I’m in the mood for goose and I’m in luck. Pride of place at themarché nocturne in Casseneuil, a stone-house settlement in Lot-et-Garonne, in Southern France, belongs to the goose guy, whose combo plates are scrawled on yellow poster board. I pick the deluxe option – foie-gras-stuffed goose neck with magret and salad with slices of air-dried magret (like goose jerky) – and carry it back to a table in the middle of the village square to share with my friends. The whole town is here. Some people have even brought Provençal-print tablecloths and earthenware dishes from home to mark their families’ spots among the long tables, set up in the centre of a horseshoe of food stalls. Read article
Posted: April 30th, 2012 under enRoute, Food, Misc, Outlets, People, Travel.
Tags: Agen, Aquitaine, Buzet., Camont, Casseneuil, Goose fat, Kate Hill, La Javanaise, Lede, Lot, night markets, Serge Gainsbourg, Tomme
In September, I went to a friend’s farm in Aquitaine, France, and the first thing I saw when I entered the converted pigeonnier, on the big French farmhouse table, was an advance copy of The Art of Living According to Joe Beef: A Cookbook of Sorts. Then, in October in San Francisco, a cookbook store in the Mission had an elaborate display in the window. I felt elated and a bit helplessly selfish – there’s this tiny only-child part of me that can’t help wanting to be the one to show my city off, probably a lot like fans of Arcade Fire felt when they won the Grammy. When your Montreal precedes you, it takes some getting used to.
I’m accustomed to being the one who espouses my adopted hometown’s singular gastronomic glory in far-flung places, but all of a sudden, everywhere I went, people were already excited about Montreal as an it food destination with new, or at least renewed, voraciousness.
I attribute some of this enthusiasm to the big, beautiful coffee table “cookbook of sorts” full of recipes, rants and savoir-vivre by co-authors Fred Morin and Dave McMillan, chef-owners of Joe Beef, and former colleague and food writer Meredith Erickson. Read article
Posted: January 8th, 2012 under Books, City, Food, Fred Morin, Misc, People, Rover Arts, Travel.
Tags: Dave McMillan, Fred Morin, Joe Beef, Meredith Erickson, Montreal
By the time I’m at the foot of Frank Gehry’s Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, I haven’t slept in five days and I’m running on bocadillos and adrenalin. The circadian rhythms of touring like a musician are new to me; when you’re travelling on this kind of schedule, your experience of time and space becomes intensified, amplified, distorted. Travel at the speed of music is, for lack of a better word, trippy.
“It’s an interesting state to be in,” says Régine Chassagne, the front woman of Arcade Fire. “You have to embrace it, stop worrying about when you’re going to eat, when you’re going to go to bed and when you’re going to wake up because it’s all irrelevant. When you wake up, it doesn’t matter what time you think it’s going to be; it’s just whatever time it is. This is your life.”
Posted: January 1st, 2012 under Arcade Fire, City, enRoute, Food, Misc, Music, People, Travel.
Tags: Arcade Fire, Bilbao, Guggenheim, Jazz Festival, Montreux, Regine Chassagne, Will Butler, Win butler
When you walk into Moment Factory, let the door slam behind you – the banging noise makes the giant circular projected LED clock in the entry way jump back two hours.If you keep your eye on it, though, it soon snaps back to the present. The purpose of this, apparently, is to show us that action and thought here are fast-paced, so we have to act and react quick- ly – to seize the Moment.
Once you see the clock, you’re tempted to clap, stamp your feet, or other- wise play with it – which is exactly the point: Play. Have fun.
The idea of playfulness is a priority at this factory of moments, up here in the big, white, loft space on the train-track edge of Outremont, where the Montreal company has been playing at making public entertainment for exactly a decade. (Well, not exactly – they started off in a party loft on
lower St. Laurent Blvd. (see timeline below). Through play, they can provoke thought, create wonder, coax people to interact with their environments in new, sensorial ways. Read article
Posted: November 26th, 2011 under Arcade Fire, City, Misc, Moment Factory, Movies, Music, People, Profiles, The Montreal Gazette.
Tags: Arcade Fire, Buildings, Madonna, Moment Factory, Ottawa, Outremont, Parliament
The first time I went downstairs to find the facilities at Le Comptoir charcuteries et vins, chef Ségué Lepage’s wine bar in Montreal’s Mile End neighbourhood, I opened the wrong door and ran straight into that week’s pig. He was hanging out (or rather hanging up) in a cold room. Across the hall – still not the loo – was Lepage’s cutting room and charcuterie lab, full of gleaming stainless-steel instruments, a fermenter, an oversize sausage stuffer and a water-circulating oven for cooking sous-vide. It all looked more like a surgery than a kitchen, nicely framed by a large museum vitrine. Clearly, at this address, the basement is where the action is.
From the olive oil amphorae stored in the Arcadian hills of ancient Greece to Arcadia, Iowa, where my grandmother stored bread-and-butter pickles in her farmhouse basement, a cook’s stockpile of the year’s yield has always belonged in a cool, dry place – in the cellar, among the roots. But since cook-to-order menus and open kitchens have become the norm, the preparation of dishes has transformed into a spectator sport. Chefs everywhere are turning to their subterranean quarters for a little privacy. Read article
Posted: November 14th, 2011 under City, enRoute, Food, Fred Morin, Misc, Normand Laprise, People, Travel.
Tags: absinthe, basement, Charcuterie, chefs, Fred Morin, Joe Beef, Le Comptoir, Montreal, Normand Laprise, peppercress, secrets, Ségué Lepage, tomato
Hanadi Sleiman’s tastefully decorated office at McGill University’s Department of Chemistry is dominated by a large picture window revealing the spires and rooftops of the 190-year-old Montreal insti- tution. Displayed on the windowsill are several DNA knick-knacks:
Francis Crick and James Watson bobble head dolls and a model of the iconic double helix. “This model of DNA is accurate down to the structure of nucleotides and bases,” Sleiman says, contemplating the intricate model.
DNA — its mystery, its still-untapped potential for scientific innovation — has long fascinated Sleiman who, as a post-doctoral student, studied under French chemist Jean-Marie Lehn, winner of the 1987 Nobel Prize for his pioneering work in supramolecular chemistry. Sleiman and her research team, which works out of a bright, airy new laboratory in McGill’s Otto Maass Chemistry Building, is expanding upon Lehn’s work, focusing on the supramolecular chemistry of DNA. Backed by a number of funding agencies, including NSERC, the Sleiman Research Group uses the unique chemistry of DNA to design new nanomaterials for drug delivery, diag- nostic tools and anti-tumour therapeutics. “It’s not just the molecule of life — now wecan do something with it. It’s the difference between studying what’s there and making your own versions of it,” Sleiman says. Read article
Posted: October 7th, 2011 under Canadian Chemical News, City, Hanadi Sleiman, Misc, People.
It’s almost like the farms and markets have been waiting all year to give us the meal we’ve been waiting for. There’s so much bounty in the harvest here, that a great meal can be made from fall in Montreal every day…
Us Montrealers are busy pickling the bejeezus out of the fall harvest—recipes for dills, pickled beets, picalilli, tomato sauce, and a local specialties, ketchup vert, are being traded around. Ketchup vert is especially close to our hearts—it’s the relish, made with green tomatoes and spices, that goes with our winter meat-pies that are called Tourtieres. Young chefs like Ségué Lepage of Le Comptoir Charcuteries et Vins was talking about making his own batch for service this fall.
But if you’re just visiting and you don’t have your own larder, don’t worry—it’s just as easy, and possibly more delightful, to get your harvest on at various restaurants around town. Below, I’ve made an ideal fall meal from my wanderings: Each one of these places is good for a whole meal, of course, but let’s pretend. Read article
Posted: July 14th, 2011 under City, Food, Misc, Montreal Buzz blog-Tourisme Montreal/Sid Lee, People, Travel.
Tags: apple pie ice cream, Charles-Antoine Crete, fall, harvest, Jason Nelsons, Jeson Nelsons, Les Givrés, menus, Montreal, Renard Artisan Bistro, tomato, Toqué!
Eating an oyster from the waters around Vancouver Island is a way to taste the mysteries of the Pacific Ocean in a single bite. Oysters owe much of their particular qualities – flavor, size, colour, shell shape – to the salinity level and depth of the water in which they are raised. Interestingly, though each of the 12 varieties of oyster from Vancouver Island has its own very distinct qualities, they all originate from the same seed, further underlining the importance of water depth and salinity in their flavor profile.
Consider the Kusshi. Named after the Japanese word for “ultimate” or “precious,” this perfect bivalve is now one of the most sought-after oysters in the world. Raised by only one shellfish grower, Keith Reid of Stellar Bay Shellfish in Vancouver Island’s Comox Valley region, this small (just over five cm) oyster is raised in deep trays, and an aggressive tumbling process after harvest smooths any frills off the unusually deep cup of its midnight-purple shell, making it easy to shuck without any breakage. The taste? A perfect balance of ultra-clean brackishness and a fresh, almost floral flavor, with a meaty mouthfeel due to the slight stress tumbling. Read article
Posted: July 14th, 2011 under Postmedia, Rob Clark.
Tags: C, Comox Valley, Deep Bay, Keith Reid, Kusshi, Oceanwise, Rob Clark B.C. Shellfish Growers' Association, Shellfish Festival, Stellar Bay Seafood, Vancouver Island
Locals know that a summer stroll around Montreal’s markets is not only a chance to connect local farms to your table, it’s also a chance for us to check each other out in the long-awaited sunshine…
Though Marché Jean-Talon is Montreal’s go-to Farmer’s Market all year round, I always look forward to summer as the season when the market, like the city itself, fully busts into bloom. Certainly, producers who have been labouring in greenhouses to get ready to sell plantables and hanging-baskets of multicoloured floral tangles of joy are happy to see the warm sun in order to bring out their wares. But it’s also time to start buying—and cooking—the local bounty of seasonal fruits and vegetables and other delicacies from agricultural producers around Montreal who all gather in the hub of the Market to bust out the green.Read post
Posted: June 5th, 2011 under City, Food, Misc, Montreal Buzz blog-Tourisme Montreal/Sid Lee, Travel.
Tags: 14 Arpents, agriculture, balcony farming, Casimir, fiddleheads, food, Jean-Talon Market, Montreal, rhubarb, Riopelle, Spring, Summer, tomatoes
It is, as they say, a good day to fly. Thirty minutes into my first private flip session with House of Air co-owner Dave Schaeffer and I’m flying higher than ever. I’m at the Presidio, the storied military base at the foot of the Golden Gate Bridge – now the home of a state-of-the-art trampoline facility that deals in “air awareness.”
I came to House of Air to work on my skiing, because as anyone who’s ever run moguls knows, skiers can spend a lot of time aloft. “Air awareness can’t help you glide down a mountain faster, but it can help you to situate yourself in the air and in relation to the ground,” Schaeffer explains. “And, most importantly, it can teach you how to fall safely.”
While dot-comers come here to play trampoline dodge ball or do the fitness class aptly called Air Conditioning, the place is also popular with skiers and boarders who show up off-season. Because the trampolines here are serious. The Matrix is made up of 42 conjoined trampolines – including wall-mounted ones and a unique double-bowl modelled after a skate park – and is bigger than a regulation basketball court. The Training Ground, nearby, is the perfect place to practice off-axis aerial manoeuvres with little risk of injury, like d-spins, rodeos, corks and the dinner roll – a 720-degree off-axis rotation invented by Olympic gold-medal-winning freestyle skier Jonny Moseley, who also happens to be the “ambassadair.” (That’s him in the safety video.) Read article
Posted: June 1st, 2011 under City, enRoute, Travel.
Tags: Dinner Roll, House of Air, Jonny Moseley, San Francisco, The Presidio