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CHEFS MELISSA CRAIG AND LAURENT GODBOUT AT CHEZ L’ÉPICIER

I’ve eaten a lot of High Lights meals in this town, but I can safely say that none have been quite as close to perfect as Melissa Craig’s two-night stand at famed Montreal chef Laurent Godbout’s Old Montreal restaurant, Chez L’Epicier…

CHEFS ANNE-SOPHIE PIC AND NORMAND LAPRISE AT TOQUE!

Chef Normand Laprise and the High Lights Festival’s Honorary President, Chef Anne-Sophie Pic, together welcomed press to the opening day of the festival. Pic, whose own kitchen is in the Beau Rivage Palace in Lausanne, is the only female chef in the world to have been awarded three Michelin stars…

TOP 5 MONTREAL HIGH LIGHTS FOOD EVENTS

I`ve been covering the Montreal High Lights food festival (known now as the Wine and Dine Experience) since it first started a decade ago. That first year, we ate our faces off and the guest chef was the father of contemporary French cuisine, Paul Bocuse. I went to his cooking class at the ITHQ and we made poached lobster. And that`s about all I remember, after all the wine pairings…

LOVE ON THE MAIN

Montreal’s main drag, Boulevard St-Laurent (also known as The Main) is a feast for the senses in any season; but with snow sparkling under the streetlights and the soft glow of restaurants, bars, cafes and music venues spilling out into the winter night, winter might be the most romantic season of all…

MONTREAL HIGH LIGHTS FESTIVAL CELEBRATES WOMEN

Now more than ever, a woman’s place is in the kitchen—as the driving force of this year’s Montreal High Lights Festival. Every year since its inception a decade ago, the festival’s Wine and Dine Experience has organized itself around a theme, and this year the festival is honouring women in the culinary arts—from chefs to winemakers to cheesemongers…

PIXINESS AT THE SAT

A new installation outside the recently renovated SAT (Society for Arts and Technology) is now lighting up part of boulevard St-Laurent. Pixiness, created by the visual artist Axel Morgenthaler, is a major work that fits into the lighting attractions found all over the Quartier des Spectacles. With 960 LED lamps, this impressive artwork offers a 24-hour a day show, constantly evolving as passersby can use their iPhones to interact with this unique piece of technological art.

MONTREAL IN THE NEWS

Giamatti has a city crush Probably the biggest news item about Montreal this week, though not for Montrealers, is that we’re the city dreams are made of. Seems that Barney’s Version is has muscular awards-season legs–Paul Giamatti, who plays the titular Barney in the movie, won the Best Actor award at the Golden Globes (which are widely considered to be precursors to the Oscars in March).

SEXY STAGE SHOWS AT LE CENTAUR

In the cold of January Montreal’s premier English-speaking theatre heats things up with their Wildside Festival, a program of risqué and out-there theatre productions culled from the best of the festivals that have graced the city’s theatres over the past year. My personal favourite of these is Neon Nightz, a tour-de-force cabaret show that both titillated and moved me when I saw it at the Edgy Women Festival last summer.

CHRISTMAS AND NEW YEAR’S MENUS

Stay and Eat over the holidays in these elegant downtown hotel -restaurants Old Montreal is gussied up to its finest, with snowy streets and twinkling lights and all the romance you could ever want. So hunker down in one of the city’s glam hotels and check out the holiday menus at some of the city’s best restaurants, that you can slip into without weathering the wind outside… If I were coming to Montreal for the holidays, I would want to stay at the Hotel St-James, and I would want to eat Christmas dinner at XO, one of Montreal’s top-rated restaurants. The St-James is old-world elegant at any time of year, but over the holidays, the soaring 19th-century roo is in its element.

DIY: MONTREAL CHRISTMAS TOUR

Montreal’s public farmers’ markets are not only places to do your grocery shopping, but also gathering places for the community. The market is also an ideal place to seek out the ingredients for a traditional or modern holiday feats—Foie Gras half-baked in a terrine is a traditional Christmas treat from the Old Country, and these days, chefs around town like to sass it up with maple syrup, ginger and ice wine.