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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.

LE CARTET: CASUAL LUNCH IN A GOURMET BOUTIQUE

Like any other well-touristed neighbourhood in the world, Old Montreal has its fair share of traps serving overpriced and mediocre food to unknowing travellers. A tell-tale sign one should always steer clear of: plasticized menus with faded photos of the dishes. The good news is that those places are outnumbered by lovely restaurants and cafés that showcase the best this city can offer – you just have to know where to go…

SUMMER AT JEAN-TALON MARKET

Locals know that a summer stroll around Montreal’s markets is not only a chance to connect local farms to your table, it’s also a chance for us to check each other out in the long-awaited sunshine…

DINNER IN THE SKY: MONTREAL

Dinner in the Sky, the “ultimate patio”, is exactly what it sounds like: a full, gourmet dinner served 50 metres above Old Montreal. We sent our brave cameraman to investigate…

FABULOUS TERRACES OF THE GAY VILLAGE

If you’ve been to the Gay Village in this past week, chances are you’ve noticed the jaw-dropping decorations of Aires Libres 2011 (unless you walk using your face). 170,000 pink resin balls create a dream-like canopy that stretches the 1.2 kilometers between Berri and Papineau. They provide the perfect ambiance to kicking back and relaxing on one of the many patios of the Gay Village…