Archives for posts with tag: restaurants

snow painting in herbal pigments

A friend of mine remarked to me a couple of months ago that Arcade Fire’s music is very marchy.  Sometimes when I am listening to them on my Ipod, I test this comment and try to march a little.  Unfortunately, I can usually march along to their music.  This does not really matter to me.  I still like them, even if I am marching to it!  I think this a positive thing to do in March, I have a hunch that there is an Arcade Fire song for any day in March, no matter the weather.  So, get out there and try it!

Coming up in March (the month) in fleurbain:

Resto reviews of three places you really shouldn’t miss in three very different Montreal neighbourhoods (Downtown, St Henri, and The Village).

Herbalism, recipes, photography, cartoons, an art review…

Felted DIY Nesting Bowls and Slippers (it’s still cold outside, baby!)

In honour of International Women’s Day on March 8th, a three-part feature on Canadian Women in The Arts.

Simple herbs for cats… this isn’t your Grandcat’s catnip!

A new web feature: Online Featured Artist. Every Month we will share a new artist with you in this online Gallery, with images of their work, links to their websites, and other cool info about them. Submission requirements will be announced shortly…

A heart-wrenching, mind-boggling, gut-churning anecdotal tale about Professionalism In The Arts.

A Snow Painting and book-making creativity spa workshop! Bringing the web to real life, yet again. Also, we will officially announce our new service: Customised Workshops.

March looks like both a lion and lamb month, so join us as we gear up for Spring!

Tammy Schmidt and Natasha Henderson, Montreal

The décor is always festive.

One of the joys of living in a cosmopolitan city such as Montreal is the grand variety of restaurants. We recently enjoyed a couple of meals at El Chalateco, an El Salvadoran restaurant located steps away from the Beaubien metro.

A full, nourishing meal.

Pupusas, the national dish of El Salvador, are a specialty of the house. They are served as a street-food in El Salvador, and here in Montreal at El Chalateco they are served on a plate with accompanying house-fermented cole slaw. A pupusa is a filled, fried corn tortilla. They come with a tasty tomato sauce and a spicy hot sauce on the side.  One of our favourites is Queso y loroco, which is filled with cheese and an asparagus-flavoured flower called loroco. At $2.25 a piece, one pupusa is insanely inexpensive, so it’s only polite to order at least two or three of them.  If you come as a large group, you have the option of ordering large amounts to be served family-style.

The Queso y loroco pupusa is a must-eat.

Besides pupusas, there are many other dishes to be tasted at El Chalateco. Vegetarians will be happy here; there are not only veggie-based pupusas but a healthy handful of other meatless choices. Vegans can enjoy a bean pupusa with the fermented cole slaw, and there is a delicious-looking plate of beans, rice, and vegetables.  Flexibility is an option because the kitchen is small.  About three people make the food as it is ordered.

Layers: Fried tortilla, beans, cucumber, cole slaw, guacamole, egg, sweet onions. Delicious and refreshing.

For meat-eaters, this restaurant provides many satisfying choices. Among the appetizers are traditionally-cooked tamales. The masa is infused with other flavours because it is wrapped into a plantain leaf along with other ingredients such as olives and chicken. The tacos Salvadorenos are crunchy rolled-up meat-filled tortillas, served with veggies and a very hot sauce. With a pupusa they are a plentiful good lunch, or they can indeed be eaten as the appetizers that they claim to be. Another specialty of the house is the El Salvadoran version of the Québécois “Hot Chicken” sandwich, the Pan con pollo y escavechi. It is enormous and full of not only chicken and flavours, but vegetables too. The sauce is rich (but not overly so) and delicious. Pastelitos de carne are hot, crunchy packets of spicy goodness.  Definitely give them a try.

In a word, the food here tastes of nourishment.  The dishes are made with care, served hot and are nicely filling.

Pastelitos de carne are the "petits cousins latins de la tourtière."

Even though our visit was in the dead of winter, the ultimate summer drink had to be tested. El Salvadorians call it ‘Michelada‘, which is a mixture of lager, salsa juice and lime served in a mug with a spiced and salted rim. One sip led to dreams of relaxing in the shade with the good company of several drinks shared with many friends.

There are some good dessert options.  Bite into a Torreja.  It is a warm and delicious french toast-like dessert.  It has a depth of sweetness that makes my heart race.  Chocolate caliente is a rich, full-tasting and lightly spiced experience. Although my mug stayed very hot for a full half hour, my hot chocolate was always easily drinkable. Chilate is the choice for a ‘super-sized’ dessert or a meal all in itself. ‘Chilate’ is a warm and filling drink thickened with corn flour and spiked with a sprig of lightly crushed cocoa seeds. Drinking Chilate is thought to strengthen someone and it is often served to the convalescing.  It seems like a good meal for this time of the year.  The drink is served inside a calabash gourd, accompanied by a dish filled with slices of fried sweet-potato and a plantain; these are garnished with a sweet, cinnamon sauce of cooked plums. Each taken in turn makes for a delightfully filling combination.

Chilate!!!

The atmosphere in El Chalateco is relaxed, family friendly, yet quietly festive.  There are always seasonal decorations suspended from the ceilings, it looks like the place is ready for a party. It is clean, inexpensive, friendly, and welcoming.  It is easily a go-to place in the Beaubien area!

(El Chalateco, 520 Beaubien Est, 514.272.5585)

El Chalateco is licensed, so if you do not want coffee, water, or Horchata, you could have a glass of wine or beer to go with your meal.

Tammy Schmidt and Natasha Henderson, Montreal

copyright Natasha Henderson

Experience Deux: La Bistro Sur La Rivière.

by Natasha Henderson, Montreal

Le Bistro Sur La Rivière… it is a small bistro. It is a bistro that takes pride in its meats, in its generously overflowing presentations of food. It is a bistro that is on Larivière, the street that is behind my massive studio building.

The Quebec Flag

My first experience eating here was on the eve of the first La Virree des Ateliers event. I was new to the Grover Building, I was one of the rare anglophone artists who rented there. I felt a little foreign, and that these open-studios could be an opportunity to break into the new culture in which I felt myself surrounded. I’d have a chance to make new friends, new connections, and learn new things very soon. I was right, in certain respects, on all accounts.

Anyhow, on that eve in May, I went in for a delicious sandwich and frites with accompanying salad and beer to celebrate the future. Since that date, I’ve been back twice, once because I’d recently sold three paintings, another time just because I was hungry. As a semi-vegetarian, I received upon my first visit a sandwich with a bit of ham in it, when I’d thought I’d ordered a simple tomato and cheese sandwich. I didn’t kick up a fuss. I am “semi”-vegetarian, and I knew that my Francais was pretty rusty… so I was willing to bend. Since going back two more times, though, I’ve found the wait staff to be supremely giving and forgiving. It is a predominantly Francophone neighbourhood, complete with the de rigueur fleur-de-lis on the front door of the place. It’s one of those places that, as I enter, I couldn’t help but put up my guard, just a little. They might all stare at me if I try to talk! However, upon further experience, I’ve had some very nice chats in a blend of Franglais with the people who work there.

Sandwich of My Dreams

Oh, and the sandwich that I order… it’s good. It is very, very good. I don’t know how certain restaurants are able to make a sandwich into such a special experience. For me, at home, when I make a sandwich it is a utilitarian expression. I have bread, and I have something to put in between two slices of that bread. A good restaurant’s sandwich, that becomes something of a capital “E” Experience.

So, the sandwich to order at Le Bistro Sur La Rivière is the tomato and brie and pesto on Baguette. Please order that, when you go there. It is divine, a perfect blend of tastes and textures. The house salad and frites with mayonnaise that come with it are just the icing on the cake. Cake? Who needs cake after such an incredible, fresh, fantastic meal? No, no cake. This will do. Perhaps an Oatmeal Stout beer to go along with… or a coffee after. The wait staff is always keen to refill your water-glass, and they always check in to see how you are enjoying your meal.

This Bistro has an extensive menu, and, upon discussion with the workers there, they do have a vegetarian plate for Supper-time, too. The stuffed pasta… does look pretty good! Some day, perhaps, I will order it. But the tomato/brie/pesto sandwich… oo la-la!!!

Find Le Bistro Sur La Rivière at 2263, rue Larivière, Montreal, QC. Find Natasha eating there soon.

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