Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween, Montreal Style

I saved these Halloween-inspired window displays that I spotted and photographed when I was in Montreal for today.

A beautiful collection of plants and objects from nature in the window of this florist on Laurier Avenue.

A collection of pumpkin and Halloween coloured clothes on this rack that surely was not accidental.

Happy Halloween!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Rock and Driftwood Memories

We found these rocks on Brighton beach when we were in England in August. We had been looking for rocks with holes that went all the way through for the entire trip, and then there they were on the beach on the very last day of our trip.

When we got home I went down to the river to look along the shoreline for bits of driftwood.

After drilling holes in the driftwood...

I threaded a length of jute through each rock and piece of wood, alternating them and tying a knot between each.

Hung, they make an interesting piece of natural art, with both the rocks and driftwood weathered and smoothed by the action of water.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Saturday Thrifting

I love church bazaars. They often yield some of the most wonderful thrifty finds. The church bazaar I headed to bright and early this morning was no exception.

I spotted this wonderful old wastepaper basket with its shabby chic feel for $1.00.

This great old faded print in a wonderful linen flax fabric was only 50 cents.

The stamp on the wrong side of the fabric states that it is of English manufacture.

It is hemmed on all four sides and is rectangular so my guess is that it was a runner or for a small table.

Then I came across a bunch of items that had a retro kitchen feel. Twenty-five cents for a pair of old tin cookie cutters, a cheerful orange floral reversible apron for 50 cents, and a hand-knit tea cozy for 25 cents.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Kiddie Drinks

Here's an easy idea for fun drinks for a children's birthday party or celebration, courtesy of Laurier Gordon Ramsay.

1. Wet the rim of a glass (or mason jar) and sprinkle with pop rocks candy.
2. Fill glass to the 3/4 mark with ice cubes and seven-up.
3. Add grenadine syrup and a drinking straw.
4. Garnish with a slice of lemon or lime, or better yet, a candy lemon slice.

There you have it, a colourful, sparkling, bubbly, exploding fancy drink that's as entertaining as it is tasty.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Cafe Myriade

If you'd like a cup of coffee that's a work of art, Cafe Myriade is the place to go. Located on McKay Street just down from Nocochi Cafe, it's small and cozy and a favourite haunt of the locals, many of whom are Concordia students.

On Sunday morning, the place was full. People had spilled outdoors on the patio despite the chill in the air. As we waited for our coffee, a spot opened up and we happily sat inside to enjoy a our morning latte and croissant.

Before we knew it, we had drained our cups.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Nocochi Cafe

After shopping on Sainte Catherine Street and a quick stop at the Museum of Fine Arts, it was time to rest and rejuvenate over a cup of chai tea at Nocochi Cafe on MacKay Street at Sherbrooke Street. But what was under the teacup?

One of Nocochi Cafe's tiny cookies! Which as you can see, is as small as a teaspoon.

The owner, Shahnaz Bagherzadeh, is Iranian and her traditional Persian desserts are marketed around the world. All these wee delights are of such a diminutive size, they are ideal for sampling. Beautifully arranged in a glass case directly in front as you come through the door, they beckon with temptation ... marzipan, turkish delight, endless varieties of cookies and pastries flavoured with spices, fruits, flowers, nuts and chocolate.

Gleaming bright white walls provide a blank canvas for the deep pink of the chairs' upholstery and...

the pretty prints on the cushions that line the benches along the walls.

Nocochi Cafe is located at 2156 Mackay Street in Montreal.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Window Shopping

After lunch at Laurier Gordon Ramsay we went for a stroll and did some window shopping on Laurier Avenue, which has some wonderful boutiques and windows dressed with lovely merchandise.

And then we headed to Saint Catherine Street to do a little shopping and take in some fashionable window displays.

Just like the mannequins in this window, the majority of Montrealers on this particular Saturday seemed to favor black for their outfits. As usual, no matter what their age, the women looked very chic.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Laurier Gordon Ramsay

Count me in with countless others who were brought up with dinners at Laurier BBQ in Montreal. An institution for over 75 years, our family often stopped there for dinner on a Sunday night after visiting my grandmother, throughout the 60's. The quarter breast of chicken with fries, coleslaw and sauce along with mocca cake for dessert was my staple.

So it was with interest that we learned that this Outremont landmark had re-opened in August after celebrity chef, Gordon Ramsay, had taken it under his wing (no pun intended).

Since we were already in the neighbourhood, after picking up our cakes at Cocoa Locale, we decided to give Laurier Gordon Ramsay a try for lunch.

Redecorated inside with distressed white walls and a combination of genuine antiques and reproductions, the decor is light and bright and has a cosy warmth, if a bit on the "chain design" side. Some of the distressed bits and pieces look a little like the stuff you find in Winners and HomeSense. But we weren't there for the decor... it was for the food.

The menu retains some of the old favourites: the rotisserie chicken, coleslaw, fries and sauce. And some of the old desserts such as the mocca cake,carrot cake and Hello Dolly squares remain.

The new menu...

On the new side, the water is flavoured with cucumber slices, a unique touch. Jars of pickles adorn each table for you to help yourself to while you wait.

My old quarter breast of chicken, with coleslaw, fries and sauce.

Followed by my old favourite mocca cake for dessert.

The new decor with light fixtures from an old arena...

and the original washroom signs, if I'm not mistaken... after all, my sister and I did spend a lot of time as children exploring the ladies washroom.

I won't critique the food as there are lots of online reviews to consult, except to say that while it was a pleasant dining experience with friendly waiting staff and big in nostalgia... the chicken plate I had was nothing special. Perhaps the new additions to the menu are better. If you're curious to frequent a Gordon Ramsay establishment or feel compelled to relive a piece of your childhood, then give Laurier Gordon Ramsay a try at 381 Laurier Avenue West, Outremont in Montreal.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Cocoa Locale Revisted

What better way to begin a visit to Montreal than at the wonderful cake shop, Cocoa Locale. It is such a delightful little place, filled with a retro vibe. Just look at all the pretty little details that make up the whole.

But in the end it's all about the cake. And the cake is so good you have to arrive at Cocoa Locale's fairly soon after opening time since they sell out quickly. Once the cakes are gone, that's it... they are closed for the day. Knowing this sad fact only too well from my very first visit, I made sure I arrived at three minutes before noon yesterday, which is when owner and baker Reema Singh opens the store on Saturdays.

I ended up selecting four cakes to take home: vanilla orange, and chocolate lavender (which I'll show you another day because they are now in my freezer), and my personal favourite...

chocolate chai...

as well as a seasonal choice, pumpkin.

If you want to try the cakes at Cocoa Locale, you'll find the shop at 4807 Park Avenue, Montreal.