Browsing Tag

quebec

FAMILY LIVING with kids

What to Do this Fall: Apple Picking

apple picking jerome

Part of my childhood memories is to go apple picking with my parents. I love apples! So for me, that was always a treat to grab it from the tree. I want to continue the tradition with my son. So, yesterday we went with a bunch of friends. We couldn’t had a better weather for an outdoor activity.

zack eats an apple
photo: my son shares my love of apples (and Apple…)

Zack was delighted by his day. He is a typical boy that loves being outside. My son enjoyed the tractor ride to get to the orchards, he was able to run between the trees, he ate apples that he picked himself and he played with the other children.

apple picking zack

We even spent some time at the nice play area for toddlers that is one of the activities for kids at Vergers Petit et Fils, located in Saint-Hilaire. I recommend the place if you have kids because there is a lot of free, fun activities for them to do.

apple tree

I brought home 4 apple varieties. Some to eat fresh, others to cook. Tonight, I plan to bake the apple crumble recipe from Jamie Oliver in ramekins.

I’m looking for more ways to cook with apples. What is you favorite apple recipe?

+ top photo: my husband harvested the apples at the top of the trees

ENTERTAINING PARTY ideas + decor

Micheals Arrival to Quebec Starts with a Search for a Creative Ambassador

michaels quebec contest judges photo

michaels quebec contest judges photo
Ah no! Taken at a moment where I relaxed my smile. 

Today, I am happy to talk about the latest social media campaign where I am involved as a judge. Michaels, the North America’s largest specialty retailer of arts and craft, is finally opening stores in Quebec. Michaels does it large with the opening of 7 stores in fall 2012 — 6 in the greater Montreal area and 1 in Ottawa. It is a news that will put a smile to every creative girls in the city.

Michaels is committed to serve the French market the right way. For that reason, Michaels wants to hire a Creative Ambassador in Quebec. To find the ideal candidate, they launched the biggest social media creative hobby contest never launched in Quebec earlier this week.

And I am one of the judge! I share the judging duties with Ginette Lorrain, the host of La Bosse des Noces that aired at Canal-Vie, and Isabelle Quinn, the owner of Sweet Isabelle. You may recall Sweet Isabelle from my son’s first birthday party. Isabelle donated the animal lollipop cookies that I gave to the guests.

One afternoon in May, we filmed my first scripted video in a studio. I was a little bit intimidating to be filmed with a pro like Ginette who has 15 years of TV experience in front of the camera. But I think that I managed to deliver something good. This experience gave me a deeper appreciation of the work that actors and TV hosts do. I got to see what happens behind the scenes and watch the work of the filming crew. Making a video is a team effort; it requires more work that I imagined. You can watch it. Even if you might not understand the words — it is all in French — you will feel the fun concept behind it.

If you, or someone you know, live in Quebec and you enjoy creating art and craft projects, I invite you to film your own video and enter the contest. The first prize is a 1-year job contract at Michaels! You have until July 16th, 2012 to submit your entry. Spread the word! It is a awesome job opportunity for a creative person.

For more details, visit À la recherche de l’ambassadeur créatif de Micheals au Québec contest page.

HOME + GARDEN HOME decor

Bamboo Bedding and More at Maison Simons

bedding collection at maison simons

bedding collection at maison simons

I update my bedroom bedding almost every year. Therefore, I do not wish to pay a fortune for my duvet cover set. One store where I often find stylish and affordable comforter and pillow shams is Maison Simons.

Maison Simons operates stores in Quebec city, Montreal and Sherbrooke. The good news is that they now have an online store with shipping across Canada.  Maison Simons carries their own brand, La Lingère, and selects every season a few models from international brands.

roxy pop goes the polka dot comforter, pillowcases and sheets

Bamboo Rayon Bedding

A few months ago, I bought a nice green bamboo sheet set. It is made of 60% bamboo rayon and 40% cotton. The softness is absolutely divine. My husband and I even preferred it to our Egyptian cotton sheets. I wished I bought more than one set. Right now, they carry a 100% bamboo rayon sheet set in neutrals.

SOURCING:
+ Building Block Duvet Cover Set $130 to $190 CAD at Maison Simons
+ Roxy “Pop Goes The Polkadot” Comforter Set $200 to $270 CAD

GIFT IDEAS HOSTESS gifts

Cute Shoe Bags by Jak’s

jak's shoe bags

jak's shoe bags

During the winter months, every woman needs a cute bag to carry her shoes when she visits a friend or goes to a party. The adorable shoe bags are the creation of Jak’s, a handbag brand founded by two sisters from Quebec City.  They come in several colors and three images to fit your style.

A shoe bag would make a thoughtful gift  if you look for something different to bring to the hostess. She could use it when you reciprocate her invitation.

SOURCING:
+ Jak’s Shoe Bags $20-$25 CAD (I think)
+ Where to buy the Jak’s collection

HOME + GARDEN HOME decor

Cat Cabin by Loyal Luxe

cat cabin by loyal luxe

cat cabin by loyal luxe

Maud Beauchamp and Marie-Pier Guilmain are the two young Quebec industrial designers behind Loyal Luxe. They created a cool cardboard Canadian style cabin for cats that is shipped on a flat box. I saw it in stores and it’s a great concept.

The cabin is a cat toy where a cat can rest or play hide and seek. Your cat could sit on the roof. We used to keep a red nylon cat tent and our cats love it. I’m pretty sure that they would enjoy the cabin. As a design-savvy cat owner, I appreciate the more sophisticated look of the cabin.

Included in the box are four decorative ornaments for the façade. You can affix a moose head, a fish, a bird and a banner on which you write the name of your cat. Why not decorate the cabin even more with collage, poster paint, felt, or adhesives to complement your interior?

You can find the cat cabin at many retailers, online stores and pet shops across Canada and the United States. It is also available online through Loyal Luxe. Check their Web site to find a retailer near you.

SOURCING:
+  Cardboard cat cabin by Loyal Luxe $24 CAD – available on their Web site

FOOD + DRINK RESTAURANTS

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

FOOD + DRINK RECIPES + menus

Introducing the Mini Cucumbers by Savoura

mini cucumbers by savoura

You probably noticed the trends towards miniature vegetables. Chefs like to use them. They are cute and make it easier to plate your dish.

Savoura, the brand that brought us the delicious tomatoes on the vine and the cocktail tomatoes, is launching a new product. This cucumber variety is unique to Quebec and exclusive to Savoura in Canada. They remind me of Lebanese cucumbers but a lot smaller. The mini cucumbers are harvested once they reached 10 centimeters (4 inches).

mini cucumbers with very tiny seeds

I have the pleasure to taste them. My friend Michelle Sullivan sent me the free samples (see photo for content) through its client, Savoura. I like it. The pale flesh is crisp with the tininess seeds. In fact, you do not taste the seed. The skin is thin and mild to the taste. I bet that they will become favorite for a crudité platter. I know I will use them from now on sice it looks better and is simpler to prepare.

You can find the Savoura’s mini cucumbers at grocery stores across Canada (I think) in 2 formats: the lunch bag containing 3 miniature cucumbers for a little snack and a 8-cucumber packet.

MORE:
+ Savoura – their Web site has not been updated to include the mini cucumbers.

FOOD + DRINK RECIPES + menus

A Visit at the Farmer’s Market

fresly picked vegetables at atwater market

It was such a treat to see all these rows of local grown vegetables that I could not resisted taking some pictures. I bought everything we ate tonight. My husband and I cooked us a delicious and healthy meal. It is easy to find a parking spot on a weekday afternoon. My visit convinced me that I must stop by the Atwater Market more often. Enjoy the views.

small blueberries from Abitibi

For dessert, I bought a small basket of wild blueberries from Abitibi. Lac Saint-Jean also produced amazing wild blueberries. Everything here knows that the wild blueberries are the best. It is hasd to see on my photos that they are about of third of the size of the commercialy grown blueberries. I am leaving me because my half is waiting for me on the table.

Atwater Market p 514-937-7754
138 avenue Atwater, Montreal, Quebec H4C 2H6, Canada
Find directions

LIVING TRAVEL

Electric Bike Patrol by CAA Quebec for my Eco-Friendly Watch

CAA patroller on bike

I spotted a two-wheeled CAA patroller on my way home. This is the first year that CAA Quebec ran this program. It is only available during the Festival International de Jazz de Montréal, which is ending tonight. The bike patroller that I spoke to enjoys it very much.

Next experience will be in Quebec City

The two-wheeled patrollers will be active during the peak hours of the Quebec City’s Summer Festival. They will cover the area around the National Assembly and Battlefields Park July 16 to 19, 2009. This way the patrollers do not lose time in heavy traffic. The idea is born by noting that 60% of last year Emergency Road Service assistance calls during the 400th Anniversary of Quebec City could have been handled without a tow truck.

The bike patrol is equipped to repair flat tires, deliver fuel, provide battery boosts and unlock vehicles. I think it should be a service available all summer long.

FOOD + DRINK RESTAURANTS

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.

MORE:
+ 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