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Sourcing Supplies & Ingredients in Montreal


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#31 identifiler

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Posted 01 September 2004 - 09:32 AM

The other day I was bicycling with my kids and it dawned on me that Nino was my neighbor, weird to see he lives in the suburb with the white picket fence house...

#32 carswell

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Posted 13 March 2005 - 11:45 AM

Jean-Talon Market's Le marché des saveurs has begun selling imported cheese. The woman behind the counter said they decided to stock Parmesan because they get requests for it every day and because nothing similar is being made in Quebec. They'll also stock one or two other cheeses with no Quebec analogues. For example, the raw milk Fort des Rousses Comté that I brought home with me, the best Comté I've found in Montreal. Ça vaut le détour.

Chez Louis has a new crop of the delicious Philibon melons at a sticker-shocking $10 each. They also have the Tarocco blood oranges from Italy. Sunkist-brand Moro blood oranges have just about pushed the superior Taroccos off the shelves. The Moros may be cheaper, firmer and redder but they're often unpleasantly tart and musky. Taroccos win on flavour hands-down; in fact, they're the most popular orange in Italy. Yet another example of North America's agrifood industry preferring appearance over taste?

#33 chantal

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Posted 16 March 2005 - 05:29 PM

Hi all, I don't know the city too well but I was hoping to revive this thread and get some help if possible. Since I've been here I've been having a hard time finding a few things:

1. Marcona almonds from Spain

2. Whole Macadamia nuts

3. Really good quality almond paste. I haven't seen much else than that terrible almond paste with the flowers on the tube (sugar content is too high and it makes awful macaroons) --well except at La Vielle Europe and it was seperating.

4.Shaoxing Chinese Cooking Wine

5. At my old job , a man brought in these dates that had been split, then filled with chocolate, pistachio paste and chopped pistachios. Any of you ever seen those or know what they are called?

Any help would be really appreciated :blink:
Chantal

#34 Larry

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Posted 16 March 2005 - 06:20 PM

For Marcona almonds, macadamias and almond paste I would suggest Laurier Gourmet or Latina on St Viateur. Also, check out Freno Vrac on St Laurent. There is another organic bulk food store on Parc but I am foregtting the name at the moment, they always have good quality nuts and dried fruits.
Those date bites sound delicious, are they Middle Eastern?
Good luck

#35 carswell

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Posted 16 March 2005 - 08:58 PM

4.Shaoxing Chinese Cooking Wine

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Not imported by the SAQ and so not available legally. There's said to be a black market. I use fino sherry.

5. At my old job , a man brought in these dates that had been split, then filled with chocolate, pistachio paste and chopped pistachios.  Any of you ever seen those or know what they are called?

Tamir bi loz? Have you tried Middle Eastern stores like Adonis? Lately cello-wrapped trays of dates with assorted fillings (pistachio, orange, etc.) have appeared at upscale food stores like Exofruits and, IIRC, Latina. They're pretty easy to make yourself, and a lot cheaper too.

#36 kilgoretrout

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Posted 17 March 2005 - 12:37 AM

barry lazar, in 'taste of montreal,' notes that chinatown in ottawa has chinese cooking wine in abundance. he also mentions a grocery store here in montreal that will sell it to you wink-wink nudge-nudge.

#37 chantal

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Posted 17 March 2005 - 03:46 PM

4.Shaoxing Chinese Cooking Wine

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Not imported by the SAQ and so not available legally. There's said to be a black market. I use fino sherry.

5. At my old job , a man brought in these dates that had been split, then filled with chocolate, pistachio paste and chopped pistachios.  Any of you ever seen those or know what they are called?

Tamir bi loz? Have you tried Middle Eastern stores like Adonis? Lately cello-wrapped trays of dates with assorted fillings (pistachio, orange, etc.) have appeared at upscale food stores like Exofruits and, IIRC, Latina. They're pretty easy to make yourself, and a lot cheaper too.

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Thanks very much for the info. I did see something that looked similar to Tamir bi loz at a Middle Eatern store at JTM but no chocoalte or pistachio paste. I thought about making them myself, but since I am having a hard time finding almond paste, that kind of ruled it out. It is my understanding that you cannot make almond or pistachio paste at home; A food processor makes a butter and not a paste.

I kind of figured Shaoxhing was not available. I've looked for it absolutely everywhere. I sure do miss it though!!! Where's IIRC and what does the abreviation stand for? Thanks!
Chantal

#38 chantal

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Posted 17 March 2005 - 03:54 PM

For Marcona almonds, macadamias and almond paste I would suggest Laurier Gourmet or Latina on St Viateur. Also, check out Freno Vrac on St Laurent.  There is another organic bulk food store on Parc but I am foregtting the name at the moment, they always have good quality nuts and dried fruits.
Those date bites sound delicious, are they Middle Eastern?
Good luck

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Thanks Larry, I knew there had to be some macadamia's out here somewhere because I've seen them in baked goods. I am pretty sure Frenco Vrac didn't have them though. This is the one near Chinatown right?

As for the amazing date things, a man I hardly knew dropped them off. I am pretty certain he was middle eastern though. The name carswell gave me sounds Middle Eastern too. They are very very delicious. I find some I'll let you know where!
Thanks!

#39 carswell

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Posted 17 March 2005 - 09:01 PM

I did see something that looked similar to Tamir bi loz at a Middle Eatern store at JTM  but no chocoalte or pistachio paste.

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I've not seen either variety. But I haven't looked either. Will ask around.

I thought about making them myself, but since I am having a hard time finding almond paste, that kind of ruled it out.  It is my understanding that you cannot make almond or pistachio paste at home; A food processor makes a butter and not a paste.

Would be surprised if no one stocks quality almond paste, though being a pastry klutz it's not something I'd know about. In any case, IIRC, the headline for Lesley's Wednesday (?) column in the Gazette was something along the lines of "Can't find marzipan? Don't fret! It's easy to make." So maybe she'll chime in. If not, post a query on the Pastry and Baking forum.

Where's IIRC and what does the abreviation stand for?

Sorry. IIRC = If I recall correctly.

Edited by carswell, 17 March 2005 - 09:13 PM.


#40 chantal

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Posted 18 March 2005 - 12:46 PM

In any case, IIRC, the headline for Lesley's Wednesday (?) column in the Gazette was something along the lines of "Can't find marzipan? Don't fret! It's easy to make." So maybe she'll chime in. If not, post a query on the Pastry and Baking forum.

[/quote]

Thanks Carwell, You're really informative. As far as the almond paste, well I think somebody has to have decent stuff out there too. As for Marzipan, it is not quite the same thing as almond paste. Marzipan is actually made from almond paste but with glycerin, egg whites sometimes and more sugar to make it really dough like. You can make model stuff with it. What I am looking for is just strait almond paste. The problem is that traditionally almond paste should have a higher ratio of almonds to sugar-- which makes good amaretti, ect-- but to make it cheaper some companies produce it with more sugar then almonds. The problem is it makes some cookies spread instead of puff when there is too much sugar.

Sorry for the novel..
Thanks again.

#41 carswell

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Posted 14 April 2005 - 03:02 PM

Since I rarely do my shopping before 2 or 3 in the afternoon, I'm probably going to regret sharing this tip. But I've just learned that on Saturday the Îles de la Madeleine fish store in the JTM extension (the name escapes me, but it's the one between Havre aux glaces and Les volailles et gibiers du marché) is going to be selling live — yes, live — snow crabs. Quantities will be limited or so they say. Carpe diem.

#42 wattacetti

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Posted 14 April 2005 - 04:18 PM

Since I rarely do my shopping before 2 or 3 in the afternoon, I'm probably going to regret sharing this tip. But I've just learned that on Saturday the Îles de la Madeleine fish store in the JTM extension (the name escapes me, but it's the one between Havre aux glaces and Les volailles et gibiers du marché) is going to be selling live — yes, live — snow crabs. Quantities will be limited or so they say. Carpe diem.

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Gidney's on the corner of Marcel Laurin and Henri Bourassa also has live snow crabs. They'll also cook them for you too if you give them enough lead time.

#43 sf&m

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Posted 14 April 2005 - 06:02 PM

Yes, they have been selling live crab the last two weekends. And in a stand outside the Gaspesie Store they were cooking them. Being a Dungeness man myself I don't know what kind they were. Long legs, small body for the size - is that snow crab? Since we're just coming off our crab season here in CA, thats handy. Hope they last until I am back. First time I've seen live crab at JTM.

#44 carswell

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Posted 14 April 2005 - 07:04 PM

Gidney's on the corner of Marcel Laurin and Henri Bourassa also has live snow crabs. They'll also cook them for you too if you give them enough lead time.

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Sounds like an interesting store. Can you tell us more about it? Was going to ask for details when you mentioned it a day or two ago, but then saw it was located in what amounts to Siberia for the carless. Any idea what the provenance of the snow crab is?

Yes, they have been selling live crab the last two weekends. And in a stand outside the Gaspesie  Store they were cooking them. Being  a Dungeness man myself I don't know what kind they were. Long legs, small body for the size - is that snow crab?  Since we're just coming off our crab season here in CA, thats handy. Hope they last until I am back. First time I've seen live crab at JTM.

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In other words, you've been holding out on us. The shame!

I've been holed up in my office for the last three weeks with hardly a break to sleep, let alone traipse around the city, so I've not been to the JTM in close to a month. That said, I've never seen a live crab at JTM or a live snow crab period. Kim Phat across from CDN Plaza has had gorgeous fiesty live blue crabs the last couple of times I've dropped by, though.

#45 wattacetti

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Posted 14 April 2005 - 08:17 PM

Sounds like an interesting store. Can you tell us more about it? Was going to ask for details when you mentioned it a day or two ago, but then saw it was located in what amounts to Siberia for the carless. Any idea what the provenance of the snow crab is?

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Poissonnerie Gidney's
5055 Henri Bourassa ouest
Saint-Laurent, QC H4R 1B7
tel: 514-336-3163

At one point I thought that this was a retail component of the Gidney's that distributed lobsters, but I can't be certain anymore. Without a car, your options would be the 215 bus from the Côte-Vertu Métro station or the Bois-Franc station if you're into the commuter trains. The shop itself is fairly small and looks pretty desolate by itself on the NW corner, but the important thing is their product.

Fresh fish, frozen product, dried, take-away seafood… all there and great quality. The most imposing structure is the two-level tanks for lobsters (and currently crabs) at the far end of the shop but what you will find most striking is the absence of smell.

I purchase virtually all of my seafood at Gidney's, and have been able to source at one occassion or another:

- farmed, organic and wild salmon
- fresh salmon heads ($0.50 a head the last time I bought; great for broiling as kama or use in stock)
- (some really nice) tuna
- opeh
- marlin
- whole monkfish
- Patagonian toothfish (a much cooler name than "Chilean sea bass")
- snappers
- porgies
- tilefish
- enormous shrimp (80-100 g weight apiece)
- fresh and cooked octopus
- cherrystones
- various fish eggs (tobiko, ikura, caviars)

Snow crabs and lobsters are a given; I'll ask about the origin of their crab supplies but I remember someone saying the Gaspésie. Crabs and lobsters are available fresh, cooked and chilled, and cooked and hot. I'm lazy when it comes to crabs and lobsters so it's just easier to call in a pick-up order for whatever number I need (you can specify female lobsters too if you want the eggs).

There are other things too like mussels, oysters, halibut, trout, tilapia and dried cod if you're into that stuff. Ditto the things that help you prepare and eat everything (condiments, breads, crackers, herbs/spices etc). For take-away, their chowders, fumets, fish pies, seafood paellas and fish en croute are really popular.

Figures - now I'm hungry. :rolleyes:

#46 Mr. Fagioli

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Posted 15 April 2005 - 06:41 AM

I almost wish you hadn't posted that, wattacetti, for like carswell I am carless, so you might as well be talking about some place in Halifax. Still, worth remembering for next time I have a rental.

Fortunately the options aren't bad where I am...just not tantalizing on this level. Though I do wonder how a takeaway paella could be of much interest. It's a dish that makes wonderful cold leftovers, but I still want to see it fresh the night before and I still want that crispy rice from the bottom of the pan.

Also, you mention the absence of smell as a key feature of a good fish market and you're so right. A food-inspector friend taught me that rule many years ago and it's served me well. It's what keeps me away from a couple of big-name places that I really shouldn't name because it's been so long since their aroma chased me away.

#47 Mr. Fagioli

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Posted 15 April 2005 - 08:42 AM

Speaking of the JTM, as of last Sunday the maple producers were still going strong with tire-sur-neige -- including the stall inside around the middle (I believe it's Marc Girard) which this past winter had a supply of last spring's maple butter right up until February. That gentleman also sells a No. 1 Ambré syrup that he insists is strictly cooking-grade (as opposed to the pour-it-straight-down-your-throat-grade No. 1 Medium and No. 1 Clair), but I find it quite tasty on pancakes. Hard to beat at $4/500 ml. (I noticed in a souvenir-shop window on Sherbrooke a 250 ml bottle of "gourmet" maple syrup for $11. Criminal.)

Of the large outdoor maple stalls at JTM, I've tried both the tire (taffy) and maple butter from Beauregard (south side) and Bouvier (north side). Generally I found Beauregard's preferable. I'm not sure if it's because the product is inherently finer, or just that Mr. Bouvier cooks his taffy and butter a little longer -- regardless, Mr. Beauregard's seems lighter and more delicate.

BTW, if anyone uninitiated in the world of maple syrup happens to be reading: don't bother buying the taffy in a tub outside of the season, since it's almost always cut with glucose to stop it from crystallizing. (AFAIK this is not the case in-season when buying directly from producers, but it doesn't hurt to ask if there's any doubt.) And if you do get taffy or butter in a tub, take care not to dip any implement in it twice, as that will promote crystal growth. Both products keep pretty well in the fridge or freezer. If you can keep it around long enough for storage to matter, that is.

Havre aux Glaces was also offering unflavoured (a.k.a. cream-flavoured) ice cream with maple taffy, but I had mine without. Wonderful. If you've ever wondered why anyone would bother with no-flavouring-added ice cream, you need to try this.

Here's hoping the warmish days and crisp nights have been keeping the sap flowing, and we get one or two more weekends of fresh tire...

Edited by Mr. Fagioli, 15 April 2005 - 08:46 AM.


#48 blork

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Posted 15 April 2005 - 02:53 PM

Speaking of maple, I heard someone on CBC the other day saying that this was a really bad year for maple syrup -- so bad that some producers barely produced. Is this true? If so does that mean that the syrup this year is crap, or just that there will be less of it (with correspondingly higher prices)?
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#49 Mr. Fagioli

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Posted 16 April 2005 - 02:09 PM

Speaking of maple, I heard someone on CBC the other day saying that this was a really bad year for maple syrup -- so bad that some producers barely produced. Is this true? If so does that mean that the syrup this year is crap, or just that there will be less of it (with correspondingly higher prices)?

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I have my doubts that it's true across the board, but we won't really know until stats for the season are out...(I do find it a surprising statement, because the sunny days and crisp nights we've been having are supposedly ideal sugaring-off weather.)

Speaking with one producer today, they said they had a good year, but that it was so-so for others. How's that for a useful analysis? I think you could find someone to say the same in any given year.

Also, I note that we're at the end of the season, but at least two vendors at JTM still had a supply of No. 1 Extra Light syrup today, and many others had no. 1 Light. (These grades are produced from the early runs at the beginning of the season.) Some of the taffy and syrup I've tasted has been sublime.

Syrup prices at JTM are as they have been for the last year: (for 540 ml can) $4 for Amber, $4.50 for Medium, $5 for Light, $5.50 for Extra Light. About $7-8/lb for maple sugar in various other forms (hard, soft, butter, taffy).

So, if we're in for a shortage and a price spike, the signs aren't obvious yet. At least not to me, but I only see a small part of the retail landscape so take this with a big grain of salt.

As an aside, I think it's high time for the temporary walls to come down at the market, and for cars to be banished from the confines of the market itself. At least the first will definitely happen shortly, too bad nobody ever acts on the second...

#50 ademello

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Posted 16 April 2005 - 04:29 PM

Does anyone know where I can get some jumbo lump crab meat? Or just fresh crab meat? The fishmonger at Atwater Market carries the frozen kind, but any clue as to where I can get it fresh?

#51 wattacetti

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Posted 16 April 2005 - 07:48 PM

Gidney's is selling fresh crab right now (options are still moving or cooked). Feel like picking through some shells?

On a side-note, they also have soft-shell crab for $2.95 apiece. Decided to steal Rob Feenie's schtick from his Food Network commercial and made a sandwich with it.

#52 ademello

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Posted 17 April 2005 - 08:36 PM

Gidney's is selling fresh crab right now (options are still moving or cooked). Feel like picking through some shells?


Actually, no. That's why I wanted the picked crab in the first place.

On a side-note, they also have soft-shell crab for $2.95 apiece. Decided to steal Rob Feenie's schtick from his Food Network commercial and made a sandwich with it.

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Am pretty sure that Rob is making a deep-fried calamari and sliced tomato with fresh tartar sauce sandwich in the TV commercial, but I'm sure your varitation is also very tasty.

Edited by ademello, 17 April 2005 - 08:37 PM.


#53 oceanfish

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Posted 18 April 2005 - 02:32 PM

La Mer (Papineau/Rene Levesque) is currently selling fresh snow crab, both in the shell and as packaged meat, although the picked over version is much more costly.

#54 effrontery

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Posted 18 April 2005 - 05:10 PM

Hi all, just an interloper from Philadelphia coming by to say thanks for the market information. I went to Jean Talon this past weekend on the basis of some posts here, and had a wonderful experience (from olives to cheese to bread to tire-sur-neige).

Thanks again! Let me know if you're ever coming to Philadelphia and I'd be happy to return the favor, recommendation-wise. :)

#55 Pots

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Posted 19 April 2005 - 06:17 AM

The jumbo lumb crabmeat that you are speaking about,is the same one that Milos' makes his famous crabcake from.Shelf life is one-day at the most.It is sometimes available at Le Mer,but it a pasturized product,ussually cooked at the docks.Do not ever buy frozen crab at it retains water and deteriorates the product.
The fresh snow crab that Le Mer is selling is from the Gaspe and is about the best crab product on the present market.Buy the shelled version.

#56 blork

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Posted 20 April 2005 - 01:30 PM

Has anyone here ever seen bomba rice for sale anywhere in Montreal? That's the rice from Valencia that is supposed to be the best for making paella. It's quite similar to arborio.

I've used bomba maybe eight or nine times now, and I have to say, I really like the results. The problem is that I cannot find it anywhere in Montreal. I found a store in San Francisco that sells it (ironically, a store run by a Quebecker), so I've brought some back from my past couple of trips there. But surely there's someplace in town that sells it!
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#57 Mr. Fagioli

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Posted 20 April 2005 - 02:17 PM

Has anyone here ever seen bomba rice for sale anywhere in Montreal? That's the rice from Valencia that is supposed to be the best for making paella. It's quite similar to arborio.

I've used bomba maybe eight or nine times now, and I have to say, I really like the results. The problem is that I cannot find it anywhere in Montreal. I found a store in San Francisco that sells it (ironically, a store run by a Quebecker), so I've brought some back from my past couple of trips there. But surely there's someplace in town that sells it!

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I've seen Spanish paella rice for sale at Poissonnerie Antoine (Parc near St-Joseph, opposite the PA), though I can't guarantee it's the same variety. I'm also reasonably (though not completely) sure at least one of the high-end rices sold at Milano is a Spanish one. You should also try the Libreria Español, on St-Laurent above Roy, if you haven't already.

#58 Mr. Fagioli

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Posted 21 April 2005 - 02:53 PM

Update: no Spanish rice at Antoine right now, but Vieille Europe has <a href="http://www.matizespa...ml">Matiz-brand Valenciano</a>. The Libreria also has a variety of rices, but apparently no Bomba. I'd ask them if I wanted to track down a specific Spanish product.

#59 carswell

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Posted 23 April 2005 - 08:59 PM

Sightings at Jean-Talon Market earlier today:
- First fiddleheads of the season (didn't ask whether they were local) at Chez Nino
- Gorgeous and pricey young rhubarb, the just unfurled leaves a pale yellow-green, at Chez Louis
- Bedding plants — including rue, lemon verbena and English lavender — at the garden store next to Première Moisson
- Awesome blood orange sherbet at Havre aux glaces. I asked if it was made from fresh oranges and the answer was yes; in fact they'd just finished squeezing a case's worth. Italian oranges? Yes, the California ones have great colour but taste terrible. The owner thinks the just-squeezed case may be their last of the season, so if you're interested, seize the day. It's like eating essence of blood orange. I initially wondered if it wasn't a little too sweet, but the looooong slightly bitter finish convinced me otherwise. My mouth was tingling for minutes after my last bite.

The winter enclosure is still up but the outdoor stalls are in various stages of completion and a couple were even occupied. Should all be open-air by next weekend.

#60 oceanfish

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Posted 23 April 2005 - 09:17 PM

Carswell, regarding one of your latest sightings, rue; what can it be used for? I confess to having planting some a few years back because I liked the leaf and use it pressed for artwork, but the taste I find odd. I like bitter things, bitter beer, black coffee, etc. but rue? My research has told me that it is an herb used to scare away cats. What are its culinary uses?