The Cool House: Search results for montreal
Showing posts sorted by relevance for query montreal. Sort by date Show all posts
Showing posts sorted by relevance for query montreal. Sort by date Show all posts

Thursday, October 02, 2008


Jenni over at ThirteenEleven commented recently that I get to go to wonderful exhibitions, and she's right I do. Wherever I'm traveling I try to build in time to see something special and, hopefully, spectacular. Sometimes, though, it just doesn't work out. For example I flew out of Montreal one day before the Warhol Live: Music and dance in Andy Warhol’s work exhibition opened at the Musee des Beaux Arts.
I would have loved to see the portraits of Aretha Franklin, Liza Minelli and Debbie Harry and all the pop art but even more, something that hasn't been shown before, a private collection of album covers Warhol designed, including the iconic Rolling Stones Sticky Fingers.

Other rarities on show will be this video for The Cars as well as films and art installations. It runs through January 18 2009, and during that time, over at the Musée d'art contemporain de Montréal there will be another music inspired exhibition, Sympathy for the Devil: Art and Rock and Roll Since 1967.
Unfortunately, I don't think I'll be finding myself back in Montreal that soon. Dommage!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

YSL Retrospective

One of the highlights of my recent trip to Montreal was visiting the Musee des Beaux Arts to see the Yves St Laurent retrospective. The exhibition, which opened only a few days before YSL died, spanned forty years of innovative fashion design and was awe inspiring, not least because you could really get up close and examine the garments to see the work that the couturier put into each outfit.

It is only when you get within two feet of a dress that you can truly understand how they can cost thousand of dollars.

All the designer's work was represented from Le Smoking, via safari jackets and the yeti style jackets to the transparent blouses and glamorous evening gowns

Memorable designs were the lattice beadwork fringed tribal dresses and this tiny little black micro minidress on the right designed for Diane Von Furstenburg by Yves St Laurent in 1990. Exquisite.
The retrospective in Montreal has now closed but will open at the de Young Museum in San Francisco on November 1st. Go, and be inspired.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Did I mention the Foie Gras?

This, right here, is the reason I wanted to go to Montreal. Ever since I saw the Anthony Bourdain No Reservations episode on the city I knew this would be a sort of pilgrimage. Restaurant Au Pied de Cochon serves everything foie gras: naked foie gras; foie gras terrine; hell they even serve foie gras on french fries - PDC's version of the infamous Montreal dish Poutine or fries with cheese curds covered in gravy.
We started the meal by doing "foie gras Cromesquis" - shots of liquid foie gras inside deep-fried batter cubes. So wrong and so intensely good. Then I had the duck carpaccio, wafer thin slices of duck, parmesan and mushrooms moistened with oilve oil with an egg yolk on the side. Note to every restaurant in New York where I have eaten carpaccio: This is how it is done. Thinly sliced, perfectly seasoned and moist. Perfection on a plate. The Guy had some healthy tomato tart. He raved about it, but really, that was not in the spirit of the evening at all. Then we moved on to the real thing.

This is the renowned Duck in a Can, half a duck, cooked in a can with foie gras, with a thyme, garlic and balsamic demi-glaze, served over bread and celeriac puree. Can you see the steam in the photo? The aroma that was released when the server opened the can at the table was so heavenly I nearly expired right there.

My main course was a special, foie gras served on a on a flaky pastry tart with poached pear. The photo doesn't do it justice. This was the most delicate and unique presentation of foie gras I have ever had, and believe me I've eaten my way through a lot of goose liver.
We were lucky enough to be seated right next to the "passe", which meant we got to see and to smell each dish as it was sent out. This was a kind of exquisite torture for us as we wanted to taste every dish, and plain torture for the waiters as I asked them what every dish was. When we go back, and believe me, tanked economy notwithstanding, I am scheming ways to move right into the restaurant, we will be ordering the lamb shank and the pig's trotter - the actual pied de cochon - in addition to more foie gras. PDC also has an amazing wine list. I recommend the Corbières, it's robust enough to stand up to the duck yet doesn't overwhelm the foie gras.
I knew the meal was going to be good, after all when is Anthony Bourdain wrong? I just didn't know how good it was going to be. Smiling staff, comfortable noise level, the restaurant was relaxed yet extremely busy and we enjoyed great wine and perfect food. This was the best meal I have eaten in North America. Period.

More Balls!

Feeding my fascination with Buckminster Fuller and geodesic structures, we visited the Biosphere Environmental Museum in Montreal. This fun, interactive museum is built inside the dome designed by Fuller for the 1967 World Expo. The original structure was protected from the elements by a transparent acrylic membrane that was destroyed when the sphere caught fire in 1976. Now the dome is completely uncovered, which is great for viewing the surrounding landscape and watching the these guys perform a little maintenance.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Life is Good Cruel

It gives you the opportunity to die happy as you wallow in the goodness that is foie gras at Au Pied du Cochon in Montreal but denies you tickets to James. Happy, sad, happy sad.
I will not dwell on life's ironies but instead offer you the p.c. version of Laid. Honestly. For the uncensored lyrics go here.

Is there anything more sexy than Tim Booth examining his eyes like that? No, there is not. Would it be sexy if anyone else did it? Of course not, it would be gross.

Saturday, September 20, 2008


As we will be living it up in Montreal for a few days and I'm not sure if I will have the time to blog anything I'll leave you with this wonderful advertisement for, well, you see if you can work it out. The ad is entitled Have No Fear and the music is Lisa Mitchell’s Neopolitan Dreams..

If you are Australian or a fan of The Very Short List you'll probably know the answer already.
A bientot, mes amis.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Mmm - 100 Things Food Meme

Here’s a way of easing back into the working week after the Labor Day holiday that I found on Wouter's Blog
"Below is a list of 100 things that I think every good omnivore should have tried at least once in their life. The list includes fine food, strange food, everyday food and even some pretty bad food - but a good omnivore should really try it all. Don’t worry if you haven’t, mind you; neither have I, though I’ll be sure to work on it. Don’t worry if you don’t recognise everything in the hundred, either; Wikipedia has the answers.

The rules:
1) Copy this list into your blog or journal, including these instructions.
2) Bold all the items you’ve eaten.
3) Cross out any items that you would never consider eating.
4) Optional extra: Post a comment here at linking to your results.
I added Bold and Crossed to indicate stuff I’ve tried but have no intention of eating ever again, unless I’m starving".

1. Venison - I miss truly wild game.
2. Nettle tea - nettles sting, that's the lesson I learned from my childhood
3. Huevos rancheros - brunch
4. Steak tartare - a favourite appetiser.
5. Crocodile - in Austin, Texas
6. Black pudding - my childhood and boudin noir from the markets in Belgium and France.
7. Cheese fondue - Austrian skiing trips
8. Carp - unfortunately, yes
9. Borscht - good winter soup, served with sour cream.
10. Baba ghanoush - meze staple. There used to be a bunch of good Turkish restaurants in Euston, London.
11. Calamari - NY staple but the best was a la plancha on a beach in Spain
12. Pho - a favourite soup, easy, filling and cheap to make or buy. First ate it in Vancouver and got addicted.
13. PB&J sandwich - as a child. Now I eat PB & Marmite. Because I have sophisticated tastes.
14. Aloo gobi - comfort food
15. Hot dog from a street cart - once.
16. Epoisses - in France.
17. Black truffle - oh yes, in many places.
18. Fruit wine made from something other than grapes - prunes, pums, damsons, peach.....
19. Steamed pork buns Chinese deliciousness
20. Pistachio ice cream - not my favourite flavour
21. Heirloom tomatoes - late Summer treat
22. Fresh wild berries - Pick 'em and eat 'em or eat them while you're picking them...
23. Foie gras - favourite winter appetiser and holy grail of upcoming trip to Montreal..
24. Rice and beans - Moros y Christianos, as Wouter says: lekker, heel lekker (very delicious).
25. Brawn, or head cheese- along with spam, my childhood is calling and I'm not listening
26. Raw Scotch Bonnet pepper - have licked fingers after touching them. Often. And stuck finger in eye. You'd think I''d learn, but sadly, no.
27. Dulce de leche - mmmm
28. Oysters - favourite summer appetiser.
29. Baklava - too sweet for me
30. Bagna cauda - South of France, Holiday food.
31. Wasabi peas - I like wasabi, and peas but together, not so much
32. Clam chowder in a sourdough bowl - Boston baby.
33. Salted lassi - mmm, to cool palate after #43
34. Sauerkraut -
35. Root beer float - as a kid
36. Cognac with a fat cigar - cognac yes, cigar no.
37. Clotted cream tea - Of course.
38. Vodka jelly/Jell-O
39. Gumbo
40. Oxtail
41. Curried goat - Brussels, in the Matonge.
42. Whole insects
43. Phaal - in Nottingham, England, in Birmingham, England, in London, England. Haven't found it in New York
44. Goat’s milk
45. Malt whisky from a bottle worth £60/$120 or more - see #68.
46. Fugu - much as I love fish, in this case I choose cake.
47. Chicken tikka masala - National dish of England
48. Eel - Belgian staple
49. Krispy Kreme original glazed doughnut - when the craze was on
50. Sea urchin -Vancouver at great Japanese restaurant
51. Prickly pear
52. Umeboshi
53. Abalone
54. Paneer - love all Indian food,Indian cheese -yum
55. McDonald’s Big Mac Meal - in Brussels when they first opened.Haven't repeated the experience.
56. Spaetzle - in Germany and Austria and the US. Haven't found a good version in America yet.
57. Dirty gin martini - I'm a classic martini girl, though - three olives, no juice
58. Beer above 8% ABV - Duval, Chimay, Orval, etc etc
60. Carob chips
61. S’mores - yes but wouldn't go there again
62. Sweetbreads - Belgian, French staple
63. Kaolin - no but I put it over an abscess once to "cook" it so it burst.
64. Currywurst - staple in The Netherlands
65. Durian
66. Frogs’ legs - oui, bien sur
67. Beignets, churros, elephant ears or funnel cake - Funfair food
68. Haggis - in Scotland, eeuw, yuk even with a whisky chaser
69. Fried plantain love plantain, hate bananas
70. Chitterlings, or andouillette - mmmm
71. Gazpacho - favourite soup.
72. Caviar and blini - Mmmm, salty
73. Louche absinthe
74. Gjetost, or brunost - Norwegian cheese, in Brussels. It's an off-putting brown colour but doesn't taste too bad.
75. Roadkill
76. Baijiu
77. Hostess Fruit Pie - eeuw, looks nasty
78. Snail - my favourite appetiser as a child.
79. Lapsang souchong - in the tea drawer in our kitchen
80. Bellini - at our local pizza place, it was their cocktail of the day
81. Tom yum - one of my favorite soups.
82. Eggs Benedict - Standard brunch fare in NY
83. Pocky chocolate covered pretzel sticks - did not know that they were called pocky. Sweet and salty. Yum
84. Tasting menu at a three-Michelin-star restaurant. - Jean Georges in Manhattan. How may stars does The Modern have?
85. Kobe beef and Kobe Beef sliders. I hate the term sliders.
86. Hare - Belgium, Luxembourg and France. I miss game.
87. Goulash - winter comfort food
88. Flowers - prettiness on a plate
89. Horse - in Luxembourg and France
90. Criollo chocolate
91. Spam as a child. Battered and fried. Eeuw, yuk.
92. Soft shell crab. One of my reasons to stay in the USA
93. Rose harissa - any Harissa improves almost any soup, stew, tangine, or couscous dish
94. Catfish - so often that I'm fed up of farmed "Cajun style" catfish on every menu
95. Mole poblano - mmmm
96. Bagel and lox - I live in New York, it's obligatory and really good.
97. Lobster Thermidor - Definitely NOT my favorite lobster recipe
98. Polenta - The Guy's favourite carb
99. Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee
100. Snake in Austin, Texas

Hmmm, I think I've eaten waaaay too much! What about you?

Tuesday, November 06, 2007


You'll have to excuse my ignorance but I'd never heard of Schmap until this morning when I received an email letting me know that one of my Flickr photos had made it to the shortlist for the fourth edition of the Vancouver guide. Even if the photo doesn't make the final cut it's cool to know someone liked it.
We were in Vancouver, Canada in August 2006 for what proved to be the final trip out of the USA to renew our visas. The US Department of Immigration Services requires legal immigrants leave the country to get their visas renewed. Some people go back to their home countries, but we hadn't applied from our country of citizenship when we originally came here and that complicated things. The US Government has a pragmatic solution for people like us: a quick trip to Canada or Mexico.
We had only a few weeks to renew the visas and we intended to go to Montreal or Toronto or Quebec City to get the passports stamped but the wait time for an appointment at the US consulates there was 8-10 weeks. So we looked to see if there was an earlier slot anywhere else in Canada or Mexico. We were really lucky to get a 8AM slot the following Monday morning in Vancouver. We flew out at the weekend, made the appointment and eventually got the stamp. And we had one of the most enjoyable vacations in a great city to boot. I would move to Vancouver in a heartbeat, the scenery is unbelievable, the food is wonderful and Canadian people? It's a cliché but they are so nice.
Here's a link to my Vancouver slideshow. I won't spoil the possible surprise by singling out the submitted photo. But you can guess if you want to. Here's a hint: it's not this one

Steven on Ferry