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Finally. It’s come time for us to share with you the legendary, all-encompassing, truly epic cabane a sucre au pied de cochon experience. Is there anything else like it? Probably not. After signing up a little later than we meant to for this season’s apple themed menu, we got a call from PDC two months after we were waitlisted asking if we wanted to fill in for a last minute cancelled reservation in the middle of the week.
Cuisine Szechuan serves exactly what its name advertises. There’s no dancing around it – this place serves legit Szechuan food, plain and simple. There are no frills, no added extras – just real food that stays true to its roots. There’s a mixed aura of respect and fear around the restaurant for its ability to produce delicious but mind-blowingly spicy food. I’m talking fish filets marinated in chili peppers and I’m talking cucumbers marinated in chili flakes and oil. Basically hot on hot on hot.
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.
XOCO is run by Rick Bayless – you may have heard of him before. Guest judge of Top Chef on Season Four, winner of Top Chef Masters, James Beard Award winner for best American chef in 1991, national chef of year in 1995, humanitarian of the year in 1998, cookbook of the year in 2001, best chef in the midwest in 2002… The list goes on. In Chicago for the weekend, we eagerly made this our first lunch destination. Not too far from the downtown core, the place is on North Clark street, next to the Frontera Grill and Topolobampo.
This is an okay spot for some quick, cheap and easy Korean food downtown. If you don’t care much for quality and place more emphasis on price, this may be the place for you. Because of the cold weather I was more in the mood for something warmer so I got a hot noodle soup with vegetables and beef to warm me up. My friends both got the stir fried noodles, one with beef and the other with chicken. To be honest, this time going to La Maison Bulgogi wasn’t anything to write home about. All dishes we had were on the blander side, and were fairly standard if not slightly below average expectations. The only dish I would go out of my way to recommend here is cold buckwheat noodle soup, ideal in the summertime. Bathed in ice cubes on the hotter days (I’m serious), it is quite the vinegar-y dish. It comes with a bottle of vinegar so that you can add as you like. That one is great. Otherwise though, you can choose to pass by here. Or not.
Les Filles Du Roy is the restaurant of the Pierre du Calvet hotel. Located just steps away from Le Bremner and a few steps more from the Old Port beach (under construction in anticipation for next summer), the place can be easily missed. The novelty of the experience is probably one of the best parts of eating here – the building itself has been standing since 1725, so right off the bat you know that the architecture and the aesthetic of the place is going to be older, or shall we say vintage. Scattered throughout are remnants of life in the 18th and 19th centuries, from Victorian style paintings to mounted game to antique furniture, rugs and draperies. Towards the end of the reception area are several talking birds – if you’re lucky, you might be greeted with a squawk of a hello as you pass by the washrooms.
Let me start off by saying La Fabrique is amazing. Everything about the place is perfect. The design, both interior and exterior is impeccable, the service was well-timed and the view from the terrasse at the Annexe was beautiful. Boasting minimalistic wooden chairs with ultra low backs, vintage/rustic decor (typewriter, spigot type faucets, warm wooden paneling) and a friendly and inviting vibe, the restaurant finds an optimal stylistic balance somewhere between antique and modern. On top of all of this, the food is great.