t says: We visited MTL for a super-long weekend and it. was. awesome. We ended up airbnb-ing a super-great little apartment in Le Plateau, which was perfectly located for exploring the supposedly hip area of town (we could tell by the graffiti and 20-30-somethings that it was hip). And while we didn’t hit up every tourist-obligatory destination (e.g. we skipped Old Montreal entirely), we pulled off a nice mix of chillaxing, eating, and touring, the former two of which , resulting in the following photostorm:
Absent is a photo of the Ramen we ate on our first night there. While definitely not particularly Canadian, Ramen-Ya’s slurpable broth definitely hit the spot after a seemingly endless car ride (for some unknown reason, it took us 10 hours to get there! Only 8 for the return …)
Believe the hype of Bouillon Bilk. Yea, there are some yelp tourists, but even the Canadians are dying to get in.
And then, on the morning we left, we visited Guillaume boulangerie, which had a great assortment of baguettes and other baked goods. Definitely a place we should have used more often during our trip (it’s one of the top three baguettes in MTL!).
Finally, here are some random other photos:
t says: I came across this article the other day, and consulted a and drb to ask their opinions. They had a lot to say …
a says: I agree with the article completely. Whisky is no different than wine, you may enjoy a $400 bottle more than something cheaper but anything well made, over $15 is getting into personal preference, not actual quality. I’ve had most of the whiskeys on this list and agree that they are excellent alternatives. Willet (rye) is the only one I brought back from Kentucky so you know I love the distiller – the bourbon is available in PA I believe. Never had/heard of Larceny. Michter’s is awesome but still quite expensive. Can’t say I’ve had Glen 15 but it ain’t American whiskey so whatever for this conversation. Finally, I have a bottle of EW SB in my home right now. It’s one of my go-to bottles between $20-$30 – the others being Eagle Rare, Buffalo Trace, Craig 12, and Weller 12 (the “poor mans Pappy”).
drb says: I’m not much of a bourbon drinker as I drink mostly scotch if I’m going for something high-quality. I don’t have anything against bourbon, I just know more about scotch, and if I’m going to spend 60 euros on a bottle of something I want to be sure I like it! The only whiskey on the list I’ve tried is the Glen 15. It’s good but the one time I bought a bottle of it I still had some Glen 12 lying around. I tried to see if I could tell the difference between the two and I couldn’t. Also, a, since your a whiskey fan. A couple months ago I got a bottle of this: http://www.masterofmalt.com/whiskies/talisker/talisker-storm-whisky/ and it was fantastic. Competes with Lagavulin for title of “drb’s favorite whiskey”.
t says: My phone has sooo many photos. And while I wish I could have posted on each one, I know it just isn’t going to happen. So get ready for another lightning round!!
t says: g and I hit up Petruce et al the other night. Yes, we know, Petruce has been out there for a while now, getting rave reviews – people have already been there and opined, so there’s no need for another blog post about them. Right? Ah, the glory of having a blog: we can write about whatever we want, whenever we want! And this time, we’re writing about Petruce et al!
October 2014, Friday Dinner, Party of 2. Although we arrived on time, our table wasn’t ready, so we took up residence at the bar and began constructing a plan to attack their wine list. Would we be disappointed like at Townsend, where I boo’d their no-BYO policy? Well, to be honest, I didn’t even ask if Petruce allowed outside wine! WWHHAA!?!? Have I taken ill? Did I run out of wine? Did I suffer a blow to the head? Not at all – I knew their wine list was actually going to be interesting. Like wine-nerd-interesting! Not a single Cali-cab on the list! No boring Chardonnays! And do my eyes deceive me – are those boxed wines on that list? So I was down for paying by the glass, ready to see what the wine program could surprise us with. For our meal, we did an Elbling (super-tasty – a nice lighter white wine with good acidity and surprising length for a white) and a not-on-the-menu Cava. Why cava? Well, g was originally going to go with a Cremant de Limoux (Domaine Collin – a super-awesome sparkler we’ve had before) but the bartender offered the cava, and then was able to compare-contrast the wine to the Domaine Collin to see which she’d prefer – that’s some good wine-nerdery right there – we were impressed! And then for the main, I ventured for a Cahors (i.e. Malbec from a specific region in France), and for her main, a pork shoulder, the “wine guy” recommended a rich off-dry white (that’s right – not a red!), which was perfect. So Petruce gets some big points for their wine. Will it appeal to everyone? Nope. Will it appeal to wine snobs? Not really – it’s not like these are big-name bottles or anything. But it will appeal to wine nerds. Yay!
Ok, enough about wine. Let’s talk food … with pictures!
Not pictured was the pork shoulder. And with that pork shoulder, g felt like she “won” dinner. That’s a pretty impressive statement coming from g, and here’s why: the usual course for dinners is that g goes for either cow (she loves a good steak frites) or lighter fare (seafood, veggies), often foregoing pig as it’s often too fatty, too rich (usually I get the pig and she’ll take a bite … before claiming that her steak, veggies, or seafood is superior). But not this time – she went for the pig, and it blew her away. I agree – the pig was delish! I don’t know if it “won” – as it was equal to the duck for me – but I will say that the leftover pork shoulder made for a super-awesome omelette the next day.
Other awesome things: service was spot-on the whole night. They cleared the tables with efficiency. The chef occasionally delivered dishes (our table was right next to the kitchen), with a smile. They did give us an extra course (spicy octopus) because the server felt like g’s wine would also pair well with spicy, and nothing we ordered was at all spicy (so he did it for the fun of the meal, it seems!). g recognized one of the chefs as one of her faves from Little Fish. What were the bad things? Well … there wasn’t really anything to complain about. While nothing we had was quite gotta-have-it-can’t-live-without-it-crack-addictive, it was indeed some excellent food, excellent wines, and excellent service. It’s going to go toe-to-toe with Serpico for us, which is amazing. Maybe it’s more along the lines of a Talula’s Garden (but without the cheese … which is a big minus, but more interesting drinks)? Bravo for a great new restaurant for Philly!
t says: It had been a while since the four of us (g, t, a, v) went out to eat for dinner, so we were super-psyched when v’s new resolution – “New Restaurant Fridays” – took us to Townsend on East Passyunk. You see, we’ve been so strapped for time lately that g and I just kept on going back to our favorites: Serpico, Sotto, Mercato, etc. Not only that, we couldn’t even make it to all of our favorites (it’s been ages since we’ve been back to Talula’s Garden!) So the real question was going to be this one: could Townsend put on a strong enough show to be added to the rotation? Let’s find out …
September 2014, Friday Dinner, Party of 4. To get things started on this very special occasion, I called up the restaurant and asked them if they did corkage. Nope. That’s a big fat negative. They played it as, “we have a wine list that pairs excellently with our food – we don’t allow outside wine”. Now, I’m ok if a place just doesn’t want us to bring wine – that’s fine – just say: “we have a full bar and we don’t allow outside wine” – and I’d give you more props for saying: “bringing your wine eats into our profits” (because really, that’s what restaurants really mean). But if you’re going to have the audacity to promote your excellent wines, you better back it up with … some excellent wines. When we arrived, we were greeted with a wine list … and no actual suggestions on what they recommended to pair with each dish. That was weird: what happened to the excellent pairings? That’s ok – this wasn’t a’s and my first rodeo. Next we were surprised by the markups. Like “holy crap” markups. Spending over $40 for a bottle of Gruet is insane. Absolutely insane. Finally, the wines kinda sorta sucked. I had a rose that tasted like water-downed grenache (a felt it was more like rubbing alcohol), a mediocre red (and a steal at $8/glass!), and a pretty run-of-the-mill French chardonnay. Basically, not a single “oh I can’t believe they have that” or “whoa – where is that from?” … just “meh” after “meh”. Ok – time to step down from my wine soapbox and get on with the food:
As you can see, our descriptions here are a little on the light side. Normally we gush or put forth some real criticism. And you know what, we did have some things to say about their food as we were leaving that night – we had some real strong opinions … but we forgot them all … because we immediately had our brains melted … by this:
So I guess that’s it. Townsend was fine for food, but not better than another’s in the immediate area. Then consider their wine list which got 8 thumbs down from the gang, both for assaulting our wallets and our palates. And while their very attentive and kind service tried to save the night (they’re not Talula’s Garden good, but still good), ultimately, we expect the noise will die down, as people go back to the restaurants like Fond that sparked the dining explosion in Philadelphia … and could very well keep it burning for years to come.
t says: g and I hit up Lolita for lunch on a lazy Saturday a little while ago. I had to admit that I was a bit reluctant at first, as they were no longer BYO; I was afraid that Lolita had lost the one distinguishing feature that set it apart from the rest of the restaurants in the Marcey-Valerie empire. While most people tended to bring tequilla to Lolita for margaritas, I routinely brought wine, as there were several dishes on the dinner menu that were serious enough to demand a serious drink. Nevertheless, for lunch, wine was not a necessity for me, so we walked on over to 13th street and got down to business …
September 2014, Saturday Lunch, Party of 2. God the menu looked good. It was insane. g and I wanted one of everything. Maybe we were starving? In the end, we settled on the basics:
g and I will be back to Lolita – and we’ll bring along a and v, too! But of course … we’ll have to go for lunch, as I think for dinner, we’d miss bringing our own wine and/or tequilla …