Travelogue: Montreal Part Trois (Sept 2015)

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It was a rainy day. And quite chilly too. We passed by the Olympic Stadium on the way to the Botanical Garden. I adore the inclined tower and the structure of this stadium. The concept was based off the structure of animal vertebrae and sinews. It cost so much money to build that it was actually not finished by the time the Olympics came around.

The Botanical Garden is mostly outdoors, with a small greenhouse area which we explored. Then we found this “Chinese garden”…

Montreal (Sept 2015)

Wait there’s more.

Montreal (Sept 2015)

Pretty normal so far… and then

Montreal (Sept 2015)

Montreal (Sept 2015)

…it was quite strange. There were all these paper mache people and lanterns, kind of like the ones people burn at funerals to send to their relatives beyond the grave.

Montreal (Sept 2015)

Montreal (Sept 2015)

Montreal (Sept 2015)

I love the art that’s all around the city.

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We went to Au Pied de Cochon for dinner.

Montreal (Sept 2015)

I made a reservation ahead of time, of course. The couple who gave me a taste of their cake last night was also there. They told us the tuna tartare was good.

Montreal (Sept 2015)

It was. And so was the foie gras poutine:

Montreal (Sept 2015)

Then came “duck in a can”; the most famous dish here:

Montreal (Sept 2015)

Montreal (Sept 2015)

After eating duck and foie gras for 3 nights, I found this underwhelming. It was a small portion of duck (Joe Beef wins on portion size), and the winner in terms of taste would go to Le Quartier Général.

Montreal (Sept 2015)

Maple creme brulee.

Dinner again, took 2 hours. We accepted this fact already.

The next morning, I jogged around Old Montreal towards Lachine Canal and it was perfect weather for it. I love running in other cities and getting to know the neighborhood that way. By foot, I can see so much more.

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Perfect morning jog.

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Lachine canal.

After that, I met up with my mom and we went to see Notre Dame Basilica.

Montreal (Sept 2015)

Entrance fee $5. Free tours (check their schedule). I’m glad we went on the short 20 minute tour. I learned more about this church; it has quite an interesting history.

Montreal (Sept 2015)

Montreal (Sept 2015)

Elegant stairs.

Montreal (Sept 2015)

Montreal (Sept 2015)

Maison Christian Faure: our last lunch in Montreal! Love the lighting here.

It’s close to Notre Dame Basilica and there are tons of souvenir shops along the way for some last minute shopping.

Montreal (Sept 2015)

Delicious salmon sandwich.

Montreal (Sept 2015)

Ok lobster sandwich.

Montreal (Sept 2015)

Pistachio.

Montreal (Sept 2015)

This passionfruit tart was good. I also bought macarons to go as souvenirs.

At the airport, I had to get one last fix of poutine… from Burger King…

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Au revoir, dear Montreal! I loved your French-speaking, courteous and friendly people and all that art!

What I Love About Miami Part I: Non-Beach Side

Since I’ve already been to Miami Beach back in 2013, I wanted to explore more of the midtown and downtown areas this time. After we landed and rented a car, our first stop was Sugarcane Raw Bar & Grill.

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It was easy to find metered parking. If you’re staying at South Beach and only staying there, you wouldn’t need a car. But if you want to explore more of Little Havana and Midtown, renting a car from the airport might be more worthwhile.

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I love outdoor seating. This place had a garden feel to it.

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Their brunch menu was exactly what I look for nowadays: fusion, innovative, unique items you will not find anywhere else.

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“Fat boy” hash with bacon jam, 2 fried eggs, truffle hollandaise. This was amazing. Look at the bacon jam underneath:

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Duck & waffle: crispy leg confit, duck egg, mustard maple. I love egg on top of everything.

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Spam musubi with foie gras and eel sauce. A huge chunk of foie combined with spam. My type of dish.

Our waiter was fantastic and even gave us recommendations on where to go next. We followed his advice and found Wynwood Walls not too far away.

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If you’re ever in Miami, definitely stop by Wynwood Walls. I’m a fan. It’s free, it’s outdoors, and every mural and art installation just took my breath away.

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So inspired after walking around this neighborhood.

Then we stopped by a little cafe that sold Azucar Ice Cream, which is inspired by Cuban flavors.

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Abuela Maria: a premium vanilla ice cream with red guava, rich cream cheese and crisp galleta Maria cookies. 

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It was pretty good! The story behind how this company started is actually pretty awesome too.

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Since we’re in Little Havana, might as well stop by Versailles Bakery (next door to its sit-down restaurant) for a snack. Or two.

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First, take a number and wait to be called. While waiting, you can look at the wonderful display of goodies to be devoured…

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The best thing here? The fresh-squeezed orange juice!!!!!!!! So amazing. And everything else too, I suppose… Can’t leave without getting a cafe con leche either!

Travelogue: Dallas, TX (Day 3)

 

 

 

 

Continuing from Day 2, or rather Night 2, we indulged in a rather expensive dinner at Pappas Bros — worth it, since it was one of the best steaks I’ve ever had. More importantly, best service ever. I’ve noticed that at every restaurant in Dallas, your water gets refilled after every 5 sips, and the waitresses all have this genuine vibe that makes it easy for you to tip over 20%. (Believe me, in New York, not that many waiters/waitresses truly deserve their tips.)

But anyway, our waitress Christina and I got to talking, and she highly recommended that we visit the Bishop Arts District. “You have to go there! There are all these restaurants, little coffee shops and cafes, thrift shops, you would love it!” So after visiting the Perot Museum of Nature and Science, we headed over to the BAD for brunch.

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It was definitely a hip, chilled vibe. Sort of like New York’s West Village, with good eats and cafes and little shoppes. What I liked most were the murals.

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Bishop Arts District

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We passed by Tillman’s Roadhouse, which in retrospect we regretted choosing Hattie’s over them. Hattie’s was standard American fare, nothing extraordinary albeit a solid meal. Tillman’s will now be forever known as “the place we didn’t eat at”.

 

 

Coffee

Espumoso Caffe was one of those cafes where you can curl up with a cushion by the large windows and people-watch.

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I stumbled upon a little shoppe called Society, which sells amazingly scented candles, stationary, and other knick knacks. Even if you’re not into candles, go inside and check out the decor. Apparently, they also offer interior design services, which explains how they’ve managed to utilize this small space to create such an artistic and inspiring environment.

 

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When my friend asked me what my favorite moment in Dallas was, I couldn’t pinpoint a specific incident. But it might have been when our waitress at Stephan Pyles said to us, “I’m VERY impressed with the amount of food y’all have consumed tonight, just lettin’ you know!”

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We started off with complementary bread & amuse bouche.

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Tasting of any 3 ceviches $32: we chose 1) salmon veracruzano, 2) sea scallops amarillo, and 3) red snapper. The red snapper was my favorite, as it was accompanied with — guess what — pop rocks!

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A hot item on their menu, which you know is popular by the star next to it: the Tamale Tart. It’s a tart that resembles custard, with huge pieces of crab meat on top.

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I couldn’t help but get the strawberry lemonade (vodka and strawberry jam?! sounds good to me), which was tasty but nothing outstanding.

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Another item that stuck out was the pork belly with clams (one fried and one steamed) — this is pork belly done right; fatty and juicy, tender and perfect.

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Our entrees. His: sous vide beef tenderloin with crisp beef short rib. Mine: maple leaf farms duck breast. Clearly, I won.

 

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The meal ended with complementary petit fours.

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