I’ve never dedicated an entire blog post to the food I’ve eaten during my travels…until now. I experienced some amazing restaurants and food during the two weeks I recently spent traveling through Canada and I just had to share more about them!
Now, I typically eat very healthy while I’m home, but I will definitely splurge a bit when I travel. During this particular trip, I really tried to keep up the healthy eating for the first week, but finally threw in the towel by the second week. Oh well. You win some, you lose some. 🙂
Okay, time to share more about one of my favorite subjects: food! 😀 My Canadian adventure actually started in Youngstown, NY where my Aunt Georgann and I stayed while we visited Niagara Falls. We absolutely loved Youngstown and especially loved the Bistro at the Old Fort Inn where we dined our first evening.
As my aunt said after we finished our meal: it completely exceeded our expectations. The young, French-trained chef, Vincent, is very creative and everything we tasted was amazing.
I started with the Huerto Salad, not having a clue what was going to be brought out to me. What I was presented with was this:
Roasted beets and yellow carrots in a black bean sauce, with queso fresco and vinaigrette. So not what I was expecting but oh so good! Chef Vincent came out to welcome us and present us with two shot glasses filled with a special drink he had created. I wish I had written down what was in it but regardless, it was good!
For our entrees, I had the Stuffed Poblano Pepper and Georgann had the Tilapia al Jaguar.
My pepper was stuffed with ground beef, apples, pears, carrots, onions and raisins, topped with a walnut Nogada foam, and served with delicious mashed potatoes and yummy Brussels sprouts. Georgann’s tilapia was roasted and smothered in a creamy almond sauce which was torched table-side. It was also served with mashed potatoes and Brussels sprouts.
We sat on the patio for dinner so we could enjoy the lovely evening weather. Inside seemed a bit dark and uninspiring anyway. 🙂 A very lovely way to start our vacation!
Okay, this will be the third post I’ve mentioned this next meal which was not really a meal, per se, but a pastry. An incredible, multi-grain croissant from Prinzo Cafe Patisserie in Ottawa. I don’t know what it was about this croissant but it was so good!!! Just try it. Trust me.
One place we actually made reservations for prior to our trip was Le Cordon Bleu Bistro at Signatures. We were very excited about eating here and were not disappointed!
They have a Table d’Hote menu for lunch and dinner. You can choose between two appetizers and two entrees, and there is one dessert offered. We dined there for lunch for budget reasons. 🙂
I started with Curried Carrot Velouté with Ginger Foam (foam is apparently a “thing” now) and Georgann had the Asian Pork Steam Bun, Sambal Sauce with Cilantro and Radish Slaw.
Both so delicious! For our entree, we both chose the Pan Seared Pickerel in Coconut Lemon Grass Broth with Snap Peas and Water Chestnuts. Such a light and flavorful dish!
I wasn’t too excited about the dessert, Pecan Butter Tart, Blueberry Compote and Banana Snow, because I’m not a huge nuts-in-dessert person. But this ended up being one of my favorite desserts of our trip! Sooo yummy!
The restaurant is located in an old house and is only open Wednesday – Friday for lunch and Wednesday – Saturday for dinner, and the menu changes weekly.
On to Montreal! 🙂 Our first stop when we arrived in the city was the Jean-Talon Market. I think I’ve mentioned once or twenty times about my love of markets. This one is located in Little Italy and, although we arrived late in the day, there were still plenty of vendors open and produce available (except for the smoked trout my aunt wanted – which isn’t produce, I know).
We picked up the makings for a big salad, some fresh fruit, an amazing goat cheese from Chevrerie du Buckland, and a baguette, two chocolatines, and two desserts from Premiere Moisson Jean-Talon. That evening we had a very lovely meal in our apartment, enjoying our purchases from the market.
For our second evening in Montreal, we dined at Jardin Nelson, a lovely restaurant located in the historic Place Jacques-Cartier. Yes, it’s pretty popular with tourists, but I still loved the atmosphere in the courtyard garden behind the restaurant. Sails criss-cross over the open space, flowers spill over the windows of the surrounding buildings and along the terraces, and a jazz band plays live music. This was probably my favorite place we dined in Canada as far as the setting goes. I loved it!
The menu is quite extensive and we focused in on the savory crepe selection. We actually started with a delicious baby spinach salad with strawberries and maple sauce. Yum!! I ordered the Du Jardin, a corn batter crepe filled with fresh vegetables, basil, Kalamata olives, cheddar, mozzarella and goat cheese. Delish! Georgann had the Fermière: a savory batter with sauteed veal, pearl onions, leeks, celery, carrots, button mushrooms, cheddar and mozzarella cheese in a white wine cream sauce. Whew! It was on the heavier side but was very tasty. A lovely dining experience!
While wandering around Montreal one day at lunchtime, we came across a little cafe in the basement of a building called Soupesoup. Since it was an overcast, rainy day, we decided soup sounded like just the thing we’d love to have for lunch!
Soupesoup has six restaurants in Montreal, created by chef and founder Caroline Dumas. A minimalist, clean space with the soups, salads and sandwiches of the day written on chalkboards and delicious soups made for a perfect lunch. Georgann had what she deemed the best mushroom soup (I’ll have to take her word on that since mushrooms = very ick to me 🙂 ). I went with the soup verde which had so much flavor! Both soups were served with amazingly delicious grilled bread. Yum!!
I don’t typically go out to breakfast when I travel, but while in Montreal I came across a couple of places that just looked too good to pass up. 🙂
The first was Olive+Gourmando located in Old Montreal on rue Saint-Paul. What a wonderfully hip place! We visited on a Saturday and it was hopping! They have a very limited breakfast menu (not including the incredibly yummy pastry selection) but what they serve is fresh and excellent.
I had their homemade granola with yogurt and fruit. Yum. Yum. Yum. I seriously think there were ten different kinds of fruit in my bowl! I kept discovering new ones with each bite. Georgann had the “Poached egg on your face” panini which contained spicy poached eggs with herbs and mayonnaise, Comté cheese, speck, and slow roasted tomatoes. It was full of incredible flavor but Georgann and I both agreed it was a bit spicy to eat without anything else to give your mouth a break. 🙂
We bought some pastries to-go which we ate the following morning: almond croissants and an apple turnover. Delicious, of course.
On our final morning in Montreal, we ate breakfast at Le Cartet, which was located just around the corner from the apartment where we stayed. Another great space and great food! We both ordered scrambled eggs with asparagus and cheddar on toasted country bread, served with roasted potatoes in duck fat (I tried not to think about it), lemon juice and spices, and fresh fruit. So much food and so yummy!
We also picked up lunch to-go here for our drive to Quebec: a delicious chicken and red pepper wrap using a crepe instead of a tortilla for the wrap.
For our final evening in Montreal, we dined at Brasserie T!, a hip restaurant that just happened to sit smack dab in the middle of the International Jazz Festival. This is the younger (and cheaper!) sister of Toqué!, an award-winning restaurant in Montreal.
The building itself is so unique – a long, narrow box, sitting in the middle of a sidewalk, with windows for walls. The service was just so-so but the food pretty much made up for it. We started with a goat cheese and potato gratin which was simple but delicious. And it looked amazing!
For our second course, I had the salmon with dill and fennel salad, and Georgann had walleye with leek celeriac.
My salmon was slow-cooked at a low temperature which kept its color dark pink and the flesh oh-so-tender. And the fennel salad it was served with was probably the tastiest fennel dish I’ve ever had. Georgann enjoyed her fish as well. Oh, and how could I forget the side of fries we split? Servers kept walking past us with these amazing-looking fries so we just had to indulge. Georgann is not a huge fan of fries but even she admitted these were some of the best she had ever tasted. So good.
From Montreal, we continued our travels through Canada with a visit to Quebec City. And our culinary delights also continued! Our first morning in Quebec, I rose early and left our apartment to sniff out a bakery. I ended up at Paillard, a cafe-boulangerie that offered us some really great baked goods.
I returned with a baguette, a croissant, and a raisin danish – yum!!! We returned again that afternoon for lunch and I had a delicious salad with grapes, blue cheese, pistachios, dried cranberries and pear slices. Georgann thoroughly enjoyed her warm roast beef sandwich with creamy horseradish sauce, blue cheese, caramelized onions and lettuce. I thought the salad was a little pricey for a counter service restaurant but it was really good.
Are you tired of reading about food yet? 😉 It’s really making me hungry and want to go back and visit all of these places again! Just a few more I want to highlight.
First, D’Orsay Restaurant & Pub – recommended by our Airbnb hostess and very much enjoyed by us! Georgann had one of her favorite meals of our entire trip here and I had one of the best salads I’ve ever eaten. Seriously.
My dish was a garden quinoa salad with fennel confit, feta cheese and D’Orsay dressing. But it was oh so much more than that simple description. This salad contained so many vegetables and other toppings and was so tasty!!
Georgann had the duck leg confit with baby green salad, bacon chunks, potatoes and mushrooms, and balsamic vinaigrette. She raved about it throughout our entire meal. Wins for both of us!
The following evening we dined at another recommendation from our hostess: Bello Ristorante. First of all, what a great looking restaurant! It’s located in a beautiful old building but inside is very modern. We actually sat on the side patio which was very lovely.
We started by sharing the Caesar salad for two which came out in a huge serving bowl. We were served smaller portions on individual plates but the large bowl was left on our table and yes, we ate every last bite! It was quite delicious.
For our entrees, I went with the Risotto di Agnello and Georgann had Tagliatelle con Gorgonzola e Noci.
My risotto was mixed with braised lamb, green olives and sage. And was amazing. Super tasty and delicious! Georgann’s tagliatelle with gorgonzola, tomatoes, hazelnuts and chives was creamy and delicious as well (I finished hers off for her – I’m nice like that 😉 ).
Such a lovely meal and our server was fantastic!
For our final evening in Quebec, and the final evening of our trip, we dined at Echaude. Oh my goodness. I think we both decided this was the best dining experience of our trip – and that’s saying a lot!!
The restaurant is very stylish yet relaxed and the food…incredible. It’s located in the Old Port area of Quebec, near Place Royale, which became one of our favorite areas to take a stroll.
We had planned on ordering one appetizer and sharing it, but after looking at the menu we realized there were just too many things we wanted to try! So we each ordered our own. I had the cucumber gazpacho with fennel sorbet and smoked trout which was honestly one of the most delicious dishes I’ve ever tasted!
Georgann chose the lobster salad with green asparagus, fresh strawberries and pistachios. Very fresh and she thoroughly enjoyed it.
For our entrees, I ordered the beef flank steak which was served with fries and mixed vegetables, and Georgann had the fish and mussel soup in a lobster-court bouillon. Both were excellent!
Since this was the final evening of our two-week vacation, of course we had to order dessert. 🙂 I had the creme brulée with Madagascar Bourbon vanilla (delicious!) and Georgann had the creamy chocolate with spices and port and fig ice cream (so rich yet yummy!).
It was the absolute perfect ending to our wonderful adventure, eating our way through Canada. 🙂