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According to Jess: Vacation Living and Eating

28 Aug

As much as I love our beautiful city, winter’s -30 degree weather has made the hot, sunny beaches of Florida into my winter getaway! I love the Florida weather, the family time, the shopping, and of course, the eating (clearly, in case you haven’t figured it out, eating is my favourite sport). There is something so wonderful about blissfully cracking open crab legs while looking out into the endless ocean.

Unfortunately, there is no beautiful ocean to stare into in Montreal. However, the next best thing is Lucille’s Oyster Dive: a seafood restaurant on Monkland that offers some of the freshest seafood and the best Florida-esque environment in Montreal! When I first walked in, I felt like I was in Miami beach! The restaurant boasts a beach-shack style bar and terrace with a decor that only emphasizes the feeling of being on vacation! What could be better, after a long day at work, than having a few oysters with a glass of Champagne in a trendy, relaxed environment?!

Lucille’s offers a number of appetizers, including all of the “seafood favourites” like clams, mussels, and calamari! In fact, I opted for two appetizers instead of a main course, since I couldn’t make up my mind! I had the tuna tartare with black sesame seeds, sesame oil and soya, as well as the lobster salad: both of which were super fresh, and really gave off the impression that the chefs REALLY CARE about food!

The main courses all looked scrumptious as well..so thankfully, since I only had two appetizers, I had enough room to pick off of everyone’s plate!! They have everything from seafood platters to steaks and hamburgers, mostly accompanied by deliciously light side salads and super crispy fries. It seems like the most popular dish is the Lobster Roll, as everyone around me was eating it!!! 

I give this place a double thumbs up for excellent food and wine, friendly staff, and well-suited decor. I truly felt like I was on vacation!! I know you may be skeptical of seafood in a city with no sea…BUT DON’T BE!! Try it for yourself, and you’ll know what I mean!

Until next time,

Jess

According to Jess: The Raw Factor

24 Aug

The weather this summer has been pretty hot, and a few things have kept me going: huge sunnies, strapless maxis, chilled white wine, and, of course, light summery meals. My summer food staples? Big salads containing everything but the kitchen sink, and tartare.

Salmon and tuna tartare have been favourites of mine for as long as I can remember. So, when I found out about Marche 27, a tartare bar on Prince Arthur, my blackberry was already making a reservation! The restaurant itself is quaint, yet chic, and is conveniently located 12 steps from the great nightlife of St. Laurent street, making this spot a perfect destination for a bite/drink with friends before a night on the town.

The menu: they offer several different raw fishes and meats (in 2 different sized portions), as well as an extensive list of marinates. It’s simple: mix and match! Never being one to shy away from trying new foods, I decided on a Japanese style tuna, a Mediterranean style salmon, a French style Duck, and a spicy Deer. Each dish was plated in a creative way, with different crackers/chips to accompany the main attraction. While each tartare had a distinct taste, they were all super delicious and very fresh, not to mention quite affordable.

The restaurant also had a pleasing wine list, and a great selection of appetizers and other plates. I started with a beet, arugula and goat cheese salad! YUM!

My only complaint? The service was a bit slow… but I had great company, and the ambiance was nice enough to keep me busy- and bring me back again!

Try it out! I give it a thumbs up for the presentation, taste, and atmosphere.

Enjoy the last few summer nights: the leaves will be changing colours soon enough.

Much love,

Jess

According to Jess: SwUrl Up Some Fun

23 Aug

Hello lovely readers! For my first food-spot review, I’d like to share with you the gem that is SwUrl Frozen Yogurt. Let’s face it: whatever psychotic weather Montreal has in store for its inhabitants, we can all use a sweet treat every now and then! My mission, as the person who often says that sandwiches are too much of a commitment since they involve TWO pieces of bread, is always to find the healthiest treat WITHOUT sacrificing the sweet flavor. That’s when fro-yo “SwUrl”ed into my life!

Located on Crescent Street in the heart of downtown Montreal, SwUrl is a self-serve frozen yogurt shop featuring 8 different flavors: 4 of which are fruity and tart, and the other 4 are sweet and creamy, but all of which are super tasty, gluten-free and, oh yeah, FAT-FREE. Once you help yourself to your choice of frozen-yogurt, you walk over to wonderland AKA the topping section, where you can add LITTERALLY ANYTHING to your yogurt! Among the topping choices are SUPER FRESH fruits, assorted gummies, different cereals, chips, crushed up oreos/smarties, the best homemade granola that exists, and assorted chocolates and cookies. My personal fave? The Poptarts! (Hello childhood memories!). If you love trying new things, their Mochi (Japanese rice-based candy) and Popping Boba (balls of fruit juice) are yummy as well. The next step is to weigh your creation and pay according to that.

Four of the yogurt flavors change every Monday, so whether you’re a first time SwUrler or part of their loyal following,you can always find something new and exciting! Past flavors include cupcake, red velvet, strawberry, blackberry, lime, cookies and cream, and oh yeah, BACON. When in doubt, they always have chocolate, vanilla, original, and pomegranate (all solid choices!).

The Verdict: This place is a fantasyland! What got me in the door the first time was the low calorie count, but what keeps me coming back is the creativity and love of food that exudes from this brightly colored shop! Another added bonus: every time I walk in, I get to relive my childhood! #goodtimes

Happy “SwUrl”ing!!

Much Love,

Jess

According to Pam: L’Avenue

22 Aug

What’s better than catching up with an old friend? Doing it over great food of course! This morning my friend Julia and I hit up L’Avenue for a late breakfast. She warned me that there might be a bit of a line, but at 11:00 am on a Monday morning, I was skeptical. Well, boy was I wrong! The line was out the door AND the only reason we got a seat after a short 15 minute wait was because we agreed to sit next to the window.

Located at the heart of the Plateau, L’Avenue serves up AWESOME breakfasts, brunches and lunches! The meals are kinda pricey, but the portions HUGE-so you really are getting enough bang for your buck 😉

The ambiance is also really cool-it kinda reminded me of a hip place you would find in New York. It’s small and super narrow, but the entire wall is decked out in a graffiti like design-and there’s a motor cycle suspended from the ceiling!! (not gonna lie, this kinda freaked me out-I tend to dislike large and heavy objects floating over my head)

Most importantly, the food was really good! I opted for a lighter breakfast of yogurt and granola, which was served in a huge parfait glass. Julia tried the goat cheese omelette, which was served with baked potatoes and a fruit kabob. The portion was huge-two could have easily shared! I hear the eggs benedict is supposed to also be popular and delicious and the smoothies super tasty and thick.

Would I go back? Sure. I’m not a huge fan of waiting in line and sitting in tight and narrow spaces, but I would probably make an exception. The Plateau  is adorable and something new from the downtown, St-Catherine area that I tend to stick around.

Final Verdict: I recommend it. Anything that reminds me of New York City makes my “good” list.

Felicity,

– Pam x