Monthly Archives

November 2007


Winter Bar at Quays of the Old Port

Winter Bar at Quays of the Old Port : bar d\'hiver Montreal

I had the chance to try out the Winter Bar before its official opening.

Set under an illuminated canopy, the Winter Bar is a cool bar steps away from The Quays Skating Rink. This year, the design is even better than in the previous years.

For the first time, the Winter Bar will be open all winter (December 1, 2007 to March 9, 2008). Electronic music DJs will perform every Thursday night. The formula is a paying bar with no cover charge.

What’s to drink?

From the bar menu, I recommend a hot chocolate with a tiny shot of alcohol; I tried mine with whiskey. It was good and non whiskey fan like me are delighted that we do not really taste the whiskey.

One innovative drink is a brand new beer by Unibroue. It is a cherry beer served warmed. The warmed beer are served in an adorable small specialty glass. The bar design is pretty cool as you can see. On total, 186 people fit inside and 367 can enjoy the exterior terrace heated with wood fireplaces. Pretty cool!

I want to thank the cheerful Josianne (I hope I remembered her name correctly) for the smoke effects and for taking the time to explain to me the principle. The beer is served pretty warmed; you insert the bottles in boiling water. You served it in a small glass so you can drink it warm.

Planning an event at Winter Bar

If you are planning an event, it is good to know that you can rent the Winter Bar for an event. The event creators are Avec Brio and the official caterer is Bernard & Fils Traiteur. The bison was a hit with everyone. I enjoy their salmon tartar. Food presentation was appealing. But there were a few items that my girlfriends and I were not fond of. To be fair to the caterer, our taste buds are used to extraordinary finger food.

The Winter Bar is normally open on:

Thursday & Friday from 5 pm to 10 pm
Saturday from 2 pm to 10 pm
Sunday from 2 pm to 8 pm

Going to a VIP party always feels different. I plan to return some Thursday nights, if the weather is nice. The idea would be to exercise a bit, taking some fresh air and having a drink with friends at the sound of electronic DJs. If you come to visit Montreal this winter do not miss the Winter Bar. You can rent skates at the Skating Rink.

Learn more: Winter Bar at the Quays of the Old Montreal Port

ALL occasions GIFT IDEAS

Double-Take: a retrospective of Bettina Forget’s paintings

bettina forget\'s double-take retropective

To make your dinner party more special, think about adding a little field trip.

Tips on how to entertain your guests

Visiting a small art exhibition in a private gallery forms an ideal activity because it does not take too long. They occur all the time so you get no problem finding one at the last minute.

You can invite your friends for a casual dinner at your place or if it is still early, stop for a drink at a cool bar before dining.

The secret of a great event is to have several activities and moving around. When you do that, you always feel that the night was more exciting. Plan for activities that are nearby and that are easily accessible by everyone.

If you invite people who do not know each other, the opening activity acts as an ice breaker. The conversation will be livelier at dinner.

About the Double-Take exposition

Bettina Forget is an adorable talented artist. We went to her latest vernissage last Wednesday. I mixed pictures taken by my husband with some of her own to give you an idea. If you are looking for more significant Christmas gifts, consider paintings. For collectors and home décor fans, paintings can be at the top of their wish lists.

For this retrospective of her work, Bettina Forget has selected pairs of paintings from her various series dating from 2000 – 2007. Featured are paintings from her Weather Diaries, Helios Series, We are Stardust Series, and the Neutron Star Series. The exposition is held until Tuesday, December 4, 2007 at Visual Voice Art Gallery.

Visual Voice Art Gallery
372 Sainte-Catherine Street West, Suite 421
Montreal, QC
View maps

Bettina rents the front section of her studio to other artists so they can expose their art works. If you want to easily keep track of the vernissages at her gallery, Bettina has a group on Facebook.

Learn more: Visual Voice Art Gallery
Blog: Inside the Artist’s Studio – blog of Bettina Forget

FOOD + DRINK FOOD presentation RECIPES + menus

Tastespotting watch | enRoute Best New Dining Trends

enroute magazine 2007 dining trends

This in-flight magazine for Air Canada always brings significant views on restaurants and the dining experience.

It is clear that classics making a comeback are growing in importance. From the November 2007 issue, I am listing enRoute latest trends in dining:

  • Tap Water
  • Feist
  • Tiny Restaurants with Tiny Menu
  • Blackboard Menus – I am a big fan of them even at home
  • Champagne Cocktails
  • House-Marinated Olives
  • House-Made Chorizo
  • Mom’s Cooking
  • Spaetzle – the new gnocchi
  • Pannacotta – the new crème brûlée – I see them everywhere
  • Single Varietal Honey
  • Peanut Butter Ice Cream
  • Tongue, cheek
  • Duck Confit in Risotto
  • Rosé
  • Salt Cod
  • Cheesecake
  • Mostarda
  • Fernet-Branca and Cynar – two herb-based bitter Italian digestifs
  • House Ketchup with unexpected flavors
  • Ratatouille

Recipes on Tastespotting

The recipes that I selected from Tastespotting represent well the new dining trends. Rhubarb is popular lately. It is so easy to grow your own rhubarb that you can enjoy them for many weeks. Brandade, a salt cod tapenade is a classic French appetizer. Almost every French bistro will serve them. The provencale ratatouille is one of all time favorite vegetable dishes.

The worst trend according to enRoute is square plate. Personally, I like them. My everyday tableware are square plates and bowls. I received lots of compliment for my dinnerware set. So it is fair to say that I am not the only one that appreciates them. You need a little time at the beginning to get used to plating the food. I have this set for a year now. I do not regret my purchase.

Their dislike has not deter enRoute from recommending several restaurants that used square dinnerware. I feel that the plate from Vella Restaurant seems a little bit to full to look truly stylish. From my point of view, the green salad should rest in another plate or bowl.

Recipe: Ratatouille by Fanny on Tastespotting
Recipe: Panna cotta with hibiscus and rhubarb jelles by Lincoln on Tastespotting
Restaurant: Vella in Montreal – picture from enRoute
Recipe: Brandade by Sarah on Tastespotting


Flickr watch | Vintage wrapping papers

Nicely wrapped gifts look more impressive. A friend told me that in the Japanese culture, the gift appearance is quite important because you are not supposed to open the gifts in front of everyone in their culture. I think they missing out, this is part of the fun. With small gifts, people may put more efforts and money on the gift wrapping than the actual gifts.

I came across this group on Flickr that posted vintage papers. Unfortunately, people do not always specify the paper origin. I selected a few for weddings and birthdays.

A fabulous birthday tabletop by ilovecoffee

flickr brithday paper by ilovecoffee

A wedding paper by blempgorf

wedding paper by blempgorf on flickr

Again by blempgorf. Check her because she displays a pretty collection of vintage aprons and textiles. The colors on this paper are striking.


An adorable pattern by One Good Bumblebee


A cute vintage birthday paper for a little girl that likes to play mommy by fun old new


ALL occasions GIFT IDEAS

Feeling cozy under the Christmas tree


Every year, Second Cup introduces a new holiday gift collection. Their catalogue is small and reflects trends. This year cozies and knitted bags share the spotlights.

If you are good at knitting and have the time, you can make your own. I am sorry that I did not find a pattern draft online but I guess it is not too hard to make if you have a teapot with you. Otherwise, make a gift set with a few mugs or a teapot from Second Cup, each with a removable cozy.

The cozy for the travel cup is more for aesthetic purposes but it looks so comfortable. If the gift recipients do not carry their own cup, why not knit a cozy for disposable cup? At least, there will be one less thing that they will throw away. And it is easy to carry in your purse all the time.

For wrapping your gifts, Second Cup proposes cute knits bags and fake leather magazine baskets. Because people will reuse the containers in their everyday life, these options are eco-friendly.

Learn more: Holiday catalogue at Second Cup


Hang your artworks right the first time with Hang & Level

hang & level

The booming of the renovation sector brought us many innovations at the hardware store. New tools have emerged to simplify our life. Here is one of these innovations for hanging stuff on your wall.

If ever try to group a set of pictures you know how it feels cumbersome to get all the holes at the right place. Sharing your frustrations, a Calgary-based decorating expert Liette Tousignant developed a tool that removes the fuss from this task. I just saw the TV ad and it seems pretty handy.

Hang & Level is a tool that precisely marks the hole. No more computations or guess work, you get it right the first time. They produce a few decorating articles with useful hanging tips.

Great stocking stuffer, this tool will be most appropriated by a friend who just moved to a new home. It is available across Canada at Canadian Tire, The Home Depot, Home Hardware and more stores. Americans can find Hang & Level at Linens N Things.

Videos: TV ads of Hang & Level
Buy: Store locator of retailers selling Hang & Level – price: $19.99


Weddings a la Provencale

weddings a la provencale

I am glad that Jenn, a reader and a blogger with an eye for fabulous home decors, introduced me to this inspiring article on Your Wedding Day Magazine (winter 2005). If you ever visit Provence, you know why people fall in love with this part of the World.

Doing a wedding à la Provencale have a lot of charms. Floral designer Camilla Svensson Burns said that

.eclectic collections of silverware, plates and napkins are used to convey a diversity of beauty; a creative palette where variety simply adds more elegance.

I am versed in French style. Moreover as a reader of Coté Sud and other magazines from France for over two decades now, I have seen tons of French tablescape executions. I have to agree with her but this statement requires some clarifications.

The French way of eclectic dinnerware

First of all, mix and match for the French is not shabby chic. It is bohemian either because there is structure in their eclectic look. Let me explain.

Here, we buy a dinnerware set. The French tend to assemble their dinnerware set by selecting the plates, the bowls and the cups separately. People may have inherited beautiful dishes that they wish to use with other pieces.

The long tradition of dinnerware maker in France simplifies this process. These artisans rely on a few shapes. This mean you can easily mix scalloped rim dinner plates from a brand with salad plates from another product line. Many dishes are available in several colors. For a sophisticated look, two colors are plenty. Generally using more than 2 colors will look childish.

For the service pieces, they do not have to match as long as the pieces share the same material. Look at the pewter serving ware; their cohesion is evident. Ornate pieces sit well next to a simple pitcher.

French always host sit down dinner even for the most casual events. When you dress the table, it is important that all the place settings are identical. That is why I said this is not shabby chic or bohemian.

Key element of French cuisine

The article proposed menus for a French Country wedding and a French formal wedding. Fresh herbs are at the center of French cuisine. Provence is the place for herbs. It is a fast and tasty way to season a dish. If you want to experience the difference, grow your own chives. Make a salad and cut what you need moments before eating it. Divine.

Learn more: Weddings a la Provencale on Your Wedding Day
Learn more: Web site of Camilla Flowers
Via: Suggestion of Jenn of An Eye for An I:nterior – an inspirational blog on interior design


Shopping Alert | Studio sale at Gogoglass

gogoglass studio sales

If you are a regular reader, you probably recalled my post about the colorful glass cooking tools of Annie Michaud.

Next Saturday, December 1st, 2007 is the annual sample sale at Gogoglass. Once a year, Annie Michaud and Karine Vanasse sells blown glass pieces with tiny imperfections, outstanding stock of custom jobs and prototypes.

The imperfections can be in the color, a small difference in the diameter or the shape. Nothing major. Arrive early if you want to get your hand on a slightly imperfect lemon reamer ($15 CAD) or mortar & pestle ($45 CAD). With more than 50% off, I am interested to equip my kitchen with both.

Their Old Montreal studio will be open from 10 am to 5 pm on December 1. Glass blowing demonstrations will be held during the day.

385 de la Commune East (marché Bonsecours)
Montreal, QC  H2Y 1H2
phone 514.397.8882

Buy online : Web site of Annie Michaud


Modern festive decorations | 3 blogs and a mood board – 2007.11.26 edition

modern festive decorations for christmas

If you are into retro Scandinavian style, here are some clues on how to put on your holiday decorations. I even tossed in a touch of sophistication with the gorgeous sugar cookies.

1 | Purple Area

Lucky her! The interior designer behind Purple Area has the December 2007 issue of Living etc on her hand. I am still waiting for Multimags to receive it. It is terrible how long we have to wait for a UK magazine. You order Moo cards; they arrived in your mailbox 5 to 7 days later. A magazine takes 6 weeks! Go figure. And it seems that Purple Area is becoming a regular of my mood board.

These pictures from last year Christmas edition (thanks to Purple for the clarification) show that you do not have to rely on the typical colors to look like Christmas. The decorations are minimalist and colorful. The black rug is pretty cool for a party. It feels so comfy. You can find a similar one at Umbra Concept store in Toronto. Log walls are still hot this year.

2 | Poppy Talk

Another of my regular spotlight is Poppy Talk. From her online shop, the recycled fur & european wool christmas stockings by ouno design is a must for the style we are going for.

A hand-made revolution in modern interior décor is to upcycle from vintage materials. According to Wikipedia, upcycling is the transform waste materials into something of greater use and value.

That is what Vancouver based ouno design does. They look for simple, soft, natural, ancient, sensuous and mod 60s and 70s materials. In the tradition of West Coast Modernism, Ouno Design incorporates Scandinavian, Japanese and ancient design influences to bring warmth and natural texture to both modern and traditional decor. Their upscale handmade products are available in limited editions.

Every Saturday until December 22, 2007, their studio warehouse is open for shopping. Do not miss their reclaimed fur pillows to warm up your winter home décor. Their warehouse is located at:

ouno design
36 Keefer Street (4 blocks E. of Main, 2 blocks S. of Hastings)
Vancouver, BC
p 604.216.1103

3 | Rare Bird Finds

If you wish to make your own outstanding cookies, give you a head start with the Solid Copper Snowflake Cookie Cutters. The snowflake shapes are really refined.

For a stylish effect, reuse the white only ornament concept. So even if you do not have the patience to sculpt your cookies up to this extreme, your cookies will look one of a kind. If you know tricks for sculpting the inside of the cookies, please share them with us.

Buy online: recycled fur & european wool christmas stockings at poppy talk handmade – price: $39 CAD
Buy online: Divine Set Of Solid Copper Snowflake Cookie Cutters at Delight – price: $21.75 USD for a set of 3


Inspiring the readers of for Holiday entertaining


You can imagine that being published on a publication for the first time is a great feeling. I am sharing the good news with you.

I wrote two articles for the Entertaining Guides of Food Network Canada. Even better, my subjects are two styles that are dear to me.

I wrote about a French Country Fête and a Scandinavian Modern Christmas. Tips on the menu, the tableware, Christmas decorations and the music define the unique character of each celebration.

Take a look. Four more Holiday celebrations complete their Holiday Entertaining guides. I am doubly happy that my two articles made their Our Top Picks list. It is time to go back reality now.

Get inspired: French Country Christmas Guide on
Get inspired: Throw a Scandinavian Modern Christmas at
Photo credit (bottom): Pont Aux Choux dinnerware by Gien – photo taken by me at Arthur Quentin


Tastespotting watch | Autumnal dinner menu

autumnal dinner menuAnyone throwing a Thanksgiving dinner party must be cooking right now. Going with the spirit of the day, I plan an autumnal menu. It is amusing since it feels like winter here in Montreal today.

I composed this menu from featured posts on Tastespotting. Similar to my Flickr watch and my Etsy watch columns, you never know when I will be posting a Tastespotting watch.

Easy entertaining menu

I devise this menu for a casual event around the idea of stylish comfort food. That is often the best dinner parties.

Salad course

To keep things simple, I select a simple composed salad for the cold appetizer course. Serve this recipe in small portions.

Soup course

I select a soup instead of a warm appetizer because it can be prepared in advance.

Main course

The sweet potatoes and the green beans add the needed colors to your main dish.