Foodie Friday: Three Good Reasons to go to Montreal

A few weeks back Jamie and I took a long-weekend trip to Montreal to celebrate our five years together, and to eat. A lot. Here are the highlights:

Joe Beef

Joe Beef, Montreal

Photo courtesy of Ashley B. on Yelp

We first heard of Joe Beef from CNN’s Anthony Bourdain Parts Unknown, where Bourdain was joined by Joe Beef’s Dave McMillan and Fred Morin, collectively eating ALL the foie gras. The entire episode is pure decadence, and would motivate you to travel 370 miles as well.

As soon as we booked our flights I reserved Friday dinner here. Three weeks away, and all I could get were two seats at the bar! This wound up being better in the end. Joe Beef’s menu is ever-changing, written on a chalkboard on the wall (in French). The friendly bartended read us the entire menu, sharing recommendations as he went.  We ordered:

  • The freshest oysters I have ever tasted
  • Two appetizers – the famous foie gras double down (half order), a menu staple consisting of two fried pieces of foie gras with bacon and maple syrup sandwiched between; and a shredded turkey leg concoction that was reshaped around a bone to look like a drumstick.I could have stopped here and been satisfied. The foie gras was out of this world. Life changing. I am so lucky that I do not live in Montreal, I would turn into a foie gras double down
  • For entrees, I had veal scaloppini and Jamie had the half hen. Both came with generous sides of rice, mashed potatoes and seasonal veggies. The veal was a bit salty, but everything else was perfect

The courses were well-paced, and the bartender informed us that the restaurant allots at least three hours for each reservation. A refreshing and leisurely experience for us New Yorkers! Three hours later, the friendly barkeep gave us some maple sorbet to finish, and we were on our way.

Liverpool House

menu at Liverpool House

the ever-changing menu board, photo courtesy of Jennifer K. on Yelp

Liverpool House is the sister restaurant to Joe Beef, and all-in-all isn’t much different. The ingredients seemed to have a more Italian influence, but the fresh chalk-board format and overall feel were the same. We came into Liverpool House with a strategy, ordering much lighter appetizers: clams casino and tripe. Jamie had never had tripe before, and I had bad memories of a chewy substance in tomato sauce, but this was not the case at Liverpool House. The tripe was melt-in-your mouth good, and the sauce was so flavorful. A definite favorite and all the couples around us ordered it after seeing ours come out of the kitchen!

For dinner we thought we were being savvy ordering the lamb for two, in light of the overwhelming portions at Joe Beef the night before. Boy, were we wrong. What emerged from the kitchen could have easily fed a family of four. The meat was tender and perfect, and it came with a large dish of seasonal veggies. After that it was more sorbet, and off to some bars to wash it all down.

Pro tip: try the Joe Beef Pilsner, very crisp and refreshing, and only available at Joe Beef, Liverpool House and a couple of other local spots.

Lawrence

We had been having low-key breakfasts at our hotel all weekend, so on our last day in town we decided to find a nice Sunday brunch spot. I found Lawrence on Yelp and we headed to Mile End. The neighborhood looked deserted when we arrived, but we quickly realized that everyone was at Lawrence already. We waited patiently in a café across the street, and a quick 45 minutes later we had the option of a seat at the bar, or a cozy 4-seater in the corner next to two girls fervently gossiping in French. We’re no strangers to close dining quarters, and chose the table.

Jamie and I quickly ordered some Bloody Marys (hair of the dog), and I insisted that we start by sharing a scone with jam and clotted cream.

After putting the order in, our eyes simultaneously wandered over to the bar (probably impatiently awaiting our drinks), and landed on…Spiderman! I was SO close to being seated right next to Tobey Maguire. There’s something so much more exciting about seeing a celebrity outside of NYC, and I was instantly annoyed at our seating choice. The Bloody Marys and scone made up for it though, two good decisions outweighing the bad one.

For mains I ordered kedgeree, a fried rice dish with ham, plum tomatoes, hard boiled eggs and other goodies all mixed together. It was savory and comforting. Jamie ordered something similar that had shredded meat (pulled pork maybe?), potatoes, hard boiled eggs, and a delicious sardine sauce. This might have been better than New York brunch. Just maybe.

Kedegree at Lawrence, Montreal

Kedegree, photo courtesy of Laura M. on Yelp

So, all in all, if you’re looking to eat your way through a city, Montreal is a fantastic contender. Of course there are also photos and other highlights of the trip, which I will share in future posts, now that I’m done gushing over the food.

Happy Friday!

Foodie Friday: Is Instagram Making Me Fat?

After receiving criticism for my social “foodspiration” photos at every family gathering I’ve attended since joining Instagram 18 months ago, I could not hold back an enormous eye-roll today while reading a Gothamist article on a study reporting that Instagramming photos of your food could lead to an unhealthy food obsession.

Gothamist reported, “The study, which was presented at the Canadian Obesity Summit in Vancouver this week and titled “Food Fetish: Society’s Complicated Relationship with Food,” suggests that some people who take photos of most of their meals do so because food plays a big role in their lives—this, in turn, could lead them to develop unhealthy eating habits and weight problems.

I’ll be the first to admit that food plays an important role in my life. Food fuels my energy for every day’s activities – of course it’s important! And living in a city like New York, it’s hard not to get excited at the newest trend in burgers or donuts, or the next big restaurant opening. Some may frown at indulging in these things; God forbid we celebrate with a cupcake or considering a glass of wine a reward after a long week.

Though, I’d like to think that my social posts are more motivating towards healthy habits. I drink homemade juices almost weekly, and dabble in predominately veggie recipes quite often. But, knowing that my Instagram isn’t exactly my food journal, this Gothamist article got me thinking – is my Instagram as healthy as I’d like to think I am?

I did some data mining and it appears I have 288 photos posted to date, 78 of which are food related. So I’m not completely antisocial, and I don’t have a relationship going with my daily lunch menu. That’s good, right?

Of my food photos, I would classify 28 as being super healthy, with juices, smoothies and salads being the healthiest posts.

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Twenty posts are neither healthy nor unhealthy, just amazingly delicious foods or interesting photos. I classified most home-cooked meals and things like sushi here –I thought these foods were healthy in moderation.

Thirty-one photos could classify as fat-kid-special, but more than half of these were photos of alcoholic beverages – 18 photos depicted Bloody Marys, quality beers and vino. photoHighlights from the remaining 13 “unhealthy” eats include rare indulgences like Shake Shack, Serendipity ice cream, and In-N-Out Burger. Holy cholesterol.

So how would I grade my Instagram? Balanced. And I think balanced is healthy. What do you think, is your Instagram making you fat? Is MY Instagram making you fat?

Awkward & Awesome Thursday: A Period of Transition

Well hello there! It has certainly been and awkward and awesome past few weeks. I am in a bit of a transition, so haven’t had too much time in front of the computer outside of office hours.

Last week I had dinner with a friend, and we wound up discussing how our twenties feel like an awkwardly constant transition. I found myself embracing this notion, saying that this is how things are supposed to be. By the end of dinner, I think we both walked away with a feeling of confidence in the unknown. As long as each “next step” makes a little more sense than the last, I think it is safe to say we’re moving forward.

Tomorrow marks the close of a short chapter in my journey. On Monday, I will return to the company I left only six months ago. I could not be happier; I feel like I am going home.

On a lighter note, here are the awkward and awesome occurrences of the last few weeks.

AWKWARD

  • As you might know, I currently take the bus to work. Even though I could take the select bus I take the local for two reasons:1) it’s closer to my apartment by a whole two blocks 2) it’s less crowded and I can sit and read my nook. Yes friends, I am a very lazy girl at eight in the morning. Anyway, that isn’t even what is awkward. Starting about two weeks ago, they turned off the flashing blue lights on the select bus. One local bus runs to about every three or four select buses. Usually I know when I see the bus five blocks away if it is one that I can get on or not, but now I am left with false, high hopes when I see a bus in the distance. It isn’t until the bus is right in front of me that I realize that I have to stand in the cold for longer, because of my illogical laziness.
  • Every girl I know is on Weight Watchers. I’m sure it’s awesome and it works and all that great stuff−because so many people wouldn’t be on it if it didn’t−but good God I feel like a fatty. Tuesday night I went out to dinner with three ladies who are all on WW, and they decided to split a panini and a wrap between the three of them. They were concerned about splitting something cut in half between three people, so they proceeded to order both sandwiches “cut in three, or not cut at all.” That poor waiter was so confused I thought his head was going to spin and fly across the room. I kept it simple with a smoothie, but forgot to ask my girls how many points I was consuming. If you are also on Weight Watchers (oh, I bet you are!), you should read a lovely little blog called City Skinny Life. I read it even though I’m not on the plan, because she goes to lots of my favorite NYC spots.
  • My birthday is on Superbowl Sunday (this Sunday).  I can’t remember if I shared this already, but as you know, I’m lazy, so I’m not going to check back-posts. You can let me air my frustrations again, or you can move on to the “AWESOME” section. I was a cheerleader for 11 years, but no, I do not watch football regularly. I don’t even know who is playing on Sunday, and I do not appreciate that my friends will likely “take it easy” Saturday night to prep for the big game, and that my brother will likely not even acknowledge my birthday day-of. The last time this happened (my 21st birthday), I tried to embrace it and get my friends together at our college’s sports bar for the game. Epic fail. Happy 21st birthday, Christina, you have three friends who like you more than they like football. This time around I will not try to compete with the game. Thank goodness for boyfriends who don’t care about football either – they make it all okay.

AWESOME

  • Influenster is at it again – they sent me three huge bottles of  Palmolive® Fresh Infusions™.  They smell so good! I gave my favorite one (Lime Basil) to a friend at work, and tried the other two (Lemon Thyme, and Ginger White Tea) at home. First impression? These soaps are super bubbly. I loved that I didn’t have to keep going back for more when tackling my dirty dishes. I washed my hands with the soap too, and it wasn’t harsh or drying (and my hands smelled hella good). I’d definitely spend $2.99 to get some more.
    Palmolive (1)
  • This BuzzFeed post on the 17 things that all New Yorkers fear. So true! Especially numbers four and six.
  • The Meatball Shop. I’ve mentioned, I know. I love this place so damn much. I’m doing a Skillshare class called Show Us Your Balls: Meatball Making with The Meatball Shop. So far I’ve watched some training videos from Meatball Shop co-founder and executive chef Daniel Holzman, and I will perfect the art of the meatball! Awkward fun fact? When I got veggie balls during my two-week vegetarian stint recently, I chose the pesto sauce, which is apparently served cold. Someone with me motioned for the closest staff member and asked him to microwave the balls, to which he responded, “we don’t have a microwave,” and continued to justify why I should enjoy my cold balls. I’m 90 percent sure that man was Daniel Holzman. I love him a little.

Foodie Friday: San Diego Food Photos

Happy Friday! I came home Monday night from a long weekend in San Diego, and still have not caught up with my blogging or sleep schedules! I took so many photos with my new camera, and I’m so excited to share them with you. Since today is Foodie Friday, I’m going to post some of my favorite food photos from the trip. I promise to share the rest over the weekend!

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Amazing seafood at Blue Water: grilled calamari appetizer//seared ahi tuna platter//swordfish platter//the best damn tuna melt ever

P1000280P1000287Wedding cake tasting at Babycakes: before and after

P1000276Red velvet pancakes at Babycakes (these were not ours, they just looked so perfect that I snapped a shot while the ‘owner’ wasn’t looking!)

P1000236Taffy in a store in Old Town

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Uhhhmazing Chilean sea bass at Peohe’s on Coronado Island

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…and the obligatory In-N-Out Burger

There are a few more photos still on my camera (including scrumptious pumpkin spice pancakes), but I’m sure I’ve given you enough to make your mouth water at this point.