We spent the morning in Lima wandering Mercado Surquillo No 1 and 2, taste testing freshly pressed cactus-prickly pear juice, light as air and surprisingly cool cotton candy fruit and Peruvian lucuma (wonderful tasting combination of maple and sweet potato). We watched butchers and fish mongers gingerly prep their stations and fruit sellers and coca leaf fortune tellers set up shop. After wandering around for a few hours, we made our way to La Picanteria, one of our most anticipated lunch spots in the city.
It’s no secret that desserts are the Achilles heel of the general population. Let’s be clear. No one is to blame. Desserts (when done right) can be one of the closest encounters with divinity a human can have. There’s no bad time for dessert – totally appropriate to be consumed at any time of day. Whether it’s decadent molten chocolate cakes, ricotta stuffed buttery puffed pastries, rustic homemade cobblers and pies (clearly just a few of my favorites), everybody has their guilty pleasure. When Expedia Canada asked us to share some the best Montreal dessert spots we were delighted. If you’re visiting Montreal, you’re in luck.
After just under two food happy weeks in Peru, we’re back in Montreal and still dreaming about all the incredible things we ate during our first foray into South American territory. Lima is of course, known as the culinary capital of the continent – we couldn’t have picked a better place to kickstart our adventure !
We spent the morning in Vacherie, touring the Oak Alley and Whitney plantations for two vastly different experiences. Oak Alley is stunning – the picturesque row of huge oaks lining the front entrance to the main house is a sight to behold. The tour focuses on the lives of the plantation owners – the guides are dressed in historical costumes and go to great length to make visitors feel like they are being transported back in time to the period. Mint juleps are served on the porch to the throngs of tourists wandering by.
After an interesting and educational tour of the St. Louis cemetery No. 1 (s/o Nick Cage, bad omens and his cult-y pyramid grave) in New Orleans earlier this year, we walked towards Treme for one of the most anticipated meals of our trip: a taste of America’s best fried chicken at none other than the institution that is Willie Mae’s Scotch House.
Just across from the historic Jackson Square, you’ll find the equally historic Cafe du Monde serving crowds day and night, 24/7 every day of the year, except for Christmas. Beignets are the only food thing on the menu here, and it’s been this way since 1862. To drink, you’ve got the choice between chicory coffee (a Cafe du Monde specialty), chocolate milk, milk or fresh pressed orange juice, keeping options sweet and simple. Two lines snake from the front front of the house all the way down the block – despite the sweltering New Orleans heat, there is a clear sense of commitment from the people in line.
Earlier this month, we spent the better part of a beautiful day out in the Louisiana swamps, quietly cruising around the little hidden parts of the Atchafalaya bayou for some of best bird and gator-watching the state has to offer. Huge trees with thick, ribbed trunks densely populate long stretches of the swamp, with long tendrils of Spanish moss clinging onto branches in all directions, gently swaying with the breeze. From far, they almost look like cobwebs, a perfect haunt for the famous ghosts and otherworldly spirits of Louisiana. Further adding to the unique landscape are sharp stumps jutting up from the water in clusters, the remainders of clear cut trees from years ago.
Chiang Mai is heralded by food critics and top chefs as the holy mecca of Thai food. After watching Anthony Bourdain and Andy Ricker destroy the plates of roast chicken while praising this place non-stop, we knew we had to make a trip while we were in the city.
Over the recent winter holidays, we headed to Thailand for a bit of sunshine and a lot of good food (note emphasis on a lot). After our excellent experience with Culinary Backstreets in Istanbul, we had to see if we could replicate a similar Bangkok Food Tour. Lucky for us, we found Chili Paste Tours managed, owned and operated by the one and only Chin. Hi Chin!
Months ago in the summer, we spent a couple weeks abroad in Turkey. Istanbul was one of our most anticipated spots to check out – the things we’d heard from friends about the food, the culture and the weather were beyond excellent. While we don’t typically engage in food tours for fear of them being cheesy, too touristy or inauthentic, the hype around the formerly called Istanbul Eats Istanbul Food Tour, now Culinary Backstreets, was real. Listed as one of the top ‘things to do’ and Istanbul Food Tour on TripAdvisor, raved about by bloggers and publications alike, including NYT, CN Traveller and HuffPost, we were convinced we had to try it.
We recently headed to SF for a short getaway from the city. Not only was the weather perfect in SF, but as you can imagine, so was the food. After days of gorging ourselves silly on as many crab legs, oysters and sashimi we could get our hands on, we stopped by La Torta Gorda one early afternoon in the hopes of curing an exceptionally nasty hangover from a particularly intense evening of mini putt (s/o Urban Putt!).
Dead and gone to seafood heaven. That’s what happened to us when we visited Swan Oyster Depot in SF a couple weeks ago. The 100 year old SF institution is known for its insanely fresh raw bar offerings, the casual and informal dining style and the long lines of locals and tourists eagerly waiting to get a taste. Named by the James Beard Foundation as an American Classic in 2000 and featured by Anthony Bourdain on The Layover, the restaurant receives hundreds of visitors a day that come from far and wide.
Vin Papillon is the third restaurant from the venerable Montreal chef duo Dave McMillan and Fred Morin. Sitting just a few doors down from Liverpool House on Notre Dame, Vin Papillon is a cozy restaurant with a decent sized patio and a distinctive menu.
This summer, we were lucky enough to have spent a bit of time travelling Turkey. Dream destination. Some of the most memorable moments we experienced were in Cappadocia – from the unique, insanely shaped landscapes we saw to the hearty, local foods we ate – not to mention the impossibly beautiful hotel we stayed at (Argos), we could not have asked for a more perfect vacation.
After announcing that we were heading to Rome for a short stay, both friends in Montreal and Italian natives jumped at the opportunity to recommend Dar Poeta. After a day of wandering the city, we stopped in at the Trastevere hot spot – even in the heavy rain, a line started to edge outside the front door with eager couples and groups of friends settling in to wait for a table.
Cafe Parvis is the newest addition to the Furco – Buvette Chez Simone family. In the same way its’ siblings have brought a nonchalant cool and trended towards a casually fashionable following, Parvis exudes the same vibe, promising equal parts good food and good company.
It’s not often you arrive at a restaurant and find out your server has been with the group for over 6 years. This was the case at Sushi Taxi, a restaurant group that has been around since the dawn of Quebec sushi
You’ve already heard the hype. You don’t need me to tell you that Jeffrey Finkelstein has an impressive resumé of work experience at world famous restaurants Noma, El Bulli and French Laundry and that he’s set up shop here in Montreal. You know that the bread from his Hof Kelsten has fed diners at likes of Le Filet, Club Chasse et Peche, Toqué, Dominion Square Tavern, Nora Gray, Joe Beef, Toqué and Les 400 Coups because you’ve already tasted it. Yes, you can breath a sigh of relief. We’re finally in on secret source of good bread in this city.
Frequently referred to as “that other pho spot on Ossington” by Torontonians, Pho Tien Thanh holds its own in a city where pho shops are a hot commodity. As most pho places are wont to operate, the food arrives quickly and piping hot, all to the ambient background sounds of slurping and sipping with minimal chatter to be heard. As per norm, cash only.
Toronto’s got a thing for elevated comfort food. Rose & Sons is at risk of being missed among the likes of Bestellen and Farmhouse Tavern. Everything about it feels overwhelmingly akin to Montreal’s Nouveau Palais. From the vintage diner style booths to the smart, focused cocktail menu. Walking into Rose & Sons felt right at home for two Montrealers.