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NaBloPoMo Day 15: The Best Meal We Ate in Montreal

We ate very well in Montreal, but naming our “Best Meal” was no contest. After our 2nd visit to the spa that weekend (IT WAS VACATION WE DO WHAT WE WANT), we called up Bouillion Bilk to see if they could fit us in, and they were happy to oblige. To be honest, I did not do my homework in advance of our travels. Sometimes the time gets away from me. I was perusing the restaurant reviews on Yelp, and the one for Bouillion Bilk was glowing, so we decided to try it. I am so, so glad that we did.

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First, the food was perfect. Amazing.  It’s hard for me to describe the varied, unexpected and delightful flavor combinations, so you will have to make do with the pictures.  Sandy and I are both fairly comfortable with wine lists, but we were baffled by this restaurant’s. The server told us that because their menu is novel and ever changing, their wine list matches by being interesting and inventive. The only wine I recognized on the list was Rioja, so I had that. Sandy asked for the server to recommend wine based on her dishes, and he did an excellent job. This is a place where you can trust the servers to steer you in the right direction.

Urchin Amuse Bouche

Urchin Amuse Bouche


beets, smoked egg, horseradish, taliah, clementine, cranberries

beets, smoked egg, horseradish, taliah, clementine, cranberries


scallops, cauliflower, shiitake, pear, watercress, beurre noisette

scallops, cauliflower, shiitake, pear, watercress, beurre noisette


venison, rosti, cabbage, labneh, juniper, honeyberries, yellow foot chanterelles

venison, rosti, cabbage, labneh, juniper, honeyberries, yellow foot chanterelles


chocolate financier, jerusalem artichoke, clementine, hazelnuts, coffee

chocolate financier, jerusalem artichoke, clementine, hazelnuts, coffee


kouing amann, apple, caramel, vanilla, pink peppercorn

kouing amann, apple, caramel, vanilla, pink peppercorn


Second, the ambiance was dead on for our moods that night. The food was fancy but the mood was completely casual and unpretentious.  During most of our trip we were surrounded by all these twentysomethings and it just felt weird.  Boullion Bilk was full of people more in our age range, and the whole place had the feel of people just wanting to enjoy a relaxed night out with a delicious meal.

Third, the people-watching was beyond compare. The host was Alex’s Canadian long lost brother (the host was incredibly friendly, although Alex has the edge on humor). There were many couples with whom we played “guess their story,” which is always one of my favorite games. I think the restaurant is fancy enough that it is a hot spot for couples on early dates, still trying to impress each other. New couples always make for the best people watching. (I say this as my husband and I are sitting in a hotel lobby, drinking wine, and looking at the internets to make the most of our relaxation time now that we have sent our daughter to the Kidz Klub to hang out. #old).

The tastes of this meal are so vivid in my memory that it pains me that the restaurant is so far away. Hopefully I make it back to Montreal soon, and when I do, Bouillion Bilk will be right at the top of my “must visit” list.

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NaBloPoMo Day 12: A Highly Scientific Taste Test of @LeonasLLC @FFCreameries & Millie’s

NaBloPoMo Day 12: A Highly Scientific Taste Test of @LeonasLLC @FFCreameries & Millie’s

I checked the cooler on my way to the grocery store checkout tonight and finally found myself Leona’s Pumpkin Caramel Shortbread ice cream sandwich! I’ve been dreaming of it since they posted its gorgeous picture online, and since they finally had the flavor in stock, it was a sign that it was time to go for the local ice cream taste test I’ve been contemplated.  I wrangled Mr. Beez in to helping me, because ice cream happy loves company. He objected to me taking his picture, but was otherwise game.

I started with the Millie’s Homemade Vietnamese Coffee ice cream. The coffee flavor was surprisingly mild (I usually go for very strong coffee flavor) but nonetheless delicious. It was mild enough that I think you could trick those sad, misguided folks who claim to not like coffee into trying it and loving it. Well, maybe it’s better to have them keep thinking they don’t like coffee, that way you don’t have to share with them.

Millie's

Next up, we tasted Family Farm Creameries‘ Landlocked Vanilla Ice Cream, featuring Wigle Whiskey’s Landlocked Spice whiskey. The ice cream is very smooth and creamy, and the vanilla flavor is distinct but not pungent.  Mr. Beez described it as “like a french vanilla” and liked the smooth texture.  I think it would be absolutely perfect in a root beer float.  They definitely have the best packaging, once the ice cream is done I’m sure Baby Beez is going to steal it to fill up with coins, beads, rocks and whatever other little things she squirrels away.

Family Farms Creamery

Last but not least, we shared the Leona’s Apple Cinnamon Ice Cream on Oatmeal Lace Cookie. He loved how the sandwich is substantial and did not squish between your fingers, and that it tasted like apple pie a la mode in every single bite.  I pointed out to him that the ice cream is lactose free, and he was surprised, because you wouldn’t expect it from the rich taste.  I love the chewiness of the cookie, it’s a nice contrast to the creamy ice cream.

Leona's

For those not so familiar with handmade ice cream, all three of these melt pretty quickly. That is because they don’t have temperature stabilizers or other marvels of science that transform food to our expectations, rather than what the food really is.  Not a problem for me though, ice cream can hardly last a moment in my presence.

Mr. Beez had to go poop the party by pointing out that we weren’t exactly doing an apples-to-apples comparison. He did not understand the point of ice cream science. THE POINT OF ICE CREAM SCIENCE IS TO EAT LOTS OF ICE CREAM.  Of the three, we did not really have a specific favorite. We loved all three of them and, given a choice at the co-op, we would be most inclined to buy whichever one had the most-appetizing flavor in stock at the moment.  You have to be flexible with them, of course, because due to their small operations and seasonal ingredients, the flavors change constantly.

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NaBloPoMo Day 9: Return to the Homestead

NaBloPoMo Day 9: Return to the Homestead

It’s incredible how refreshing a weekend away can be. Although our vacation was only 2 full days and 2 days spent mostly traveling, I have returned home feeling at least sane again. It’s not full on rested bliss, but I am rested enough to feel capable to dive back into real life.

When traveling, I try to hit as many “local favorites” as possible, even if totally kitschy. Before leaving Montreal today, I enjoyed a Montreal bagel (totally legit), as well as one last helping of Timbits (also legit, but in a totally different way).

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Timbits

Travel was smooth going. In the course of this weekend away, I started and finished one book (The Beach by Alex Garland, in case you are wondering) and also made significant progress in another audiobook (The Scorch Trials by James Dashner).

Baby Beez Spiderman

Returning home with presents was mandatory, of course, and the pom-pom slippers and Spiderman comic book en Francais were very well received.

I know it’s not even late enough to be grown-up bed time, but I’m beat. So g’night.

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NaBloPoMo Day 7: Old Montreal Walking Tour and Essential Canadian Activities

NaBloPoMo Day 7: Old Montreal Walking Tour and Essential Canadian Activities

For our first full day in Montreal, we followed an online walking tour itinerary for Old Montreal and saw a number of the lovely sights. I would guess the high tourist seasons are summer and Christmas, because it is not very hectic right now. Although the tour map looked like it was a lot of walking, everything is pretty close together.  We did walk a lot today, but not like Disney-world lot, so we feel a bit tired but not like OMG exhausted.

Notre Dame

Our first big stop was Basilique Notre-Dame de Montreal, which is very important because THIS IS WHERE CELINE DION GOT MARRIED YOU GUYS.  Even without her heart going on-and-on, it is a very beautiful cathedral, with all kinds of carvings and stained glass and beautiful things.

Notre Dame de Montreal

Notre Dame de Montreal

We also visited its sister chapel, which was smaller (albeit still the size of a “normal” church) and also very lovely.

Chapel Notre Dame

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As we walked through the Old City, we stopped to have crepes because this is Montreal and WE NEEDED CREPES. Sandy had the Parisien crepes with apples and brie. I had crepes with ham and caramelized onions and brie. I need more crepes in my life.

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As we continued to wander throughout the city, we kept seeing more and more of these curious telecommunications contraptions….

A relic from times past...

A relic from times past…

We continued on to Montreal’s market building, which I had hoped/expected was a kind of indoor farmer’s market. It’s more of a collection of boutiques, but there are some eateries.

Marche Bonsecours

Also, we were inexplicably trapped in the middle of an ongoing vegan festival…but we located Pub BreWsky with a nice long list of local microbrews, so all was very very well.

Pub BreWsky

Pub BreWsky

There was more wandering around to be had.

Clock Tower

After this wandering, I had THE HUNGRY, so it was very necessary to stop at Montreal’s Dunn’s Famous for Montreal Poutine (smoked meat, cheese curds, gravy, fries).

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Poutine

Properly refueled, we undertook some very necessary shopping, Canadian style, including wandering around Montreal’s vast underground walkway/mall, as well as a stop at Roots, which I just LOVE, and got myself the worlds biggest comfiest sweatshirt dress, which I plan to lounge around in just about every day this winter.

Roots

And in case you thought our day couldn’t get any more Canadian, now that we have stopped to unload our shopping packages, in a few moments we will be leaving for a Montreal Canadiens game!! Go Habs!  (Please pass more poutine)