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July 23, 2014
by zuuchini
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Nonya: A trip to Indonesia

Indonesia cuisine is rare in Montreal. Mr.Butter has been eyeing on Nonya for quite a while. When Nonya appeared in a coupon deal, I immediately jumped in the occasion.

When I arrived, I couldn’t stop but be mesmerized by the decor. Just the ambiance itself is worthwhile. I felt I was transported into a different country.

The coupon that I purchased was for a tasting menu. The quantity dishes we tried were phenomenal, but the portion was rather small. Regardless, I don’t think I would have paid the full price for the tasting menu.

Th service was incredibly slow. We had to wait about 30 minutes for the first appetizer. After the first appetizer, we waited about an hour and more… That really irked us. However, that was rectified once food was served after our polite notice of the long wait to the waiter.

The food was comfortingly good. Curry and coconut milk are my weakness. Each dish was well balanced, yet none really stood out among others. But at the end of the night, I was satisfied with the meal.

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Nonya on Urbanspoon

Zuuchini

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July 17, 2014
by zuuchini
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Ceviches: Restoring my memory of ceviches

My very first ceviche was years ago, but I can still remember the bitter taste it left behind. Mojito and ceviche weren’t my favorate combination. But coming across Montreal Food Pictures blog post and its wonderful pictures of this restaurant that specialises on ceviches, I couldn’t take my mind off. Maybe I had it all wrong? Maybe ceviche is a wonderful dish? I had to try and see…

That’s my story about how I came to know Ceviches.

Disclaimer: my photograph skills were very poor that specific evening…but important part is that I enjoyed the food too much to care.

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Appetizers were:
Tostones – plantain chips: with the sauce, it was like eating salsa with chips
Tequenos – cheese sticks in a shape of a springroll: So cheesey! Reminiscent of Pizza hut cheese stick in a positive way.
Empanadas – dumpling stuffed with fish: As far as I know, best empanadas I have eaten.

 

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Main course, ceviches obviously! The interesting part is that we get to choose the flavor and topping. For me, I had avocado and coconut flavored. The chosen proteins were octopus and fish. Not one single regret. It was beautifully executed. It couldn’t be more fresh. While I was enjoying my dish, I was already thinking who I must bring to try this amazing restaurant.

Ceviches is now a restaurant in my recommend list!

Ceviches on Urbanspoon

 

Zuuchini

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July 16, 2014
by zuuchini
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One thing you need to do before summer ends

One thing I need to do every summer is to go to Kem Coba and have their ice cream. Kem Coba is only open during summer time and usually has a line up of more than 15 minutes. Last time, I waited about a little bit more than 30 minutes. But the waiting time never bothered me because the ice cream is that amazing – actually, the best in Montreal. They love to play around with different flavors so don’t be surprised that your beloved flavor is gone! Don’t worry their other flavors are equally good!

I finally tried their soft served ice cream which is strawberry cheesecake flavor! The texture is like yogurt but a bit more solid. Just delicious!

And we also tried their pandan and viet coffee flavor. I really love the pandan flavor, it tasted like coconut!

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Haven’t tried Kem Coba? You are missing out, my dear friend!

Kem CoBa on Urbanspoon

Zuuchini

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July 10, 2014
by zuuchini
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Mai Xiang Yuan: More dumplings!

Looking at the last few years, more and more restaurants specializing in dumplings are popping up in Montreal. And standing among the top tier is Mai Xiang Yuan.

Nothing out of the ordinary, Mai Xiang Yuan offers a menu similar to other dumpling restaurants. I guess the only thing that can set it apart from others is the quality of the dumplings.

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The chosen dumplings were pan fried pork and cabbage and boiled lamb and coriander. Side dish was jellyfish and cucumber.

The dumplings were so much better than OH!Dumplings. How? They tasted more fresh and less greasier. The complaint that I have is that (similar to most dumpling restaurants I visited in Montreal) is their dough – or should I say how it was fried. The pan fried dumplings were a bit too soft for my taste. They weren’t crispy enough. And the dough just lacked texture…the specific amount of “elasticity” and firmness of the dough were not achieved.

As for the side dish, I bet most people would think there are only cucumbers if I didn’t tell you it was a cucumber and jellyfish dish! The cucumbers were soft and wet – I think they were prepared in advance for a while…the crunchiness of fresh cucumber fluttered away. Nonetheless, still very refreshing on a hot summer day.

How do I rank Mai Xiang Yuan? Probably in the middle.

Mai Xiang Yuan on Urbanspoon

Zuuchini

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June 26, 2014
by zuuchini
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Nars versus Urban Decay eyeshadow primer

After using Urban Decay eyeshadow primer potion for a few years, it was time for me to venture out a bit. I was curious about Nars smudge proof eyeshadow base ever since it came out and it was the perfect time to try it myself.

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Nars eyeshadow primer comes in a plastic bottle in the shape of a cylinder while Urban Decay’s comes in a tube. To apply, there’s a dome applicator for the Nars, like a lipgloss applicator. As for UD, by squeezing will push the product out of the tube.

It is obvious which brand has the most hygienic design – in order to use apply Nars primer, I have to put the applicator directly onto my eyelids and then put it back into the bottle in order to get more product out for my second eyelid. These double dips do not appeal to me. Furthermore, when I reach the end of the product, it becomes difficult if not impossible for me to scrape the remaining product of the bottle. These are not problems for UD. I simply need to squeeze the tube for whatever amount I want out of the tube and use my finger to apply on my eyelids and when the tube is running out, I simply use scissors to cut the tube open and I can completely empty the product.

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As for the primer itself, Nars primer texture is much more lightweight and white based while UD is more thick and beige. Because of its lightweight characteristic, Nars primer is easier to spread. Other than these differences, I think both brand deliver great results; I can’t tell the difference between these two. They both make eyeshadows long lasting and vibrant.

If I have to choose between these 2, I would pick UD over Nars because of various factors. For about 5$ less (depending which country you are from), UD primer gives 0.07 oz more product than Nars and has a hygienic packaging all while yielding the same results as Nars. So, this isn’t a tough decision, is it?

Zuuchini

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June 23, 2014
by zuuchini
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Dolce Vita – Villa Armando: Gelato from the garage?

While driving by TMR, Mr.Butter and I have noticed this very cute house in TMR that seemed to be serving cafe and ice cream. But at that time, it was closed for Autumn. We said that we would come back in summer.

And summer arrives and coincidentally, we passed by this location again. And this time, it was opened. Dolce Vita is right beside Villa Armando, the main house which is now converted to an Italian restaurant. Dolce Vita was basically a garage converted to a nice ice cream parlour.

There were many selections of gelato in Dolce Vita, many that are unheard of. Like usual, it was very difficult to choose.

In the end, I had orange and fleur de sel caramel. I’ve been very fond of anything with fleur de sel and caramel.

I chose orange simply because I wanted to know how it was different from orange sorbet. To say the least, it wasn’t much different. I should have gone for a more wild flavour.

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The fleur de sel caramel was good, exactly what I was expecting.

The price at Dolce Vita is fairly comparable to other gelato places. As for the taste, it was satisfying but I would not go out of my way to get my gelato there. It’s perfect for residents living nearby.

La Dolce Vita on Urbanspoon

Zuuchini

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June 19, 2014
by zuuchini
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Uniburger: Battling for the best burger in town title?

In my last meet-up with food bloggers, while exchanging opinions, Mr.Lew  crowned Uniburger for best burgers. Being a burger lover, Mr.Butter jumped at any chance he had.  And luckily, we were around the corners (ok not really…), Mr.Butter used this occasion to set his own opinion on Uniburger.

I was surprised to see the square footage of the fast food. It was small but efficient. You just go in, order, eat and go. I, of course, had to order the signature Uniburger burger.

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First thing I noticed was how perfect the shape of the bun was! It was super inflated and full. But then I saw the waxed paper starting to overflow with grease. The first thought of this burger was juiciness. Indeed, the patty lacked no juiciness nor texture. But,  I don’t know for what reason, I found the taste was still lacking. Each and every bite, I couldn’t stop myself comparing it with Burger de Ville and how much I preferred Burger de Ville over this burger.

Then for the fries, they were crispy but a bit too crispy for my liking – barely had any content inside deep fried layer.

Overall, I can see the appeal of Uniburger. It is easy access, close to Cegep Vieux Montreal and UQAM. But Uniburger failed to replace Burger de Ville’s best burger in my own books.

 
Uniburger on Urbanspoon

Zuuchini

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June 7, 2014
by zuuchini
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Sparrow: Brunch in a vintage setting

Searching for a brunch place that I’ve never tried before with a all time long friend, I found sparrow as one of the highly regarded option. With that title, I wasn’t surprised that there was a bit of a waiting line on a Saturday at 1pm.

While I waited, I noticed quickly how charming Sparrow is. The wallpaper, the tables, the chair, the couch…. Sparrow really has its own personality. And I guess one of its personality trait is giving mediocre service…the service was so slow and it took more time than needed to settle our payments.

Anyway, how was the food though?

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My friend A had Shakshuka. As per the menu, it has 2 poached eggs, in a Morrocan spiced tomato sauce, sourdough toast. Or can be plainly described as 2 eggs put on top of tomato sauce. That was what it tasted like. It was original but not something I was looking for in a brunch menu.

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I had House-smoked Trout, served on spinach and green onion pancake with soft boiled eggs and beet salad. The smoked trout was delicious. But the rest of the dish could be better. It was lacking some oomph. The spinach and green onion pancake needed some additional spice and the texture was a bit dull. The beet salad was really just some marinated beets. It could definitely have a few leafy greens in there with some sort of cheese (Maybe feta?).  I don’t know. I personally think it was missing many ingredients to make it as a substantial dish.

Sparrow, your looks had me. But the rest had me walking away for somewhere else.

The Sparrow (Le Moineau) on Urbanspoon

Zuuchini

May 21, 2014
by zuuchini
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Le Cartet: Brunch with food bloggers

Being with people that share the same interest always feels good. Hence, I happily had brunch with my fellow food bloggers. And bonus, the chosen restaurant was Le Cartet which was in my list to try for a long time.

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These tiny spongy cake bites were offered to each one of us. To my knowledge, it was a common practice for every table. These were sure delicious. Wet, yet dense. Wish I knew what exactly they were, I need my fellows’ help!

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Brunch des Cantons seemed like a must as it was ordered by 3 people in our table. One thing for sure, if you want to be charged up with protein for the rest of the day, this is the one to order! But to say it was an original and fantastic meal would be a bit of an exaggeration.

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And if you want to be charged up with simply sweetness for the rest of the day, Brunch Sucre will be screaming your name! The portion was more than enough. I was having a hard time to finish it, and of course, Mr.Butter finished it for me! The crepes were good thanks to the fresh fruity jam. But the highlight would be the French tosat. It was like no other French toast, it had raisins and and hazelnut inside. Then, it was topped with blueberries and apple butter. Sooooo delicious. I would go back just for this. It is actually available in the menu by itself.

Le cartet was a fun experience. I especially like how most brunch came with a orange juice, which is rare for most restaurants, and how the price is affordable for the quantity and quality I am getting.

 
Le Cartet on Urbanspoon
 

Zuuchini

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May 14, 2014
by zuuchini
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Kitchen Galerie Poisson: Best oyster and fish so far

The day Mr.Butter brought me to KGP, which stands for Kitchen Galerie Poisson, was my first time hearing about them. According to Mr.Butter, there is a Kitchen Galerie near Jean-Talon and Kitch Galerie Poisson, which is in Old Port, specializes in seafood, hence “Poisson” attached to the name.

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Once stepped in, I was greeted by this cosy and small area, which was shared by the kitchen and dining area. I loved it. I love when I can see the action from the kitchen! Since tables are scarce, most parties of 2 are seated at the counter. If that is a no no for you, be sure to reserve and have them noted that you want a table. During the whole evening, it was mostly full house. So, reservation is a must.

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A large list of oysters were written on a chalkboard. Although I enjoy oysters very much, I am not knowledgeable with them. So, I simply based my selection upon the name appeal: Pink Moon (IPE), Kushi (BC) and Shigoku (WSH).

I was so glad of my choices because it turned out that they were so heavenly! My favorite had to be Pink Moon and my least favorite was Shigoku. Pink Moon has a clean and sweet taste while Shigoku is much meatier, which compromises the clean taste. Pink Moon is the best oyster I have tasted so far.

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For appetizers, we had a crab cake with a side salad, and fried calamari. There were actually 2 separate appetizers, but KGP presented those 2 appetizers on the same plate. I actually liked this concept; it promoted sharing! Well obviously, we were going to share,but it just made it much easier and nicer to be all in one giant plate.

Again, the crab cake was the best that I had. It was pure crab goodness, no crabstick! So nicely fried as well. The salad was refreshing and a nice balance with the crabcake. I can actually have the salad everyday without being sick of it.

I wasn’t actually fond of the fried calamari. Undoubtedly, they were fresh and tender, but they were too thin for my liking.

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For the main course, we had lobster ravioli and braised pork (that was one) and a rainbow trout (that was the second), both presented on the same plate. I loved how they were able to improvize the presentation according to what we had ordered; it made every dish so unique from other tables.

When I saw the 4 pieces of lobster ravioli, I couldn’t stop but laugh how little we were getting. But then, I realized and remembered that it came with a braised pork as well hiding behind that salad. The ravioli was rich in lobster meat. I wouldn’t say I fell hard for it, but it was nonetheless good. As for the braised pork, it was super tender. The texture was perfection, but I didn’t like how it was marinated. I thought it was rather bland. Not my cup of tea at all.

Oh and the rainbow trout. How could we dare to not to order a fish dish when Kitchen Galerie added Poisson to their name! So we chose rainbow trout – we had the option to choose the fish listed on the blackboard. The fishes were in limited quantity, so as time passed, one by one, the fish disappeared from the option list.

While there were some very original fish options, we wanted to be semi-safe and we never really tasted trout before. We did not regret our choice at all. The trout was wonderful. Its skin was very crisp, like chips. And the meat was just nicely cooked. I never had (cooked) fish this good before.

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To end this beautiful meal, we had pistachio tart. Nothing to write home about, but it was satisfying.

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Oops – we also had caramel cheesecake, which was smoother than butter. Noted, I am so biased when it comes to cheesecake.

After this visit, I cannot deny that KGP has made its place in my top restaurant list. I wholehearted enjoyed my experience.

I want to thank Mr.Butter making this experience happen!

Kitchen Galerie Poisson on Urbanspoon

Zuuchini