Hello everyone! Long time no see, right? I’ve been SUPER busy recently (or… for the past three months *cough* sorry *cough).
First, MONTREAL! Yes, I lived in St-Eustache, Quebec for 6 weeks on the YMCA Student Work Summer Exchange Program. I had the most amazing family, worked with some great people at the Carrefour Peri-Naissance, and went to the coolest landmarks. Montreal is such a lovely city and I would do anything to be there right now!
The above photo shows the Creperie-Chez Suzette, a quaint place in Old-Montreal (right). I went there with my dad’s friend’s daughter, who told me all about university. She gave me some great advice and we enjoyed crepes the size of our faces! The photo below was my crepe – stuffed to the MAX with grilled chicken and ratatouille (tomato stewed vegetables), then covered in cheese and broiled. It was great and left me super full, but then we had dessert – a strawberry and chocolate crepe with vanilla ice cream – sorry I’m too embarrassed to post my blurry photo. OMG.
I actually wanted to post while I was there, but I just couldn’t – I worked from 8:00-5:00 and had to take transit there. There was a transfer and the overall ride took an hour! Then, there were activities like the Montreal Jazz Fest, Cirque du Soleil, la Ronde (Six-Flags amusement park) and the Cine-Parc (outdoor movies) – usually AFTER work. Needless to say, I didn’t get very much sleep for six weeks!
But I did have a lot of great food.
Above: sandwich and pasta salad at Presse Cafe near my house, and two slices of cake – Skor cheesecake and red velvet. On the right is the meal I had with colleague Genevieve – we shared the pesto brie bread basket. I had the 5-cheese salmon lasagna with spinach bechamel. Great dish! It was so rich. Did I mention I gained two rolls after Quebec? 😉
Olive and Gourmando was my FAVOURITE place in Montreal. I didn’t care that it took me two hours to get there – I dined at this touristy cafe three times in the six weeks I was there. High quality and creative dishes are totally my thing. I loved this fancy grilled cheese – goat cheese and caramelized onions – with chipotle tomato soup and feta/basil garnish. Also had a homemade tomato ketchup for dunking my sammie. Oh, and an unforgettable raspberry lemonade. Seriously so, SO good.
Here is Presse Cafe again! I had breakfast there one day. And yes, I did eat ALL of that. In one sitting.
Almond croissant, ham and cheese in a sundried tomato wrap, a fresh berry muffin, and a large hot chocolate. Loved how they baked everything in store. These whole grain berry muffins emerged from the oven right as I was paying for the other three items so I just HAD to add him to my tray. Delicious! I was so full that I missed my bus to work… another story.
My mama and papa in Quebec were fantastic cooks. Here, they made a sweet and spicy shrimp sautee with vegetables over rice. Yum! They inspired me to add some new recipes to my family’s book – and this is one! I love how we always ate together. In my family, everyone always has something to do during dinnertime, whether that’s wash the dishes (mom), answer phone calls (dad), volunteer (me), or watch Arthur (yeah, that’s my sis. She’s fourteen.) 😉 Eating with my family, without other distractions, was just so amazing. We talked about everything and really slowed down and enjoyed our food. It really opened my eyes as to how a dinner with the family SHOULD be.
You know I can’t live without oatmeal – here’s my morning bowl, topped with crumbles of homemade carre aux dattes (date bars). Best oatmeal topping ever! Sometimes, my dad flipped pancakes on the weekends. I topped mine with berries and sliced banana, plus lots of Quebec maple syrup!
*sigh* Seriously though, are there landmarks like this anywhere else in the world?
Can you believe this is from a food court? I was not even aware of the fact that food courts use metal knives and forks – and serve food on glass plates. I don’t know a single mall that does this – other than the wonderful Carrefour Laval, where we had this lunch after camping at Oka for a night! This was great – a super fresh Greek salad, a chicken pita wrap, and tzatziki. And a pile of Greek rice instead of fries. Delicious!
A ‘Gateau au Reine Elizabeth’ – a Queen Elizabeth’s Cake – made with brown sugar, coconut, maple, dates, and vanilla. All of my favourites in one creamy, rich cake. Plus a big scoop of pure vanilla ice cream!
Some more fantastic dinners with my family. Fondue was one of my favourites. I LOVEd the creamy, spicy dipping sauce and the fried potatoes. In the middle is beef tortellini tossed with a rose sauce and sauteed vegetables (onion, bell pepper, mushrooms) with proscuitto, which is Italian bacon. Although I picked out the proscuitto, I devoured every bite of the veggies, the parmesan and sundried tomato topping, and the buttered baguette. So yummy! I’ve been looking for rose sauce here in BC so I can recreate this dish. I think Classico makes a good one? 100% homemade spaghetti sauce on the left. Tasted just like my mom’s, but loaded with pureed vegetables!
Lunches were usually dinner leftovers that I would microwave at work, plus a snack. On the left I have basmati rice, edamame, and maple salmon (different than Mom’s, but even BETTER with butter and shallots). Plus cherries! Cherries and nectarines are definitely my favourite summer fruits. On the right is a super delicious deconstructed stuffed pepper with Minute rice. I LOVE stuffed peppers. I was so happy to find them at Costco here in BC. Oh, and a tarte aux sucre – a sugar pie! I devoured both of these lunches.
A lovely lunch at the Old-Montreal cafe Muru Crepe, where I had a pesto, olive, mozzarella and tomato crepe. The waitress was AWESOME – she let me have 1/2 salad, 1/2 fries. The place wasn’t crowded at all so I had lots of time to enjoy my meal. Ordered a beautiful hot chocolate and a sweet crepe for dessert. It was topped with sliced banana, berries, nutella, and a big scoop of vanilla ice cream. I remember getting a stomacheache after this lunch! I was too hungry and ate too much. I finished every drop!
More breakfast: grilled peanut butter and banana sandwich dunked in maple syrup. Um, why didn’t I think of this sooner? Apparently it’s common practice in Quebec to dip toast in maple syrup – I had to try it! Yummy doesn’t do it justice – this breakfast was DIVINE. PS: try buttering the bread rather than the skillet. It browns more evenly. On the right is a delicious SNACK that I had at a bakery called Brulerie du Vieux-St-Eustache. I ordered two muffins – the chocoalate raspberry and the caraamel pear. Plus a creamy hot chocolate. These were the best muffins I’ve ever eaten in my LIFE. They were rich, cakey, and not too sweet. Super flavourful, soft, and melt-in-your mouth. To be honest, I am writing this as I’m devouring a stack of chocolate chip oatmeal cookie pancakes with maple syrup – but I would switch over to these muffins if I could! More on this place in the next post – Part II.
Dinner at Fellini’s for Family Weekend. I ordered the manicotti with rose sauce. Then, we came home for dessert – four types of cupcakes – chocolate blueberry, red velvet with cream cheese frosting, vanilla praline, and chocolate hazelnut. They were all from Les Glaceurs, a store in Old-Montreal. Served with a glass of milk like every other dessert, this was fantastic. The red velvet was my favourite!
Not sure if you noticed, but these are totally out of order. I had these three desserts on the first day -the family gathering BBQ. All of them were homemade by Brigitte, a lovely lady I will never forget. The pancakes I had for breakfast were made by my dad on my first morning, and I LOVED dining with my family out on the sunny patio beside the pool. Felt like a country club!
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That’s it for now! I have a busy weekend coming up – SENIOR SAIL TONIGHT! Adn I will probably post again in a few days for the second part of my Quebec trip. Actually, I might split it into 3 parts because this is really slow (too many pictures I’m uplading). So… with that, see you guys on my next post! Bye for now and take care. 🙂