A New Home for the Holidays

Hello from the other side of the Montreal-to-Halifax journey.

It’s been quiet here on the blog, mainly because over the past month we packed up a truck with all of our belongings and moved our three kids and two cats to an ocean province. For those just tuning it, it was a lifestyle move, a conscious step to slow down and refocus in a place that truly values family over ambition.

I’ve been waiting for inspiration to strike and the right words to explain how much this journey from homestead to seashore means to us. I’m still not quite there yet, but I wanted to give an update, especially for the kind readers who have messaged and emailed to check in. Thank you for sharing our excitement and joy. [Read more…]

Montréal Bakeries & Cafés

After two incredible decades in Montréal, I am saying goodbye to this beautiful, diverse and delicious city. Upon your request, I’m listing my favourite food places in a 4-part series; consider them yours to discover. See you in Halifax. xox

I fell in love and got married in Montréal. I graduated from culinary school in Little Italy and worked for three years at Toque!, the top kitchen in the country. I birthed three children and wrote two books here. This place has shaped me in many ways  – and even given me an accent, according to my mother.

In a new life chapter, however, my little family and I are following a dream and moving to Nova Scotia next month (more on that to come). After fielding requests for many years on my favourite eats around town, I am leaving behind my suggestions for places for you to explore.

From tiny pizza joints to elegant establishments – Montreal is a delicious city. I couldn’t fit every place on one list and so it will be a four-part series: Bakeries & Cafés, Casual Eats, Fine Dining and Markets & Shops. Ready? Let’s head out.

[Read more…]

9 culinary lessons learned in London (for the home cook)

One cannot expect to immerse oneself in a foreign food culture for five days straight and not have an epiphany or two afterward.

Not surprisingly, our trip to London in May was almost exclusively about the food. I observed and absorbed everything from their café culture to street market and restaurant trends. I ate and walked and ate again. I stocked up on UK food magazines for the plane ride home to continue my education.

Why? Well, while research and culinary inspiration were strong motivations for my exploration, I was also genuinely curious about what the Brits were still into (scones and clotted cream, Sunday roast), obsessing over (toast, cider), trend watching (whole bowls, ferments) and doing really well (sausage rolls, cake).

[Read more…]

London eats: a recap

So Danny and I are back from a fantastic extended long weekend in London, England. It was everything we had hoped for and much more, largely in part to the beautiful weather that seemed to put a spring into our (many, many) steps.

I’ve promised a recap of where we ate – because this is the real reason why we travel, is it not? Sure we saw the Rosetta Stone, straddled the Prime Meridian and breathed in the scent of roses in the White Garden, but it was the incredible variety in our meals that left us weak in the knees.

For the most part, we visited cafés and restaurants that we wouldn’t necessarily frequent with kids in tow. A family visit to London is in the works, and then we will certainly frequent the bustling Borough Market for meat pies and take advantage of the kid’s menu at Jamie’s Italian.

[Read more…]

British hospitality and an event with Jamie Oliver

London Bridge in the fog. The view from the galleries of St. Paul’s Cathedral. Cheery Christmas markets. Mince pies from Harrods.

I pondered every little detail of my recent trip to London, as I tossed and turned, draped over two airplane seats. Flying over the ocean for hours on end, I finally summed it up in one word: hospitality.

The British have had a long-standing reputation for being polite, but everything my sister and I experienced went far and above common courtesy. It was enough to leave a lasting impression, and oddly enough, made me understand my dad’s preoccupation with good manners.

It started at the airport, receiving friendly assistance as we sorted out the public transportation to central London. (If you’re taking notes, buy the Oyster card and hop on the Piccadilly line.)

[Read more…]