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jul 11 2007

Traveler's tips for Montreal trips

Well, this marks the end of our guest-blogging stint here at Budget Travel Online (and simulcast on "...an endless banquet"). We thought we'd leave you with some more results from of our "...an endless banquet" Summer 2007 Questionnaire, which (as we're sure you've noticed) have been light, and maybe even a bit frivolous, but they're loaded with lots of useful tips for all of you who are contemplating coming to Montreal for a visit.

Ethné de Vienne fig. a: Ethne de Vienne, La Depense, Montreal, QC

Ethne de Vienne

Co-owner/world traveler

La Depense, Olives et Epices

1. Place of birth: Port of Spain, Trinidad

2. Favorite place to unwind after a long day: My backyard with a Cosmo.

3. Favorite place in Montreal to people-watch: The jazz festival [le Festival International de Jazz de Montreal]. And right here [Jean-Talon Market]. This is pretty cool too, but the jazz festival is weirder, and weird is good.

4. Favorite little-known gem of a restaurant: Fu Kam Wah, Ville St-Laurent.

5. Favorite summer cocktail: Cosmopolitan.

6. Favorite ice cream flavor: Pistachio.

7. Favorite farmstand find: Cashew nuts in Trinidad.

8. Mountains or ocean? Mountains.

9. Planes, trains, or automobiles? Trains.

10. Peaches, pears, or plums? Plums.

11. Bonus question: Best recent trip: India and Sri Lanka.

Inspired by Ethne's responses, Michelle got to work again. This time she whipped up her very first batch of pistachio ice cream (one of my all-time faves too) in Ethne's honor. She didn't exactly invent the recipe, but she based it on a recipe from a very reliable source: Fruit: A Connoisseur's Guide and Cookbook by the legendary Alan Davidson. She was sure Ethne would have approved, especially because this recipe calls for cardamom, a specialty at Olives et Epices. We recommend their ultra-fragrant Sri Lankan cardamom. The results were fantastic--one of the finest, most exotic pistachios I've ever encountered.

Pistachio Ice Cream

10 egg yolks

1 1/2 cups sugar

2 1/2 cups milk

2 cups cream

2 high-quality cardamom pods, crushed

1 cup high-quality pistachios, crushed

1. Place the yolks in a medium bowl.

2. Bring the milk, cream, crushed cardamom and 1/2 cup of the sugar to a boil in a medium-size pot.

3. Add the rest of the sugar to the yolks and whisk till the egg yolks lighten in color, about 5 minutes.

4. Pour the boiling milk/cream mixture onto the yolks, making sure to mix constantly as you do.

5. Place the mixture back in the pot and heat over low heat, never allowing it to boil, until thickened to the point that it coats the back of the spoon.

6. Cool the mixture over an ice bath and strain.

7. Churn in an ice cream maker.

8. When fully churned, fold in the pistachios.

9. Transfer to a container and freeze until solid.

10. Serve and enjoy.

camilla fig. b: Camilla inspects the menu at Niu Kee

Camilla Wynne-Ingr

Musician/patissiere/writer-in-the-making

Backroom Records and Pastries

1. Place of birth: Edmonton, AB.

2. Favorite place to unwind after a long day: Cafe Romolo [272 Bernard W., (514) 272-5035].

3. Favorite place in Montreal to people-watch: Cafe Olimpico [124 St-Viateur W., (514) 495-0746].

4. Favorite little-known gem of a restaurant: India Beau Village [752 Jarry W., (514) 272-5847].

5. Favorite summer cocktail: Cucumber Swizzle.

6. Favorite ice cream flavor: Can I pick one I haven't tried yet? [Uh, sure.--eds.] Kentucky Rhubarb Pie. It's rhubarb with pieces of pie crust and bourbon.

7. Favorite farmstand find: Sour cherries.

8. Mountains or ocean? Mountains.

9. Planes, trains, or automobiles? Trains.

10. Peaches, pears, or plums? Peaches

11. Bonus question: When will Backroom Records and Pastries re-open [they're currently on hiatus]? August. Definitely August.

mark slutsky, naturalist fig. c: Mark Slutsky, Lil' Lake, ON

Mark Slutsky

Filmmaker/film critic/restaurant critic

Automatic Vaudeville Studios / Montreal Mirror

1. Place of birth: Toronto, ON.

2. Favorite place to unwind after a long day: Club Social.

3. Favorite place in Montreal to people-watch: My balcony overlooking St-Viateur.

4. Favorite little-known gem of a restaurant: Ange and Ricky.

5. Favorite summer cocktail: Pimm's is my number-1 cup this year.

6. Favorite ice cream flavor: Roberto's [2221 Belanger, (514) 374-9844] lemon gelato.

7. Favorite farmstand find: Fresh corn.

8. Mountains or ocean? Ocean. That's where my old salty heart lies.

9. Planes, trains, or automobiles? Trains.

10. Peaches, pears, or plums? Peaches.

on the good ship Faith fig. d: Michelle Marek, Tilghman Island, MD

Michelle Marek

Blogger/patissiere

"...an endless banquet"/ Laloux

1. Place of birth: Toronto, ON.

2. Favorite place to unwind after a long day: BU

3. Favorite place in Montreal to people-watch: Parc Jeanne-Mance.

4. Favorite little-known gem of a restaurant: Mister Spicee.

5. Favorite summer cocktail: Pimm's Cup.

6. Favorite ice cream flavor: Milk gelato.

7. Favorite farmstand find: English peas.

8. Mountains or ocean? Mountains.

9. Planes, trains, or automobiles? Trains.

10. Peaches, pears, or plums? Plums.

anthony & nick's excellent adventure fig. e: Nick and Anthony's mountain holiday, spring 2007

Nick Robinson

Proprietor/man-about-town

Korova Bar

1. Place of birth: Montreal, QC. I'm half Quebecois, half Jewish. It doesn't get much more "Montreal" than that. I'm a Mordecai Richler novel become flesh.

2. Favorite place to unwind after a long day: My Fortress of Solitude: my shower.

3. Favorite place in Montreal to people-watch: Cafe Italia. I live in the neighborhood now and I love watching all the wannabe goombahs. I hope that doesn't get me clipped.

4. Favorite little-known gem of a restaurant: Milani [227 Rue Bernard W., (514) 278-7240].

5. Favorite summer cocktail: I didn't realized this until just this year, but La Malbaie at Pop! [250 Avenue des Pins, (514) 287-9127]. I'm serious.

6. Favorite ice cream flavor: I don't eat much ice cream [??--eds.], but if I had to choose [You do.--eds.] I'd go with one of those crunchy flavors. I like those crunchy ice creams, like Hazelnut Crunch [??--eds.].

7. Favorite farmstand find: Recently I've been into Quebec lamb. Organic lamb. And I've also found out that there's some pretty killer asparagus in this province.

8. Mountains or ocean? Mountains.

9. Planes, trains, or automobiles? I drive a Mercedes now [It's true.--eds.], so automobiles.

10. Peaches, pears, or plums? Peaches. Does anybody answer "pears"? [Yes.--eds.]

A.J. Kinik

Blogger/writer-in-the-making/instructor/PhD candidate

"...an endless banquet"

1. Place of birth: Stanford, CA.

2. Favorite place to unwind after a long day: Korova Bar [3908 St-Laurent] or La Sala Rosa.

3. Favorite place in Montreal to people-watch: ZooBizarre.

4. Favorite little-known gem of a restaurant: Mister Spicee.

5. Favorite summer cocktail: Gin & Tonic, although Michelle's A High Wind in Jamaica at Pop! [250 Avenue des Pins, (514) 287-9127] is pretty nice too.

6. Favorite ice cream flavor: Berthillon's Plombiere or, more realistically, a good rum-raisin.

7. Favorite farmstand find: Ripe beefsteak tomatoes for BLTs.

8. Mountains or ocean? Ocean. I'm pretty fond of the Atlantic in particular, but I've yet to meet an ocean or sea I didn't like (with the notable exception of the Salton Sea on a 115 degrees Fahrenheit day back in 2001).

9. Planes, trains, or automobiles? Automobiles, although "Putney," our 1989 VW Jetta, is giving us grey hairs at the moment. But I do love a good road trip. Trains are pretty great, though, too. Especially in Europe.

10. Peaches, pears, or plums? Peaches. There are few things that come close to matching a real summer peach at the peak of perfection [check out our account of our trip to Andy's Orchard in Morgan Hill, CA for proof]. Plus, Nina Simone's "Four Women" just wouldn't have been the same if Woman number-4 had been named either "Pears" or "Plums."

Thanks for reading,

Anthony and Michelle

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Note:This story was accurate when it was published. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.

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