When was the last time that you bought into the hype of something and was left underwhelmed and disappointed. I’d love to say that I’m not a bandwagoner but my dusty Ello account, first-gen Zune player, Hoobastank extended cut album, Ed Hardy trucker hats and box of fidget spinners will say otherwise. My feed has been inundated with content from this place. Unfortunately I fell into the algorithm of overly ecstatic people pushing the “best” of this thing and the “you won’t believe” of that. I wanted to check out the spot for myself. So I went to Panda Doré and ordered the entire menu to see what this dumpling place was all about and if it really warranted social media bug-eyed gawking reactions.
Hi friends. I took some time off for myself during the summer and hope you had the chance to as well! I know you’ve probably missed me as much as your last gout attack, but I’m back and ready to hit you with another restaurant review. I had the opportunity to check many of the 187 food festivals around the city in the past few months. The best part bout these food festivals (besides the food obviously) is discovering new local food vendors, caterers and up and coming restaurants – and even not so new ones that you just didn’t know existed. This week’s restaurant is a spot that made their way through the food festival circuit this summer. They lured me with their chicken wings and I checked out their brick and mortar for more; Golden Lotus.
I have to confess something to you. I’ve done it again. In the attempt to bring you the hidden gems around the city, I’ve found myself hoarding my favourite spots. I will not ask for forgiveness because this week’s review will have you thanking me for finding your new favourite spot. I’ve been writing for a very long time now and every so often I find places that not only impresses but excites me. There’s a space in the city for local culinary talent, but what’s also eye-opening is when talent starts to migrate to all four corners of the city. So when I tell you that I had to sit on this one before I divulge, you’ll understand. Let me preface this with, yes, I know it’s a bit far for those who live in the city… but it’s well worth the trip to St. Anne to hit up Le Bienheureux.
There are a few things that I crave all the time. Attention, affection, positive reinforcement and Korean food. I will go out of my way to get Korean food regardless of where I am. I’d love to say that this week’s restaurant took me completely by surprise. Not only because it was delicious, but because of it’s location – DDO. West island is the fucking wildcard of Asian food right now. From fiery Szechuan at Mala Express, Teishoko style Japanese cuisine at Mont Brise, legit pho at Zui Zui and I Am Pho, and now yet ANOTHER amazing Korean restaurant to add to the growing roster of Asian eats, K-BROS.
It goes without saying that if your restaurant name includes a name of a dish, chances are that’s your specialty. No one is going to Big Bob’s Bussin’ Burgers for their impecable teppanyaki service. Places like Amy’s Dejeuner, Liuyishou Hot pot, Maffeo’s Fried Chicken, and Toni Pizza, one look at the name you can pretty much guess what you’re getting. I recently checked out a Vietnamese spot in Saint-Michel that specializes in one very particular dish – a savoury pancake called Banh Xeo – I went to Banh Xeo Minh.
I recently polled my Instagram how everyone defines brunch. Is it the food that dictates what brunch is? The time? The day? Answers were varied. Some think that brunch is explicitly regulated to Sundays after 10am, others will say anytime after noon. I also received answers that it’s the type of foods eaten that makes a meal brunch. This blows my mind; eggs Benedict = breakfast, eggs Benedict with avocado and smoked salmon = brunch. I don’t get it, but what I do get is that I’ve succumbed to the ritual of rolling out of bed on a Sunday and rushing to line up to eat breakfast. This week I checked out a spot that’s quickly becoming a favourite of mine, Amy’s Déjeuner.
Who doesn’t love a sandwich? It’s the most versatile meal and snack. You can eat it in a restaurant or in a park. It’s delicious on a plate or in the Metro with a shark. The humble sandwich is always a go-to meal regardless of the situation. Whether it’s a BLT or beef shawarma, pork belly bao or even hot dog, I love all sandwiches. I especially love banh mi. A Vietnamese sandwich packed full of grilled meats, pork loaf, fresh verbs and pickles. I was recently invited to check out a new banh mi spot Mi Bao.
I’ve said it before that Montreal’s ramen scene is strong. Some might even argue; too strong. What’s great about having so may options is that everyone is relatively on the same playing field. When everyone is lined up next to each other doing the same thing, that’s only when the stars will shine the brightest. My gold medal standard bowl of ramen is from Yokato Yokabai. Their classic tonkotsu is undefeated. Although (don’t tell anyone) I’ve become a big fan of their Gomami broth – a sesame based broth. This week I went to check out the new location of Kumamoto Ramen in Ville Saint Laurent to see where they stack up.
We’re going to start 2023 with a bang. Literally. A meal at this place felt like a straight body-shot to the gut. You may not know it but not only does Montreal have great Chinese restaurants, but we are home to restaurants that represent the various regional cuisines of China – as per my article for Tourism Montreal. The majority of restaurants in the city serve Cantonese cuisine- fried noodles, sweet and sour deep this and thats, rice dishes, sizzling platters, dumplings. It’s once you get into regional specialties can you tell the difference. The spices, the techniques, the ingredients. The regional cuisine that stands out is Szechuan. I recently discovered the small Szechuan restaurant – Mala Express – in one of the most obvious neighbourhoods in the city… Kirkland.
In the past several years, it seems like the city has experienced an exponential boom in fried chicken spots. You’ve got the OGs like, Triple Crown, Icehouse, Mon Ami, Comon, to the new kids, Olivia’s, Corilla, Cali and Maffeo’s. I’d like to say that the fried chicken frenzy has peaked but with a few more spots that I have lined to to write about, I don’t see an end in sight… for now. That being said, this week, I hit up one of our home-grown fried chicken chains to pop up, Jack Le Coq.