Hot Chocolate, Cafe Mocha, Cafe Latte, and Croissant – Essential Food Groups

The experience of a good cup of hot chocolate, cafe mocha or cafe latte is one that warms the body and nourishes the tired soul. If you add a croissant to the mix, then I am golden. It is my ideal breakfast. I am definitely biased. I like European hot chocolate that is made from chunks of dark chocolate. I like the European cafe mocha for the same reason. It has the actual chocolate in the drink. Cafe latte, on the other hand, gives you that nice cozy milky feeling that you had after playing in the snow and coming back into the house.

While I was in Montreal, I had two separate but equally excellent delicious experience with these essential food groups.

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These are two large bowls of cafe latte and a small cup of hot chocolate from Boulangerie Première Moisson in Montreal

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I like their tag line – “Truly Authentic!” Think about this: How many people do you know that are truly and authentically pursuing what they love and being who they are? How many people do you know that are just stuck in the conventional box of cultural norms and expectations? The transformation process to become truly authentic starts with your latte and croissants!!

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This is the said croissant from Boulangerie Première Moisson. It was flaky, buttery and fine.

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This is the best cup of cafe mocha for me after spending a day at the cafe for the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts. I saw the young girl painstakingly shaved chocolate slivers into my drink.

These experiences took place at

Boulangerie Première Moisson and

CAFÉ DES BEAUX-ARTS

384 Sherbrooke Street West

Montreal, Canada

 

Le Nil Bleu Ethiopian Restaurant in Montreal – A Restaurant with an Identity Crisis

Le Nil Bleu, or the Blue Nile Ethiopian restaurant in Montreal is a vegetarian friendly and swanky place, serving typical Ethiopian dishes. Located at the bottom of a boutique hotel, the restaurant has a hotel lobby feel – there are a lot of super white sofas used as dinning chairs, miscellaneously placed sculpture and palm trees that block the walkway. It was also difficult to see the food because the lighting was minimal and sometimes blue.  I believe the restaurant suffered from an identify crisis.  But we went for it anyway.

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We ordered from the tasting menu with options of various appetizers. From the left to the right: filet mignon tartar,  caramelized veggies with yellow lentils, zucchini with tomato salad in Alicha sauce.  The presentation was nice. The three dishes tasted average.

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For our main entrée, from six o’clock going clock wise, we have Yatakelt Watt, Doro Watt, Yemesser Watt, Yekik Alicha, the same tomato salad from the appetizer again and then the injera.

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This is the honey wine that is supposed to be a dessert at the end of the meal. It was ok but nothing to get excited by.

Now thinking back, this was a very sub-optimal experience. They messed up on our order and gave us the wrong entrée. We had to wait for a long time when the restaurant was not full. The tomato salad showed up twice between the course and the waitress never communicated that to us. Their tasting menu was extremely confusing and we heard other tables asking the same questions as we did.  A bit disappointed because I love Ethiopian food.

It was not good eating. Thumbs down.  😦

This experience took place at

Le Nil Bleu

3706 Rue Saint-Denis
Montréal, QC H2X 3L7, Canada
+1 514-285-4628

Philosophy of Oysters: “Why Then World’s Mine Oyster” William Shakespeare

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“If life is like a box of chocolates, then heaven is an oyster.”

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“Then the world’s mine oyster.”

La Boite Huitres, The Oyster Box, at the Marché Jean-Talon in Montreal

La Boite Huitres, The Oyster Box, at the Marché Jean-Talon in Montreal is where we had a box of delicious oysters. Oysters are the candy of the sea and the sensation you get is indescribable.  La Boite Huitres says that each oyster lover has his/her oyster G spot that can only be achieved when he/she meets the right #oyster.

I am still trying to figure out what type of oysters I am in love with. Right now, I am pretty indiscriminate. I like everything from both coasts, most of the time. But I am slowly finding out that I may prefer the salty, the seawater, the taste of the raw and not the creamy, such as the Kumamotos.
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Here is the box of Explorer we had. We sat at the counter in a late October afternoon.  It was cold and the oysters felt even colder. But we were so happy to try these oysters.
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Kusshi from British Columbia is our favorite, clean and a little creamy.
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Kelly Gigas from Ireland was fine, more grown up and stronger in taste.
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Glacier Bay was clean and brought both the sweet and the salty.
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Colville Bay was not terribly memorable, unfortunately.
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Wellfleet oysters were meaty and reminded me of the Vikings.
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Aftermath: We polished off a dozen of oysters in less than 10 mins. Highly recommended!!

This experience took place at

La Boite Huitres, The Oyster Box

Marché Jean-Talon
Montreal, Quebec H2S 2W1
+1 514-277-7575

Qui lait cru !?! Fromagerie Whose Milk !?! In Montreal

Qui lait cru !?! Fromagerie is a fromagerie that we frequent when we are in Montreal. It is located inside the Jean-Taon Market place. It’s an artisanal cheese shop that sells cheese from goat, sheep and cow. One can sample any one of their cheese before purchase. They carry an incredible number of cheese from the Quebec region and around the world (mostly French and Spanish).

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Look at their signs – how cute! Do you have a preference for type of cheese you like? Cow’s milk? Sheep’s milk? Or goat’s milk? Personally, I am diverse but prefers a semi-soft cheese from cows with a nice crust that is not too stinky.

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There is usually a long line to the store and you go around their u-shaped cheese cases, trying whatever cheese you desire. One particular cheese I had this time had a crust that is washed by Chardonnay, Merlot and sea salt. Mmm.

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Interestingly when we asked the cheese monger, a young man in his 20’s hailing from Northern Quebec where only cows roam (his words, not mine), to recommend something to us. He asked us where we are from and quickly went to raw milk cheese or “illegal” cheese in New York. 🙂 The recommended cheese was excellent. I wish we would loosen up our regulations to let in more delicious cheese.

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Here is our loot, a combination of hard and semi-soft cheese with half kilo of Gruyere from Switzerland. It was a very happy day indeed. 🙂 Highly recommend. It’s worth the 6-hour trip from New York.

This experience took place at

Qui lait cru Fromagerie
7070 avenue Henri-Julien
Montreal, Quebec h2s 3s3
+1 514-272-0300

Best Classic Crepe, Crepe Sucre, in Montreal

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Simply the best sugar crepe in Montreal. 🙂

Simplement la meilleure crêpe au sucre de Montréal.

See a more comprehensive review of the creperie click here.

Voyez un point de vue plus compréhensif de la crêperie, cliquer si-dessus.

This crepe was made by crepe master Vartan at La Crepe 2Go.

Cette crêpe a été faite par le maitre des crêpes, Vartan, à la Crêpe 2Go.

La Crêpe 2go
2150 Rue de Bleury, Montréal, QC H3A, Canada
+1 514-987-6060

Merguez Sandwiches at the Jean-Talon Market in Montreal: Boucherie An-Nasr

I was introduced to the merguez sausages years ago in Marrakech. Merguez is a sausage made from a combination of lamb and beef, originated from North Africa and has since became very popular in France. The type that I really love is the Algerian merguez which is spicy and gives out a smoky mutton flavor. I have now put merguez on my last meal list.

Because Montreal is highly French, this is where I get my merguez fill. I found this sandwich place at the Jean-Talon Market place. Although it is called Boucherie An-Nasr, it is only a sandwich place as far as I can tell. I also figured out where they get their merguez links – that butcher shop will be featured in an upcoming post.

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A good look at the sandwich: two links of merguez, tomatoes, lettuce, olives, onions and some of their special sauce in a baguette, panini style.  The whole ensemble sings!

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Here is another look at the sandwich plus the fries. The fries are nothing special but the merguez is truly the hero and worthy of a 6-hour-drive from NY to Montreal.

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Here are the beautiful additions to the sandwich.

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This sandwich shop also carries a variety of spices, jams, and tea with Arabic writing. I would very much like to try them all slowly, one by one.

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I cannot stress how much love I have for this sausage. It is just me. 🙂 Please check out this little shop if you are ever in the area. The owners are rather nice – the last time I was there, I had a pleasant conversation/debate on whether Montreal is truly a bilingual city. The company is as good as their merguez sausage.

This experience took place at

Boucherie An-Nasr
250 Place du Marché-du-Nord
Montreal, QC H2S 1A1
Phone number (514) 278-2424