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MONTREAL RESTAURANTS IN THE NEWS

I’ve always been impressed by how often Montreal and its food scene popped up in The New York Times and other publications I like to read – but recently things seem to have kicked up a notch. All of a sudden, local chefs and restaurants are being written up seemingly everywhere, so much so that I had to ask myself why…

LA FETE DE LA GASTRONOMIE IN MONTREAL

The Fete de la Gastronomie (or “Gastronomic Party”) is all of a sudden a big deal in France. In a country where pretty much everything is a reason to party, the first annual Fete de la Gastronomie was declared in France this year as a yearly event, to celebrate the inclusion of the traditional French gastronomic meal in UNESCO’s Cultural Heritage of Humanity…

AFFORDABLY CLASSY TEA SERVICE AT LE RENOIR

Sometimes all one craves is a little nibble. After a day of sight-seeing, city-strolling, shopping, spa-going, or museum-visiting (all in one day if you’re lucky), I need a refuel. A bit of something sweet, a taste of something savoury, plus a hit of caffeine and I’m good to go ‘til dinner. Just recently I discovered the perfect spot to satiate a late afternoon hunger. Here’s the lowdown on high tea service in the heart of downtown…

ESCAPE TO QUEBEC’S EASTERN TOWNSHIPS

Quebec’s Eastern Townships (known in French as Les Cantons de l’est) have been a travelers’ refuge for centuries- once a destination for homesteading British Empire loyalists in the 1880s, and again a hub for the 1970s-era peace-and-love crowd from over the border in New Hampshire, Vermont and Maine. An hour outside of Montreal, the area boasts sweeping vistas and rolling grasslands, cooling rivers and sparkling lakes, and is sought-after land for agricultural producers, artists and others that make this historical and gorgeous region a rich destination on its own, and a more-than-ideal spot for travelers to spend a night or two on a cross-border road trip to Montreal…

MONTREAL OYSTERFEST: SHUCKERS, CHEFS, BANDS AND WINE

Montreal’s not a place you’d associate with premium oysters and seriously good shuckers? Well, think again… and if you’re in town on Sunday, September 11, prepare to be pleasantly suprised at the third annual Montreal Oysterfest. The nearest sea may be hundreds of miles away but this is, after all, a food-crazed town where locals have a special weakness for all things served on crushed ice, from the insanely good snowcrab legs at Garde Manger to the exquisite urchins and mussels sourced locally and served at the Brasserie T! (when in season) – not to mention the top-notch oysters at Joe Beef and L’Orignal…

QUEER OF THE YEAR 2011: DAY 5

Talent. It comes in many shapes and many forms. For the Queer of the Year Talent challenge they had to put their culinary skills to the test. Now, not everyone is a chef. But they got detailed instructions with the help from Grumman 78’s Gaelle and Marc. Who was named champion in the queerest Iron Chef competition? Watch the video, and read on to get all the dirty details….

LAURIER GORDON RAMSAY OPENS IN MONTREAL

Yup, got a little crush on Gordon Ramsay. If you, too, are a fan of the celebrity chef, you probably know that he recently opened a restaurant right here in Montreal, in my Outremont-hood, no less. It’s called Laurier Gordon Ramsay – “Laurier” because it’s on Laurier Avenue, and “Gordon Ramsay” because, well, you know…

GRUMMAN 78: MONTREAL’S FAMOUS TACO TRUCK

In my neighbourhood, people really look forward to the weekend these days for yet another reason: Grumman ’78 tacos. Indeed, these tacos, which are now famous thanks to a Bastille day visit from Anthony Bourdain (more on this later), mostly exist as transient foodstuffs, sold out of their picaresque truck during most of the city’s major festivals. Otherwise, you gotta be in the right place at the right time…

QUARTIER DES SPECTACLES: WHERE TO EAT

Montreal becomes Festival Central every summer, its streets permanently animated by crowds and performances. At the heart of it all is the always-lively Quartier des Spectacles, or Show District, which is anchored by a public esplanade where many of Montreal’s free shows are held. The Jazz Fest may be wrapping up, but the party keeps going when the Just for Laughs festival takes over downtown…

MONTREAL’S BEST RESTAURANT PATIOS

When it comes to restaurant patios in Montreal (known here as terrasses), there are really two different sorts. The front patios, which are basically extensions of the restaurant itself, on which diners can eat their meals while watching the world go by (and the world, in turn, watches their meals while going by). Otherwise, you have the back patios, the inner sanctums of a restaurant where kitchen secrets bloom in private. Sitting on a restaurant’s back patio is a chance to access a leafy secret garden of bliss at the back end of a favourite dining spot. Below, we’ve picked the gold-medal standard of both front and back patios in Montreal, as well as a few alternates.