2014 The Best Cheap Ethnic Eatz

It is almost time to ring in the New Year! 2015 is just around the corner and it is filled with wonderful opportunities and changes compared to 2014. Do you have a resolution this year?

The beginning of a new year is also a great time to reflect on what you have accomplished in the year that just passed. My personal list is filled with lots of good new things overall. This positive list includes the many recipes I have had the privilege to share with you. Here are the top 10 most viewed recipes of 2014:

Bahraini Chicken Machboos 2014

Bahraini Chicken Machboos

Tasty reading ahead, KEEP GOING… →

Savory Truffle Mini Taco Shooter

I do enjoy a nice occasional taco. But I have to say it is not something I grew up with so I often do not think of making or ordering tacos. In Montreal there are not tons of Mexican restaurants and the ones we do have tend to be fancier than faster(er) food fare. So why would I order a taco if I can try something elaborate. This was the thought process that went on in my head after reading July’s Creative Cooking Crew challenge: Tacos, make it your own … take it someplace it’s never been!

I wanted to make something that was not a taco in a traditional meal setting and I was fine if it did not contain all the usual standard ingredients. But I did want to play with a taco concept and highlight a few typical Mexican ingredients. After a lot of brainstorming I settled on this Savory Truffle Mini Taco Shooter creation.

Savory Truffle Mini Taco Shooter CEE

tomato mezcal cocoa shot glass

Tasty reading ahead, KEEP GOING… →

The Liver Experiment Week 6: Spiced Chicken Liver Tacos with Mole Sauce

Welcome to the 6th installment of The Liver Experiment where I will try to acquire a taste for liver. Over a 10 week period I will cook, consume and post my experience once a week about trying to appreciate my food nemesis. I hope my experiment will inspire you to try the same with your own personal food nemesis. And even if you are determined to hate liver for life I hope you will follow along throughout the whole series.

I seem to have assumed a second challenge too. When you search online for ‘liver recipes’, overall the results are not pretty. So it has been a challenge to find varied and visually appetizing recipes. So far I have made French, Indian, Austrian and Middle-Eastern prettier recipes. This week is no exception with a Mexican dish: Spiced Chicken Liver Tacos with Mole Sauce. Doesn’t a pretty taco look more appealing then a blob of plain cooked liver strips in a plate?

 taco with mole sauce

Tasty reading ahead, KEEP GOING… →

Chicago Food and Travel part 2

Finally here is part 2 of my Chicago trip. If you missed part 1 click here.

The photo below shows one of the most famous recognizable symbols of Chicago. The Cloud Gate is a public sculpture, one of many in the city, located in Millennium park. It is also nicknamed the bean because of it’s shape. The mirror surface reflects your image in funny shapes depending on where you stand. It is a really cool art piece. You have to go see it at night time to, as it reflects the dark skyline at some neat angles.

Cloud Gate

Tasty reading ahead, KEEP GOING… →

Gourmet Taco War for Dans la rue

I have been busssyyyyy! Not much time in the kitchen but I had another awesome foodie event I wanted to share. And this Saturday was my 2nd Food Film Marathon which was a success, another post to come on that. I’ll be back as of Saturday with new kitchen creations!

A couple of weeks back  I told you all about a wonderful charity event I was honored to take part of: De la rue aux Étoiles. There were close to 500 guests and the event raised over 130,000$. A-MA-ZING! I present you seven of the eight gourmet tacos (oops for got to take pics of one) created by some of the best chefs in town…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Got a taco craving yet???

A Special night: DE LA RUE AUX ÉTOILES

Everyone in Montreal is familiar with the epic Dans la Rue organization, which was Founded by Father Emmett Johns (nicknamed Pops) in 1988. This grassroots, community-based organization works with street kids and at-risk youth aged 12 to 25. The philosophy of of the organization is to help without judgment into action by providing street kids with food, shelter and support through our outreach programs.

The main ‘vehicle’ of this organization the Van and its hotdogs. The Van roams the streets of Montreal, five nights a week from 8 p.m. until the wee hours of the morning providing food, hot drinks and toiletries to youths in need. The Van is often the first line of contact with many street kids. Back in the day when I was more of a rebel I had a few friends that were runaways living on the streets. Following these friend one night I ended up  inside the Van and was handed a hotdog that I refused. I just pretend to be bad but lived well in a house with parents who loved me. I felt guilty taking that hotdog from some else who really needed it. It was a humbling experience I never forgot.

I am so honored to be included in this year’s DE LA RUE AUX ÉTOILES event, an evening of friendly competition amongst some of the city’s current most talked about chefs. This delicious evening for a good cause will take place on September 27th. Each chef is coupled with a local food blogger. I have been matched with chef Benjamin Léonard at Bocata. It’s my first time so not sure what it will involve yet, maybe it will be my chance also to help out in the kitchen with a chef in this year’s theme: the Taco.

After all I did a good job when I made this Fish tortilla with a citrus & vanilla gastrique radish salsa 😉

PARTICIPATING RESTAURANTS:
BICE
Pintxo
Ferreira Café
Le Boucan
Bocata
BAXO
Tuck Shop
Taverne Gaspar
Le St-Urbain (dessert station) with Van Houtte Coffee

The evening will also include amazing street entertainment and groove rhythms, while enjoying the most scenic views of Montreal. All profits of this wonderful evening of haute street cuisine will support Dans la rue, an organization helping young people get off the streets.

COME SEE OUR GUEST CHEFS REINVENT THE TACO AND CAST YOUR VOTE FOR THE BEST TACO!

September 27th, 2012, 6pm
Montreal Science Centre – Le Belvédère
Ticket: $125 (receipt of $100), 10 tickets: $1,000 (receipt of $750)
Call 514-526-5222 to buy your tickets.

Food Court @ Foodlab, trying to get Street Food to Montreal

Staying on the theme of street food from my previous post, did you know street food in Montreal is illegal? Apparently there is a municipal by-law banning the sale of street food has been on the books since the 50s. I always enjoyed having my NYC hot dog or roasted peanuts when I went down to the Big Apple for a long weekend but I have to admit I was pretty happy Montreal was free of a hot dog cart on every corner. Back then street food was junk food.

But now street food is the new chic dinner outing amongst the big cities foodie world. Parks have dedicated weekends where the best street food vendors sell their tasty small sized treats in a group. Cities that allow street vendors have seen the quality of the dishes rise, it’s a dog eat dog cut throat competition now to impress your customers and have them come back.

But not in Montreal, or are the times a changing? Queue the entrance of Grumman ’78, a taco truck that can operate during events when hired by the event organizers. This suggested loop in the law was allowed by City Hall. So if you want to hire Grumman ’78 for an event and have them sell their tacos on the street…that is OK. I have enjoyed their tacos twice: once at a cookbook launch event and once at the Food Court @ Foodlab, an event that was organized by Grumman ’78 of course.

Setting up shop on the now deserted stretch of Saint-Laurent street between Sainte-Catherine and René-Lévesque (due to a business offices/condo political fiasco), at the Place de la Paix urban square,  the Food Court @ Foodlab took place on September 30th 2011. I went there with another wonderful foodie friend of mine, Johanne. Here is a sampling of what we enjoyed…

A Grumman ’78 taco of course! The menu changes all the time and today it was curried goat. It was so finger liking good. With this taco we ordered each a hibiscus juice and we shared a gooseberry cheese cake. Who else would think of gooseberry for a cake! I love the white picnic tables set up to eat our goods.

L’Expérience Kangourou is run by these 2 wacky dudes! I first hear about them about 3 years back when the dinner group went to the Mondial Gourmand. Back then allt hey served was exotic kangaroo meat. If you have not tried it I urge you to taste this succulent meat. They had kangaroo on the menu but we decided to try the other 2 meats….

muskox on the left - seal on the right

The first was seal, double verdict: gross! If you like liver you will adore it, if you hate liver don’t even try. It had a strong iron taste with a meat texture. But the second meat oh so made up for it, we had muskox which is also an Arctic animal. Now this was heavenly meat, a perfect marbling of fat and muscle nicely grilled up. I wanted a full steak after.

Next we shared a very nice pulled turkey sandwich from Pas d’cochon dans mon salon, which translates into No pigs in my Living Room, what an awesome name.

no comment!

We followed it up with delicious meatballs from Nora Gray. I just love to witness to what extent my friends will go to make a good pic for the blog when I make a request!

Still sometime a challenge for me when it comes to acquired tastes, Curtis Vargo did not disappoint with wonderful fresh oysters. Oh Curtis, LOVE the apron!

After all these small dishes I think a dessert is well deserved. From la Dinnette Nationale we tasted 3 shortbread cookies: white peaches and anise seeds, goat cheese and hazelnuts, and both our favorite chocolate and black olives. I know it sounds like a weird combo but I was quite a revelation…just make sure to use only dark chocolate.

And the finale of our foodlab experience were soft and addictive homemade caramels: one honey flavored the other fleur de sel. Fleur de sel was the winner but it was a close call!

Our mini street food event was declared a big success, Johanne and I had a blast exploring the various food here. I hope there is many more such event to come in Montreal. Do you have street vendors in your city?