Back to the Grind; Vacation in Montreal & Joe Beef

Hello! I did not forget about this blog.  By the way, is anyone reading this? 🙂 I see my counter going up (slowly but surely) so I guess people are reading but lurking. I don’t know if my blogs will ever be interesting enough to garner a huge crowd or anything but I hope you find it at least entertaining.

I realize I have a bunch of things to blog about but I just haven’t really sat down to blog about it yet.  I have a Summer Beauty Cravebox review to do and I’ve been dabbling in cooking here and there. Trying to cook more to save money and so on.  And of course, I have to blog about our week in Montreal!

Last week we were on vacation in Montreal.  A very much needed vacation!  It was very nice to get away from the nasty humidity of the Tri-State area into beautiful mid-70’s weather.  It was very nice to catch up with family (Meanie’s from Montreal) and friends!

We left on a Saturday morning and the kids did surprisingly well in the car.  We usually like to leave in the night while CB (“Careybear”) sleeps but we were much too tired to do that after a long day of work.  This was BB’s (“BoobooBear”‘s) very first trip to Montreal, the first of many.  It was also the first time the family would meet BB.  I was stuck in the backseat between the two kiddo’s which kinda sucked for me but was necessary to feed and play with the kids to that they don’t scream bloody murder in the car for 5 hours.

We relaxed for some of the days and other days we had activities.  One of the days was hot, humid and muggy, just like back at home. Ugh. Seems like we brought up the hot weather with us so we took advantage of it and hit a water park.  We’ve been wanting to hit a local water park (The Land of Make Believe – has anyone been there?  I’ve heard good things about the water part of the park but never went) in my area for quite a while but the weather never cooperated with us when we were free to go.  CB seemed to have inherited his father’s love of water.  We went to Dutch Wonderland last year and now they have a water part and CB loved it!  So we wanted to bring him again this year when he’s a year older.

(picture taken from website)

The water park we went to is called Mont Saint-Saveur water park.  I’m pretty sure you can go skiing/snowboarding in this location in the winter because it was a water park nestled in the middle of a mountain.  It was a lotta fun.  They had water slides (and rides, too, but we didn’t go on any of those) for every age group.  I could have brought BB with us because there was a baby section too but we left him at home with my in-laws.  CB had a lot of fun and Meanie carried him on his lap for most of the rides.  There was even a kiddie section for CB too but he was a little too young to go by himself.  We had to get the lifeguard to haul CB out of one of the kiddie attractions (kiddie tube river) because he had fallen through the water tube and was just floating by the life jacket they provided. That’s a nice thing about the water park there. They provide life jackets for kids who can’t swim yet, free of charge.  I’m sure water parks in the US don’t do that.  We had a life vest for CB but the lifeguards said not to use it because it wasn’t certified.  My guess it was because it didn’t have the head floats.

These type of life vests were allowed because of the head floats in the water park:

Stohlquist Floatation Device for Infant/Toddlers –
priced at around $48.95 on Amazon

Mustang Survival swim vest –
priced at $40.70 on Amazon

We have something that looks like this. It’s not this brand – in fact, I’m not sure what brand it is but the whistle was blown when we were using this in the Canadian water park:

Notice it doesn’t have that head floating part.  The Amazon listing does mention this:
“Please note: Type III vests are not designed to turn a person from a face-down position to a face-up position.”

We went on most of the water slides. There were some we didn’t go on because CB wasn’t allowed to go on them because of the height requirement but he was a real trooper.  The really tough part was to either lug up a toddler up one of those steep hills or lugging one of those heavy tubes up the steep hill.  It was really tough to walk up there (especially for an out of shape fatty like me 😦 ) in bare feet.  Some of the people were wearing sandals and shoes but they would leave them up the mountain, go on the slide, and then walk all the way back up again to collect their shoes and go back down again. No thanks!  Some of the walk ways were really slippery, too, which wasn’t a good thing. Meanie almost fell one time holding onto CB. Pretty scary.  All in all, a really fun water park but there could be some improvements in safety.

************

Have you ever heard of Joe Beef?  I first heard about Joe Beef from Anthony Bourdain’s show – The Layover and watching the Montreal episode (thoroughly entertaining.  I love Anthony Bourdain!), I decided right then and there that I would make a reservation the next time we went to Montreal, especially since now that I can indulge in pate, foie gras, raw oysters, cured meats, wine and alcohol and all those wonderful foods I wasn’t really allowed to eat when I was preggers.  That episode of the Layover showed that there was a garden in the back of the restaurant where they grew most of their own produce.  How awesome is that?  Superduper fresh veggies!  Another win!

I tried to make my reservation early August for the end of August and the only times that were available were at 9:30pm.  Geesh!  I thought I looked early, too!  I freaked out and told Meanie that we need to pick a date NOW and so we decided on one with our friends and I had a reserved table.  Phew.  Utter disappointment diverted.

The kids were being babysat and we were free to have a nice dinner out. Date night!  Double date night! Woohoo!  We have one like maybe once a year. It’s really hard to find someone who is willing to watch the kids so that we can go out and have date nights so we take the opportunity when we are in Montreal.

We arrived a half hour earlier than our reservation and were faintly surprised that the restaurant was pretty small, consisting of two small rooms.  They were dimly lit and the tables were very close together.  Even though we had arrived first (and checked in first) out of the 9:30pm seating (and there was a big group of us loitering outside the restaurant), we were seated last.  I don’t know if it was because maybe I didn’t confirm my reservation since I discovered the voice mail on my cell phone AFTER I left Canada a few days later….or what, but we were relieved that there was a nice table waiting for us. We had a booth for the four of us, right across the menu written in chalk on a chalkboard:

We had a wonderful server – I do not remember her name – and I could have sworn she was flirting with Meanie in French. 😛  [Note to self: I need to learn French!] But whatever, I shrugged it off because she was probably doing it for more tips, or not. The ugly-green monster rears its head…..roar!  HMMF.

The four of us decided against wine and opted for beer – mainly because it was a week night and because we are lightweights with alcohol these days.  This was a good choice.  It was light and refreshing and it was a really big bottle of beer!

Here are our appetizers:

Some raw oysters – so good! And a light green salad with cheddar cheese.  All very light and refreshing.  There was another appetizer that we got – something like ham sliders.  That was very good too, but filling, because of all the bread.

THIS is what I chose.  How could you not come here and not order this. This is the Foie Gras “Double Down”.  This was HEAVEN.  Super bad for us but Oh-Em-Gee, oh-so-good. It was two slabs of foie gras, covered in fried chicken batter and deep fried. In between was some cheese, some gravy and a slice of bacon and some greens.  This was a half portion. It’s a good thing we only got that because my arteries were starting to clog up by the end of the dinner….

Here are our main courses:

Sorry for the crappy picture – I was in a hurry to eat my dish. LOL.  This is Smoked Ribs with Frites (M’s dish).  You wonder why the hell was this common dish ordered in a place like this but I think this one was one of my favorites.  Upon coming to the restaurant, we could smell this smokey wood smell that we were enjoying.  I call it the “smell of winter”. It just smells so wonderful.  The ribs were EXCELLENT. This was probably the best rib I have ever eaten – the meat was tender and it literally fell off the bone and it was so perfectly smoked.  The fries were pretty yummy and they came with a variety of dipping sauces.

This was a pork chop (M’s dish) and a very hearty one at that. This was also excellent – it was super tender and not dry at all.  It seemed like it melted in my mouth.  When does pork ever melt in your mouth?  NEVER EVER EVER!  These chefs definitely know how to cook their meat.  So delicious!

Meanie ordered Bugs Bunny or the Easter Bunny.  Well, it’s Rabbit.  I’ve never had rabbit before but Meanie has raved about how good rabbit is for the past 7 years we’ve been together.  It tastes like really unfatty chicken. It was good but it wasn’t a favorite of mine.  I don’t think I would order a plate of rabbit for myself.  Bunnies are to cuddle, not to eat! 😦

I wasn’t sure what to order.  I was kinda in the mood for fish or something, like Chilean Sea Bass. There was something listed on the menu as “Chili & Bass” so I don’t think it was Chilean Sea Bass..but wtf?  WHY am I thinking about ordering FISH at a MEAT restaurant?  So I opted for the Steak Joe Beef, Madame portion (10 oz). There was a Monsieur portion available at 18 oz but we had ordered so much food already.  The Madame portion was perfectly cooked at medium rare. It was served with a huge slice of red tomato (so fresh!) with horseradish shavings on top and a side of sauteed spinach.  Everything was PERFECT. It was also seasoned and literally melted in my mouth.  I usually don’t rave about spinach. Spinach is spinach, right?  Well this spinach was so amazingly fresh and good. It was a good balance to the heaviness of the steak.  Yum.  I had trouble finishing this portion but I finally did.  My arteries were starting to clog up around this time.

I was way too full for dessert but how often do we get to go out at a nice restaurant like this?  We might as go all out.  Everyone wanted their own dessert so I got one for myself, too. Haha.

Our desserts:

Panna Cotta with Watermelon Granita (M), Chocolate Mint Sundae (M), Financier on the Cob (Me)
There were so much more to the descriptions to these desserts but I don’t remember any of it.  The desserts were way more complicated than the titles.

Here’s a close-up of the Financier on the Cob.  I asked the flirty waitress (HMMF) which dessert she would prefer herself. She said she would usually go for the Chocolate Mint Sundae or the Financier so I opted for the latter.  It was basically a Madeleine baked with some cornmeal, some marzipan and ground almonds in a genuine corn cob leaf (?) with some roast corn on top in a sauce of mixed berries and there was even popcorn in there!  Thankfully the dessert was nice and light and I finished the whole damn thing.  Gah!

This is the Patate au Four. (Meanie’s dessert and the best dessert of the 4, IMO)
It looks liked a baked potato but there is no potato in there.  There are four layers in it – cake, meringue, ice cream and chocolate sauce poured all over it – which they do at the table.  It was really really good.

[I apologize for the lack of clarity in my pictures – they were taken with an iPhone, with flash (doh!) and I don’t own an SLR and I forgot my point & shoot camera]

This meal was excellent. I would definitely recommend and I would definitely go back again.  I love how there’s no set menu so there are different options every day. It just makes me want to go back more often to try everything.  The decor of the place was interesting and a bit freaky.  A lot of cow heads and the like.

Wouldn’t you be a little freaked out if you went to take a tinkle and saw this?  LOL  Meanie took this picture in the bathroom.  Good thing he told me about the bison head in the bathroom or else I would have really freaked out.  I wonder how many people have tried to ride this thing when they’re in the bathroom? Heheheh.

Our next target is Au Pied De Cochon. Wish us luck (for reservations, hehe)

I have more stuff to blog about but I will do that another day.

Toodles. (CB has been saying “Oh, Toodles!” a lot lately from Mickey Mouse Club House)

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About babydot74

Just a 30-something year old mother of two little boys, who bitches, gripes, ponders & wonders about everything. View all posts by babydot74

3 responses to “Back to the Grind; Vacation in Montreal & Joe Beef

  • sarahakahungry

    hi! it’s sarah from xanga. i’m a reader/lurker, i suppose. it’s great to read this blog. josh loves traveling to montreal. i’m going to try to keep this place in mind. everything looks and sounds amazing.

  • babydot74

    Hi Sarah! 🙂 I have to admit something, too, but I get email updates from your blog on Xanga and am updated. I just want to say congrats to you both! 🙂 Sorry I never got onto Xanga but I’m blocked at work (boo) and I don’t have time at home to get on the computer.

  • sarahakahungry

    as a mom of two busy boys, you could blame you? thanks!

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