Browsing: Restaurant Features

Ducky’s Fish and Chips


Many of us do our best to avoid deep-fried food whenever possible and perhaps this was the reason why I personally have never found an excuse to visit Ducky’s Fish and Chips at the corner of Notre Dame and Arlington St. For years and years, I have heard that Ducky’s was a “must try” for authentic English-style fish and chips. When one Canstar reader suggested it in our recent reader’s poll, I knew that the time had come.

Halibut, with its firm (some would say “dense”) flesh, has been a favourite of mine since the days when I first tasted the fish and chips at Eaton’s Valley Room restaurant. For those of us who remember, the Valley Room did an excellent job of from scratch cooking and I still think that their version of chicken pot pie is the best I have ever tasted, including my own!

Since those “olden” days, halibut has become dearer in price, making way for the more affordable Haddock and in recent times Cod. Halibut has very little, if any, natural fat and that was why it lent itself perfectly to deep frying. A couple of dabs of Ducky’s tartar sauce added moisture and even more flavour.


On this day, my lunch companion ordered the shrimp and chips and commented on how light tasting the crispy batter was. She was hard-pressed to finish all of her perfectly cooked French fries, which I admit; I had no trouble in accomplishing.


In spite of our extensive indulgences, there was still one more to enjoy. Dubbed “Ducky’s Melt” on the short dessert section of the menu, long-time owner (since 1993) Carol Finley, batters and deep fries an entire Mars Bar and then serves it over ice cream. The result was absolutely luscious with hot and oozing caramel and chocolate, cooled down by the ice cream and made crunchy by the crispy coating. Definitely an item you need to experience, even if only once in a lifetime.

Ducky's Fish & Chips on Urbanspoon

Kath’s quote: “There’s a fine line between fishing and standing on the shore looking like an idiot.”- Steven Wright

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Live simply, laugh often, love deeply.


Spring Menu at Joey Restaurant


Recently I was invited to attend a media tasting at Joey’s Polo Park location. Having been many times before (in fact I was a paid shopper for Joey for a number of years), I was familiar with their fresh and carefully crafted food. But I declare, with this menu, they have really stepped up their game.


We started with a Spa Cosmo-a cranberry concoction with muddled cucumber adding a refreshing switch up.


In addition to a Mezze Plate from half way around the world, specifically the Balkan area of the Mediterranean (east of Greece). I enthusiastic swiped the crispy pita chips through the smooth hummus and sparkling tzatziki. Particularly enthralling was the Macedonian feta which was creamy and not overly salty. The marinated Greek olives added that pungent salty taste.


Traveling another third of the world, Korea was the next food inspiration. The chefs explained how they cull through cauliflower heads to select bite sized pieces which are then dipped in a tempura batter and fried, before being tossed in a sweet chili sauce. Lastly, white and black sesame seeds and cilantro leaves are scattered on top. And that folks is how you make Korean Cauliflower!


Blueberry Mojitos arrived next


along with Sliders Royale so that we could be definitely reminded that summer and patio season was imminent. I was particularly impressed with the texture of the beef. Sometimes burger patties take on a dense texture but when the meat is broken up and then gingerly hand pressed, the “mouth feel” is pleasant and other flavours can share centre stage-in this case a wonderful cheddar. The cheese doesn’t simply top the slider, it has been grilled to bring out the sugars and create a crispy texture. Enhanced with raw onion and “secret sauce” it is no wonder why the Joey sliders have long been popular.


I had never before tasted a Vinho Verde, a Portuguese “green” (young) wine. I was very impressed with the light and fresh taste especially when paired with Joey’s “500 Salad”; 500 being the calorie count.  Wheat berries are tossed with greens and a new fav of mine-pickled currants. The melding of flavours comes together with a tart dressing. But because we all feast first with our eyes, the watermelon radish elevates an already tasty salad to new heights.


Next up were the “mains”, as if the assembly of bloggers hadn’t already eaten their fill. I already love Joey’s rotisserie chicken. When it is pulled and layered with crispy green apple slices and served between two toasted slices of fruit and nut bread, it is the perfect balance of crunchy, sweet and savoury. The sandwich was said to also include crispy baked pancetta but I don’t think that my portion did. No matter, it was already pretty sensational.


Juicy grilled shrimp arrived next perched upon lobster ravioli. The white wine sauce made the rich, silky tastes even more decadent!



Desserts are not typically my “thing” but when I heard the passionate chefs speak of their care with house made ice cream, apple pie, key lime pie and chocolate lava cake, well, who was I fooling? I dug my fork in and the rest was history.

Joey on Urbanspoon

Kath’s quote: “The qualities of an exceptional cook are akin to those of a successful tightrope walker: an abiding passion for the task, courage to go out on a limb and an impeccable sense of balance.” – Bryan Miller


Live simply, laugh often, love deeply.




Guest Bloggers: Boo and The Frenchman-Bon Apetite a Montreal



Here is another installment from the travelling duo, this time from Boo.

My husband, known as the “Frenchman” on this blog, and I visited Montreal for the first part of our honeymoon, before flying to Greece. The Frenchman is native to Quebec, yet had not been back as an adult. Even though it had been twelve years since he had last visited, he felt right at home, and even mentioned moving there one day. But realistically, that won’t happen, we love the Wee One and time at Lester Beach too much! We also love Montreal for many reasons, including the amazing shopping, bicycle friendly streets, rich history, and the strong political interest and mobilization of the young people. However the top reason to visit Montreal is the food. All our favourites: amazing lattes, poutine, smoked meat, craft beer, crepes and croissants! So here is your eating guide to Montreal.


We ate a lot of poutine in Montreal, which made it easy for us to compare and decide on our favourite poutine joint.  One of our favourites, and a favourite to Montrealers is La Banquise.  Open 24 hours a day, La Banquise is the perfect place to go morning, noon or night. If you go around dinner time, you will wait in line for a while, but it is so worth it.  With over 30 different types of poutine, there is something for everyone.  The variety ranges from poutine with pogo sticks, to smoked meat and pickle, and everything in between.  We chose La Matty, which had bacon, peppers, onions and mushrooms, and La Boogalou which had pulled pork, coleslaw and sour cream.  What makes Montreal poutine different from anywhere else is the sweet, soft French fries and the large squeaky cheese curds.  We had no problem finishing our large portions.  And if you are worried about the extra calories in poutine, just hike up to Mount Royale or rent a Bixi bike and you will be sure to burn it off.  Honourable mentions for poutine joints also include Chez Claudette, located just around the corned from the brew pub Dieu Du Ciel!, or poutineville, where you can make your own combination of poutine toppings.

La Banquise on Urbanspoon


Another must have in Montreal is their  famous smoked meat.  Schwartz’s is world famous for their smoked meat, and let me tell you, it is worth the hype! There is a line up out the door any time in the day, because people just cannot stay away. Schwartz’s has been in business since 1928 serving the same recipe: delicious stacks of smoked meat.  The restaurant itself also hasn’t changed in the slightest, which only adds to the charm.  We sat facing the kitchen, and was able to talk to the recent owner, who showed so much pride in his restaurant.  So much so that he had to stick around to watch us take our first bite into our sandwich of smoked meat on rye. Our satisfied grumbles put a grin on his face.  The smoked meat is so tender that is feels as though it melts in your mouth. This place is famous for a reason, it is the best smoked meat you will ever have in your life, so be sure to go!

Schwartz's Montreal Hebrew Delicatessen on Urbanspoon


For a very unique dining experience in Montreal, with delicious food, visit ONOIR, where you eat in complete darkness. Experiencing complete darkness for a hour or more may be scary for some, but it is amazing how it boosts your other senses, including taste.  You order before going into the dark restaurant, but I would suggest getting the surprise meals to get the full experience.  There is a set price for a two course or three course meal, and whatever you end up having, I assure you it will be delicious.  The chef is a master of combining tastes that please your pallet. It is fun to attempt to guess what you are eating, and we did a pretty good job at guessing almost everything on our plate. The restaurant hires visually impaired people as their wait staff, and a portion of the proceeds go to local associations that support visually impaired individuals.  It is a culinary experience you will not forget!

Onoir on Urbanspoon

Montreal has many reasons to visit, only one of them being the food.  Be sure to visit La Belle Province and taste all that it has to offer.

Kath’s quote: “If you reject the food, ignore the customs, fear the religion, and avoid the people, you might better stay home.” –James Michener


Live simply, laugh often, love deeply.

Calabria Market



If you have had the good fortune to travel to Italy, as I am blessed to have, your love of authentic Italian cooking has likely stayed with over the years. My first sojourn was when I was fresh out of university. I distinctly remember the evening that I tasted pigeon for the first time. More recently my husband and I returned to celebrate a special anniversary and the memories of the pizza, sauces, pasta and salads have prompted us to make travel arrangements to return to Italy again this fall.


An authentic pasta sauce recipe literally bursts with spritely tomato flavours, enhanced by herbs, onion and garlic. The pasta itself is firm and yet tender to the tooth and salads offer up vinegary goodness with every bite. This describes my recent lunch at the Calabria Market  (139 Scurfield Blvd ) perfectly. I was teaching in the area (restaurant food and beverage service to be exact) and had forgotten to take my lunch. Since I was solo, I wanted to quickly run in and fetch something, but I was hoping to avoid fast food. Remembering that the Calabria Market serves a couple of daily lunch specials, I decided to give them a try.

The pasta special on this particular day was ravioli in a hearty meat sauce with a crisp salad and plenty of buttery garlic toast to lap up the abundant sauce. Calabria’s recipes all originate from the Momma of the family owners ( Cathy & Vicky and their father Frank Fodera). The Italian region that they are from is, not surprisingly, “Calabria” which makes up the toe of the Italian boot.


I plunked down at one of the provided tables, noting that most people ordering from the kitchen window were taking their lunch to go. I ate as much as I could possibly manage. The taste were so divine, I didn’t want to stop. But finally, with restraint, I was able to lay down my fork and take half away for my lunch the next day.

With a quick glance at the market shelves I grabbed a box of truffle mac and cheese, with a little bottle of truffle oil for extra measure and paid for these along with my $8.50 lunch special.

Calabria Market & Wine Store on Urbanspoon

Kath’s quote: My handshake is as firm as cooked spaghetti. So, do you prefer your introductions with Alfredo or marinara sauce?”  Jarod Kintz


Live simply, laugh often, love deeply.

Guest Bloggers: Boo and the Frenchmen-Montreal’s Best Coffee Spots


Boo and the Frenchmen are currently on their long awaited honeymoon. Greece is their current location but en route, they spent a week drinking coffee, beer and noshing in Montreal.

From the Frenchman:

During our stay in Montreal I had to make sure we checkout the hottest coffee shops in town. Everyone that knows me knows I love my coffee, more specifically lattes. I even got my wife Boo addicted to coffee, or perhaps turned her into a coffee snob like me. To me, coffee is more than just another cup of joe, or something to keep the buzz goin’. I usually associate drinking coffee with relaxing and/or enjoyable moments. That’s why I had to make a list of coffee shops we would visit since we were on our honeymoon.


After a little research I had found 3 of the top places that are running the coffee scene in Montreal: Café Olympico “Open da night”, located in the heart of Mile End, is a bustling coffee parlour that was open in the 70’s. Inside you will find a large espresso machine behind which a barista is frantically making one coffee after another. There was constant chatter in the background and seemed to be a favorite spot with locals as many poeple came in and greeted the baristas like old friends. What I found different about this coffee shop is how they expertly poured the espresso and steamed milk right in front of you on a high counter. Usually the drink is made behind the machine, in this case you got to be part of the making adding to the whole experience. This was definitely one of our favorite spots(we went twice), the espresso was delicious and felt just right being mixed with creamy steamed milk. They serve their own house blend; a secret recipe as described on their website.

Café Olimpico on Urbanspoon


Next we went to Cafe Plume, nestled in Le Plateau de Mont Royal. I would consider this one a neighborhood coffee shop, frequented by students and hipsters alike. When we walked in I was greeted with a familiar sight; bags of Phil and Sebastian Coffee Roasters. We must have walked in at a busy time as we had to wait a little bit to find a seat, which we did by the window. The atmosphere is quite inviting with bright lights, a brick backwall, chairs and tables and stools running along the window. That day they had the Nueva Llusta blend, and both Boo and I had lattes. A delicious choice so much so I had to have an espresso shot of that same coffee. The staff is very friendly and knowledgable; I ended up having a little chat with the barista about the different coffees they serve including Verve Coffee.

Café Plume on Urbanspoon


We also went to Cafe Myriade, situated right off of St-Catherine in the shadows of l’Universite de Concordia. When we arrived we could tell this was a popular student hang out. Amid tables busy with young people in animated conversations we waited in line to order our lattes, our favorite as you can tell. We were lucky to get our coffees just as a table was vacated near the front window. The espresso machine dominates the counter, making it plain they are serious about their coffee. And we weren’t disappointed. Again our taste buds were greeted with the delicious taste of a fresh and well roasted blend, this time from the Square Mile Coffee Roasters. I must say checking out these coffee shops just enriched our visit in Montreal, knowing we were going to taste some of the best coffee this city can offer. You don’t have to be a coffee snob by any means to enjoy a trip to these locations; the friendliness of the staff, the atmosphere and the tasty drinks they will serve you will be enough to give you a great experience.

Cafe Myriade on Urbanspoon

Kath’s quote: “I never drink coffee at lunch. I find it keeps me awake for the afternoon.” Ronald Reagan


Live simply, laugh often, love deeply.

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