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Restaurants are Embracing Twitter to Reach their Customers

Boston restaurants on twitter

I told you on my other blog that Twitter can be an efficient marketing vehicle for businesses. One type of business that benefits well from the free marketing platform that Twitter provides are local restaurants.

What I like is that I decide which local stores and restaurants I want to follow on Twitter. This way, I can learn in advance what is on today’s menu and when they host special events.

Cheap and On the Spot Survey

The benefits for small businesses do not stop there. Twitter is great to survey the opinions of customers. You can directly ask questions. Or you can set up a Twitter poll in less than a minute. I recommend twtpoll.

Myers + Chang‘s chef and co-owner Joanne Chang used this method to validate a request from a customer. She tweeted: “Should cilantro be listed on menu item when it’s an ingredient?” Four hours later, she received enough answers to be convinced that plenty of customers would like to know which dish has cilantro in it. She went further and decided to give the option to have the dishes without cilantro.

Twitter allows businesses to quickly find information, features and services valued by their customers and to react accordingly. In a competitive market, it is an opportunity that small businesses cannot afford to miss.It costs almost nothing to tweet a few times a day. You can tweet with any smart phone. It does not require a computer or any technical knowledge. Your account can be up and running in less than a minute. Unlike a blog, it could take only a few minutes a day to maintain.

I now follow a few Boston restaurants and restaurant reviews accounts on Twitter. I will be in the know when I will go there next August. You could also explore the Alfresco dining options in Boston for some clues on where to eat.

+ Restaurants using Twitter for cheap, effective marketing by Devra J. First for The Boston Globe
+ Pictures: L’espalier on Twitter and Myers + Chang on Twitter


Restaurant La Montée is a Treat

la montee fish dishes

A few weeks ago, we were invited by a couple to eat at La Montée. I am delighted that L. & S. selected this restaurant because the food at La Montée is exquisite. The service is courteously friendly. The cuisine is North American. Their modern dishes are influenced by our French cooking background.

The menu at La Montée does not include the concept of appetizers and main courses. All the courses, except the dessert, are of the same size. The menu proposes a 4-course dinner and a 7-course tasting menu chosen by the chef. The 4-course option for $55 is plenty.

Basically, you take either 3 salty dishes and a dessert, 3 salty dishes and a cheese plate or 2 salty dishes, 1 cheese plate and a dessert. I recommend that you go for the wine pairing. The salty dishes provide a good mix of vegetable dishes, fish plates and meats.

The menu changes often so if you are interested by a dish, go for it. To show you how I like the place, I registered to their newsletter, a rare thing for me since I prefer RSS feeds. On top of being notice of upcoming events at the restaurant, the Chef sometimes shares his recipes.

la montee dessert plus a photo of jerome paradis and kim vallee

Our friends took a picture of my husband and I. For this occasion, I wore the dress I bought last January at The Drove in Los Angeles.

+ La Montéeget directions p (514) 289-9921
1424 Bishop Street, Montreal, QC, Canada, H3G 2E6


Le Canard Libéré is the place for Brome Lake Ducks in Montreal

interior views of le canard libere, espace gourmand

I parked in front of Le Canard Libéré yesterday as I went to take pictures of a store on Saint-Laurent Street. It was just after lunchtime and I did not have lunch yet. I saw that they served gourmet sandwiches.

I entered for some take-out food and I got out with food provisions from their delicatessen. I was in a hurry but I took the time to ask a few questions and take pictures. I bought a duck pie for when I work late, a duck liver terrine and a pack of dried duck that you can roll over a melon like we do with prosciutto.

duck products from Brome Lake Ducks and small regional producers

For lunch, I ate a country-style soup made with cabbage, duck cubes in a duck broth with a duck confit Panini. It was delicious! Not bad for a girl who had to eat in a hurry.

The duck from Brome Lake Ducks are not sold everywhere so it is great to be able to find everything under one roof. Le Canard Libéré also carries a vast selection of harmonizing gourmet food from small regional producers to save you time. There was a couple in the store who were having friends for dinner and the first reaction of the man was: get the sauce.

Whether you are a Montrealer or only visiting Montreal, put Le Canard Libéré on your shopping itinerary.

+ Brome Lake Ducks
+ Le canard libéré, espace gourmand p 514.286.1286
4396 boul. Saint-Laurent, Montreal, QC, Canada, H2W 1Z5


Sweetiepie Caters to your Kid Imagination | NYC restaurant review

banquet style event with comfort food at sweetiepie

New York is a city where you can dare to launch an atypical restaurant. Sweetiepie is an upscale place where the design and the food is set to please both kids and trendy parents. After refreshing the kid furniture and the baby gears industries, new hip parents are starting to invade the restaurant business.

Maman, Bébé et Café was about giving time to parents with newborns to replenish their mind and body. Sweetiepie is about creating a magical place where to eat out with kids.

The Food

Parents of a 6-year old boy, the trendy couple Luke and Julie Janklow launched this venture located in West Village. I read mixed comments on the food, price and services on various Web sites. I could not determine who is right so will have to pay them a visit to be the judge.

But I feel some of the comments are unfair. During the day, there is a 3-course children’s tasting menu at $9.95 with many choices. It is not cheap but it is not excessive either, especially in New York City. Plus looking at the top picture, I like this level of decorum. Sweetiepie seems like an amazing place to host a birthday party for grown ups as well as kids.

One fact remains. I believe there is a need for more family-oriented funky restaurants where your kids can eat a good macaroni and cheese while you savor gravlax with toasts.

The Design Concept behind Sweetiepie

interior views of sweetiepie in west village. new york

One restaurant element where they caught my attention is the décor. Kids must be thrilled to sit there. The bar section and the red banquets are stylish. The place is split in two spaces: the front restaurant and a second room with murals that screamed parties.

The wackiest extravagance is a table placed inside a giant gold birdcage. As an adult, you need the right attitude to enjoy the added attention. Kids must dream to sit there. Imagine doing a tea party.

The vibe amalgamates Alice in Wonderland with the excess of the Marie-Antoinette era. The dessert palette is decadent. Sweetiepie’s signature $75 sundae easily feeds 6 persons.

Sweetiepie delivers plenty of inspirations for designing a one-of-a-kind kid party. There are photos on their Web site to nourish your creativity.

+ Sweetiepie Restaurantget directions p 212.337.3333
19 Greenwich Avenue, New York, New York, United States, 10014


Cabane a sucre Au Pied de Cochon is a Treat

meal at cabana a sucre au pied de cochon

Instead of our Sunday’s brunch, we went to our annual sugar shack event. Going to the sugar shack is a custom here in Quebec.

This year, we wanted to try something different. Good timing since a renowned chef in Montreal just opened his cabane a sucre. Six of us decided to try the most upscale sugar shack in Quebec. We only knew that Martin Picard would carry at Cabane à sucre du Pied de Cochon the same philosophy that made the success of his 7-year old restaurant, Au Pied de Cochon.

If you are a tourist looking to experience the folklore of the sugar shack, you will be disappointed: no sleigh rides, no session on how maple sap is collected and produced. Personally, the only traditional activity I truly adore is maple syrup on the snow.

With his freshly open Cabine a sucre, the acclaimed Chef Martin Picard concentrated on a great eating experience instead. Yes, it is him in the kitchen; we saw him.

The Food

The menu is fixed; the Chef decided what you eat. It costs $45 per adult. The entire meal was delicious. I am craving for more mackerel omelette, duck magret, ham and pork grills salad, meat pie and the two desserts.

I put on video many dishes as the arrived to the table. Everything is served family style and you sit at a communal table. There is a small sitting bar if you are only one or two persons. A woman was alone and they serve her the dishes in single serving bowls and plates.

We arrived early. Most of the people arrived later than us. The place was packed as we left. I checked the plates on other tables to see what others were thinking. Everyone seems to be delighted with their meal. I saw a room full of families and friends having fun, eating excellent food in a casual atmosphere.

The dining room fits 106 guests at a time. With the popularity of Au Pied de Cochon and the short season of a sugar shack, call to make a reservation. They are not quick on answering emails so it is better to call.

+ pictures of all the dishes on AHWKV Facebook page or on Flickr
+ Cabane à sucre du Pied de Cochonget directions p (450) 258-1732
11382 Rang De La Fresniere, St-Benoit De Mirabel, Quebec, Canada, J7N 2R9


Dining Au Petit Extra in Montreal | restaurant review

bison au petit extra

It is funny that I follow a post about less eating out and praising home cooking with a restaurant review but I went to Au Petit Extra with after a 3rd Tuesday meeting. What Au Petit Extra delivers is a sense of comfort food in a friendly atmosphere.

interior view of bistro au petit extra

When you eat Au Petit Extra, you know what to expect. This French bistro restaurant will celebrate next year its 25th anniversary. The woman Chef Nathalie Major does not reinvent cuisine; she simply delivers well-executed classic bistro dishes.

au petit extra :: exterior view

My bison steak was cooked to perfection. The flan steak with its horseradish cream butter is exquisite. I shared a delicious tuna tartar. If you are looking for a sure bet in Montreal, bookmark Au Petit Extra on Places.

get directions to Au Petit Extra p 514.527.5552
1690 rue Ontario Est, Montreal, Quebec, Canada, H2L 1S7


Tartine Bakery and Cafe in San Francisco

tartine bakery and cafe :: bar tartine in san francisco

I am delighted that I discovered earlier today a bakery in San Francisco called Tartine Bakery. I am sure if I told you that San Francisco is my favorite US cities; then, it is New York and the Los Angeles area.

I spot this charming bakery and café while reading the fabulous Black Eiffel blog. It sounds delicious.

Until my next trip to San Francisco, I can try to bake at home their recipes. Acclaimed pastry chef Elisabeth Prueitt and master baker Chad Robertson, who is a married couple, published the Tartine coobook in 2006.

tartine cookbook by Elisabeth Prueitt  and Chad Robertson

The couple also co-owns Bar Tartine. It is a restaurant where Chef Jason Fox runs the kitchen. Jason was one of the 8 persons named “Best People of the Year” in the Best of San Francisco 2008 issue by San Francisco Magazine.

Your Own Favorite Places

Whenever I am traveling, I prefer eating at places where locals go. I try to keep a record of the best local restaurants. Having a blog is one way to build my collection but I felt I needed to do more. It was my motivation behind launching Places, the Praized community connected to my blog. I also want to know what are the places are people with whom I have things in common.

Why not do the same by becoming a member to enjoy for FREE the benefits of Places? You would not receive spam emails from AHWKV or Praized. I wish to be able to find the best spots to hang up, know what to order when I eat at a restaurant and shop at the best local stores. Help me by sharing your favorite places.

+ Tartine cookbook by Elisabeth Prueitt and Chad Robertson $23.10 USD
+ Tartine Bakery and Cafeget directions p 415.487.2600
600 Guerrero St, San Francisco, CA, United States, 94110
+ Bar Tartineget directions p 415.487.1600
561 Valencia St, San Francisco, CA, United States, 94110
+ Via Black Eiffel


Max Brenner’s Specialty Cups for Hot Chocolate

There are two shops of Max Brenner in New York City. The place looks pretty cool.

max brenner hug mug for hot chocolate

The signature Hug Mug at Max Brenner is ideal to drink hot chocolate because you hold the cup from both sides. This enables the liquid to stay warmer. I want those cute cups shaped as a cacao bean.

suckao at max brenner

The Suckao at Max Brenner is an experience in itself. Max Brenner defines the Suckao as a concentrated shot of rich chocolate.

You prepare and drink it your suckao from the same cup. You made it yourself and decide the proportion of chocolate versus milk. The Suckao cup comes with a special spoon and a tea light candle. I want a pair.

I did not find the milk jar on the site but they are pretty. The milk jar may have change since this model dated from 2005 and the picture was taken in an Australian shop of Max Brenner.

+ Hug Mug by Max Brenner $8.90 USD for the mug and saucer
+ Suckao by Max Brenner $15.50 USD
+ Locations of Max Brenner
+ Image of suckao setup by selenachoi on Webshots


My Sunday Brunch at School Bakery & Cafe


I ate brunch at a neighborhood restaurant this morning. In fact, I never visited Liberty Village before. I lived for 5 years in Toronto a decade ago.

I do not recall where I heard praises about this 2 or 3-month old restaurant. When I read the concept, I was hooked. I had to visit School Bakery & Café. Starting February 21st, the brunch menu will be available on Saturday and Sunday.

How it Was

The restaurant was filled with nearby residents. Families, a groups of moms with their babies, a few dads with their little boys, many couples and small groups of friends. I saw many people taking home bakery boxes after their meal. As I tasted our maple syrup scone, I understand why. I shared it with my husband. We both agree the scones was delightful.


I ate the SBC Benni which is two poached eggs served on cheddar-chive biscuit with crispy bacon and spicy hollandaise. As you can see us, the recipes are not text book materials. It was good.

Design ideas To Steal

The designers did an amazing job. Every details have been thought. It is cute and do not look overdone. I felt like a little kid, examining all the details as I was taking my pictures. I had to refrain myself.


If you ever wish to create a party around school, use these as the building blocks for your party décor:

  • Bookcase with letters and the classic lunch boxes
  • An apple on a stainless steel coaster or tea plate as a centerpiece.
  • Salt and playtime salt and pepper set by Fred & Friends. I wish the hole where bigger but maybe with kids, it is preferable than way. The pepper and salt toy blocks create instantly a fun atmosphere. I felt in love with them, I want my own.
  • Cover the chair seat or make a table cloth with a chalkboard pattern fabric
  • Add humor in the décor. At School Bakery & Café, the kitchen is referred to as Detention.
  • The bill arrived in an Individual Progress envelop. Its double duty as a way for customers to leave their contact information or comments.

+ Fred’s Salt and playtime $7.50 USD for the set
+ School Bakery & Caféget directions p 416.588.0005
70 Fraser Avenue, Toronto, ON, Canada, M6K 3E1


Go Steelers Go! Happy Super Bowl!

cock n bull pub in santa monica

I am not really a football fan but I will celebrate with the guys later this afternoon. I followed football when I was in college because the Diablos of Trois-Rivieres had a great team. In Quebec, we do 2 years of college before going to the university.

While we were in Los Angeles

We stopped by at a Steelers’ Fans pub for the semi-finals. We met my husband cousins and her girlfriends who are fans. We wanted to see her a little before going to the beach. We used that time to have lunch. I ate their specialty: British-styled fish and chips. I prefer the British style because the fish piece is ticker. It is easy to remove any excess beer batter.

As you can see, the place is far from stylish. But the people create a great atmosphere for the game. They have a nice assortment of local beers on tap. The fish and chips plating was typical of a pub. The food is not memorable but it tastes better than average.

steelers fans

This interior photo was taken before the game. Cock N Bull pub was packed as we left. I can imagine the vibes today.

+ Cock N Bull Pub p 310.399.9696
2947 Lincoln Blvd, Santa Monica, CA, United States, 90405


A Call for Smaller Plates | Food Trends 2009

I continue on my report of Food trends for 2009 with a topic dear to my heart because it influenced our well-being. A return to home cooking done with affordable ingredients and smaller plates should materialize in 2009.

bistro justine dishes

The home cooking trend is not just about money saving. It is also triggered by our desire to control what and how much is in our plate.

Many experts in the food industry predict a return to smaller plates for 2009. The sooner will be the better if you ask me. Almost everyone complain about excessive portions in US restaurants. It is a fact that we do not feel great after we ate too much. Small plates may be a way for restaurant owners to stay profitable and keep up quality in a harder economic time.

I hope the calories on menu boards regulations imposed In New York and California to tackle the obesity spread will swell this trend further. Even at home, I feel that we are eating too large portions. It seems like the right time to rectify that bad habit.

Changing Our Eating Habits

On our last trip, my husband and I adapted how we ordered in restaurants. One thing we did was to order each an appetizer and then, share an entrée. We have more than plenty of food each time.

This means that we must coordinate what we eat which defies the purpose of eating out. Other times, we checked the portions before entering the restaurants and opted for restaurants that served smaller portions.

I had lunch at a small French bistro restaurant last Monday with a girlfriend, the blogger behind En direct des Iles. The food at Bistro Justine was delicious with reasonable portions. We had too much fun talking that I forgot to take pictures on our meal.

What are your thoughts on the small plate issue?

+ Images from Bistro Justine – get” directions=”directions”>p 514.277.2728
1268 Avenue Van Horne, Outremont, QC, Canada, H2V 1K6