find in Europe, where people take time to sit and enjoy their meal, not feeling pressured to leave quickly so another patron can eat!  However, I mostly saw people have beer at the bars and coffee in chains like Starbucks 
Image of Espresso cup at Starbucks coffee in Montreal, Canada

or Van Houtte (when you order an espresso, they ask you if you want it short or long).
Image of Espresso cup at Van Houtte coffee in Montreal, Canada

I admit that I mistakenly thought that Van Houtte was Van Houten, a firm from Holland specialized in hot cocoa drinks that my brother was fond of!

We also went to a Nespresso Boutique for the first time.
Image of Nespresso boutique in Montreal, Canada

 The place was nice and modern with a store on the second floor. We just went there for an espresso as I was in urgent need for one, but they also serve food there as well as other drinks...Well, like a cafe! They will propose any flavor available in the capsules they sell, with different aromatic notes such as honey, citrux, spicy...

I went for the Arpegio, described as:


"INTENSE AND CREAMY

A dark roast of pure South and Central American Arabicas, Arpeggio has a strong character and intense body, enhanced by cocoa notes."

It was good but pricey: $5 for a double! I mean I should just buy a machine and open my own joint!

Anyway, I still enjoyed it (I did)!

Stay tuned for the rest of the trip!

A trip to Montreal - Part 2: dinner at Leméac, a French Bistro!
A trip to Montreal - Part 3 - Fish and Chips at Brit & Chips!
A trip to Montreal - Part 4 - Ice Cream at Chez Catherine!
A trip to Montreal - Part 5: Kitchenette


Café Bistro Van Houtte on UrbanspoonCafé Starbucks on UrbanspoonNespresso Montreal Boutique on Urbanspoon

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And Remember: I Just Want To Eat!