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On The Road iPhone/iPad App from Food Network

food network on the road app

food network on the road app

US Fans of in Food Network will be glad to know about this new free iPhone and iPad app. There are roughly 3,000 U.S. restaurants, food trucks and hot spots that you can search by chef, TV show, city, type of food from Food Network On The Road app.

food network on the road app search by chef

The app can help you decide where to eat next in your home town or to plan a road trip. As you would expect from that type of app, there is a badge system, a la Foursquare.

At first glimpse, Food Network have decided to tap into their huge content database to bring added value to its audience. You can download the app at the Apple store.

Have you tried Food Network On The Road, yet? Will you download the app? Does it appeal to you?


Food Truck Lunch: Takoyaki Montreal and La Mangeoire

takoyaki montreal

takoyaki montreal

Since the Souk at Juste pour Rire is filled with gourmet food trucks, containers and fishing cabins, I decided to make the best of it by having lunch there. Today, I stopped by two food stands.

mushroom or octopus japanese balls

I started my meal with a trio of Japanese balls. My husband ordered the octopus balls while I opted for the mushroom balls. I enjoyed them both. The balls are covered with Japanese crepes topped with mayonnaise, sauce and bento flakes. Delicious!

la mangeoire cocotte sandwich

Then, I ate a sandwich from another newcomer to the food truck Montreal scene: La Mangeoire. Their menu has 4 sandwiches made on order. I ate Cocotte, which is a grilled chicken sandwich with tomato confit and a kale pesto. That was a hit with a glass of iced green tea with lemongrass.

Until July 28th, I plan to try more places for lunch. The souk at Juste pour Rire is located in front of the Complexe Desjardins on Sainte-Catherine Street ouest between Place Des Arts main entrance and Saint-Urbain Street.


Fine Cuisine at BIRONnerie

tempura tomato with its pipette of homemade soya sauce

troisieme bironnerie event at biron restaurant in Montreal

One week ago was the third BIRONnerie. This super cool event for foodies is a recurrent happening at Biron, a Montreal restautant. The concept is imaginative, fun and tasty. Biron opens their kitchen to three amateur cooks to create a five course dinner. The guest cooks will benefit from the skills and support of the kitchen staff and their Chef David Biron to produce a fine dining experience to the customers.

Each amateur cook selects a recipe from their repertoire. The other courses are composed by the Chef. The Chef and the guest cooks meet before the event to plan everything. The day of the event, the guest cook will pass the day in the kitchen, where they will learn tricks of the trade.  It was my first time but it would not be the last. As an attendee, we can sneak next to the kitchen to watch how they assemble the plates. I love that part.

Last Thursday, the menu had a Japanese touch. The five courses were:

tempura tomato with its pipette of homemade soya sauce

We began with a tempura tomato with its pipette of homemade soya sauce from Chef David Biron. It was served on a bed of julienne asparagus.

smoked salmon on a pea pancakes by mayssam samaha of will travel for food

For the second course, Mayssam Samaha of Will travel for food shared her smoked salmon on a pancake of sweet peas with crème fraîche, yuzu (a Japanese citrus fruit), shiso and salmon caviar.

three pieces of brandade with its spicy mayo by dominique berube of les 2 capricieux

Then, we had three pieces of brandade (grilled cod with olive oil) served with a spicy mayonnaise and lime. The Chef adds a touch of a fancy oil (but I forgot to write it down). This was a recipe by Dominique Bérubé, which is known as the Capricieux from Les 2 Capricieux.

main course :: chicken supreme on a bed of puy lentils by chef david biron

The main was a chicken supreme cooked in a juice of olives and Moroccan lemons on its bed of two-celery Puy lentils. This recipe is by Chef David Biron.

cardamon krumkake with homemade ice cream by foodies emporium

To finish the meal in beauty, Nathalie of Foodies Emporium made a cardamon krumkake filled with a homemade ice cream of a local fruit and served with a strawberry and tarragon coulis. A krumkake is a Norwegian waffle cookie that you bake in a machine similar to a waffle maker. The krumkake maker comes with a wooden cone to shape the krumkake. The maker creates a decorative pattern of the waffle cookie.

We opted for the food-wine pairing menu. I wish to send a big thank to the three foodies and the kitchen at Biron for this wonderful dinner. It was divine! To know when is the next BIRONnerie like the restaurant Biron on Facebook.

+ Villaware Krumkake maker $34.95 USD at [Affiliate link]
+ Biron


Foodies at Cabane à sucre Au Pied de Cochon

cabane a sucre au pied de cochon :: maple banana split

cabane a sucre au pied de cochon :: maple banana split

For the second year in a row,  I am one of the lucky ones that got a chance to eat at the Cabane à sucre Au Pied de Cochon (Pied de Cochon Sugar Shack). I went with a group of almost 25 foodies this year. It was something to see that many cameras on a table at the same time.

La Cabane à sucre Au Pied de Cochon is a gastronomic restaurant version of the typical sugar shack. Martin Picard integrated the traditional ingredients that we associate with sugar shack in Quebec in his signature cooking style. And I like the fact that you can drink good espresso, a latte or get a Kusmi tea.

I also made a video of our meal. You will see the ambiance.

The Food

The menu slightly changed from last year. I welcome a few additions. At last, they served maple taffy (tire d’érable).  Your meal starts and ends with Wows. As you can imagine from a restaurant by Martin Picard, you will get plenty of food, pork and foie gras. We went at the first service, which is at 11 a.m. They do four services at day.

The Tourtiere is an extra but you will be very sad if you do not take it. It is the best pork pie I ever eat. Plus, you can buy one to bring home. The pork, lobster and foie gras stuffed cabbage head was a hit. But overall, the weakest link of the meal were the main dishes.

Since the first course was filled with wonderful recipes, it gave my stomach a rest. We needed room for the tasty and rich desserts! The Maple Ice Cream Banana Split made a return to the satisfaction of everyone. You will not want to miss the rich maple cream mille-feuilles  and the pancakes served with hot maple syrup.

What is my verdict?

I want to go back next year. I wish to thank Evelyne of Cheap Ethnic Eatz for organizing it. She put us on the waiting list for a reservation last August. La Cabane à sucre Au Pied de Cochon is so popular that they are booked for the entire season. You have to wait next year for your tasting.

+ Cabane à sucre Au Pied de Cochon Sugar Shack adult $49 CAD, kids from 3 to 12 yrs old $15
+ You can revisit the video of last year


Toronto’s Best of Brunch on Where Magazine

Drake's Corner Cafe + Bistro in Toronto

Drake\'s Corner Cafe + Bistro in Toronto

I am looking for a place to eat breakfast this morning before we head to the IDS. The current issue of Where Toronto that I found in my hotel room featured a Best of Brunch article. Cool!  Sadly, one suggestion that interested me, the Brassaii Bistro Lounge is closed for renovations (May 30th, 2010 Update: Brassaii reopened in March 2010 with a new decor, new menu and new chef). The Drake’s Corner Café seems like a good option that feels hip.

+ Finds more restaurants on the Best of Brunch from Where Toronto


Tea Service at Windsor Arms Hotel

sitting with brenna at the tea room of the windsor arms

I went to Toronto for two days last week to research stories for my blog, to attend a social media event and to meet people. One thing on my list was having a formal tea service. When I saw that Windsor Arms starts serving their tea service at 1 pm, I jumped at the occasion. Some people find it old-fashioned but I like the luxurious feeling of sitting in a classical tea room. For me, the more formal style is part of the pleasure.

I went with Ian Barr and Brenna Flynn of Rocket XL, the firm that planned the Pillsbury Baking Challenge for which I am a judge. Since we only communicated by email or on Twitter before that day, I wanted to actually meet them. The tea service experience was enhanced by our lively conversation.

What comes with the Full Tea Menu at Windsor Arms?

full tea menu at windsor arms hotel

We each chose a tea blend. I opted for the Earl Grey tea with blue flowers. The lavender adds an exquisite touch to the classic Earl Grey blend. Brenna enjoyed her Earl Grey tea with roses. Since they had to go back to the office after, they ordered the Full Tea menu. I indulged by ordering the Complete Tea menu, which added a sparkling wine (or a sherry) to the full tea menu.

tea sandwiches in rolls at windsor arms hotel

We started with elegant sandwich rolls. They look so much more elegant than basic triangles. They served us three delicious sandwiches:

  • Smoked Salmon and Salmon Caviar with an Oven-Roasted Tomato Cream Cheese
  • Baby Greens with Asparagus, Cucumber Salsa and Chive Cream Cheese
  • Grilled Chicken with Citrus Essence

The smoked salmon sandwich and the asparagus one were my favorite. The scone with raisins pleased me. I did not try the plain scone. Besides the sandwiches, the scones and the sweet desserts that I captured on photos, they served us a goat cheese and caramelized shallot tart. The finale was a small bowl of strawberries with whipped cream. As you can see there was a lot of food. Overall, I am pleased with my tea service at the Windsor Arms.

windsor arms hotel :: exterior view

For almost any tea service, you need to make a reservation 24 hours in advance. I knew it but I didn’t reserve! Still, they have accommodated us by sitting us at a nice table.

Business and Pleasures

A while ago, I read an interview where Martha Stewart mentioned that she booked her meetings around her daily activities. For me, it a pleasant way to talk business. When I asked Ian to join me for lunch at a place that I was researching for a blog post, I made him laughed by making this reference to Martha Stewart.

+ Tea Menu at Windsor Arms


Exquisite Prosciutto Tasting Lunch

citterio prosciutto tasting at dna restaurant organized by macchi

I had a special lunch twelve days ago. Hivron and her husband Paolo Macchi received me for a tasting of their products at a local restaurant in Old Montreal. While talking to Hivron during the lunch, I discovered that we have several things in common. We both studied interior design for one thing.

Prosciutto crudo

Macchi imports and distributes the highest quality of Citterio’s prosciutto crudo (raw ham). They carry Prosciutto di Parma, Prosciutto di San Daniele and Culatello. I invited my foodie friend Nathalie Rivard to share this experience.

prosciutto crudo tasting

The Citterio’s prosciutto crudo are all natural. They are made without additives. The curing masters created them with ham, salt, air and time. Another main difference with these prosciutto is the sweet taste of the fat. These premium prosciutto are miles away from the taste of the pre-packaged prosciutto.

We savored 5 famous types of Italian and local (meaning made in the USA) prosciutto crudo. We were able to taste each prosciutto “nature”. Plus, DNA’s chef Derek Dammann made us as a delightful appetizer dish for each type. They each have their own personality.

prosciutto crudo appetizers prepared by chef Derek Dammann at DNA

I enjoyed the food combination that Derek Dammann served us. Derek had been Chef de Cuisine at Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen in London, England. You know how I love Jamie Oliver. He takes great pride in serving sustainably grown and harvested produce, meats and seafood because food tastes better when its ingredients are the product of thoughtful stewardship. He was the right chef to serve us this prosciutto.

I particularly enjoyed the plate where he mixed prosciutto with a very light mustard vinaigrette. A appetizer recipe that you can do at home is to drizzle aged balsamic topped with shaves of Parmesan Reggiano. The mix of salt and sweet is delicious. Another tasty combination was to serve prosciutto with dates.

prosciutto and dates

Macchi imported directly from Italy as much as possible. It makes a difference. The pigs used in the United States are smaller than the pigs used in Italy. The Italian prosciutto is ham from a very rare bread of pigs that are bred in north-central Italy. How you cure the meat is also important. You get the best results with time. It generally produces a prosciutto that is more tender.

Shopping Tips

Look for these qualities when buying fresh prosciutto:

  • Color should be lighter rather than darker, a light to medium pink. If it’s burgundy, don’t buy it!
  • Fat colour should be white and not yellow. A fresh prosciutto should be sweet and not salty
  • Ask to taste a slice before buying prosciutto
  • Outside fat should not exceed 1/2-3/4 of an inch. Every animal is different. If it is more than 3/4 of an inch, they should trim the excess fat for you.

The Swedish-born Hivron writes a blog for Macchi where you can find recipes and food information.

+ Macchi
+ DNA restaurant


Muvbox Pop-Up Diner Concept

muvbox popup diner concept

We have seen a few European examples of portable restaurants established in shipping containers from a promotional campaigns. Architects assembled containers into houses for years. This year, restauranteur Daniel Noiseux revamped the trailer diner concept.

The first Muxbox fast-food restaurant unit sits in the Old Port of Montreal for the summer season. They will close soon. My husband and I had dinner there last weekend. Muvbox is a wonderful and well-thought fast-food restaurant concept. We were impressed by how much you could accomplish with a small space. Muvbox is more than a pretty face. It is an efficient place to serve and eat food. We examined the staff preparing the food and watched them close the restaurant at the end of the day. It is a smooth operation.

The Design

From a closed box, Muvbox transforms into a chic fast-food restaurant in 90 seconds. The panels go up and down at a touch of a bouton. The side panels become the floor when they are down. The two patios are big enough for 28 patrons spread between the standing bar tables and the bistro tables with benches and chairs.

muvbox fast-food restaurant in a recycled shipping container with solar panels

The eco-friendly actions did not stop at reclaiming an old shipping container. The floor is made from recycled tires. The solar panels supply up to 40% of the energy. The fact that you can relocate the restaurant anywhere and easily adapt it for another restaurant concept increases the usable life of each unit.

The Food

muvbox seating area and lobster-based menu

Muvbox operates its own high-end fast-food restaurant in the Old Port of Montreal all summer. You still have a couple weeks left to savor their clam chowder, lobster rolls and seafood pizza made in a wood-fired pizza oven.

If you are interested to start your own restaurant, one Muvbox unit costs $150,000 USD. The container can be branded to fit each restaurant concept. Sid Lee Architecture did the visuals. Watch this video to see Muvbox in action.

I took more photos. Look at the gallery by clicking on a picture.

+ Muvbox Concept


My Gastronomic Meal at Basilic et Cacao

gastronomic meal at basilic et cacao in eastman, eastern townships

Naming a restaurant Basil and Cacao is a sure way to grab my attention. I had the pleasure of eating a wonderful gastronomic at Basilic et Cacao located in Eastman, Quebec last Friday night. Friends who were vacationing in the region invited us. We are glad we drove from Montreal to experience a delightful meal. Since our cottage is in the Eastern Townships, we took this opportunity to relax a bit.

The restaurant is run by the husband and wife team. Mario does the service. Monique is the cook, an outstanding cook. It is good to know that the woman who prepared us these fabulous creations is not a Chef. We were all astonished by her talents. I am telling, you will take notes on how to dish your plates.

The menu is one prix fixe menu per night. It costs $50 per person. They served nothing else. They carry a nice wine list. The 5-course dinner is made of an amuse-bouche, a soup, the appetizer, the main meal and the dessert. Do not worry, when you call to reserve that will inquire if you have allergies or strong dislikes.

amuse-bouche and soup at basilic et cacao

Since we were in season, the herbs and vegetables were freshly picked from their small garden. They grow out of the ordinary varieties like the maroon carrots and the very long French beans. Each course was a refined composition of food and presentation. Everything went well together.

We had rolls of foie gras and a fig for the amuse-bouche, two tapenades that complement the soup, an ostrich carpaccio and its local cheese mousse decorated with an ostrich chip before we received a superb duck entree with lightly cooked vegetables. A chocolate waffle with a chocolate sauce filling topped our dinner. It was exquisite! I will definitely return during the ski season.

+ Gastronomy at Basilic et Cacao


Chez Papa in San Francisco | Restaurant Review

lunch at chez papa on mint plaza in san francisco

This is a delicious French restaurant in San Francisco with a beautiful quiet terrace, set on a plaza not far from Blue Bottle Coffee. I am showing you the lunch we ate on the terrace of Chez Papa on Mint Plaza last Monday.

My Grilled Arctic Char with Fingerling Potatoes, Capers, Lemon and Brown Butter was excellent. Jerome, my husband took the Niçoise Salad. I almost regretted not taking it since it was one of the best Niçoise I tasted this side of the Atlantic. On the menu, it is described as a Seared Ahi Tuna Niçoise with Roasted Peppers, Haricots Vert, Artichokes, Arugula and Meyer Lemon served with quail eggs in a pesto sauce.

chez papa dessert of the day

The dessert of the day was equally delicious. We paired it with a French white wine.  After all, I needed to get the full experience of the restaurant to give you a proper review. I will definitely go back to Chez Papa.

+ Chez Papa
+ Follow Chez Papa on Twitter