Monday, October 31, 2011

LAWRENCE


With the popularity of these enormous franchised breakfast restaurants popping up in every neighborhood of our city, the task of finding a truly good spot for brunch or breakfast on the weekend becomes more and more diluted. People line up, sometimes over a half hour, for mediocre bacon and eggs in large noisy dining rooms. Babies crying, tables crammed in one on top of the other, waitresses scurrying about often in a complete state of confusion forgetting about their tables. Meanwhile, the growing lineup of impatient people at the door stare at you and your plate as if to say "hurry up, can't you see people are waiting for that table"? The idea of brunch is supposed to be a leisurely meal with engaging conversation over coffee and freshly squeezed juice (maybe with a little booze in it) and an often sizable meal that you justify by saying "well, it's really two meals in one". Somewhere along the line, Montreal settled for quasi-omelettes with half melted cheese for breakfast and forgot about how nice a proper brunch is.

Monday, October 24, 2011

CHEEBURGER CHEEBURGER


Sometimes you just need a hamburger, a real hamburger. This isn't a case when the anemic, cookie cutter, fast food variety is going to satisfy your craving, you need the real deal. Last weekend we had one of those days. We had been planning to try Cheeburger Cheeburger after hearing good things about it from a few friends arguing whether it was better than 5 Guys or not (another burger chain that has recently opened in Montreal) . Then, last week we saw a deal on living social offering a 20$ voucher off of a meal there for 10$. We bought the deal and afterwards, we behaved like 10 year olds that just got our weekly allowance from our parents. The money (or voucher in this case) was burning a hole in our pocket, we couldn't wait to use it.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

GRUMMAN '78 X M. WELLS


Hugue Dufour, the chef and owner of the currently closed M. Wells restaurant in New York was in town this past weekend co-hosting a couple of events with Montreal's very own taco truck pioneers, Grumman '78. Chef Dufour is well known in Montreal as the former sous-chef and partner at Au Pied de Cochon, and to others as Chef Martin Picard's co-host on the food network show "The Wild Chef".  Most recently though, Chef Dufour's diner M. Wells in Long Island, NY and it's classic american cuisine with a Quebecois flare is what people have been talking about in food communities from here to the big apple. The restaurant's meteoric rise to the stars, and subsequent fall back to earth after an over-publicized dispute over a lease renewal with their greedy landlord resulted in what chef Dufour and his wife/partner Sarah Obraitis have determined to be a minor speed bump in their journey to serve their food their way.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

TAVERNE GASPAR



Taverne Gaspar is the most recent addition to the ever expanding list of boutique hotels, restaurants, lounges and spas in Old Montreal owned by the Antonopolous group. Joining their other latest popular spots like M├ęchant Boeuf attached to the Hotel Nelligan, this modern take on the tavern concept is located in a very popular tourist destination in the old port on the scenic strip of de la Commune street, near St Laurent attached to the Auberge du Vieux-Port.

There has been a lot of buzz lately on social media sites about the opening of Taverne Gaspar and we initially didn't want to buy into the hype but soon after, they released their menu online; when we had a look we found it to be very appealing. We visited over thanksgiving weekend, the establishment's first official week open to the public. We found the decor to be strikingly gorgeous. Deeply tufted vinyl banquets line the walls that have been stripped down to the original stone. Vintage prints and photos hang on the walls in mismatched banged-up picture frames, mirrors and chandeliers with antique light bulbs run across the ornate, heritage tin tiled ceiling and waiters in suspenders keep the mixed drinks and locally brewed beers coming while the Stones, Hendrix and Aerosmith play on the sound system.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

GIBBY'S


The steakhouse - a quintessential part of every big city's restaurant scene. It's the gold standard of birthdays, graduations and family celebrations and the first recommendation you'll get when you ask a hotel employee in a city you're visiting for a "nice place to eat". In Montreal, as is the case in many other cities, we have quite a few steakhouses to choose from, some better than others. In the eyes of most people in our city, Gibby's will inevitably and consistently come up in conversation as being one of the top three steakhouse choices, if not the first choice. We say top three because choosing the best steakhouse in Montreal is as subjective as where to find the best smoked meat or best bagel in town, everyone's got an opinion and rightfully so, the steakhouse genre in this city's got some formidable competitors.