Restaurant Review { Déjeuner Cosmopolitain }

I can’t believe I haven’t blogged about this restaurant yet, since it’s one of my favorite brunch spots in Montreal.

The food is amazing and there are SO many choices (see the size of the menu below…), and it can be overwhelming if you are not as experienced as I am. If my sister is there, we share the Royal Cosmopolitain: chocolate chip pancakes topped with bananas and strawberries, and served with chocolate hazelnut spread. We also share a typical egg plate, which is actually not so typical, because the potatoes are quite outstanding. You can choose from the round potatoes, which are full of flavor, or the mashed potatoes that have just a hint of bacon in them {Hint: if it’s your first time there, ask for half and half so you get to try both!}. If my sister isn’t there, I don’t have to choose to go savory or sweet, I can get both! There’s a plate with eggs, meat, potatoes and two blueberry pancakes (I ask for chocolate chips instead).

Another great thing is that there’s also a lunch menu, so if you fancy lunch while your date wants breakfast after 2 pm, then it works out perfectly.

The downside is that it’s extremely busy on weekends, so make sure to book ahead of time. The service is also not the best, we’ve had a few issues with some of the waitresses, BUT, the food is just that good that I still go back.

What are some of your favorite brunch spots in Montreal? What do you prefer for brunch: sweet or savory? 

[Photo credit | Saba Sabati]

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Recipe { Banana Bread }

When I was 16 years old, I decided to cook dinner for my family every night for the whole summer. I would put together meal ideas, a grocery, and then plan how I would prepare everything in time for dinner. It was a lot of work, especially for someone that was just learning how to cook, but I loved it. The most rewarding part was the feeling of taking care of my family and their appreciation. Since then, I have related cooking & baking to showing someone that you love and care about them.

Now that I live on my own, I enjoy cooking for myself, but also for my boyfriend. He has a very busy schedule, so I try to cook him meals that he can keep in his fridge to warm up for dinner when he gets home from work. I also like preparing his favorites treats, like this banana bread, because it makes him happy, but also shows him that I’m thinking about him.

This is a recipe that I got from a Betty Crocker cookbook. A little trick to add moisture to the bread is to add about ¼ cup of yogurt to the mix.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 ½ tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 ½ cup mashed banana (approx. 5 medium)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ½ cup oil or melted butter
  • ¼ cup chopped walnuts

Steps

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350˚F and grease pan.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together: flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg.
  3. Make a well in the centre of the flour mixture and set aside.
  4. In a medium bowl, mix together: egs, banana, sugar oil.
  5. Add the egg mixture all at once to the flour mixture and stir until moistened. Fold in the walnuts.
  6. Bake for 55-60 minutes.

What are some of your favorite dishes to prepare for your loved ones? What are others ways that you like to show them that you love & care about them? 

Recipe { Bite-Sized Raspberry Pies }

It’s become somewhat of a tradition that every time my boyfriend returns from a trip, I stock up his fridge with food. Since he travels quite a bit, I love finding new ways to make his homecoming special. After a long and tiring trip, what better way to be greeted with a home-cooked meal and some treats!

I wanted to prepare these for Valentine’s day because raspberry pie is one of his favorite desserts, but he was leaving the next day so I didn’t want to have leftovers because I would inevitably end up eating it all by myself. So I thought this would be the perfect homecoming treat, amongst the other things that I prepared for him!

I got the recipe from one of my favorite food bloggers, Joy the Baker. If you love to cook and enjoy following blogs, I highly recommend her blog – she is incredibly funny and her recipes are really fun!

For the recipe, I cheated a little bit and used pre-made dough (in my defense, I was quite tight on time). Putting together each individual pie took quite a bit of time, but it was well-worth the result!

Recipe { Cozy Chili & Cornbread }

Words can’t even begin to describe how good this chili tasted. Full of flavor and nutrients, this is such an easy meal for a cold winter night – an instant heart-warming bowl of yummy goodness (just thinking about it makes me crave it).

I can’t recommend this recipe enough. I mean, really, you have to go get the ingredients like, RIGHT NOW. It’s easy, makes a HUGE batch, and is just… oh-so-good. This whole batch lasted me for about 8 meals, which I did NOT mind eating for a week. Yes, that’s just how good it is.

To make it heartier and have my veggie intake for the day, I added mushrooms, carrots, and celery. I also used ground beef because I couldn’t find ground turkey in my grocery store.

This recipe goes perfectly with cornbread, which turned out delicious, even though I substituted the buttermilk with almond milk. Not sure how much it affected the texture since that was actually the first time I’ve actually tasted cornbread, but whatever, it tasted delicious and I am totally making this again. This cornbread could easily use some additions such as sharp cheddar cheese, or sundried tomatoes, but that’ll be for next time.

What’s one of your favorite go-to winter meals? 

Recipe { Croque-Madame }

Saturday mornings should be spent lazily around the house in pijamas, with a nice brunch and catching on blogs, magazines, or TV-shows. What better way to spend a Saturday morning?!!

When I came across this recipe for Croque-Madame on Cupcakes and Cashmere, I knew that I had to try it because : a) I love brunch; b) I love ham, cheese and eggs; c) It looks so damn good I just had to try it for myself.

It was SO easy to make, and it was absolutely DELICIOUS. This is also a perfect recipe to make for a group of people because it looks more complicated than it actually is, so you can impress your friends.

I didn’t really change recipe other than using this simple béchamel sauce by Mario Batali. I would probably even exclude the béchamel sauce altogether next time, or would add parmesan cheese to it. Actually, I didn’t really follow the proportions because that’s just how I roll (although my boyfriend would disagree with this method of cooking…). You can easily add some spices and flavors to the béchamel sauce, or use a different kind of cheese on the bread! That’s the fun part about cooking: there are no rules! (well…sorta…)

What’s your favorite brunch food? Any good recipes I should check out? 

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Recipe { Holiday Almonds }

This recipe was so easy to make, and turned out to be so incredibly delicious I had to stop myself from eating the whole batch. ‘Sugary’ nuts have always seemed difficult to make, but these took less than 15 minutes to make! These are going to be great for Christmas as a treat to leave on the table for guests, or even to bring to someone’s house, or include as a stocking stuffer! I made them with almonds, but you can experiment with walnuts or pecans.

Restaurant Review { Mango Bay }

It seems a bit ridiculous that I haven’t blogged about Mango Bay since it’s a go-to for my bf and I. unfortunately, because it’s such one of those places that we eat so frequently at, I never seem to think ahead to bring my camera with me, so I had to rely on my iPhone for these pictures.

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Recipe { Pumpkin Scones }

After making my healthy pumpkin muffins, I still had pumpkin puree left over. I had seen this recipe of Julie’s blog when she published and had bookmarked it, so this was the perfect excuse to try it. The recipe was so good that I just might make another batch with the remainder of the puree. Fall isn’t over yet and pumpkin treats are perfect for the current weather (with a cup of hot chocolate of course!)

A few things that I did differently:

  • The butter that I used was actually melted, and the scones seemed to have retained their flakiness. Although I wouldn’t recommend doing this, don’t fret if your butter is not chilled like the recipe instructs.
  • I used one cup of white flour and one cup of whole-wheat flour to make a bit healthier and I couldn’t even tell there was whole-wheat flour in it.
  • I don’t usually have cream at home and I actually only had almond milk, which seemed to have worked out fine…and it makes me healthier too.
  • For the glaze, I used Stonewall Kitchen’s pumpkin caramel, which worked perfectly to add a touch of sweetness to the scones.
  • I didn’t have all the spices to make pumpkin spice, so I just used ¾ tablespoon cinnamon and ¼ tablespoon ground cloves.
  • I don’t have a food processor either so I combined the butter and dry ingredients by hand, making sure that I ‘squished’ the butter between my fingers (a little trick I learned by watching Anna Olsen on the Food Network). I also used my hands to combine the pumpkin mixture with the dry ingredients by folding over the mixture until combined. This means that you grab large amounts of mixture at the same time and simply…fold it over onto the rest of the mixture and so on and so forth until it is fully combined!

…coming to think of it, maybe next time I should follow the recipe and it’ll turn out even more delicious…?

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Restaurant Review…and Persian Food 101 { Chateau Oncle Jamal }

I love Persian food. Maybe it has to do with the fact that I’m Persian…but…doesn’t change the fact that Persian food is delicious. The only thing that I find mildly annoying is that most Persian restaurants are limited in their menus and generally only offer different kinds of meat, which is great, nothing wrong with that…but there are SO many different delicious meals that could be served!

When my roommate told me about a new Persian restaurant (which…I’m surprised I didn’t notice since it’s right in front of my bus stop where I get off to go to school…and the gym……and the library….but that’s besides the point right now) I knew that I had to try it, especially since they offer a very special item on the menu that I love but haven’t had in a while: Tah-cheen (not sure what the translation is…sorry folks!). Although it was on the starter menu, the portion was HUGE and really inexpensive, and could actually be a main meal….and it was oh-so-good. I would describe it as a Persian-version-lasagna (like how that sounds?): basmati rice with saffron (because no Persian cooking is complete without a healthy dose of saffron), combined with yogurt and an egg (to keep in together), and in the middle there’s a layer of eggplants and chicken. All the ingredients are prepared separately, and then layered in a pot and cooked in the oven to create a light crust around it (the ultimate part of this, crispy basmati rice, the part that everyone fights over) This restaurant topped our huge slice with barberry (which are one of my favorite things from Persian cooking – they’re tart/sour little berries) and pistachio slivers. This was also the first time that my boyfriend has tasted Tah-cheen, which was really fun for me because…well, I’ve never actually cooked Persian food (I know I know, it’s embarrassing, but cooking a traditional meal seems so much more daunting than all the other recipes I’ve tried! Maybe I’d feel like a failed Persian woman if I didn’t succeed? Who knows. Anyway, not the time for psychoanalysis. Back to the food.)

For our mains, I got chicken, which is actually called ‘Joojeh-kabab’. The literal translation of that is ‘barbequed chick’ which is so wrong, so let’s just stick to chicken skewers, shall we? Served with a healthy portion of basmati rice, a cooked tomato and onion. That’s a very Persian thing – eating onions (raw mind you) with anything and everything. And if you’ve never had Persian food, the way to eat your tomato is to first add a ton of butter on your rice (which I didn’t do, shame on me) and then squish your tomato in the rice and eat it with a piece of meat. Yum.

The boyfriend got the typical Kabab, which was served with pita bread, lime and fresh mint leaves, which put together make a delicious wrap!

Overall, I was really happy with our meal at Chateau Amoo Jamal (which translates to ‘Uncle Jamal’s Castle’) and I’m really excited that it’s super close to home!

Chateau Oncle Jamal

1620 Sherbrook Street West

(514) 933-8866

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{ The menu }

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{ And I present…(drumroll please) Tah-cheen! }

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{ The little red stuff are the barberries, and the yellow colour of the rice is from the saffron. The middle layer is the chicken and eggplants }

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{ The chicken was delicious! }

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{ The beef skewers were really well-seasoned }

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Restaurant Review { Sahib }

I love Indian food, and my favourite place to fulfill my cravings for naan and butter chicken are at Sahib, a really quaint restaurant in the West Island in Pointe-Claire. There are a lot of options to choose from on the menu.

I usually get butter chicken because I really find it particularly good there, but when I took my boyfriend for his first time, we shared a ‘Royal Feast’ which came with the soup of the day (it was lentil soup and it was DELICIOUS!), chicken tandoori (that was very tender and bursting with flavors), chicken tikka, lamb chops, tandoori shrimp, lamb curry and butter chicken, with vegetables, basmati rice, naan and gulab jamoon. We obviously had too much food, and I do find that the portions are quite generous in general. They also have a lunch buffet that allows you to taste a few different dishes a lower price.

The service has always been friendly and relatively efficient, and the food is really good!  

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