Category Archives: Food

Taking Stock No.4

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Enjoying a walk through some of Old Quebec’s beautiful, narrow streets.

Hi folks,

As you have probably noticed, I’ve been out of the look since I last wrote to you about our woes with our new downstairs neighbors. They have not gone away and neither has the mental exhaustion caused by the situation. Many times over the pas few months I have found myself dreaming of packing up and moving to an isolated corner of anywhere but here. It would be quite easy to do and no one would ever find me. My name is so common that I wouldn’t even have to change it in order to never be found, even by the aforementioned pesky neighbors should they decide to attempt to hunt me down. That would be a cowardly thing to do though and highly inconvenient for My Darling who is quite attached to his job and his family (it’s not that I’m not attached to my folks, we’re just not even nearly as tight-knit as My Darling’s family is). He did, however, manage to whisk me away to Quebec City with him for a few days when he went there to attend a conference at the beginning of the month, which did me a great deal of good and allowed me to get my creative juices flowing. Then, when we got back, miracle of miracles, Spring appeared and I have been able to spend increasing amounts of time outside. The leaves are all out, the flowers are blooming, I planted my flowers and bought our strawberry plant and I am looking slightly less pasty. Phew…the work downstairs should finally be done next week, which is an excellent thing because I am becoming less and less tolerant of the group of loud, cigarette smoking, belching, cursing men who show up every morning at 7:00 and are present until the end of the afternoon. I want my quiet home back, I to not have to worry about parking in my own driveway for fear of puncturing my tires on a nail or being trapped in my parking space by a delivery of sheet rock or some worker’s pickup truck. For crying out loud, we found a worker’s discarded t-shirt in our parking space this morning! Ugh…Anyhow, I thought one of my ‘Taking Stock’ posts would be a good way for us to catch up and hopefully I will be able to get my creative juices flowing freely enough once things calm down to come back with another post soon. In the mean time though, you can head over to my photography blog Old Orchard Photography for more about my trip to Quebec and to see a few more of the photos I took there.

Enjoying: being able to walk out the door without having to pile on more layers than an onion.
Listening: to The Merry Widow on CBC Radio 2.
Wearing: my GAP striped sundress. I bought it at an outlet store in Las Vegas last Spring and it is my go-to dress as soon as the warm weather rolls around. It is just as comfy as a pair of pajamas, but completely appropriate to wear out around town as well!

Making: time for myself.

Cooking: Korean burgers for My Darling and his friend when they get back from their bike ride.
Drinking: Iced tea made with our Fortnum and Mason teas. We just emptied our jug of Irish Breakfast and I’m going to ice some Countess Grey next.
Feeling: relieved that the renovations downstairs are finally almost finished.
Reading: ‘Her Majesty: 60 Regal Years’ by Brian Hoey, the first biography of The Queen I have ever read and I am thoroughly enjoying it. I have also recently torn through Elizabeth Gilbert’s ‘Big Magic’ as I mentioned in my previous post and Camilla Gibb’s ‘This is Happy’ which I highly recommend.

Looking: forward to my vacation in Poland with My Darling next month.
Wishing: we still had a deaf lady in her 70s for a downstairs neighbor. Boy, do we ever miss Mrs. L.
Liking: eating breakfast with My Darling on the back terrace under our red parasol on weekends.
Waiting: for the next bunch of strawberries growing on our plant to ripen.

Snacking: on dark chocolate raspberry Lärabars
Coveting: some Prince Edward Island therapy. I would wish for August to come quickly, but I want Summer to drag on for ages!
Hearing: no construction noise, praise God.
Learning: to not let myself be intimidated by bullies.

Loving: how My Darling has been perking up since he has been able to take his bike out for long rides again.
Watching: not much, really! It’s been far too nice out to watch TV.
Admiring: nature, it’s amazing how quickly things start growing and blooming when the warm weather finally settles in!
Getting: ready to make my first batch of homemade ice cream of the season! It’s going to be matcha, made with this recipe

Wondering: when I’ll have time to go shopping before our vacation.
Playing: piano when I can, which is not often. Racket downstairs = not conducive to learning a new instrument.
Noticing: how badly I needed my week off two weeks ago to ground myself.
Giggling: over My Darling’s waddle when he walks around in his cycling shoes.

Bookmarking: by folding the corners of the pages of the books I read. I don’t spend enough time online to bookmark sites lol
Deciding: on where we’re going to stay in Warsaw.
Hoping: for less drama in my life
Contemplating: jogging with a group of our local Running Room store when we get back from vacation.

Wanting: a new pair of running capris, I noticed several holes in my favorite pair when I got in from my jog on Thursday…
Thinking: about my dad a lot recently and how happy I am that the lupins I planted in front of his grave three years ago are finally going to flower!
Knowing: that my father would be proud of how I’ve handled the difficult situation with our new neighbors so far.
Opening: my heart to as much kindness from others as I can in order to heal myself from the unkindness I have suffered recently.

Feeling: energized and positive for the first time in months.
Marveling: at how warm, sunny weather can help turn peoples moods around within a matter of days.

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Notre-Dame-des-Victoires (Our Lady of Victories) church in Old Quebec
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Taking Stock No.3

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A partial view of the Cloud Gate and downtown Chicago

Hello everyone!

As you know, I enjoy doing these taking stock posts four times per year, it is a practice I picked up from fellow blogger Ashley over at Sed Bona. This will be my third post of this kind and I really look forward to doing them! Fell free to do some taking stock of your own and if you do, please let me know!

Enjoying: going over and over all the photos I took during My Darling and I’s little four day trip to Chicago last week! I’ve included two of them in this post and if you want to see more of them, go check out my photography blog and feel free to give it a like and a follow!
Listening: to Schubert’s Symphony No.8 in B Minor.
Wearing: my incredibly comfy Wilfred Free top, it’s just like PJs without being PJs, you can see a selection of Wilfred Free tops here.
Making: another scarf for myself. It’s slow going, but I will have it done by next winter!
Cooking: a chocolate orange cake for dessert with some friends tomorrow, recipe here.
Drinking: protein packed smoothies for lunch.
Feeling: better than I have since January, finally!!!
Reading: The Art of Hearing Heartbeats by Jan-Philipp Sendker
Looking: for a blue clutch. I have nothing but black clutches and I would love to have a more cheerfully colored one.
Wishing: my IT band would stop acting up so I can get back to running.
Liking: how much stronger the sun is getting, it’s putting a bit of warmth into our Winter Days!
Waiting: for 19-2 to start up again, it’s one of our favorite TV shows and we miss it!
Snacking: on Chèbrie in other words Brie made with goat’s milk 🙂 Sorry, dear American readers, but you can’t have any! I’ll get arrested if I try to send you some, I kid you not!
Coveting: A Kitchenaid stand mixer and have been for ages!
Hearing: the soothing, bubbling sound of water spilling out of my aquarium’s filter into the tank.
Learning: to play the piano thanks to My Darling.
Loving: Google Play, all the music ever created is at my fingertips and the lion’s share of it is completely free!
Watching: David Starkey’s Music and Monarchy on YouTube, because I can’t get it anywhere else unfortunately.
Admiring: My Darling’s efforts to better balance his personal and work life.
Getting: nervous about all the renovations our neighbors want to do, noise and dust! Joy!
Wondering: when and where we are going to take our Summer vacation.
Playing: Piano Tiles 2, it is ridiculously addictive.
Noticing: that Quinn is getting cuddly in her old age!
Giggling: over Quinn chasing a bug.
Bookmarking: nothing lately.
Deciding: where to hang the painting My Darling got me for my birthday. He says bedroom, I say dining room.
Hoping: that my cake is going to taste as good as it smells!
Contemplating: ways to make a bit of extra money through my photography.
Wanting: the freezing rain to stop falling outside before the city ends up looking like this again:

Montreal during the ice storm of 1998, image credit: CBC news

Thinking: I’m ready for dinner.
Knowing: my dinner will not make itself and delivery is not an option in this weather!
Opening: a bottle of wine so I can enjoy a glass or two while waiting for My Darling to come home from his conference.
Feeling: very accomplished, it has been a productive day!
Marveling: at how much more in control and organized I have been feeling lately.

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The stunning Tiffany glass dome in the Chicago Cultural Center

Fall beauties

Our Maple Tree is putting its Fall show on.
Our Maple Tree is putting its Fall show on.

Well, ladies and gentlemen, Fall finally got its foot in the door here in Montreal last week. The leaves started changing gradually in the first week of October, which is quite late for us. At the same date last year, they were past peak and almost all gone. Our lovely Maple was nothing but green until Friday and then all of sudden started turning, which is usually how it goes! We had such a lovely, perfectly balanced Summer here that aside form a bumper crop of massive, juicy apples all over Quebec, the Fall colors are stunning to say the least. Also, this is still going on with our organic Strawberry plant:

Our crazy strawberry plant is still giving us berries.
Our crazy strawberry plant is still giving us berries.

Is that nuts, or what? I ate that berry this morning and it was just as juicy and sweet as the ones this plant was giving us in June and July! Has anyone else ever had a strawberry plant grow berries right into October? I’ve never heard of it and there have been no fresh local berries at the grocery store for weeks now! We’re delighted about this of course and I’ve decided to let the plant spend the Winter out on our balcony and see if it comes back again in the Spring.

Along with the beauties of changing leaves and the pleasures of being able to put on nice, cozy sweaters and scarves comes a change in the outdoor decor of our home! My darling and I both love our Fall wreath which I purchased from Michael’s craft and hobby shop two years ago and while we’re always a bit sad to have to put away our shorts and sandals in September, it always puts a smile on our faces when I pull this wreath out of storage and hang it on our front door.

Our Fall wreath hanging on our front door.
Our Fall wreath hanging on our front door.

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All of our door ornaments come from Michael’s and I have to say that I have been nothing but pleased with the quality of their decorations. Only one of them has not resisted the elements, but I realized pretty quickly that it was never meant to be hung outside, so its demise was totally my fault. This Fall wreath however looks just as fresh as it did the first time I hung it on our door. If you have a Michael’s in your area, I strongly encourage you to go and check them out, their Fall and Halloween decorations are up to 60% off right now and That means that their Christmas stuff will be in as well if you like to buy your decorations early.

As for me, I’m going to keep admiring the beauties of Fall before I start getting serious about Christmas.

This little guy wouldn't look out of place on a Canadian flag!
This little guy wouldn’t look out-of-place on a Canadian flag!
The changing leaves of our Maple Tree.
The changing leaves of our Maple Tree.

Some of my Fall favorites in no particular order:

1- Pumpkin spice EVERYTHING

2- Homemade mulled apple cider, we use Williams Sonoma mulling spices.

3- Getting to wear scarves again! I’m a scarf fiend and have so many that I’m running out of places to store them properly.

4- The beautifully colored leaves and the crisp air.

5- Curling up in front the television under a blanket with my Darling in the evening.

What not to miss in Montreal

Downtown Montreal by night.
Downtown Montreal by night.

We had two house guests back-to-back last month, one before my brother’s wedding and then my grandmother who was here for the wedding. My grandmother was born in Quebec City, but lived in Montreal for nearly 20 years before she and my grandfather moved to California for four years when he was transferred there just before he retired. Once they got a taste of life without Winter, my grandparents decided to continue to live in a warm climate rather than move back to Canada and go back to shoveling snow and wearing more layers than an onion for five months a year. My grandmother still comes to Montreal at least twice a year though grandmother and knows the ropes well enough that she is still totally comfortable riding the metro, even at 10:00 P.M. Our out-of-town guest, however, had never been to Montreal before and it was therefore my job to show her around on her first day in town.

Being a lifelong Montrealer, I know a lot of places in town that are amazing, but most of them are off the beaten track since, as anyone who lives in a touristy city knows, the touristy parts of town can be loathsome during the Summer months. So what did I do? I took our out-of-town guest to the most touristy part of town, Old Montreal, but I skirted around the tourist traps. Our first stop was Notre-Dame-de-Bonsecours Chapel

A stained glass window and a model ship holding votive candles in Notre-Dame-de-Bonsecours Chapel
A stained glass window and a model ship holding votive candles in Notre-Dame-de-Bonsecours Chapel

As I mentioned in my brother’s wedding post, a lot of fuss is made about Notre-Dame-Basilica, with reason. It is a beautiful church, inside and out, but because the Basilica is so beautiful and so nearby, a lot of people overlook Notre-Dame-de-Bonsecours. It is a much smaller, much more peaceful church and I have always been touched by the history it has as being a place of prayer and hope for sailors and their families because it is so close to the Old Port.

After our visit to Notre-Dame-de-Bonsecours, my guest and I visited some art galleries before stopping for lunch at one of my absolute favorite cafés: Olive et Gourmando!

Olive et Gourmando
Olive et Gourmando
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Two more large blackboards like this one can be found in the café.

I love this place for its laid-back atmosphere, fun décor (I love blackboards and have two in my house!) and naturally, its amazing food and coffee! My favorite sandwich of theirs is the Poached Egg on Your Face, but I also love the Cubain. Watch out for the Poached Egg on Your Face though, it is quite spicy since there is sriracha in the sauce! As far as O & G’s  coffee goes, I am addicted to their latte! It is a perfect blend of smooth and strong and I never have to add any sugar to it. One very important note about dining at Olive et Gourmando though: I highly recommend you make a reservation if you want to eat there at any time between 9:00 A.M. and 2:00 P.M., especially during the Summer months because it is always chock-a-block full and at lunchtime people are often lined up out the door. Also, since they make all of their sandwiches fresh, they can run out of some of their more popular selections around the end of the day. They do have a to-go counter though if you don’t like eating in crowded places.

After lunch, we made our way up to, you guessed it, Notre-Dame Basilica! I could not neglect to take our guest there and I also wanted to get some pictures of the Basilica and Chapel for my brother’s wedding post. Off we went and I was not sorry we made the stop since it turned out that my new Canon EOS 6D and EF 24-105mm lens made for some serious photography fun, the most fun I’ve had in Notre-Dame Basilica ever, except when I’ve been there for concerts or my little brother’s wedding. I’ve been used to frustration while trying to take pictures in Notre-Dame because of the low light conditions, but it turns out that all I needed was a bit more practice and a kick-ass lens and camera duo. Oh, and our guest loved the Basilica too. Go figure, I’ve never left there with a disappointed visitor!

This sculpture of the prophets Isaiah and Ezechiel sits below the pulpit on the left had side of the Basilica near the main altar
This sculpture of the prophets Isaiah and Ezechiel sits below the pulpit on the left had side of the Basilica near the main altar.
The pulpit.
The pulpit.
A view of the choir section of the Basilica behind the altar.
A view of the choir section of the Basilica behind the altar.
A view of the Basilica's crucifix behind the sanctuary lamp.
A view of the Basilica’s crucifix behind the sanctuary lamp.

Our last stop before heading home for some dinner was St-Louis Square, a park that was recently given a face-lift by the city after they had let it run down for a few years. The Square is one of the most easily recognizable places in Montreal for people who have never been here, because the colorful houses that surround it are printed on postcards just about as frequently as Notre-Dame-Basilica is, but when people actually come to Montreal, they very rarely make it to the square because it is not near any other tourist attractions. This is a shame because it is a very beautiful park with a lovely fountain in its center with benches around it that are screened from view by a beautiful garden. It is a wonderful place to sit with a book and a cup of coffee or tea or for a nice long chat with a friend. It is also right next to the pedestrian stretch of Prince Arthur street which is filled with wonderful cafés and on the day I was there with our guest, there was a farmer’s market going on, which was a lovely surprise.

The fountain that stands in the center of the square.
The fountain that stands in the center of St-Louis Square.
Some of thec colorlful Victorian houses that surround St-Louis Square
Some of the colorful Victorian houses that surround the Square
A closeup of a few of the houses.
A closeup of a few of the houses.
Another closeup of one of the houses.
Another closeup of one of the houses.

After dinner in the evening, my Darling and I had one last place we wanted to take our guest to make her first full day in Montreal complete: The Belvedere in Mount Royal Park that overlooks Downtown Montreal. The Kondiaronk Belvedere offers one of the most famous views of Montreal there is, but once again, a lot of tourists don’t make it there unless they are visiting with family or friends. In this case, it is because you can only reach the Belvedere by going for a bit of a hike through the park from a parking lot, or by climbing a whole lot of stairs and then going for a hike in the park. We Canadians are pretty health conscious, so we don’t mind having to walk a way to get someplace nice! And the view from the Belvedere is definitely worth the workout in the daytime, at night (as seen at the top of this post), in Summer or in Winter.

The View form Kondiaronk Belvedere in Winter.
The View form Kondiaronk Belvedere in Winter.

There are a lot more places in Montreal that you should not miss, namely the awe-inspiring St-Joseph’s Oratory, which attracts a steady two million visitors per year, but I’ll save that for another post since the Oratory is definitely worth of a post all its own! For now, I hope you enjoyed these few highlights of my lovely hometown!

The best places to eat in PEI

Here I am, back with my second PEI vacation post! Being the foodie that I am and since the first thing most people wonder about a place they visit is where they can get some great food, I will be focusing on my favorite places to eat in PEI. I hope you like seafood, because that is what most of these places feature, but fear not! Even though Islanders are big on eating local and seasonal and a big part of their income comes from the sea, all the restaurants I will be writing about here also offer burgers, steak and sometimes pasta and they all offer salad. Because hey, not everyone enjoys fish and lobster, right?

First off, if you are looking for the best lobster rolls in Prince Edward Island, do like me and make your first stop on the Island the Water Prince Corner Shop in Charlottetown! I have made it an ongoing mission to try as many lobster rolls as I can in PEI and have yet to find better ones. The Water Prince’s potato salad is to die for as well! And yes, the shop really is on the corner of Water and Prince, it is blue with white trim around the windows, you can’t miss it!

The second place I took my Darling to eat in PEI was Rick’s Fish ‘n’ Chips in St-Peter’s. This place was featured on Canada’s The Food Network’s ‘You Gotta Eat Here’ for a reason: their fish and chips are amazing! Rick’s batter is light and not greasy and the fish always stays nice and tender. Another plus about this place is its location. The town of St-Peter’s is built around St-Peter’s Bay and Rick’s is right in the bend of the road that curves around it, which makes for some lovely views!

Now, before I continue on to the next restaurant, a small note about beer on the Island. As I mentioned earlier, the inhabitants of PEI take great pride in eating local. This applies to their beer drinking habits as well. Unless you go to a large British or Irish pub in Charlottetown such as the Churchill Arms (also featured on ‘You Gotta Eat Here’, do not expect to be served anything other than PEI ale, usually either Beach Chair Lager or Gahan when it is in season. I am not a big beer drinker, but my Darling knows his way around it quite well and he preferred Gahan. So this is fair warning if you love your Guiness, Labatt, Molson or whatever: bring it with you.

My Darling's Beach Chair Lager.
My Darling’s Beach Chair Lager.
Fish and Chips from Rick's  in St-Peter's.
Fish and Chips from Rick’s in St-Peter’s.
The Churchill Arms pub in Charlottetown.
The Churchill Arms pub in Charlottetown.

Now, back to Charlottetown! We ended up staying in town for two nights for our anniversary. The first evening was our actual anniversary and my Darling treated me to dinner at Fishbones Oyster Bar & Grill. Fishbones was my choice because I was dying for oysters and Fishbones did not disappoint, presenting us with a platter of four oysters, two Raspberry Points and two Malpeques. Malpeques are my all-time favourite oysters and I would gladly have shoveled away a dozen, but I decided to wait until we were actually in Malpeque to binge on them!

The John Brown Grille in Charlottetown with the Fish Bones in the background.
The John Brown Grille in Charlottetown with the Fish Bones in the background.
Our bottles of raspberry cordial.
Our bottles of raspberry cordial.

Our most pleasant surprise during our time in PEI was the raspberry cordial we decided to try when we visited Green Gables. This was my Darling’s idea. During all my visits to PEI I avoided this stuff like the Plague, because it look like it would more than likely be far too sweet for my sensitive Canadian taste-buds, but I was very pleasantly surprised. The drink was just sweet enough and pleasantly refreshing, so if you like carbonated water with a twist, don’t be afraid to try this fun little drink! It can be found all over the Island.

Dalvay-By-The-Sea hotel.
Dalvay By The Sea hotel.

Next, my Darling and I indulged in a little treat: afternoon at Dalvay By The Sea! I’m a bit of an Anglophile and am a stickler for afternoon tea done right and Dalvay absolutely lived up to my expectations. They serve up tea every day as of 2:00 P.M. and you get everything you see on our tea tier plus all the tea you can drink for 55$ for two! Do make sure you call and book ahead though, especially on the weekend as they can fill up fast! Also, please note that Dalvay By The Sea is inside the Brackley-Dalvay section of PEI National Park, so you will have to pay the Park’s entrance fee to get there. You can find more information about the Park and its fees here.

Our 4 o'clock tea at Dalvay-By-The-Sea.
Our sumptuous afternoon tea at Dalvay By The Sea.

Our last memorable culinary stop was in Malpeque at the absolutely delightful Malpeque Oyster Barn. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to take any pictures of beautiful Malpeque Harbour or the restaurant because it was pouring buckets the evening we were there, the only significant rain we saw during our entire two-week vacation. But trust when I say this: if you love oysters, this is the place for you. Malpeque oysters have a beautiful, sharp flavour to them that makes them instantly recognizable and this place serves them fresh, like 24-48 hours out of the water fresh, every single day. Absolute and total ecstasy if you love oysters like I do, even my Darling who was on the fence regarding oysters before our vacation was converted to the beginner level of oyster loving by these guys. Naturally, the Oyster Barn does not serve only oysters. My Darling enjoyed quite a nice lobster roll there and I loved their fish cakes, which were made with fresh fish and another PEI staple: mashed potatoes. Because if there is one thing you have to taste aside from the seafood in PEI, it is their potatoes!

Now, a few pointers about eating in PEI:

1- You are not in the big city. Planning on eating out anywhere on the Island any later than 8:00 P.M. is a big risk. This is because PEI is all rural. The biggest city there is Charlottetown and its population is approximately 35 000. The kitchen at the Fishbones is the latest closing one I know of and it closes at 10:00 P.M.

2- You will more than likely be staying at least a 20 minute drive away from the nearest grocery store if you are staying in a cottage, so plan your meals ahead so you won’t have to go to the grocery store more than once a week. Keep an eye out for the nearest gas station with a Needs convenience store attached to it, they have all the essentials in a pinch, but keep in mind that it might be at least 10 kms away from your place.

3- Keep it casual. PEI is a very laid back place, so you will not be needing any super fancy clothes to eat out, not even for afternoon tea at Dalvay. The only dress code on PEI is that you must be wearing a shirt, pants and shoes for service, meaning you will not be served if you show up abrefoot in your bathing suit. Yup, they really post this on the entrance to shops and restaurants, because most people who eat out or go shopping in the Summer are tourists who are either coming from, or heading out to the beach.

4- If you’re in a hurry, don’t be. Island restaurants pride themselves on serving their food fresh, so if you’re in a rush, head to the Water Prince for a lobster roll. That’s the only place where I have consistently been able to order and eat in under a half-hour because they keep their lobster salad so handy. Otherwise, plan on being in any eatery for at least an hour.

Good food (including ice cream!) and exercise!

Hello everyone, I hope you had a wonder Easter, for those who celebrate it! I had a family and food filled weekend and somewhat miraculously managed not to over eat! Thank goodness for self-control!

Things are back to normal after a nice four-day weekend I  have fallen back into my routine, which includes plenty of cooking and exercise! Don’t get me wrong here, I’m not an exercise nut, but I do enjoy my runs and am currently running eight kilometers in 48 minutes on slightly hilly circuits and in 51 minutes on my new, more steeply inclined Westmount circuit. I ran it for the second time today and am quite proud to announce that I shaved 11 seconds off my previous running time on it! I’m gonna have glutes of steel pretty soon! Right now, I’m doing my hill work run once a week and a lighter run once or twice a week depending on the weather and how I’m feeling.

A very important part of my feeling good enough to exercise is naturally to eat well, which is why I’m very happy that I enjoy cooking! We very, very rarely eat any processed food at our place. We keep two emergency pizzas in the freezer and two bags pierogies as well. I made pierogies myself once, but ended up losing it because of how damn long it took me to get it done, so never again unless I have an army of helpers including my Polish mother-in-law and two Polish friends! Aside from that though, I buy everything fresh and as local as possible and make as many things as possible from scratch. My challenge for yesterday was my second ever batch of Bigos, or Polish Hunter’s stew (can you tell my darling is Polish?). It is a delicious and hearty mix of sauerkraut, venison, lamb or pork, beef, bacon, polish sausage, cabbage, prunes, mushrooms and I threw some carrots in yesterday as well because I had some left in the fridge from last week that I didn’t want to lose. I had a lot of fun making it like the first time I tried it. Make sure you have a good chunk of time on your hands if you’re going to make this though, because it has to simmer for two to three hours (the longer the better) and the prep time is at least 45 minutes if you’re speedy. It took me two hours, but I am known for being a slow mover…except when I’m jogging! If you want to give making Bigos a try, which I strongly encourage you to do, as it makes a nice, big batch, ages beautifully, keeps in the fridge forever and freezes well, you can find the recipe I use here.

On another note, my Sweetheart also have absolutely no issue with treating ourselves every once in a while and while we can make our own ice cream and sorbet as well (my Darling came with an ice cream machine!), we love going out for ice cream every once in a while. We treated ourselves to our first visit of the season to an ice cream parlor last Thursday while out in the West Island (Pointe-Claire Village to be exact). We saw that the place was open and it was eight degrees and sunny (You know you’re a true Canadian when…), so in we went! We wanted to go out for another ice cream cone tonight because Darling had a rough day at the office and needed a pick-me-up. This time it was one degree, but still more than nice enough for a walk, so we got ready to go out. Then, it started to snow. Darling nearly backed down from the idea of going, but I gave him a nudge and he shrugged and off we went. We know there was a chance the parlor would have closed down for the night by the time we got there and sure enough, they just had. Oh well, off to Starbucks we went instead for a nice hot drink, because by then the wet snow was starting to seep through our clothes. Hey, at least we got our walk in and more hills for me!

If ever you are in Montreal and are looking for some nice places to go for ice cream, here are our favorites:

Kem CoBa ice cream parlor on Fairmount in the Mile End neighborhood on Montreal.
Kem CoBa ice cream parlor on Fairmount in the Mile End neighborhood on Montreal.

1- Kem CoBa This place, I kid you not, has the best ice cream in town and changes their flavors all the time. They make it on the spot with fresh and local ingredients. Give their salted butter ice cream a try, you will not be sorry. They’re open from late April or early May through to mid October and also have the great advantage of being right next to Fairmount Bagels, where some of the best bagels in Montreal are made.

2- Le Bilboquet The second best ice cream in town. Many of their locations close for the Winter, but their Westmount and Pointe-Claire Village locations stay open year-round.

3- Wild Willy’s, a Pointe-Claire Village staple open from March to October. It’s where we got our ice cream last weekend. It’s right by Lake St-Louis on the corner of Cartier and Lakeshore roads though, so be aware that it can get buggy in the Summer, mostly with what I refer to as lake bugs. I’m sorry, I don’t have their scientific name for you, but they’re harmless compared to mosquitoes, of which there are not very many because of the wind coming off the lake in the evening.

There are many other great places to get ice cream in Montreal, but these are our favorites and will keep us from ever setting foot in a Dairy Queen again.

Enjoy!