Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The Hintonburg Public House

This new gem describes itself as the type of place where you'll feel right at home, and I have to agree. After our first visit late Saturday for a night cap, it took less than 5 days before we craved a return visit. This time though, we tried the food.

Along with my Malbec (the only non-Ontario wine on the menu – I know-I know, it's not that I'm not a fan! I'm saving the Southbrook Cab Merlot for my next visit) I shared two apps and a main with my husband.

We started off with the deliciously cured trout with Brussels sprout leaves, cubed pickled beets, capers and malt vinaigrette. So delicate and yummy.

And the squash galette, held together by a light and flaky crust. The best part of this dish? Slivers of caramelized fennel sprinkled on top.

I didn't get a shot of the main we shared, so sad, I started into the dish way too fast. What about a picture my husband belted out. Crap! I couldn't respond as my mouth was full of lightly battered crispy cod. It took all of me to share the English curry mayo that was served alongside. And the fries, mmmm, cooked to perfection.

I bet I won't last another 5 days before returning, even if only for the bar snacks (pickled egg, spiced chicken livers, beer nuts, cheeses). It's rare a restaurant this new would get me this excited from the get-go. I can only imagine what this place will be like 6 months from now. I love the atmosphere and the service is fantastic. If I could change one thing (and a friend we ran into made the same comment) – dimmer lights, and louder music. Otherwise, we've got the beginning of and long and beautiful friendship!

1020 Wellington Street West, Ottawa

The Hintonburg Public House on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Middle Eastern Bison Meatballs with Cilantro-Yogurt Sauce

If the title of this post doesn't get you drooling, try walking into a house where these have been cooking. One of the most amazing dishes I've ever had, combining 2 of my favourite ingredients – bison and cilantro.

My husband got the recipe from I love that site. And of course, I love my husband who chooses the best recipes to work from.

Mmm, fennel, cumin and coriander seeds, getting toasted for the cilantro sauce that the bison will eventually bathe in.

Alongside this heavenly concoction my husband served a radish, arugula and mint salad – absolute perfection.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Mother and Child Reunion

I love Saturday mornings because I love breakfast and my husband has all the time in the world to cook it for me! A bed of spinach, leftover ham and cheese stuffed chicken, and poached eggs all doused in a blanket of sinful hollandaise sauce and sprinkled with green onion. THIS is heaven.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Mmmmmm Sausage

As she does every year, one of my coworkers Jenn makes sausages with her family. They've been doing it for a very long time. And this year, for the first time without the help from her grandmother, actually spent a full 8 hours making these delectable, pork-and-garlic-filled tubes of goodness.

A special main ingredient deserves a special recipe, and my husband did not fail on that part! After barbecuing the sausage and slicing them, he mixed them with boiled red potatoes and celery root, mashed into and with green onion, flat leaf parsley and cornichons. For the dressing he mixed together dijon, brine from the cornichons and olive oil.

Sunday, November 20, 2011


It's menus filled with goodies like these that make going to a place like this with a few friends so fun. The more you are the more you get to try. Although we were only 4, there was enough of us to get through quite a few of the starter entrées. Too bad I only took a couple photos.

We started off with fresh shucked oysters from New Brunswick. Then came the steak tartare with shaved parm, house pickles (amazing), and fresh horseradish. And the BC Albacore tuna tartare with avocado, fingerling potato chips and soya glaze. I point out the pickles because they were the tastiest accompaniments on the plate. Unfortunately I was disappointed with both tartares as they lacked in flavour. Luckily the horseradish on the side helped kick up the steak.

We also ordered the beet salad with apple, walnuts and smoked cheddar foam. And the Ceasar salad, so yummy with pancetta, parmesan, croutons and XV olive oil.

Another winner was the crispy braised octopus with smoked paprika, Portuguese chouriço and burnt honey. And the BC spot prawn with parm and chives on fresh pasta was such a treat, I don't remember the last time I had pasta that good.

And of course, with all these lovely dishes, you need an equally pleasing wine. First we had the 2008 Laughing Stock Vineyards Blind Trust, followed by Coudoulet de Beaucastel Côtes-du-Rhone.

This restaurant is a great escape for a fun night out. The outstanding interior with their large window and stone walls make you feel like you're in a fairy tale. We were lucky to get a table next to the fireplace as well. And I must say, the people watching is pretty interesting too.

18 York Street, Ottawa

Restaurant Eighteen on Urbanspoon

Back Lane Café

I've been wanting to try this place out since they opened. The rustic and warm decor inside is just so inviting. Although I was thinking my first visit would be for dinner, I'm not disappointed at all that it ended up being for breakfast. In fact, I will probably return again and again for this same dish.

My friend Amy and I started out sharing the poached pear in maple syrup. For some reason, I expected the pear to be warm but it wasn't. It was good cold, but I still think it would have been better heated.

The corned beef hash was the jaw-dropper. Delicious chunks of meat, potato and onion topped with poached eggs and a spicy salsa. I did not want this meal to end. Both Amy and I opted for this after listening to the drool-worthy description our waiter gave us.

Service was great, food very yummy and prices a little higher than I would expect for breakfast. The poached pear was $6 and the hash $14. I had also looked at the eggs benedict at first which was listed at $16. I can't wait to come back for dinner!

1087 Wellington Street West, Ottawa

Back Lane Cafe on Urbanspoon

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Les Fougères Menu Dégustation

Les Fougères' tasting menu is worth it for this one dish. Salt cod ravioli and panfried Arctic char served on lobster bisque sauce. Heaven.

783 route 105, Chelsea QC

Restaurant Les Fougères on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Happy Birthday Edgar!

(Thanks for the photo Rémi!)

Last night I had the pleasure of ringing in Edgar's first year anniversary. Actually when I think about it, it's hard to believe it's ONLY been a year. I feel like this place has been open forever. And if you look at how successful Edgar has been over the past year, it's obvious that the clientèle feel that way too. It took no time for Marysol and her team to build a strong following, and with good reason – the food is absolutely amazing and straight from the heart.

And to celebrate her 1st year of tirelessly serving up the most decadent treats, it didn't surprise me that she would do the same last night – heavenly bites of polenta with pulled pork and tomato chutney, sinful candied pork belly, pogos with a mustard seed dipping sauce, edgar bars, and the most amazing dessert ever – vanilla ice cream with banana fritter and fried chicken skin – AMAZING.

We also picked up her limited edition calendar featuring all the beautiful hard working staff that make our visits so special. Rémi Thériault did the outstanding shots, and Simon (also known as the yummiest cappuccino-maker ever) the unique design. Best of all, money collected from the calendar going to charity.

Congratulations Marysol!!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Great Fuschian Article

Ok, it's been a couple weeks since this article was posted but I had to make note of it. It's a fantastic write-up about one of my favourite places in the whole world. An and Tom Trinh have been making my Sunday nights special since they opened. I can't go a week without a meal from here. In fact, some weeks I'll poke my head in even 2 or 3 times! (Usually when my husband is out of town and not cooking for me).

Check it out (if you haven't already):

They've even got a sneak peak into the tiny kitchen where all the magic happens. As well as some yummy recipes to try at home. Knowing myself though, I'll just go there to get it. I can't do it the justice that Tom does.

If you've never been, you're missing out on some heartwarming service and delicious food. This is my usual, shrimp vermicelli and spring rolls - drool!

726 Somerset Street West, Ottawa

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Lamb and Figs

My husband is the KING in the kitchen. I think I've said that many times before. As I sat watching him prepare this dish, my jaw dropped in awe and drool forming, I thought to myself – would I ever get this good in the kitchen? The answer, probably not. I don't have the patience.

After inserting the rosemary through the figs like a skewer, my husband sprinkled the figs with olive oil and salt and placed them on the grill. They were cooked beautifully. As was the lamb, tzatziki sauce and grilled asparagus that accompanied these purple round delights. Mmmmmm.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Where to Eat Right Now

As if the choices weren't tough enough! But thanks to Ottawa Magazine, at least you can narrow down the choices – somewhat. And Shawna Wagman's delectable descriptions will have you running out the door to one of these culinary havens.

Ideas on the plate is the title that represents—what seems to be—the food places that really matter in this city right now. In saying that though, there's a few restaurants I'm surprised didn't make the list. Then again, if any of the 10 listed didn't, I'd be surprised as well. Sucks when you have to limit things!

Magazine hits the streets next week, (or Britton's in the Glebe right now). I'll bet a droplet of drool will hit the first page. Chris Lalonde's images are truly tantalizing.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Best Poutine in the World

To say that we had an incredible weekend would be an understatement. As usual, our friends Marc and Zoya outdid themselves with their genuine hospitality. And Zoya even more so in the kitchen.

It all started out with this rich and comforting dish. Homemade poutine, in a healthier and more delicious format. First, potato, quartered and roasted to perfection. A layer of healthy greens made their way next, followed by slivers of red onion and large chunks of Quebec cheese curds. The topper (literally) - a heavenly gravy made solely of mushrooms (picked from their own backyard), grilled onions and red wine reduction blended until velvety. This is one dish that must be made again, very soon! Oh, and alongside was some roasted heirloom carrots.

Menus that followed were croque-monsieurs, complete with egg, avocado, arugula, tomato, a sprinkling of basil and sharp melted and crusty cheddar. We even added a dollop of Marc's family's Portuguese hot sauce. Amazing.

Dinner on day two was sesame crusted, seared tuna with a side asian salad of slivered beets and heirloom carrots.

And before leaving the next morning, savoury ploy pancakes in which we carefully wrapped warm candied apples and then topped with molasses and shredded sharp cheddar. Alongside, homemade beans that had been slow-cooking all night. Nothing could erase my smile after this.

To leave after a weekend of pampering like that is just, well, probably one of the most difficult things to do. Thanks so much you guys! Once again, you totally outdid yourselves!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Pho Van Van

I love Vietnamese food. And I regularly daydream about rice noodles. Sounds odd I know, I'm just being totally honest here. So on a Tuesday, when a lot Vietnamese restaurants are closed and I'm having a major craving, Pho Van Van is there, ready to please.

I don't blog every time I go out for Vietnamese because I'd be doing it way too often and talking about the same thing every time. I rarely stray from my favourite rice paper shrimp rolls with peanut sauce and bun with either shrimp or spring rolls.

Everything was fresh and delicious. The one thing I do need to point out though was the crispness of the spring rolls. I don't think I've ever had a spring roll so perfectly crispy. Yum!

93 Holland Ave, Ottawa

Pho Van Van on Urbanspoon

Saturday, October 15, 2011

New Menu at The Whalesbone

This past week a list of heavenly dishes was created. If you've not yet been to the Whalesbone, what the heck are you waiting for!? Not only are Charlotte's delectable creations absolutely amazing and worth the trip alone, it's also the last menu that will ever be put together by this culinary goddess. Yes, it's true, the big city of Toronto has finally come to scoop her up and whisk her away. And I'm super sad.

So for the next few weeks, I will be making my way through these seemingly last suppers of lobster rolls and chips, salmon and smoked mushroom pot pies, seafood paella, white bass ceviche and so many others. The one dish you must have though, the beef tartar with white truffle, toutans and gherkins – TO DIE FOR.

Monday, October 10, 2011


As I sit in my lawn chair, with the sun peeking through the trees, I think back to last night and the dinner I had. Man, am I ever lucky. My husband prepares amazing meals, we have a ton of outstanding friends, loving family and good health. In life, what more could anyone want!? And I do not take any day for granted, ever. Today I am thankful for all of life's little pleasures. And I am especially thankful for my husband, he completes me and I would not be the woman I am today without him. And my mother, who always did so much for me. The older I get, the more I realize how much that actually is and how she always hid her challenges with a big smile.

Last night my husband served up the most incredible spread. Mouthwatering and rich maple smoked ham (he first brined the ham for a few days and then smoked it all day), a juicy 20lb turkey – golden and crisp on the outside, heirloom carrots, potatoes, squash, heavenly homemade stuffing, almond green beans, beets, cranberry sauce, pickles, confetti squares and pumpkin pie. Oh! And a new addition to the spread this year – glazed onions. An absolute must for next year.

We got the cranberry sauce (sweetened with maple syrup and honey) and maple syrup (for the ham) from the Lansdowne farmer's market.

Thank you Charlotte for all the fresh veggies from Acorn Creek Farm, and for the beautiful flowers. Gina thank you so much for the pumpkin pies, chocolate and soap. Lara thank you for the delicious almond green beans and yummy homemade pickles. Alan, the confetti squares were to-die-for. Colinda thank you for the delectable beets and homemade raspberry gin. Donnie for the Amarone and Andrew, for the plethora of wine - and everyone for all the yummy wine! And of course my husband, for making it all happen.

As usual, we got our ham from Aubrey's. Thank you for making it so easy to get local meats. (But no thank you for the dirty little trick you pulled, not allowing us to use our coupon. There was no small text when we bought it that excluded Thanksgiving. It's ok though, I'll keep coming by.)

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Hintonburg – My New Love

Went for a little walk in Hintonburg today. I normally drive past the eastern portion, or better known as Hintonburg-Mechanicsville, with my eyes closed. But it was obvious to me today that it must have been quite a while since I'd been in this area because the little restaurants and shops lining up the streets felt like I was somewhere else.

My husband and I had set out for a late afternoon snack. The destination? Back Lane Café. Unfortunately they were closed until dinner-time. But after peeking in the window and at the menu, I have a future date with them already planned out in my head. I can't wait!

A little further down was the new Burnt Butter. Another fabulous addition. And although the doors were wide open, I felt saving this one for dinner time was also a must. My husband and I were paired with the owners years ago when we went golfing. At the time Steve Wallace was at Anthony's on Elgin (or the old Ritz). Such a friendly couple. I'm so happy for them and excited to try out their new spot.

Of course Tennessy Willems has been open for a while now and doing great with their yummy pizzas.

Then a little further down in the very beginning stages and not open yet – Isobel's Cupcakes and right next door, the future home of Hintonburg Public House. So exciting!!

But for today, we ended up in a little gem of a place, Alpha Soul Café. The best thing about this place is the adorable little back patio. The perfect spot to hang out on an unusually warm October day. We even had live acoustic music from Amanda Cottreau wafting out the patio doors while we sipped wine.

A little Sauvagine and green grapes.

Also snacked on a mushroom soup and delicious greek orzo salad. YUM! What a great day!

Alpha Soul Café
1015 Wellington West

AlphaSoul Cafe on Urbanspoon

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Hot Salad of Mushrooms, Spelt and Arugula

If you think the beginning of fall means the end of salads, think again. This amazing salad is the epitome of comfort food.

Taken from his La Mia Cucina Toscana cookbook, my husband whipped this salad up for dinner. Pino Luongo, the chef in the book, often replaces the rice in risotto with spelt because the hearty grain maintains its character in the finished dish rather than simply becoming a backdrop for the others. The combination of the spelt, pancetta and mushrooms is heavenly.

What you’ll need
6 tbs extra virgin olive oil
1/2 medium onion, thinly sliced
2 cups spelt, soaked in cold water to cover for 2 hours and drained
2 garlic cloves, peeled and pressed flat
1/2 pound oyster mushrooms, cleaned with a damp cloth and sliced into thin strips
1/2 pound cremini mushrooms, cleaned with a damp cloth and sliced into thin strips
Fine sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
2 ounces slab bacon, cut into thin strips or small cubes
1 bunch arugula, stems trimmed, washed and dried

What to do
Warm 2 tbs of the olive oil in a sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the onion and sauté until golden, about 4 minutes. Add the spelt, stir and add enough water to cover by 1 inch. Lower the heat and cook, covered for 20 minutes or until the spelt has absorbed the water. Set aside.

Warm another 2 tbs olive oil in a sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and cook until golden, about 4 minutes. Remove and discard the garlic. Add the oyster mushrooms, cremini mushrooms, 1 tsp sea salt, and 1 tsp black pepper. Stir and sauté until the mushrooms are softened, about 5 minutes. Set aside.

Place the bacon in a sauté pan and cook over low heat until the fat is rendered and the bacon is browned. Pour off the fat.

Transfer the bacon to a large salad bowl. Add the spelt and mushrooms and toss well. Add the arugula leaves, the remaining 2 tbs olive oil, 1 tsp sea salt, and 1 tsp black pepper. Toss well and serve at once.

Wash down this peppery salad with Traminer, a crisp white wine from Friuli or Trentino.

Friday, September 23, 2011

DiVino Wine Studio

Our friend Dino was in town this week (yes, the one we recently celebrated his going-away, my guess is he can't live without us for more than a month – awesome!). Not only were we excited to get together with him, it was also his birthday. So a grand celebration was in order.

His wife Keltie arranged an unforgettable evening by combining a reservation at probably one of the most fun places to host a table of 14, and ensuring we were started off with some prosecco and a plate of antipasti before they arrived. The set-up was absolutely perfect – a long island between the kitchen and the restaurant floor served as a perch for all the guests who anxiously awaited their arrival. It was like we were in someone's home kitchen, only much more grandiose. And we were literally in the kitchen, so the culinary entertainment was constant.

Here's the antipasti plate we nibbled at. Olives, eggplant, mushrooms, beets, cauliflower, red onion and carrots, all pickled in-house. Dollops of earthy pea purée decorated the plate. And savoury proscuitto, salami and tapenade just begged to be gobbled up with the thin, crisp baguette toasts. The prosecco this was paired with was one of the best I've ever had – 2010 Bisol Crede Valdobbiadene Brut.

We were all given the table d'hôte menu which we were able to modify slightly if needed. As we grabbed our seats at the island and waited to order, Dino ordered a couple of fresh mozzarella bricks stuffed with gooeyness. If you can picture melting cheese inside the cheese, well, this was pretty much it. So easy to spread on the crostini and oh-so-heavenly. You have to try it. Fresh tomato halves and Sicilian black salt were added bonuses to the dish.

My first table d'hôte plate was the beet and arugula salad with a cherry vinaigrette. Strawberry slices, blueberries and minted goat cheese truffles garnished the outskirt. But the most memorable part of the dish – ribbons of anise-pickled beets. Our apps were paired with a 2009 Castello di Verduno Basadone (100% Pelaverga), a delicious pre-main-course red.

The primi plate was homemade fettuccine pasta with tomato meat ragu and Parmigiano Reggiano. As good as it sounded, I opted for the second choice of the antipasti instead (to save room in my tummy). Fresh tomato basil soup with garlic cheese crostini. It could have used a bit more basil as the flavours were hidden by the intensity on the tomato, but very good nonetheless. The wine we sipped alongside was a 2004 Cantine Madonna Delle Grazie Aglianico del Vulture Bauccio. I'll say it now, one of the best things about going with a large group means getting through the wine bottles faster, thus tasting way more. Although they do offer many wines by the glass.

Our secondi was a choice between spring salmon and market vegetables (above). There was a slice of both pacific and atlantic. Those eating the fish drank a 2007 Valtellina Superiore Riserva Sassella which I believe is 100% Nebbiolo.

Or beef tenderloin with asparagus, roasted brussels sprouts and root veggies. The menu called for roasted fingerling potatoes as well but there were none. Ok though because at this point, I was pretty stuffed and very happy to have them omitted. The beef was a tiny bit overcooked for my liking, but the quality of the meat more than made up for it, melting away in my mouth with every bite. The wine paired with this dish was what I consider a perfect wine, deep ruby and full bodied. 2007 Nero di Troia Paolo Petrilli, Il Guerro from Puglia.

My dessert shot, that I thought was the best one of the night, actually didn't turn out at all. Sad. My husband and I split both of our choices, really, how could you pick one of these over the other!? Chocolate sponge cake with chocolate ganache and fresh mint, and lemon budino (creme brûlée).

I think for this type of atmosphere, I would have expected the service to be a little bit more polished. It was a bit awkward, although the height of the island could be the culprit. Not quite as easy as serving a table. It also took quite a while to get through our meal, which on the weekend I would embrace, but not so much during the week. They did acknowledge that. But the chefs, sommelier and server were all super friendly and extremely attentive to our every need. And really, what more could you ask for. I'd take heartwarming staff over a stiff perfectionist waiter without a personality any day.

225 Preston Street

Divino wine studio on Urbanspoon

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Emptying Out the Garden

Our garden is not very big. In fact, I think next year we should just do a tomato garden because they just take over anyway. And that's not a complaint. Tomatoes are awesome! Toasted tomato sandwiches, amazing gazpacho, and these yummy treats – fried green tomatoes.

My husband sliced up a ton of green tomatoes, dusted them with flour, followed by a buttermilk dunk and then finished them off in a bed of bread crumbs before frying them to perfection. A homemade basil mayo accompanied the dish. As did the sad little roasted parsnips and beets from our garden. As little as they were, they were still delicious.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Play Food & Wine

The original plan for my friend Zoya's birthday was a weekend of wine tasting in Niagara. When that got cancelled I took it upon myself to try and make something similar to that happen here. It would be the perfect gift! But between DiVino, Savvy and the LCBO, no one had any tastings going on this weekend. Totally bummed I went to Holly for help. Being the wine lover she is, I knew she would point me in the right direction. And that she did when she suggested I go to Play.

I checked in at Play to see if their sommelier would be there on Saturday afternoon and made a reservation for 3:30. I figured that going during a not-so-busy time would allow a more in-depth review of the wines we were going to try. Grayson was instrumental in the success of Zoya's birthday gift and I can't thank him enough. He brought us through a flight of some amazing wines and gave us the background for each. It truly was an afternoon to remember.

In the same order we drank them, here's what we had:

White, Tollgate, Stratus, Niagara, 2007
Assyrtiko, Wild Ferment, Gaia, Greece, 2010
Chardonnay, Dean's List, NCT, Niagara, 2008
GSM, Vidal-Fleury, Rhone, France, 2008 (this sparked a new love of French wine for Zoya)
Cabernet Franc, Stratus, Niagara, 2007 (probably my least favourite grape but this one was delicious)
Touriga Nacional, Valmonte, Portugal, 2005
Syrah, Waterstone, Napa, CA, 2008
Contra, Bonny Doon, Central Coast, CA, 2009

Almost all of these are available to taste but we lucked out on a couple because there had been a bottle already opened (yay!).

If you're ever looking for something fun to do on a Saturday afternoon, I highly recommend a little wine tasting at Play.

1 York Street, Ottawa

Play on Urbanspoon

Yummy Indian

Our friends Marc and Zoya were visiting for what we promised would be a weekend of pampering. Zoya's birthday is in a couple of days so we wanted to revolve everything around her. She loves Indian food so my husband made the most incredible spread. It still, after 12 years, blows my mind at how easy he makes cooking look.

Decadent palak paneer, spicy coconut curry tofu, delicious coconut curry peanut shrimp and baked eggplant from scratch. To that he added some samosas, pakoras and nan bread all from Nasa Foods. He also used some of the East India Company's spices which are available in a number of grocery stores around the city. Of those spices, what made me the most excited was the chai masala. The first time I tried this spice was at the East India Company restaurant in their chai brûlée and the entire time I ate it I thought of Zoya because of her love of chai tea. So for dessert, it was a must. Creamy, velvety yumminess. Like we had died and gone to heaven.

Massive thank you to my husband for a fantastic evening.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Whalesbone Brunch

Had the most awesome breakfast at the Whalesbone.

Pig tongue and apple sauce smeared over his own skull.

Lobster, poached eggs, hollandaise and double smoked bacon.

Ended this mouthwatering meal with an oyster garnished ceasar.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Les 3 Petits Bouchons

There is a place called heaven and I found it. It's at 4669 Saint-Denis in Montreal. Unfortunately you can't stay forever. Fortunately, you can go back as often as you want. And that I will.

This delightful restaurant succeeded in seducing my husband and I with every delectable bite. Jean-Philippe, a gentleman sitting next to us at the bar and who drives to Montreal from Granby on a regular basis just to eat here, helped us narrow our choices down to the following dishes. While Michel, one of the three owners, ensured the wine we paired them with was equally perfect – 2008 Côtes du Jura Cuvée Florine Chardonnay from France. It's a yellow and cloudy wine made from the Savagnin grape and aged under a layer of yeast for 24 months. Amazing.

We started with the pieuvre grillée – octopus grilled to perfection in a smokey bbq sauce and served over a pancetta trencher. Alongside, some velvety crème fraîche and a sweet maple/bourbon syrup. We also shared the tartine de champignons, meaty mushrooms in a jaw-droppingly delicious truffle sauce served over crisp baguette toast.

Our mains were equally magical. I opted for the tartar de veau, a large mound of fresh, delicately spicy meat spotted with capers. Every bite melting in your mouth. Fresh greens and shaved parm were piled high over the top and 3 crisp baguette toasts lay neatly on the side. My husband indulged in the lamb, cooked rare and oh-so tender. Each side on the plate was the perfect accessory to the meat, elegant chanterelles, what we believe to be a feta foam and a scrumptious sausage-stuffed shallot (the fact my husband even gave me a bite of this made me feel extra special).

We finished off with a glass of Eau de vie from Alsace – Audrey et Christian Binner Vieux Marc de Riesling Kaefferkopf. Our eyes glazed over as we slowly sipped and reminisced over the experience we just had. We even got to meet and thank Audrey, the talented young woman who made it all happen.

With their relaxed atmosphere and outstanding service that makes you feel as though you'd been going there for years, this place is a must. We booked a hotel and came for the night just to eat here and will do it again soon. Prices are very reasonable with entrées ranging between $7.50 and $13.50 and mains between $16.50 and $29.

4669 Saint-Denis, Montreal

Les Trois Petits Bouchons on Urbanspoon


My husband and I just returned from a two-week vacation in the Laurentians. It's so nice to do nothing for a change.

Our friends Zoya and Marc helped us do nothing by showing up with 2 bag-fulls of groceries. Mostly from their garden.

And these beautiful chanterelles, freshly picked from the woods around their yard.

Zoya is obsessed with picking mushrooms. And I now understand why. Served with seared tuna steaks, they were delicious. Zoya even prepared a porcini and chanterelle powder beforehand by drying and blending the mushrooms. She then rehydrated the powder by adding it to a wine reduction and smearing it over the steaks. YUM!

We then set out to see if we could find more in our area. This is Zoya's mushroom-picking outfit.

After an hour in the woods and coming home empty-handed, I walked into the chalet to find these king boletes that Marc found in the driveway. What a fresh and meaty treat!

We too are now obsessed with mushroom-picking. Only I need to run them past Zoya for approval before eating.