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Everything posted by Venusia

  1. I'd try the appliance forum at the Gardenweb. Those people are very serious about their appliances. There is even a separate forum for washers and dryers alone! http://ths.gardenweb.com/forums/appl/
  2. Based on their website, the Exceldor chicken looks like a factory chicken to me. When they are proud of their processing speed that is not a good thing! Maybe it's tastier because it's fat? I don't think there is an heirloom chicken producer in Quebec yet, but supply is growing in the USA, so hopefully someone will catch on that trend here soon. Try one of the mixed farms affiliated with Equiterre, such as the aforementioned Crepuscule or Charlevoix.
  3. Went there at 9:30, after the rush. Our pizzas were excellent, and the closest to Italian-style pizza we've ever found here: no tomato paste or heavy spices in the sauce, very few toppings, and a crust that is crispy without being hard. I thought the lighting was very good: even, soft (and flattering!). I am prone to light-induced headaches so that is an important consideration for me.
  4. Well, I won't say it with you. Most Montrealers are more welcoming folk. And even I, as a Montrealer, enjoy shopping at the JTM but don't particularly want to live around there. Tous les goûts sont dans la nature, you know. Doronin, Montreal IS shabby, it's a fact, there's way less money flying around here. However, it's very safe, there are only a few areas that are sketchy, and your budget ensures you won't end up there. I believe that most of the "abandoned" buildings around the Atwater market are anything but, rather they are owned by builders timing their redevelopment into condos etc.
  5. If you are commuting to the West Island daily, I'd take proximity to highway (where you'll be spending lots of time) into account. Lots of these neighbourhoods deep in center will require you to shovel little holes in snowbanks for your car (which you will obviously need) on alternate sides of the street during the winter. If you are more into sunshine and landscaped neighbourhoods, as you seem to be, I'd suggest the Lachine Canal condos around the Atwater market. It's a destination scene, so you'll have lots of cyclists and strollers around, esp. in the summer, and it's gentrifying, so you can buy all the candles you want and so on, as well as being close to market. Jean-Talon may be cheaper but Atwater market is perfectly adequate.
  6. Is it worth making a reservation or will you still have to wait? I tried calling numerous times on a Friday night b/w 5 and 6pm, always got the machine or no answer.
  7. I don't know how true the following is: I was reading an article in my neighbourhood paper last summer about Marché de l'Ouest. The stall renters there were saying that even though they had to pay higher rent prices, they preferred it to the other markets because the customers don't haggle (frankly, I didn't even know it was possible to haggle on fruits and vegetables!), so they bring their premium products there and charge accordingly.
  8. Yes, more casual (eg paper placemats) and lower price range. Their menu is on their website (brunoise.ca). My husband and I went for dinner last Saturday and for lunch on Thursday, had pannacotta and the beignets (which I loved) both times. Duck confit (18$) was excellent, and so was my tartine (12$). Setting is warm and welcoming, Zach was very friendly and enthusiastic. I do wish them well.
  9. Just read on Cyberpresse that Patrice Demers and Claude Beausoleil are planning to open a dessert bar inspired by the Room 4 Dessert in Manhattan.
  10. A Google search "dormire Cervere" should net you some suggestions of hotels near Da Renzo. I only found one in the town: La Tour. Alternatively, you can stay in Bra, which is less than 6 miles from Cervere. I vaguely remember it not being the prettiest town, but I may be mixing it up with another. It's also the hometown of Slow Food. I recommend getting their Itinerari, I used the ones for Barolo e Barbaresco and Torino extensively.
  11. I was at Da Emma yesterday for lunch, and two of the people I was with ordered the rabbit. I had the meatballs, so didn't really pay attention to what was in their plate.
  12. I went to a 150 people wedding at the Sofitel this weekend and it was very good. Crab and avocado appetizer, grapefruit and basil granita, rack of lamb with polenta, Quebec cheeses etc. The bread was ordinary, however. I was impressed with the lamb, it was perfectly rosy inside, and very tender.
  13. Last month I had an extraordinary pizza at Cafe Colonnade in Ottawa and since then I've been having the most incredible cravings for an airy and bubbly cheesy pizza. I've only been going to places closer to home and they've all been disappointments. My worst was at Scarolies where my veggie pizza was a thin cracker crust with hardly any sauce and a mound of unseasoned broccoli and cauliflower piled on top of the cheese. My favourites in Montreal have been Amelio's in the McGill guetto, so cheesy and saucy that you can't eat it with your hands. For focaccia-style, I really like Pizz'Ancora. Do people even go out to pizzeria for the pleasure of eating pizza anymore, or is it just a convenience filler food now? I read the thread from 2003 where everyone said pizza was going downhill here. I think frozen pizzas have gotten so cheap that they've denatured our ideas of what a great pizza should taste like.
  14. The SAQ does seem wasteful. They recently built a SAQ building in the middle of the parking lot of the Beaconsfield mall, something they are so fond of doing in suburbia these days, and vacated their (very practical for consumers) location inside the mall. I expected that the new building would at least be larger than their previous location, but it's tiny and cramped, and hella inconvenient to treck though the parking lot to get there. And the point of this move was???
  15. I couldn't resist buying this for myself as I was putting Xmas gifts in my basket. Wise move, too, as I made the warm lentil salad for Xmas, and it was a big hit. I love the presentation (I am a big fan of DK books, I've always been impressed with their encyclopedias for children), but I find the chapter layout counterintuitive. They interspersed the ethnic chapters with the basic technique ones, so that an ethnic chapter is sandwiched between pastry and desserts, and the vegetable technique chapter is halfway through the book. I would have like more recipes in the vegetable chapter, rather than simply raw vegetable preparation techniques, which make up the bulk of the chapter. I would also have preferred more variety in the recipes. For example, there are 3 different chocolate mousse recipes (from 3 different chefs, but still...). There are no whole shrimp recipes. There are quite a few recipes which do not specify how many portions the recipe serves. However, all in all, there are very many inspirational recipes and as soon as I am done with my leftovers I going to go seriously through this book.
  16. Identifiler, What do you know of Ferme Tournesol? I believe this year was their first year, and I was tempted, because their pickup location in Beaconsfield was one block away from my house. I ended up going with Zephyr again, because I thought his variety might be larger, but I'm not doing the CSA basket again next year. I don't really care if my vegetables are organic or not, and I was sometimes irritated by the repeated pleas for weeding help. Organic farming is so labour-intensive and seems a throwback to an earlier age. What I liked about it was that the veggies were freshly picked, but I would have welcomed pesticides and fertilizers for improved yields. I wish I'd gotten lots of carrots, tomatoes, salads, like you, and also cucombers, artichokes, zucchini flowers, broccoli, corn, eggplant and peas. Mostly, it seemed like the basket was full of onions, garlic, potatoes, beets, turnips, cabbage, kohlrabi and radishes. I've never been big on vegetables, and that was my original impetus to sign up with a CSA farm in the first place. While I went through all the recipes in the Chez Panisse Vegetables cookbook the first year, in subsequent seasons everything that was not quick and easy to prepare tended to stay at the back of the refrigerator where it... rotted away. Now I'd rather go to the market and buy a lot of the vegetables that I love, rather than force myself to eat a variety of veggies I'm at most, tepid about, and at worst, require lots of cooking to be palatable.
  17. You mentioned the Gazette article in the first post; one thing that still surprises me is that the weekly best value produce column on Wednesdays pretty much highlights only what's available in the chain stores. I don't know if it's because they want to be more practical for their target market, but I think it's too bad they don't emphasize locally grown food.
  18. I saw a picture of the box of pistoles, looks very attractive and frankly would make a perfect Christmas gift (for me). I received a 1 kg box of Pfatisch gianduiotti last year, and it did not last that long. One of my favourite dessert/snack/pick me up was melting gianduiotti in the microwave and dipping slices of banana and apple in it. Somehow it also turned into my kiddies' favourite dessert as well.
  19. I like the mild, subtle flavours of acacia honey and rhododendron honey that my MIL, who is a family friend of the Mario Bianco azienda apistica in Torino, gets for us.
  20. I agree about soft drinks and juice. If they miss the fizz in their drinks, I suggest cutting their juice with sparkling mineral water. We do this all the time, and can hardly drink real juice now as it tastes like syrup. If you must keep junk food in your house: replace chips with pretzels and light popcorn, pudding with applesauce and yogourt, ice cream with frozen yogourt or sherbets. I buy apple almond granola bars that are more more wholesome than the chocolate covered marshmallow ones. It's all about substituting for equivalents with less and more healthy fats, sugars and salt. I still love cauliflower cooked in milk with a bacon and cheese topping. Don't know if it's low fat, but it tastes good! Steamed broccoli with oyster sauce. Baked potato sticks with rosemary, coarse salt and olive oil rather than french fries. Thin crust pizza. For sports: what about Tai Chi? Tennis? Cross-country skiing (as a family activity)?
  21. Thank you for your thoughtful responses. I ended up buying a combination of starch, protein and veggies, i.e. pasta, tuna and a mushroom and tomato sauce. I do agree that the most efficient donation is probably a cheque. In my city, we have a central food bank which supplies many smaller ones, and this organisation is able to buy its food at better prices than retail. People who survice on Kraft dinner and hot dogs really don't know how to cook nutritious meals for themselves. Actually, the same can be said of many luckier people who simply replace the Kraft dinner with gourmet take out. In any case, there is an organisation here that gives free cooking and nutrition classes to disadvantaged children, the idea being that the child educated thus will somehow influence parental behaviour, and hopefully learn to prepare nutritious meals in turn.
  22. I normally write cheques instead of giving in kind, but I am going to a catered dinner party tomorrow night and the hostess has requested non perishable food donations instead of a hostess gift. Now, I used to donate imported Italian cookies and things like that, reasoning that food bank recipients deserve a little treat, but I recently read an article about urban hunger and now I am wondering if it isn't more appropriate to give nutritious food items instead. In the article, interviewees described how many children go to school hungry, and how their lunch box will contain items like a can of soda pop and a doughnut, a 1$ pizza, things you pick up in convenience stores. There are poverty pockets where no single supermarket chain has deigned to open a store, and therefore many people don't have access to fruits and vegetables, and thus don't know how to cook those food items. Anyway, when I look in my pantry, I see few canned foods, mostly pasta, tomato sauce, lentils, kidney beans and chickpeas, but it doesn't seem nice to give that sort of boring food (which I like), to someone who may not have the taste for it. I'll be going food shopping tomorrow. I tried Googling food banks, but they are not specific in specifying their needs. What do you give? Things like canned soups and tuna?
  23. Venusia

    Really Fast Dinners

    Cut pork loin medallions. Season with salt and pepper, and grill 2 minutes per side while you prepare berry sauce: Boil sugar and water, add frozen berries, let cook for 15 minutes, then add cornstarch diluted in a bit of orange juice to thicken. Steam frozen vegetables for a few minutes. Serve with oil. Leftover berry sauce can be used with ice cream for dessert.
  24. From what I understand, various critics nominate their city's restaurants, but the final compilation depends on the opinion of a single judge? You get the impression in their magazine ( we travelled, we tasted etc.) that there is a judging panel involved. I know a couple of people who regularly fly b/w Montreal and Toronto, and they take this list seriously. On Saturday, I suggested to my friends we make a date to go to Brunoise, and one person proposed to go to Garçon instead, because it was number one on the enRoute list. I'll have to tell him the list only constitutes one person's top picks and is therefore not definitive.
  25. We do! Suckling pig. I've seen them whole, roasted on a spit, and I can't eat them, although I adore pork. They remind me of babies with those smiley faces. My local paper had a front page section article once, about the life of a halal lamb, from birth to purchase, complete with pictures. They had even named it, Charlie or something. Many people experience a disconnect between the food on the styrofoam and where it originally comes from. I don't really understand the point of showing it on TV though, beyond the publicity and ratings. We've all seen gazelles being eaten alive by lions on the nature channels, so why the fuss about a lamb?
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