Friday, September 8, 2006

Five Foods to Eat Before You Die

I've been tagged twice for this delightful meme conceived by Melissa at the Travelers' Lunchbox - as if I needed any prodding! First from Neil at Food For Thought and then from Sara of I Like to Cook . The list at Travelers Lunchbox is well over a thousand now. The idea, in a nutshell is to list five of our favorite things to eat or places to eat at so others can share in our delights. The hard part is to narrow it down to five. So here goes, in no particular order.....

1. Garlic & Basil festival in the town of Tours, in the Loire Valley, France which is held in mid-July. My Honey and I went and were in heaven - the glorious array of basil plants in the market (all shapes and sizes) and strung up garlic braids sitting along side homemade preserves and sauces with basil and garlic the stars, food vendors selling delicious sausages and served in crusty rolls to eat on the banks of the Loire or Cher rivers, every restaurant serving rustic dishes that always have basil and garlic in them...perfect!

2. The C Restaurant in Vancouver - best presentation, ambiance and taste ever! We went years ago and I still drool thinking about it. We had an oyster sampler which was too beautiful for words - I almost didn't want to eat it.

3. Montreal as a food destination. I'm prejudiced I guess, having been born there and spent most of my adult life there, but whenever we go back for a visit here are my must hit food experiences:

Schwartz's Deli serves the best smoked meat sandwiches ever - remember to order medium and NOT lean for the full juicy, tender effect and try to open your mouth wide enough for the first gigantic bite required for this over stuffed sandwich. The atmosphere is neither romantic or funky. It's bright lights, loud noises, line ups and no-nonsense service to keep everyone happy. That means, make your mind up quickly, don't be alarmed that you're sitting with strangers, forget about shmoozing over a coffee after you eat. It's quite an experience but one you won't forget.

Milos Restaurant for the best Greek fare in a city known for great Greek Restaurants. This restaurant is the opposite extreme to Schwartz's. You feel like royalty from the decor to the perfectly cooked fish (you can choose your own from their fresh selection shipped in daily and resting on ice until you decide) or lamb grilled or roasted to perfection. Every visit is like being on one of the Greek Islands.

La Patisserie Belge has the best croissants, pain chocolat,baguettes, pastries, chocolates and charcuterie (deli meats and cheeses) par excellence!! When I lived in Montreal, it was a Saturday ritual. I'd buy one dozen croissants (along with a ton of other goodies) to take home and another one dozen to munch in the car on the way - sad, but true! We still try to drop by whenever we visit.

Old Montreal charming bistros along Place Jacques Cartier - any one will do - great food and great people watching. My favorite is called Le Jardin Nelson, an outdoor terrace serving French food (I love the crepes) and live music. In the summer there's usually a line up - but worth it. And a little trivia for you - Charles Dickens stayed at the Hotel Nelson in the 1860's.

The Orange Julep - a giant orange drive in (park your car, order and eat in the car) on Decarie. They serve hotdogs, burgers, fries and the famous Orange Julep drink - creamy, frothy, cold and no one's sharing the secret ingredient.

4. Chiado's in Toronto - they describe it as " a little bit of Lisbon in Toronto" I call it heaven. The focus is on fish and the menu changes daily depending on what's freshest. The grilled squid starter though, just melts in your mouth. It's the best I've ever eaten anywhere and everything that follows is equally awesome. My favorite - the rack of lamb.

5. Last, but definitely not least of my all time favorite food experiences. Our cruise on the Paul Gaugin to Tahiti, Bora Bora and Morea was fabulous in every respect - beautiful state room with private terrace where we had our room service full breakfasts most days, lovely surprises in our room every day; warm and enthusiastic staff; every place we visited was breath-taking and, of course the food. There are 3 full service restaurants to serve you whenever you wanted to eat and each one serving delicious fare. My favorite dish...the lobster ravioli. If only I could get the recipe.

So, I cheated a little, but those are some of my personal food high points. I wouldn't mind repeating any of them!

So now to tag another 5 foodies for their favorites.
1. Gattina
2. Kalyn
3. Joe
4. Rosa
5. Mickey

And truly anyone else who'd like to share, please do and let me know so I can visit your favorites too. Make sure you let Melissa know , so she can add them to the big list. You can contact her at melissa at travelerslunchbox dot com

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Kalyn Denny said...

Hi Ruth,
Thanks for thinking of me. I've done it and here's my list.

neil said...

Great list! Loved the way you expanded it, that's not cheating, just smart. I've been to Moorea, no haute cuisine, just humble Club Med! Thanks for taking part.

Sara said...

Ruth I just finished breakfast, but your list had made me hungry!