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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.
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.
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.
As one of the most multicultural cities in the world, Toronto is home to a large population of new immigrants, most notably from East and South East Asia. Communities have settled across the GTA, setting up restaurants and businesses that fuse old culture with new culture, bringing elements of “back home” to Toronto life in surprising and delicious ways – cue the multitude of Japanese, Thai, Vietnamese, Mexican restaurants (the list goes on) that define the city. It’s no surprise then that a wealth of top notch Japanese restaurants can be found in Toronto.
Le Serpent is Montreal’s newest restaurant from owners Hubert Marsolais and Claude Pelletier of Club Chasse et Pêche and Le Filet. Given the management’s pedigree – Le Serpent has a considerable amount of hype and expectation behind it already.
Another successful restaurant import from Vancouver, Kingyo has made it to the Toronto food scene, following in the footsteps of Guu Isakaya and Sakabar, Kinton Ramen, Ramen Raijin and others. Located in the East end of Toronto, Kingyo Isakaya has got a distinct vibe that differentiates itself from its competitors. Instead of the typically cramped quarters and loud, boisterous atmosphere found in many isakayas, Kingyo gives its customers breathing room and a little more leeway for a normal noise level of conversation.
Lil’ Baci Taverna is that sweet neighbourhood spot you wish you had. It’s got this comfortable low key, local vibe that makes you feel right at home. With the smell of freshly baked bread and eggs in the air, friendly servers that seem impossibly perky on Sunday mornings, it’s hard not to smile and feel at ease.