Picture a dimly lit alley steps away from the hustle and bustle of a typical Tokyo street. Along a row of wooden doors sits a hidden oasis of food and drink where locals congregate and strangers make new friends. A mix of J-pop and Japanese oldies fill the air and ride a smoke scented draft wafting from the kitchen. Small bites of fried goodies and raw seafood, pepper the tables and glimmers and random lights are caught on the edges of cocktail glasses. This is Hanzo Izakaya. Owned and operated by the same team that brought to you Escondites, biirū, La Habanera, Kao Lua, and Gokudo, Hanzo Izakaya is Tokyo at night where wisps of neon lights creep in through noren curtains inviting you into a familiar place for a drink.
I had a friend the other day come up to me and say, “hey did you know it’s only 318 days until Christmas?” … HAD. Are you sick of winter yet? I am. We live in a place where the air literally hurts your face, the fucking AIR. Our winters are long and tedious but Montrealers are resilient and soldier through it. As shitty as our winters are, there is that proverbial light at the end of the tunnel. Summer and more importantly what’s the best part about summer? Short skirts and crop tops? Sure, but let’s be honest here, I’m talking food festivals. There’s no denying that our city revolves around food. Our gastronomy scene is second to none. Being said, food festivals aren’t unique to summer. The hyperborean months between Christmas and Easter are host to some of the year’s best food festivals like, La Poutine Week, and Happening Gourmand.
I had the opportunity to check out the Happening Gourmand festival and experience one of the city’s happening restaurants. Wait, I know what you’re thinking. “Great, you jerk, don’t tell me you’re going to write and tell me about some food festival after the fact. What is that going to do for me now that it’s over?” I knew you’d say that. But you can still go! Here’s how!
With so much media coverage and critical acclaim, it’s safe to say that Montreal is an eater’s city. From low brow comfort food, casual cuisine to upscale fine dining, we have it all. Like any other big city, we have almost any kind of cuisine that you can ever want. But what’s most impressive about Montreal is the accessibility to these kinds of restaurants. Regardless of which neighbourhood your in, walk 5 minutes in any direction and you’ll be bombarded with enticing dishes from some of the city’s best restaurants that will guarantee to stop you in your tracks. Montreal’s Mexican restaurant representation is modest but steadily diversifying. The newest player in the game is Emiliano’s in old Montreal upping the Mexican food scene.