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With summer rolling in, what better way to cool off than to hit up some of the best ice cream parlours in the city? The classic Montreal summer is all about the parks, the bike rides, the outdoor markets and anything that will give reason to further maximize time out in the sun. Luckily for you, the places listed below are in close proximity to all of these activities. Without further ado, here’s a quick guide to your new favourite spots, in no particular order.
You scream, I scream, we all scream for ice cream! You get the idea. Ice Cream City is Japan’s premier destination for ice cream lovers. Whether you’re an amateur or a hardcore flavour seeker, this place can without a doubt satisfy your needs. National Geographic has even named it one of the top 10 places to eat ice cream in the world!
After a semi-satisfying dinner on St. Denis (more on this in a following post) at Mache, we were hankering for something sweet. Obviously, right. A quick search on Google showed me the closest ice cream shops and just steps away was the one and only Dr. Frost. I had passed by multiple times but never had the chance to visit. The bright pink sign had stuck in my mind, but for some reason I had recalled it as Pinkberry… We don’t have those here yet, unfortunately. Scanning over reviews and commentary from various users online, I learned that the “macarons givrés” were something they were known for, and that it was a must have.
Make your way through the hustle and bustle of the Jean Talon market, past the Boitre aux Huitres, the colourful flower stalls and the smell of a freshly baked bread, fragrant cheeses, and the spice shop boasting mixtures from around the world. Browse the boutique specialty food shops and stop by the fruit stands to sample the carefully farmed fruits and vegetables and you won’t be disappointed.
According to the endearing blog-style website Kem CoBa has up online, the name of the restaurant means “third auntie’s ice cream” in Vietnamese. That right off the bat tells you that it’s an operation that takes family into consideration. And it shows. The cheery little shop is run by the co-owners and husband and wife duo Ngoc and Vincent who have managed to create high quality, interesting products that just keep you coming back for more
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.
Lacking signage save for the colorful, hand drawn words across the glass door and an adorable cartoon character we can only assume is Léo, we passed by Léo le Glacier for a brief break from the blazing heat Saturday afternoon. After spending the majority of the day out in the sun in Park Lafontaine, gelato seemed like the perfect refresher. Stepping into the tiny gelateria, we quickly chose our flavor combinations.
With the recent popularity of froyo aka frozen yogurt – cue Yeh!, Pinkberry and others – gelato seems to have taken a back seat. Places like Havre aux Glaces and Leo le Glacier in Montreal as well as La Dolce Vita and Paysanne Gelato in the West Island are part of the growing movement to bring it back. Every bucket of gelato is unique, from the color, the consistency and of course, the taste.
It’s been more than a month since we went to the Tuck Shop to celebrate. I for one, have secured an internship for the summer at an agency I really had my heart set on! Bubbling over with happiness and excitement, Alex insisted that we head out for a couple of drinks and something good to eat.
Lola Rosa is located in the heart of the McGill ghetto, making it a convenient and relatively affordable eatery for the multitude of students who live around and frequent the university campus. The restaurant is a small, vegetarian, indie-vibing kind of joint with some of the most friendly staff I’ve been in contact with in the city as of late. Here’s a unique feature of the restaurant you won’t likely find anywhere else: most of the vintage style tables in the place have little drawers filled with pieces of scrap paper with wishes, words of encouragements, notes and general comments scrawled on by previous diners. All are welcome to add their own personal messages and rummage through the ones already inside for inspiration or just for fun!
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?
Sunday, September 11th was a perfect day. For once, the weather cooperated. Shooting rays of sunshine and warmth all over the city, Montreal’s annual Oysterfest event was a complete blowout success – starting around 2 in the afternoon and lasting all the way until 9 pm, the lineup was long even at the start. Tickets at the door went quickly and were totally sold out about an hour after the event started. With over two dozen restaurants present providing food in exchange for coupon tickets, the place was teeming with excited and eager foodies itching to try everything all at once.
For just $490 NT you can eat as much as your heart desires at the grill-it-yourself On Fire restaurant by the Dinxi MRT station. There is all sorts of seafood (shrimp, scallop, cod, clams) and meat (veal tongue, chicken, pork, sausage) to choose from at the self-serve food bar at the back of the restaurant. There is a ingredients bar for the hot pot that includes fish balls, button mushrooms, Chinese cabbage and tofu among other delicious staples of Chinese cuisine. This deal also includes a nice selection of ice cream by Haagan Daaz and others – flavors range from more Asian influenced ones such as black sesame, taro and sapodilla to more conventional Western ones like cookies and cream. strawberry cheesecake and rum raisin.
Walking into 313 – the newest mall on Orchard Road – we stumbled upon Honeymoon Dessert on the fourth floor just below the Food Republic. Attracted by the beautiful photo slideshow of traditional Chinese desserts with a modern twist, we decided to give the place a shot.
Mitsui is elegant, sophisticated and chic. With slick black granite floors and tables, stylish wood/glass partitions and an understated, minimalistic decor, the restaurant is known to cater to celebrities, mobsters and famous politicians as well as the local elite. The service is impeccable here. The ratio of the wait staff to the clientele is almost one to one – that is how well taken care of each individual at the restaurant is. Or at least that’s how it feels, and that’s what counts. The minute we sat down, we got bowls of tea, wet towels to clean our hands with and additional cutlery to match what we ordered. Our bags and jackets, leaning on the backs of our seats, had black bags put over them so as to ensure nothing would get dirty.
Walking into Joe Beef, one immediately senses a kind of warm intimacy few restaurants are able to successfully achieve in terms of both physical space, ambiance and decor. The space out front is quite small; tables are set one next to the other with only a few inches separating diners from one another – for those who sit on the inner banquettes, tables must be pulled out for them to exit gracefully. Even in such close quarters, fellow diners have been the most friendly and cordial I have ever met. The owners have recently closed their luncheonette next door (McKiernan’s) in favor of expanding Joe Beef, creating an oyster bar in its place while at the same time increasing its capacity for more people to stop by. Due to the popular demand for the restaurant’s exquisite food, the terrasse out back has been opened up as well. I had actually never been in the area before and our lovely waitress Vanya was nice enough to show me around. The garden where ingredients are freshly grown and harvested lines the terrasse; adjacent to this, a separate plot of land is sectioned off by a fence – here they house a large metal smoker where they treat some of their meats and fish.