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!

Monday Motivation: Work Your Ass Off

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Today’s blog post is for the workers and creators. Those who realize that what they want will most likely not come handed to them on a silver platter without consequence. Opportunity is so beautiful, and is often easily taken for granted.

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On my trip to Berlin, I was especially inspired by the street art and the story behind the alternative culture and its resistance to gentrification. We visited Tacheles, a building that has played many roles in Berlin’s history: first as a department store in the Jewish Quarter before WWII, being used as a Nazi prison for part of the war and later becoming a mecca (and squat) for artists from all over the world.

This article, written around the closing of Tacheles, describes the culture better than I could.Tacheles closed on September 4, 2012. Tacheles Metallwerkstatt, a sculpture park behind the actual building, is still open and run by the artist association ArtProTacheles.

P1010797P1010798You don’t have to visit Tacheles to see art in Berlin – the streets are covered with inspiration from famous street artists, if you know where to look. And in every single post-up or tile you see, you can feel the passion behind the artist who put it there.

I came home from Berlin inspired to put the same passion into my every day. I’m lucky to work in a field that I love, and I want to make every moment count both at work and in my personal life.

Commence photo drop. The quality isn’t top notch on all of the photos, but I hope you enjoy:

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Monday Motivation and My Favorite San Diego Photos

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Happy Monday morning! I saw the above quote on Pinterest this morning, and thought it was more than appropriate in my quest to teach myself photography. I had a passion for the art in high school, but was easily frustrated and gave up too soon. I’m ecstatic to be picking up the hobby again, and to share my journey of learning with you.

I promised in my last post to share my favorite shots from my recent trip to San Diego. These will of course exclude the shots of food, since they’re all in that Foodie Friday post. I consider myself a complete amateur, so bear with me! This will be fun to look back on in a few months, or at least I hope it will. I love how little everyday things are so different on the West coast from the East. I was completely fascinated by the gardens in my sister’s neighborhood, so brace yourself for a lot of flowers and weird plants, and of course a few fun vacation shots. I hope you enjoy!

P1000220Old Town during the holidays at night

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More Old Town

P1000236A shelf in a shop in Old Town

P1000266My beautiful sister

P1000304My sister’s awesome fiance

P1000291Their adorable pup, Onyx

P1000324A ferry docked on Coronado Island, with a view of downtown San Diego in the background

P1000350Birds of Paradise

P1000367Part of a garden in my sister’s neighborhood

P1000373Does anyone know what kind of flower this is?

P1000384Or what this is?

P1000386A family photo taken while walking Onyx

P1000395Magnolias are gorgeous even after their petals have fallen

P1000409My favorite photo from the trip – this shot made the cost of my new camera worth it to me.

P1000416Onyx making friends – this is Smiles

P1000442And this is my new duck friend – notice he is staring right at me

P1000443Duck hanging out in Balboa Park

P1000449Performer in Balboa Park

P1000464I love parrots. This Macaw was gorgeous (Balboa Park)

P1000487My sister and I by the Dr. Suess Christmas tree

P1000513Poor quality, but these poodles are wearing sunglasses and visors!

P1000558Coronado Island

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Sand dunes on Coronado Island

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Sand dunes on Coronado Island

P1000600My sister and I

P1000603…being silly

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…more silly

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❤ sisters

Feel free to critique! It was an amazing trip, and I hope that I captured some of the special moments. I used to feel that if I was taking photos I wasn’t experiencing real moments, but I this this trip has taught me otherwise. In a few short weeks I will be snapping away in Zurich and Berlin. I can’t wait!