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March Madness!

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No, this post won’t be about basketball, only about the crazy month I’ve been through. I thought it was important to mention why I haven’t updated my blog as often as I had intended.

Firstly, the 30-day hot yoga challenge was taking over my life. I had to make plans through work and hot yoga. It was manageable but complicated sometimes. Did hot yoga make me feel like a better person? For the first days, I felt happy and relaxed but then I started feeling annoyed and exhausted. I took a break on the 11th day because I wanted to get some free henna at the Museum of Fine Arts. I took another break on the 23rd day and then I stopped.

Secondly, I sprained my ankle last Monday after a beautiful evening of bliss and joy. I was invited to the cocktail launch of the 15/16 season of Les Grands Ballets Canadiens de Montréal. I was very honoured to be invited because I love the ballet! Sam accompanied me to this luxurious event with lots of wine and yummy cocktail bites. I was ecstatic when I found out that some of the ballets would Kaguyahime, Coppélia and Don Quixote. Since there were no desserts at the cocktail launch, we decided to have some at Cacao 70. It was a first for Sam so we did a sharing experience with triple chocolate pizza, banana split waffle, milk chocolate fondue and much more. (It wouldn’t be a decent post without mentioning food!) We left stuffed and walked to the nearest metro. We were walking down the escalators when it happened. My left foot touched the ground and I felt it twist inside my boot. I knew I had sprained my ankle, I could feel the swell. Two nice and good-looking security agents asked if I was alright and if I needed an ambulance. I gently refused because I didn’t need to spend hours at the hospital when I knew exactly what was wrong. I mean it’s the 4th time that I sprained my left ankle after all and no, I’m not even joking.

Thirdly, I was feeling sick and unmotivated. I was given anti-inflammatory medication to help reduce the swelling. I didn’t see the doctors I usually see and was surprised to be prescribed medication. Of course, I had side effects and had horrible stomach burns. I thought nothing was worse than menstrual pain but clearly I was wrong. I spent the week home with crutches mostly sleeping in my bed or on the couch. This pain led to a drop of motivation and I couldn’t even stay long in front of my computer.

Why am I explaining all this you ask? Many people in my surrounding told me that it was a sign that I needed to relax and slow down. I told them that it was pretty ironic that the day I slowed down, I sprain my ankle. I’ve never been a lucky person so I’m not surprised. So I started questionning myself and found that yes, I was doing too much. I’m always doing too much. Why? I think I’m a workaholic and I can’t bear the fact of not doing anything. Is it the fact that I’m pumped on adrenaline while trying to pull my hair out at the same time? I know that I always complain that I’m super busy but when I’m not, I’m bored. I’ll never be satisfied in life it seems, well until I find a perfect middle.

I had recently questioned myself about my career in journalism. Am I really cut out to be a journalist? Can I survive as an arts & culture journalist? Maybe I should be more involved and write more stories in different publications. The only problem is that I don’t have the time and even if I try to make it happen, I’m still dealing with personal things, which are draining all my energy. Sometimes, I just want to take all my things and throw them away in a hole or burn them. I just want to tell everyone to leave me alone. Yes, I know it’s mean but that’s how I feel lately. So it’s possible I don’t post much in the next few weeks but I’ll definitely catch up. I’m sorry if this post sounds emotional and dark, but I had to explain why the blog wasn’t updated.

N.

Mac & Cheese Week

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Montreal now has a Mac&Cheese Week, a collaboration of Le Cheese, L’Gros Luxe and Nudabite. It started today, March 9th until the 16th. There are 9 restaurants participating in the first edition: Burger Royal, Diablos BBQ, Dinette Triple Crown, Dirty Dogs, Evoo, L’Gros Luxe, Le Cheese, Pierre & Pierre and SuWu. Prices will vary between $8 and $18.

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I want to try at least one and I’d like to try the Burger Royale mac’n’cheese with homemade bolognese sauce, bechamel sauce, macaroni, shredded cheese and bacon.

 

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Mac’n’cheese by Burger Royal ® Nudabite

 

For more details, visit the Nudabite website and see the offered poutines. Use the #MacWeekMtl hashtag on social media.

I am really happy to see many food festivals happening in Montreal. I’m just sad that they seem to happen when I’m poor so I have to limit myself.

Coconut Curry Shrimp

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Saturday after my hot yoga class, I decided I was going to cook. I had bought a pack of shrimps the previous week but hadn’t had the chance to cook a meal. I had a can of coconut milk left so I looked for recipes including those 2 main ingredients. Many recipes looked delicious but I didn’t have Thai red paste. I finally found a simple one, which required less ingredients. You can find it here on a website called The Pioneer Woman. It was very detailed and with nice images to help you through the steps of cooking.

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It was delicious served over basmati rice. I’m just sad that I had small-sized shrimps. Next time I’ll try another recipe but with medium to large sized shrimps or maybe I’ll try the same again, my mother loved it. I think the reason I love Thai food a lot is becaus of the coconut milk, the creaminess is wonderful. It was even better with some curry, definitely my favourite spice!

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Cheesecake!

Today, I finally got to test my KitchenAid stand mixer!!! I was so excited to use my new baby Icey! Yes, I named my stand mixer because we’re going to be spending lots of time together!!!

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My baby Icey! <3

I have always wanted to bake a cheesecake and today, I was able to do it! I used the Philadelphia Classic Cheesecake recipe. It seemed pretty easy and it was finally.

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Ingredients in bowl

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Mixed ingredients

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Crust

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Cheesecake mix over crust

I was very excited to have a perfect beautiful cheesecake but that dream broke into crumbles. I baked the cheesecake in a regular pan and not a springform pan, which would have made it easy to stay in shape. I tried removing it from the pan and it broke into my hands, as I flipped it around a bit. A big fail on my part but hey, you learn from your mistakes. At least, the cheesecake still tested delicious despite its appearance.

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Classic cheesecake!

 

Next time, I’ll try making a Manhattan Style cheesecake from one of my desserts book. I’ll also make a coulis to add to the cheesecake. Of course, I’ll buy a springform pan by then.

Lola Rosa Café 2

In May 2013, Dom and I had a date. I decided to bring her to Lola Rosa because it’s one of my favourite vegetarian restaurants. We went to the one on Milton because I hadn’t gotten the chance to sit down last time I went there.

I remember it was during the time where we couldn’t drink tap water because a pipe had exploded in the St-Lawrence River and contaminated it. In some areas of the city, it was a different colour, almost brownish. People were buying bottled water. The waitress suggested the homemade iced tea, which was made with bottled water. It was lightly sweet and very refreshing on the hot summer day.

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Dom ordered the Burrito, which was served with salad and rice. The burrito had black beans, corn, tomato, cilantro, mozzarella, spicy sour cream, green onions, sweet potatoes and jalapenos. She loved her dish but was full quickly. I had a bite and tasted how filling the burrito was, especially with a side or rice.

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I ordered the Hemp Burger, which was served with a salad. The burger is made with hemp seeds, lentils, chia and grilled tofu. It’s topped with cheese, salad, tomatoes, a pickle and covered with bbq sauce. The burger was flavourful and delicious. I really enjoyed the salad with beet, carrot and chick peas. I realized that veggie burgers can be just as good as meat burgers. I was stuffed after my main dish but I still wanted to try a dessert.

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Dom had the Pineapple & Raspberry cheesecake to go because she was full after her main dish but wanted to taste one of their desserts. She texted me later that day to say the dessert was delicious and she was happy she got it.

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I ordered the Apple Crisp served with vanila ice cream. It was one of the best apple crumbles I’ve had. I love the mix of hot and cold so I love desserts that are hot and served with ice cream. I had a very generous serving. I wasn’t able to finish it as I was full so I took the rest of the go. Of course, I made sure to finish the ice cream first.

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We had a wonderful service and the food was delicious. It gets the same grade I gave it before, a 9/10. It cost us 25 dollars for a drink, a main dish and a dessert with taxes and tips. I recommend this restaurant to everyone. If you’re not vegetarian but are curious, check out Lola Rosa. If you are a small group, I suggest the Milton location and if you’re a big group, go to the Parc location. Dom told me that Lola Rosa was the best vegetarian restaurant I made her discover. I was really happy to hear that!

p.s. The pictures are blurry because I didn’t want to use the flash and blind everyone.

 

Lola Rosa Café

545 Milton, Montreal, QC

H2X 1W5 514-287-9337

 

Lola Rosa Parc

4581 Du Parc, Montreal, QC

H2V 4E5 514-843-5652

Winter Hell

This winter season is one of the worst I’ve seen since I first arrived to Montreal almost 15 years ago. The cold has been so intense, it’s unbearable. When I got home after my internship in the week, I pretty much hibernate on my couch reading or watching television. March is quickly coming and I hope that we’ll have warmer weather.

I have decided to do a 30-day hot yoga challenge at Enso Yoga for the month of March. I had mentioned earlier in the winter that I wanted to do some physical activity so I could stay in shape. I’ve been doing aerial yoga since mid-January, which is yoga with the use of a hamac. It’s the coolest thing, I feel like an acrobat. Well at least, when I manage to do the crazy tricks. I only do it once a week but maybe I’ll do it twice a week when the next level starts. The reason I’m doing the hot yoga challenge is because I’m hoping I will feel energized by doing an hour of yoga daily. Also hoping, it will make me feel less stressed and more relaxed. Of course, if it can help me have a flat stomach, I’ll be excited. I already bough a yoga mat and figured out my schedule. I’ll let you know how it went in April, well if I survive the heat.

A friend told me I should not write about my past restaurant visits and only concentrate on recent ones. I understood his point, especially if the places I visited shut down since. However, most of the places on my list are still open and they’re amazing so I’ll keep writing about it. It’s going to be a long journey but I’ll catch up to today!

Thanks for reading and following me everyone!!!!

N.

Poutine Week 2015: Winners!

Sorry everyone for only posting this now! This last week was pretty overwhelming. The weather in Montreal is cold, depressing and exhausting. Is spring almost here? Please I need some sun and warmth to survive in this world!!! We’re already in mid-February so that’s good.

Anyway if you haven’t had a chance to see who the winners of La Poutine Week 2015 edition, well here they are!

Dirty Dogs won People’s Choice

The Boss Poutine

The Boss Poutine

Copper branch won Healthiest Poutine

Healthy Vegan Poutine

Healthy Vegan Poutine

Fabergé won This is Not a Poutine

The People's Waffle

The People’s Waffle

Shawarmaz won Judge’s Choice

#ShawarmazManic

#ShawarmazManic ®ShawarmazManic

I am so happy that I got to try 3 of the winning poutines. The one at Shawarmaz looked really good with garlic potatoes and the choice of chicken or beef at $8.99. Hope you all enjoyed La Poutine Week, see you next year poutine lovers!

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