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To be honest, we stumbled upon Café des 2 Moulins. As a big Amèlie Poulain fan, should I be embarrassed? Walking around the beautiful Montmartre area after seeing the basilique Sacré Coeur, we strolled around the area and found the cafe organically. After Amèlie came out in 2001, the café has become a huge tourist destination, somewhat of a homage spot to the film and the story itself. The café has a typically Parisian feel – as soon as you walk in, you notice there’s something special about the place, from the bar to the light fixtures themselves.
Impromptu visits to pastry shops, unplanned scenic walking routes and people watching at beautiful cafes seemingly around ever corner has got to be one of the best parts of being in Paris. Eating expertly crafted, thoughtfully decorated and tasty desserts really takes the cake for me, literally. After visiting the Notre Dame cathedral, we headed towards the Eiffel Tower for some obligatory sight seeing. On the way, we stopped by the cutest Parisian choux creme shop called Odette.
Tunnel Espresso Bar is a new espresso shop wedged between the discount suit stores and hair salons in the tunnel connecting Eaton Center and Place Ville Marie. This place caught my eye for weeks leading up to the opening of the shop due to serious renovations going on and the bright blue neon sign that is hard to ignore.
Make it idiot proof and someone will make a better idiot
decorate the espresso machine
Now, for a change of scenery. We’ve left the hustle and bustle of Tokyo behind for the more quiet, rural city of Nagano. We’re here for one night, two days. Walking up the main street in Nagano, you’ll find shops that sell curio items, cute little souvenirs and dried goods en route to the Zenkoji temple at the top of the hill.
Our vote for Best Coffee in Toronto. Toronto has its’ fair share of independent coffee shops and boutiques, strewn across the city left, right and center. If you’re looking for a proper caffeine fix, we’ve got you covered. Here are some of our top picks
Just around the corner from where I was staying in Toronto over my visiting weekend, L’Ouvrier seemed like a good bet for brunch time food. A friend had been for a party after a TIFF event and had great things to say about the space and the aesthetic of the place. Open to whatever, I was down to check it out – we ended up going for a nice brunch with a couple people.
After a delightful dinner at Kaza Maza with Diana, fellow food blogger of Foodology and her friend Jess, we decided to walk off the meal by heading towards Les Givrés for a cold treat. I had been to Les Givrés before around Christmas time, in search of one of their famous bûches de Noel or the unique igloo/marshmallow ice cream cake.
Beauty’s is a historical and iconic symbol of Montreal. One of the first places in the city to serve breakfast (according to the owner, Hymie Sckolnick in Anthony Bourdain’s Montreal episode of the Layover), the luncheonette is clearly imbued with history. Just take a look around the place – old-school diner style banquettes hearkening back to the 40s, the classic and timeless items offered (bagel lox, the best milkshakes ever etc.) and the multitude of signed posters of celebrities that have visited the restaurant are proudly mounted on the walls further affirming Beauty’s as an old favorite.
Pikolo Espresso Bar is exactly what its name suggests and so much more. The place primarily serves coffee in the form of lattes, espressos and the like while offering some tea options for those who prefer the leaf infused hot beverages (I’m one of them). Walking – no, running in from the harsh winter winds whipping up a frenzy outside, we entered the toasty coffee shop with great relief, ready to be brought back to life by a cup of hot something. Decorated with Christmas lights and a small tree, the place emanated holiday cheer and a relaxing, comforting and soothing atmosphere. Most people inside on both floors were equipped with laptops, helping create a semi-studious, quieter vibe than your average Starbucks or Second Cup. That’s not all that makes this place different. The portions here are smaller but pack a very big punch. Pikolo doesn’t joke around – at least not about the coffee.
As we waited by the door to be seated at Holder, we were able to get a good look at the bar. The selection of wines and hard alcohol stocked behind the bar seemed endless and with that in mind, I asked for the cocktail list, excited by all the possibilities the bar apparently presented. To my chagrin, they didn’t have one! I feel like it would be a good idea for them to establish a section in their drink menu for specialty cocktails – I mean, they have the tools and the ingredients… why not?
If you’re looking for an alternative to your routine breakfast/brunch joint, you’ve found it. Byblos is an Mediterranean influenced Iranian restaurant that is one of Montreal’s best kept secrets. Located on the eastern most section of Laurier street next to Le Fouvrac (an amazing gourmet food store) and across from Frite Alors, this area of the city is beautiful in the summertime as the street is lined with trees and storefront flower beds. Byblos has high ceilings that give the place a lofty, open air feeling and wall paper that brings to mind a meeker, more subdued Pollock painting. Traditional Iranian swords, tea pots, plates and furniture are artfully placed throughout the restaurant further enhancing the authentic feel of the place.