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Posts by Jason Lee

Sugaring off in the city: Great urban sugar shacks in Montréal

The winter thaw is symbolic in many ways. It represents rebirth and renewal, but more importantly, it kicks off sugar shack season! This timely traditional rite often sees hordes of people making the pilgrimage to cabane à sucres located outside of the city to take in outdoor activities, devour copious amounts of pork products and enjoy the magic of watching tree sap being transformed into liquid gold—maple syrup. For those who can’t get out of the city, “urban sugar shacks” have been popping up around Montréal in recent years that offer a more accessible version of this winter tradition. Some of them serve authentic sugar shack fare while others feature reinterpreted versions of classic cabane à sucre menus conceptualized by some of the city’s best culinary talents. Chef à lérable – with Laurent Godbout (March 11 to April 17) Chef Laurent Godbout returns for the third installment of “Chef à l’erable” at the Scena in the heart of the Old Port. Get ready for a sugar shack experience set in a modern space with a rustic chic decor. For $63 plus taxes, you will be treated to a five-course dinner service (or brunch on Sundays) with dishes like cauliflower with… / Read More →

Where to eat authentic Mexican food in Montréal

Montréal winters can be frosty but our Latin roots keep us warm all year long. One of the best ways to stay warm is to add a little spice to the menu. And, happily, Montréal’s close-knit community of Mexican expats gives us lots of great choices when it comes to authentic Mexican flavours. Here are some of my favourite spots. Le Petit Coin du Mexique – 2474 Jean-Talon Street East Off the beaten path, this modest Mexican joint has some of the best authentic Mexican food in the city. Located in the Villeray neighbourhood of Montréal, Le Petite Coin de Mexique – “The little Mexican corner” – is only about a 15-minute metro ride from downtown (to Iberville station, located across the street from the restaurant.) Get out of the cold and warm up with their menu of Mexican classics including their signature tacos “Al Pastor”, “trompo” spit roasted pork wrapped in corn tortillas topped with pineapples. Escondite – 1206 Union Street Located in the heart of downtown, Escondite bills itself as a “cerveceria de barrio” which means “neighbourhood brasserie”. Escondite serves up amazing cocktails like the Cartel de Santa, a hibiscus flower based drink with lime and soda, as… / Read More →

Where to eat a classic Montréal poutine

Montrealers love poutine – we have a weeklong festival that celebrates it. A plate of French fries topped with squeaky cheese curds and brown gravy are mainstays on many local restaurant menus. Renditions and interpretations of this humble dish by some of the city’s favourite restaurants have become synonymous with the poutine scene in the city. If you want a classic Montréal poutine experience, here are some great places to try. Le Garde-Manger – 408 Saint-François-Xavier Street Located in a historical building in picturesque old Montréal, Le Garde-Manger is one of the city’s most happening places where reservations are made often weeks in advance. This hip and trendy eatery (where celebrity chef Chuck Hughes helms the kitchen) is popular amongst locals and visitors alike. One of Le Garde-Manger’s claims to fame is their lobster poutine. Fries, Québec cheese curds and brown gravy topped with large chunks of tender lobster delivered the knockout punch over Chef Bobby Flay when Chuck competed and won on Iron Chef America. Au Pied de Cochon – 536 Duluth Avenue East Chef Martin Picard’s Au Pied de Cochon has been a fixture of French cuisine in Plateau Mont-Royal for years. His affinity for excess and over-the-top… / Read More →

Where to eat healthy in Montréal

Montréal is a city of indulgence. From foie gras poutine and juicy smoked meat sandwiches, to creamy ice cream and melt-in-your-mouth pastries, there are so many ways to give in to taste temptations. But if you’ve gone a bit overboard with the fries and gravy lately and you are looking to cleanse your body – and your conscience – with some healthy fare, Montréal’s got you covered with some of the best vegetarian and vegan restaurants around. Invitation V – 254 Bernard Street West Located in the Mile-End, this vegan bistro sets off to dispel the stigma of vegan cuisine being mundane, bland and taste-less. A world of tastes and flavours are featured on the menu which is inspired by Chef Kelvin’s travels around the globe. Invitation V serves brunch on the weekends as well. La Panthère Verte – Multiple locations The “Green Panther” is a homegrown chain of vegetarian and vegan restaurants scattered around the city of Montréal. Try their famous falafel pita sandwich – falafel balls, cabbage, carrots, pickles, sauekraut, sprouts, and tahini. Lola Rosa – Multiple locations Their slogan is “the vegetarian restaurant preferred by non-vegetarians” – that’s a big claim, but it’s not completely wrong –… / Read More →

What to eat on Chinese New Year’s in Montréal

Growing up in a Chinese family, there were certain customs that were most prevalent around the Chinese and lunar New Year. They involved food and were traditions that I observed the most. The dishes served around the New Year’s dinner table are specific as the have auspicious meanings. The Chinese are very superstitious and our New Year’s menu consists of dishes that are symbolic of health, wealth and happiness. If you’re celebrating the Year of the Monkey, here are some places to eat and party like it’s 4713! Noodles are a very important part of any Chinese celebration whether it be for a birthday or New Year’s because they represent longevity and long life. Chinatown has a couple of my favourite go-to spots for awesome soup noodles. Nouilles Lan Zhou – 1006 Saint-Laurent Boulevard Named after the city of Lanzhou in China where this style of noodle was invented and made popular, they offer a variety of different kinds of noodles to choose from. From round noodles that come in four different diameters and large flat noodles that come in three different widths, they are all hand-made (pulled) to order. All bowls come with their signature braised beef shank as… / Read More →

Where to eat tacos in Montréal

Think of the best taco you’ve ever had in your life. Where was it? In Mexico? In California? In your mom’s kitchen? What if I told you that Montréal’s taco scene rivals any city south of the border? Whether authentic tacos, So-Cal fusion or even Tex-Mex, Montréal has a taqueria to satisfy all of your taco cravings. Taqueria La Matraca – 4607 Saint-Denis Street This no-frills taqueria on the Plateau serves up super authentic tacos. Named after a wooden noisemaker, the atmosphere at La Matraca is often a boisterous one. Check out their tacos al pastor—trompo (vertical spit) roasted, the marinated pork is shaved and served on a warm toasted corn tortilla, topped with onions, cilantro and pineapple. Icehouse – 51 Roy Street East Icehouse isn’t exactly a taqueria, but it is known for b eing Montréal’s go-to spot for everything Tex-Mex. Fried chicken tacos, fish tacos, or even fried shrimp tacos: load up on tacos that will entice enthusiasts and offend purists. El Rey del Taco – 232 Jean-Talon Street East Located right in the Jean-Talon Market, “The King of Tacos” is another destination for authentic street food tacos. From chicken, pork and beef to lamb, chorizo and beef… / Read More →

Preview of La Poutine Week 2016 in Montréal

It’s that time of year again. That time when people reconsider the feasibility of their New Year’s resolutions and throw their arms in the air in ravenous abandon to indulge in a weeklong cheat meal from their new diet regimens to celebrate the fourth annual “La Poutine Week.” From February 1 to 7, over 40 restaurants in Montréal celebrate our unofficial-official national dish, the poutine, concocting signature dishes with adventurous ingredients to top the humble dish of French fries, cheese curds and gravy to create one of a kind poutines. For the first time ever, the 2016 edition of La Poutine Week will introduce “La Passe Poutine” a variable “frequent eater” pass (bracelet) that, when purchased, will entitle the wearer to a 15% discount on La Poutine Week specialties at selected participating restaurants. The kicker is that it may be used an unlimited amount of times throughout the week-long festival! La Passe Poutine will be available for purchase online or at the following locations: Miss Prêt à Manger (1104 Bleury Street), Chez Boris (5151 Parc Avenue), and People Mover Technologies Headquarters (485 McGill Street, suite 400). This homegrown phenomenon has grown into an international love of poutine, and “poutine week”… / Read More →

Vegetarian-friendly diners to try in Montréal

From high-end restaurants to local diners, Montréal’s culinary scene has it all. Some of our most famous and iconic restaurants don’t feature table linens and coat-checks, but are fun, laid-back affairs that sometimes don’t even have chairs. Hitting up our city’s famous “greasy spoons” for counter-top favourites like burgers and fries is an age old tradition, but what if you don’t eat meat?  Luckily, Montréal is home to a great variety of classic diners with awesome vegetarian options that will satiate your comfort-food cravings and won’t break the bank. Gibeau Orange Julep – 7700 Décarie Boulevard Although gone are the days of carhops and window-side service at the Orange Julep, “The Big Orange” remains a popular hangout. Here, vegetarian options, like veggie burgers and “Pogos” (what we call corndogs), go nicely with a tall frosty cup of Montréal’s famous julep. The pleasant doo-wop soundtrack played over loud speakers completes the wistful walk down memory lane. Restaurant L’Anecdote – 801 Rachel Street East A typical corner diner, L’Anecdote has a menu that not only consists of traditional “greasy-spoon” items like burgers and hot dogs, but also dishes that vegetarians can enjoy. Cases in point, veggie burgers with grilled tofu or a… / Read More →

Montréal seafood restaurants to try

Montréal is an island situated on the St. Lawrence Seaway, which connects the Great Lakes to the Atlantic Ocean. Thanks to this great connection, we are home to amazing restaurants that serve some of the greatest seafood the world has to offer. Here are some of my favourites. Maestro SVP – 3615 Saint-Laurent Boulevard Maestro SVP has been a seafood destination in Montréal for over 25 years. Renowned for their oysters, this restaurant proudly boasts serving the largest variety of oysters in the city. Their blackboard oyster menu often features roughly 20 (of over 100) different kinds of our favourite bi-valve mollusks at any given time. Be sure to check out their awesome all-you-can-eat mussels special on Sunday and Mondays and their happy hour oyster special. Chez Delmo – 275 Notre-Dame Street West Located in historic Old Montréal, Chez Delmo experienced a revival when current owners gave the 80-year-old space a facelift and ushered the restaurant into the 21st century with a re-envisioned modern decor and chic atmosphere. Chez Delmo takes pride in its culinary tradition, both in its classic preparation and presentation of its dishes. Try the signature Dover sole à la meunière, served with vegetables, tomato provençale and… / Read More →

A sampling of Montréal restaurants open on Christmas Day

During the holidays, December 25 is an important day for some, but an ordinary day for others. So if you observe Christmas or are just celebrating Friday this year, here are some of Montreal’s restaurants that will be open on December 25. Chez Lévêque – 1030 Laurier Avenue West Chez Lévêque has a Holiday Season Christmas Menu that features classic French dishes with a modern twist. With dishes like crispy veal sweetbreads and pan-seared scallops, celeriac mash, morel sauce and kale chips, if you weren’t sentimental about December 25 before, this may well inspire you. Vieux-Port Steakhouse – 39 Saint-Paul Street East Christmas day brunch is a tradition for many people and if you’re in town and want to keep the tradition going, visit this Old Port landmark, the Vieux-Port Steakhouse. From a classic “American Breakfast Station” to a meat station for prime roast beef, pasta and seafood, you can give the gift of a food-coma this year.   Verses Restaurant – 100 Saint-Paul Street West Another option for brunch on the 25th is at Verses Restaurant. Pick from dishes like a hearty Steak and Eggs Benedict with horseradish Hollandaise sauce, and Yorkshire pudding or a waffle slider with tomato… / Read More →