Pain Beni, Quebec City

Pain Beni, Quebec City

A great restaurant to check out in Quebec City is Pain Beni. What I love about this place is that every dish is unique in its own way. Whether it is the creative plating, interesting flavor combinations, or the use of modern techniques, every dish had a nice surprise.

I am sad to say that I misplaced my notes on what we ate, so I won't be able to describe the dishes in detail. I normally wouldn't post about a resto in such a case, but I really wanted to share this place! It really is a great restaurant that is worth checking out.

My appetizer was the salmon gravlax with beet waffles. The dish was served on a slab of marble which I thought was very unique.

Smoked Salmon
Salmon Gravlax and Beet Waffles

My friend S had the tuna tartare. Loved the beautiful edible flower that complimented the dish.

Tuna Tartare
Tuna Tartare

Right before our mains, we were served a complimentary and very unique palate cleanser. It was a strawberry, coriander and pink pepper sorbet. Not sure if it really cleaned my palate but the flavor combination was so incredible, I didn't really care.

Strawberry Sorbet
Strawberry, Coriander, and Pink Pepper Sorbet

My main was the beef cheeks served with grilled peach and polenta. Beef cheeks is very French, but there was definitely a modern twist to this dish.

Beef Cheeks
Beef Cheeks

S had the silky black cod with Asian vegetables and miso foam.

Black Cod
Black Cod

My dessert was the coconut rice pudding with cashew granola, wasabi peas, and coconut sorbet. There was a great blend of flavors in this dish!

Coconut Rice Pudding
Coconut Rice Pudding

S had the vanilla waffles with fruit compote. Looks like their waffle maker was put to good use that evening.

Pancakes and Fruit Compote
Waffles with Fruit Compote

Pain Béni 24 rue Sainte-Anne
Quebec City, Quebec, Canada

Le Pain Béni on Urbanspoon

Le Louis-Hebert, Quebec City

Auberge Louis Hebert

A beautiful place to visit in the summer time is Quebec City. Good weather, good shopping, historical beauty, natural beauty, and of course, great food!

This week, I'm going to do a quick tour of some of my favorite places to eat in Quebec City.

Quebec City
Quebec City

Le Louis-Hébert is a solid French restaurant with great people watching if you can snag a seat on la terrasse. It is also part of Auberge Louis-Hebert, a European-style 7-bedroom lodge on the busy Grand-Allee Street.

My friend, S and I grabbed a quick lunch on the terrace as we enjoyed the sun and people watching.

I ordered two starters for my meal. The first was the smoked salmon and Yukon gold chips napolean with sour cream and curried oil.

Smoked Salmon
Smoked Salmon

My second was the duo of duck foie gras: "Au Torchon" and pan-seared. The pan seared foie gras was served with grilled King oyster mushroom, balsamic caramel + arugula, and the "Au Torchon" was served with an apricot and vanilla compote.

Duo of Foie Gras
Duo of Duck Foie Gras

S had the cream of celery soup to start.

Celery Soup
Cream of Celery Soup

And for his main, he had the flank steak with a three pepper sauce, served with potatoes and veggies on the side.

Flank Steak with Three Pepper Sauce

For dessert, a very seasonal and Candian dessert: fresh blueberries with maple syrup!

Blueberries with Maple Syrup
Blueberries with Maple Syrup

Le Louis-Hébert
668 Grande-Allée Est
Québec City, Québec, Canada
Telephone: 418-525-7812

Le Louis Hebert on Urbanspoon

Stella Luna Gelato Cafe, Ottawa

Stella Luna Gelato Cafe, Ottawa

When I got ear that an independently owned gelato shop was opening up on Bank, I got excited. Only 3 weeks old, Stella Luna Gelato Cafe opened at the perfect time. The hot weather in Ottawa is still going strong, which makes it the perfect weather for something cold + sweet!

The story about how the owners met is a really romantic one. Twenty five years ago, when Tammy was 19 years old, she travelled to Italy to explore the sights and sounds the country had to offer. When she arrived in Rome, Alessandro, her now husband, bravely went up to her and asked her to the movies. Just 3 days later, in true Roman fashion, Alessandro proposed! Tammy packed her bags, moved to Italy, and spent a number of years there before moving back to Ottawa with her family.

Tammy had always dreamt of opening up a gelato place, so last winter, she headed to Italy to attend gelato University where she learned the art of making this sultry, luscious, velvety delicious dessert.

Stella has a very warm and open space. A great neighborhood hang out. There is plenty of seating so you don't have to worry about whether or not you'll be able to snag a seat to enjoy your food.

Stella Luna Gelato Cafe, Ottawa

Using the freshest ingredients, and made in house, Stella serves one of the best gelatos in Ottawa. I find the gelato at Pure Gelato does not have enough flavor, and Truffle Treasures gelato a little too creamy, resembling too much like ice cream. Stella's gelato is lighter and packed with a lot of flavor!

DSC02289 copy

Over 20 flavors are served daily, and my favorite flavors so far are Sicilian Pistachio, Chocolate Amaretto, Ricotta and Caramelized Figs, and Roasted Almond. The coffee one is pretty darn good as well! What I love is that the true flavors of the nuts and coffee come through in Stella's gelato, providing a nice intense flavor.

Sicilian Pistachio Gelato

Sorbets and unique fruit flavors are also available such as Mandarin sorbet, Ruby Peach Lavendar and Raspberry Cranberry Hibiscus.

Ruby Peach Lavendar Gelato

If gelato isn't your thing, there are lots of other options such as granitas, paninis, desserts, coffee, crepes, and waffles.

Stella serves two types of granitas which alternates: lemon and coffee. The day I went, they were serving the coffee granita. It was nice. Creamy and not too sweet.

Coffee Granita

I also tried their roasted cherry tomato panini, dressed with extra virgin olive oil, fresh basil, fresh arugula and Fontina cheese on Kalamata olive bread. The tastes were there but I felt it was a little sparse. Maybe not enough toppings? Maybe not packed tightly enough? I couldn't put my finger on it but that little something something was missing.

They've just brought a Cordon Bleu graduate on board to oversee the lunch menu so perhaps it was too early to judge.

Roasted Tomato Panini

This is a great hang out place with great food and service. As you can see, I have been here many times already!

They also have a blog highlighting what's new for the week. It's a great blog detailing the ins and outs of the business, the family, and the ideas brewing in Tammy's head. Reading their blog almost makes you feel like you are a part of their exciting journey somehow.

Stella Luna Gelato Cafe
1103 Bank Street
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Telephone: 613-523-1116

Stella Luna Gelato Café on Urbanspoon

M Cafe, Montreal

M Cafe, Montreal

A convenient place to brunch or lunch when you're downtown Montreal is M Cafe. Anytime I've been desperate for food, M Cafe always seems to be around the corner.

On my first visit, after a long night of fun, a couple of ladies and I stopped here for a much needed brunch. I ordered the bénédictine fumé, a full plate of two poached eggs with smoked salmon, Swiss cheese, onions, capers, potatoes, and fresh fruit. This normally comes with hollandaise, but as always, I ask them to leave it off. I adore eggs, and want to taste every bit of it which is why I don't like having sauce on my eggs.

Smoked Salmon
Benedictine Fume

Everyone else had the western omelette. Three eggs cooked with peppers, ham, onions and zucchini. This was served with house potatoes and fresh fruit

Western Omelette

One thing I like about this place is their selection of macarons. There is always a beautiful display of them and macarons always get me excited because they are a small reminder of Paris for me. On my first visit, I tried the blueberry, caramel fleur de sel, and hazelnut chocolate macaron. The blueberry was surprisingly good! That one wasn't my choice but I'm sure glad I tried it!

Blueberry, Caramel Fleur de Sel, and Hazelnut Chocolate Macarons

On my second visit, CK and I were starving from shopping and walking all day, and voila, M Cafe was conveniently right in front of us ready to save us from starvation. We popped in for a late lunch.

I ordered la bergère salad. It was a mixed salad with raisins, walnuts, dried cranberries, and a piece of warm, pan fried goat cheese. I would have liked the goat cheese to have been cooked a little bit longer but it was a good salad overall.

Bergere Salad
La Bergere Salad

CK will always order a burger when he can, so he chose le M burger. The burger was made of angus beef, and was served with lettuce, tomatoes, pickles, and fries. Wasn't a fabulous was an average burger was how he put it.

M Burger
Le M Burger

Of course, I could not leave without ordering a macaron. This time, I chose the peppermint mango macaron sprinkled with black pepper on top. It tasted more like a mango macaron with black pepper on top. I couldn't taste the peppermint at all. But I didn't mind. It was a pretty cool combination regardless.

Mango Macaron
Peppermint Mango Macaron

M Cafe
1458 rue de la Montagne
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Telephone: 514-842-8825

SwUrl Frozen Yogurt, Montreal

Frozen Yogurt

If you are ever in Montreal, and are in need a fro yo fix, Swurl is a great place to check out. This is an independently owned fro yo shop with a lot of creativity!

The concept is self serve. You grab a bowl, fill it up with your frozen yogurt flavors of choice, load on your favorite toppings, weigh it, and pay! You pay for what you want. That simple.

swUrl, Montreal

There are always 8 flavors being served. Four traditional and four flavors of the week. The traditional flavors are plain, vanilla, chocolate, and pomegranate. On the week we were there, the flavors of the week were blueberry, passion fruit, green tea, and taro.

They have served up some pretty crazy flavors in the past such as sriracha hot sauce, bacon, and lime chocolate mint, creamsicle, red velvet, lucky charms, and how very Canadian...maple syrup!

And the toppings? They have the traditional stuff such as candy, chocolate, fresh fruit, and sundae sauces, but they also have some crazy stuff like wasabi and Ruffles chips.

I was pretty tame the day I went. Didn't want to get something crazy for the sake of getting something crazy, so I had the plain and pomegranate frozen yogurt with candy sprinkles and Swedish berries. It was just perfect...tart frozen yogurt with a bit of sweetness on top.

Check this place out. It's a lot of fun!

swUrl, Montreal

SwUrl Frozen Yogurt
1464 rue Crescent
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Telephone: 514-439-8096

swUrl Frozen Yogurt on Urbanspoon