A weekend of eating

Wow, 10 days since my last post… Time sure flies! I’m in the middle of re-orienting my life right now and I’ve got a number of things on the go. I didn’t realize it had been so long though: my apologies.

It was cool Monday here in Montreal, with temperatures hovering around 20 degrees with large clouds providing a dramatic skyline and a healthy breeze. I had a decadent weekend of eating and celebrating with my mother and her beau who were in town for the weekend from Toronto. They had a delicious meal at Lawrence on Friday that I offered her for her birthday. They shared oysters, a pig’s cheek asparagus and mostarda appetizer(one of the best dishes ever…) and a poached duck leg with puy lentils, kale and radishes, as well as sea bream with zucchini flowers, chanterelles and mussels. For dessert they shared a strawberry tart, and a ginger rhubarb layered ice cream cake they make. I’ve tried and savored each one of those dishes and I can declare with confidence that it made for a great evening of eating.

Just found this impressionistic painting of Lawrence.
Check out the artist’s site at http://jermin.wordpress.com/

The duck was from a farm called Au goût d’autrefois on l’Île d’Orléans, an island near Québec city. The owner, Jacques Legros and his wife, work tirelessly to provide what must be one of the most ethically admirable animal products in all of North America. Not only are their ducks, geese and turkeys well treated and loved, but they taste fantastic, due to a healthy and varied diet of different high quality grains.

Jaques Legros feeding his animals

After eating what some refer to as neo-rustic english cuisine at Lawrence on Friday night, Carolina(my wife) and I joined my mom and her partner for an evening of fancy Turkish food at Su, a restaurant on Wellington in Verdun, Montreal, where Fisun Ercan, the chef and owner, plates aromatic and colorful dishes from the country that bridges Europe and Asia.

Chef and owner of Su, Fisun Ercan

It was a first time at the restaurant and we had a very good meal. I was very pleased to see them serving lamb from Kamouraska, a Québec lamb that I particularly enjoy. They live by the mouth of the St-Lawrence and the feed they graze is slightly salty due to the sea water mixing with the river and the sea winds bringing with them some of its flavor. The meat is fantastic, and SU did the lamb justice. Here’s what I ate:

Kuzu pirzola
Grilled fresh lamb chops marinated with mountain herbs, mint, sumac and pomegranate infused olive oil, bulgur and seasonal vegetables

I sucked on those chop bones in an attempt to get at every last bite of meat. Fantastic. Thank you Kamouraska, and thank you Fisun and Su!

I recommend the restaurant and urge people to explore what Verdun has to offer. I was very pleasantly surprised by how charming it is.

Following a night of lamb infused sleep, the four of us woke up for another round of food: this time, some Montreal bagels, smoked meat, cream cheese, sun dried tomatoes, and a rhubarb and almond loaf from the pastry shop Rhubarbe. All of this we enjoyed sitting on a picnic table in parc Laurier near one of Montreal’s cutest neighborhoods. Picnicking is something I don’t do enough!

Pastry Chef and owner Stephanie
Now THAT’s a bagel!
Parc Laurier

It was a great weekend. Eating brings us together.

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New York city trip: Part 1: an intro.

I’ve been away for some time. 3 weeks ago, the restaurant where I work, Lawrence, closed for some much deserved(for the owners) vacation time. Taking advantage of the opportunity to travel, Carolina and I organized our first trip to New York city together. Carolina had not been there in over 12 years and I looked forward to discovering new things about the city with her.

sunset seen from Brooklyn

I love NY: as a visitor the frenetic pace of everything is exciting and inspires me to do things with my life; the people are wonderfully straight forward in a respectful way; it might just be the best place in the world to eat; its many art venues satisfy a broad range of tastes and interests; its a fascinating mix of cultures and races that are both distinct and somehow surprisingly integrated within New York’s enterprising culture; and its a place where thousands of young people converge to explore their dreams and mix to create one of most vibrant youth cultures in the world. Therefore, going to NY is always an opportunity to explore and experience new things. However, it’s best to carefully organize a trip in order to maximize one’s discoveries. The sheer amount of things to do can be overwhelming, and despite the fact that most of what you’ll see will be great, there are ways of enjoying a better trip with a bit of careful research. I made sure to do it right this time.

Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir

I’ve had some time to let it soak in and I now plan to put together a series of posts about my week there. There’s only so much one could do so Carolina and I focused on museum hopping and eating ourselves comatose… It was wonderful.

Of course, taking a week long trip to NY is never considered a cheap option, but we were incredibly fortunate to have a free drive there and a place to stay. Without this, the trip would have been out of our means. Thanks to my cousins, and thanks to Sefi and Mark for allowing us to tag along for the ride.

Return for the details of the trip: I’ll be posting them over the following days. I’ll post pictures and descriptions of the food we ate, the beers and cocktails we drank, the espressos that made us smile, the museums we visited and the general impression the trip had on us.

See you soon!