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Patrice Patissier

9 Mar

Anyone who knows me knows that I love sweets. And frankly, when it comes to sweets right now in Montreal, there is no better area than the Sud-Ouest. Already home to Leche Desserts and Rustique (my favorite doughnut and pie shops), it is only perfect that Patrice Demers, formally of Les 400 Coups in the old port, decided to set up his new venture, Patrice Patissier, in the area as well. His boutique opened up about 3 weeks ago now and I went on the opening weekend to see what he had in store.

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Having taking over the old video rental store on Notre-Dame Ouest just down the block from the Joe Beef empire, the space is divided into a takeout bakery, a wine bar/seating space and a back room for eventual cooking classes. The kitchen is visible to all when you walk in, allowing us to see what comes on behind the scenes. The space is modern, clean and relaxed – touches of wood and nice lighting makes the room inviting to sit and grab a quick tea (or coffee for those of you are inclined to such a beverage).

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Now, for this first visit, I stuck to the bakery because that was my main interest and also because it was the only part of the boutique open at that point. Patrice Patissier offers quite an assortment of items – pastries, cakes, “petit pots” and cream puffs. I had a dinner in the evening and was responsible for the dessert portion of our meal – I figured a nice variety of everything they had at that moment would be appropriate. Ironically enough, at the time I arrived that early afternoon, there wasn’t all that much left as clearly their opening weekend was going better than they had planned. Great for them, not so much for us as patrons but hey, it just means I would need to come back to try what I missed out on.

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On the pastry front, I got their Kouign Amann and a maple Financier. Now I had never heard of a Kouign Amann before this – it is a Breton cake, kind of a sweetened puff pastry. Sweet and flaky, this was a nice new discovery. The maple financier was great as well – a moist banana bread or sponge cake-like consistency with the added sweetness of maple syrup.

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The one cake they had left was a chocolate and cafe St-Henri cake. A deliciously chocolatey treat with just a slight hint of coffee which, for me, as a coffee hater, is a good thing.

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Both varieties of their “petit pots” were available – lemon, camomille, Anicet honey and yogourt, pineapple, muesli. Both are served in actual mini pots to take home. In both cases, great combinations of flavour and texture. The sweet pineapple, the fresh yogourt and the crunch of the granola or the bite of the lemon with the sweetness of honey and the spongy meringues – I really enjoyed these. The presentation as well is a nice creative touch from Patrice and his team.

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The final dessert was their cream puff which is done to order. The day I was there the cream filling was Bahibe chocolate, caramel and banana. A great combination of bitterness and sweetness in a wonderfully rich cream filling. Top notch dessert and probably the biggest hit amongst my dining group that evening.

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As a first impression, Patrice Patissier hit some very strong notes. All of the desserts were wonderful – not a single dud in the bunch. Once the wine bar aspect of the space gets really going, I will definitely be checking it out. Now my biggest challenge dessert-wise here is not coming home with a dozen different pastries next time I stop by and believe me, I will definitely be stopping by again and you believe you should do the same.

Cheers!

Patrice Patissier
2360 Notre-Dame Ouest
514 439 5434

Patrice Pâtissier on Urbanspoon

Mini Food Truck Roundup – P.A . & Gargantua, Winneburger and Monsieur Crémeux

15 Jul

Summer has truly arrived in Montreal and with it comes festival season. Place des Arts becomes the center for festival after festival as people come to enjoy some Jazz, some dancing and as is the case right now, some laughter as Just for Laughs has started up. Last year, Just for Laughs made headlights as they had a event for food trucks (le Souk) where people got to try Grumman 78 and others for the 1st time along St-Catherine street. This year, they have kicked it up a notch with Bouffons Montreal – up to 41 trucks (!!) being located all around Place des Arts for the next 2 weeks. Food truck heaven…. it’s a beautiful thing.

This past weekend, I was able to make his first visits to the area to continue my quest of trying all the trucks. First up, I hit up P.A. & Gargantua from some grill-cheese sandwiches. Gargantua is all about gourmet grill-cheese using local Quebec cheese, unique breads and adding some extra goodies to make an awesome sandwich. On this day, they were using cheddar from L’Ile-aux-Grues and a Mie au lait bread. I decided to try the bacon sandwich – which adds bacon, shallot confit and smoked butter.

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Off the bat, the bread is grilled perfectly. Nice colour and crunch while keeping the interior a little soft to go with the melted cheese. The bacon, to my pleasant surprise, was actually thick-cut bacon and not overly crispy so it added a nice fattiness to the sandwich. The cheese was warm and melted all the way through but maintained some thickness to it so it wouldn’t just fall out of the sandwich. Great richness came out of that cheddar. This wasn’t some cheap Velvetta cheese here. The shallots and the smoked butter added a nice notes as well but thankfully didn’t overpower the flavour of the cheese and the bacon. Well done overall.

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P.A. & Garguntua
On Facebook and Twitter @pa_gargantua

P.A. & Gargantua on Urbanspoon

Next up, there was the Winneburger from the fine folks at Nouveau Palais on Bernard street in Mile End. This old school looking winnebago serves up classic summer BBQ fare – burgers, chips, milkshakes and lemonade. I decided to go for the regular burger and a lemonade to get a sense of their offerings.

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The lemonade was solid – sweet and freshening. Perfect for the hot summer during which it was consumed. The burger came with cheese, onions, lettuce and a tomato. This was a perfectly executed classic burger. The beef patty was nice and juicy without being too messy to eat on the go. The bun had the right level of crunch on the outside with the nice soft interior. All the vegetables were fresh and classic for a burger. This burger is exactly the kind one hopes for when having a nice BBQ back home. Just a classic item done right. Quite nice.

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Winneburger
On Facebook and Twitter (through its parent restaurant) @NouveauPalais

Lastly, this round-up needs a dessert to finish it and hey, whaddaya know…. there was an ice cream truck to enjoy! Chef Martin Juneau and his team at Pastaga (love their brunch if anyone is looking for a good brunch spot) have created Monsieur Crémeux, a bar all about slushies and soft serve ice cream. They do vanilla ice cream and then offer different augmentations to said ice cream – in the form of different sundaes or a Mont Blanc.

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I decided to go for the pecans, maple bites and maple syrup sundae. Off the bat, the soft serve vanilla ice cream is killer. Nice soft silky texture with a great vanilla flavour. Great base to add some sweeter additions. The maple and pecan crunch added some nice contrast to the smooth ice cream and the maple syrup… well it’s maple syrup people. You all know what that adds to a sundae. Just a great sundae – the perfect summer treat as you walk around downtown taking in the sights and sounds.

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Monsieur Crémeux
On Facebook and on Twitter (through its owner) @martin_juneau

All in all, a great weekend of food trucking was had by all. I’m still not sure if having all the food trucks parked 5 minutes by bike away from my place for the next 2 weeks is a blessing or a curse but at least I know I will eat well! Hopefully you all get the chance to see what Bouffons Montreal has to offer.

Cheers!

Petit Cake Shop

3 Jun

I continue to be amazed by the many wonderful options we have here in Montreal in matters of food. I have been on a bit of a dessert exploration kick recently and my most recent discovery is one that you won’t find in a restaurant, bakery or cafe. In fact, you need to place an order via email or Facebook message if you want to partake. This discovery is cake balls from Petit Cake Shop.

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Petit Cake Shop is a small business run by Stephanie Segal out of her home. When you place your order, you have a choice of some standard flavors but she does mention the possibility of some custom ones if you make a request and give enough time. In my case, I placed an order last minute for the next day so I simply went with a sampling of the dozen flavors I could get that day.

The first 6 were Maple Cookie, Skor, Party Cake, Key Lime Pie and as we were in hockey playoff mode here in Montreal at the time, Markoffee Crisp and Subbanana-Nutella-Peanut Butter. Loved the wordplay there by the way. Humor is always a plus. All of the balls are a cake base covered with a thin chocolate or candy coating. I loved how different each one is decorated and differentiated one from the other. You can pretty much look at one and know right away the flavour you are about to enjoy. In all cases, the cake centers were dense and moist – exactly the right combination one looks for in a good cake. Of this first 6, the real winners for me were Subbanana, Key Lime and Party Cake. Very nice rich flavors without being overbearing – which tends to be the cardinal sins of bad key lime pies. The others were good as well but I’m not a big Skor or Coffee Crisp fan so my enjoyment wasn’t as high.

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The next 6 were Red Velvet, Dark Chocolate Cherry, Peanut Butter Chocolate, Peanut Butter Vanilla, Cookie Cake and Salted Caramel Chocolate. The Salted Caramel drizzle really adds great depth to that particular ball. Both peanut butter ones are awesome but as a hardcore Reese’s fan, they were right up my alley. Both hit the right chocolate to peanut butter balance. The other three were unspectacular but solid nevertheless.

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If you are looking something a little different for dessert, I likely recommend you give Petit Cake Shop a shout. The box of 12 didn’t last very long in my apartment and I can pretty much guarantee it won’t last long in yours. Stephanie will most certainly make it worth your while. And I just need another reason to order a second box….

Cheers!

Petit Cake Shop
On Facebook and Twitter @petitcakeshop

Rustique

24 Apr

St-Henri is quickly turning into one of my favorite areas for food and more specifically desserts. Looking for something different to try for family Sunday dinner, I drove down to Notre-Dame and de Courcelles to a place I have had my eye since it opened a few months ago: Rustique Pie Kitchen.

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Any place that uses a pie as its logo is alright by me however, once you enter the bakery, you realize very quickly that Rustique is definitely not just a pie place.

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All manners of large pies, mini pies, caramel popcorn, peanut brittle, cookies, brownies…. A sweet tooth’s delight. We came away with a box of 6 mini pies, caramel popcorn and two marshmallow cookies sandwiches. The marshmallow sandwiches were quite good. Delicious homemade marshmallow of a perfect consistency stuck between the two cookies – either chocolate chip or peanut butter. The cookies themselves were quite good although I wished the peanut butter ones were softer. They were a little too dry compared to what I really love as a peanut butter cookie.

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For the mini pies, we came away with 6 different flavours: apple pie, peach pie, berry crumble, pecan pie, blackberry ginger and wild blueberry. Off the bat, the pie crust for all of these was spot-on. Great golden flakiness without being dried out. A great buttery taste but not so much that it distracts from the filling inside each one. The individual fillings were all quite good. Tons of flavour with a clear use of fresh ingredients for each one. You can tell this is a place where everything is done from stratch. Of particular note, the blackberry ginger pie was a great combination that I have had before but now I definitely need to get a large scale version of said pie.

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The caramel popcorn was a nice gluten free alternative for one certain family member and on top of that, was quite delicious. Nice crunch to the popcorn with a nice caramel coating. Very satisfying for the little amount I tried of that bag.

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I loved my first experience at Rustique so much that I went two days later for a quick tea and mini key lime pie while sitting outside for a nice 30 minutes or so. Was a great way to spend a beautifully sunny and warm mid-afternoon and something I will definitely do again. If you love pies and all manners of other desserts, Rustique definitely needs to be on your list of places to check out.

Cheers!

Rustique Pie Kitchen
4615 Notre Dame Ouest
514 439 5970

Rustique on Urbanspoon

Simplement D Liche Cupcakes

17 Mar

A quick post here about my foray into the world of Montreal cupcakes. Tasked with the job of finding cupcakes for my sister’s birthday but having absolutely no idea where to go, I went online and discovered, lo and behold, there was a cupcake shop located a short drive (or a long walk) away from my apartment. And so, I found myself heading to Simplement D Liche on St-Denis just south of Duluth.

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I was in a hurry so I was unable to stay for long to enjoy the shop itself but I loved what I saw of its clean and simple look – a beautifully cupcake-filled display certainly didn’t hurt my perception! They have both normal and mini-sized cupcakes to enjoy. The flavors change regularly so I picked 6 different from those available that day and went about my day at work. I got to enjoy them over the course of the next 3 days.

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The flavors I selected were vanilla, dulce de leche, key lime, red velvet, chocolate peanut butter and chocolate raspberry. I got to try the final four from that list. The cupcakes themselves were of a denser and richer consistency than I am used to in a cupcake – not that I am complaining. They still succeeded in being sweet and airy which, when paired with the different creamy and light frostings for each options created delicious cupcakes which hit the right flavor profile each time. None of them were overbearing with their flavour either – at no point did you get that “This is WAY too [insert flavour]-ly” moment. The key lime one had a nice lime taste that didn’t hit the overly sour notes you tend to get with bad key lime desserts. The chocolate peanut butter was as close to Reese as you could get without mixing the two items within the cake batter itself. The red velvet was as classic as you would hope to expect from such a flavour. The chocolate raspberry was the least memorable of the 4 but was still quite good all things considered.

All in all, D Liche was a great first experience in the Montreal cupcake scene that I would highly recommend if you are in need of a cupcake fix. Now I need to go expand my cupcake horizons within my wonderful city….. oh Woe is me 😉

Cheers!

Simplement D Liche Cupcakes on Urbanspoon

Léché

10 Nov

I am a sucker when it comes to sweets. It doesn’t really matter – be it cupcakes, brownies, cookies, doughnuts, etc – I pretty much love all of them. More and more in Montreal, we are lucky to have wonderful bakery and pastry shops making great things for us to enjoy outside of the usual Tim Hortons and Starbucks fare. Recently, through Twitter, I had heard of a new artisan doughnut shop in St-Henri that I needed to check out called Léché. Wonderful I thought, let’s check it out right away! Then I saw the opening hours…. Not very conducive to my work schedule. However, through some good circumstance, I had the chance this week to quickly head over before work to grab a box and see just how good their doughnuts were.

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Very much enjoyed the warm and homey feel the space had. The open kitchen is also a great element to the shop – really creates a unique feel. I would have loved to stay longer simply to see the team work in on their treats but sadly time was of the essence. I walked out with a box of 6 different doughnuts to sample from. In general, the doughnuts all have a very light and fluffy dough which doesn’t have much of a sweetness to it on its own. However, given the different toppings and fillings, that is perfect and truly allows those elements to shine above the dough itself. Also, these guys are stuffed to the gills. My experience with most doughnuts had conditioned me to expect half filled doughnuts. Boys was this a pleasant surprise.

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Working from the top left one and going clockwise, I had the white chocolate mousse, peanut butter and Jelly, chocolate, apple crumble, raspberry and milk chocolate mousse doughnuts. The white chocolate mousse was a perfect creamy delicious mess of a doughnut – sweet and delicious. The PB & J one was just amazing – a perfect manifestation of what makes the sandwich so good. The right balance between the salty and the sweet. The chocolate one was very good but probably. The star of the apple crumble is the wonderful apple filling you find inside. The raspberry one was a slight disappointment but that has mostly to do with the fact that I ate it after the PB & J one so it felt like the jam inside was missing its peanut butter companion. Finally, the milk chocolate mousse was very good although I preferred its white chocolate brother.

All in all, quite impressive and very satisfied with my 1st experience. Léché will definitely be in the back of my mind next time I am confronted with the prospect of more “mainstream” doughnut options. Next thing, I just hope that they open up their hours a bit more so that I can stop by a bit more easily in the future.

Cheers!

Léché
640 de Courcelle
514 303 2200

Léché Desserts Inc. on Urbanspoon

Chez Boris

12 Aug

Quick hitter here. Woke up on Saturday morning with a strong desire to try something different on my way to the market so I decided to finally go try a place that has been on my radar all summer: Chez Boris.

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Chez Boris is in the Mile End district on Park Avenue between Laurier and Fairmount and their speciality is doughnuts. For 75 cents each, you can get amazing fresh made-to-order doughnuts coated in a variety of different options. For my first visit (and it certainly won’t be the last…), I got 2 sugar, one cinnamon and one raspberry. Each was perfectly cooked with a nice crisp exterior and a light fluffy interior which is all that you can ask for in a perfect doughnut.

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So you’re interested in something outside of the usual donut shop for a quick hit of sweet, give Chez Boris a shot. You won’t be disappointed. Also, any place that uses a SNES as a card holder deserves your attention 😉

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Cheers!

Chez Boris
5151 Parc Avenue
514 900 1965

Chez Boris on Urbanspoon

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