Modern Travel: Montréal en Lumière Day 2

Modern Mississauga is in Montreal for four days to experience the renowned Montréal en Lumière festival along with Brigitte Hasbron from The Food Tease. In this four-part series, we’ll be sharing our experiences with you.

Day 2 – February 24th

We're mobile via a 2017 Volkswagen Jetta GLI

JAY SAYS:

After a good night sleep and a very (nearly scalding because that’s how I like it) shower, Brigitte and I picked up our chariot for the next few days; a 2017 Volkswagen Jetta GLI as our itinerary sees us doing a lot of travelling between restaurants and various venues.  My new pal Steve Spence from Spenco will be getting a Christmas card this year for helping out with transportation.
Thankfully the Jetta came with a great navigation system, heated seats and a strong fit and finish to make shuffling around the city comfortable. 
Beneath the hood is a 2.0L TSI engine producing 210 horsepower and 207 lb-ft. of torque. It’s too bad that all the construction and congestion on a Friday morning and afternoon didn’t enable me to exceed 70 km/h. However, there’s still plenty of time left before the Jetta is returned. 
Some of you know that I’m a musician and I happen to use Fender guitars and amps. A standout feature for me in the car is the 400 watt, 8-speaker Fender audio system, which even makes Brigitte’s musical choices (a 180 degree difference from mine; The Weekend (her) vs Ryan Adams (me)) sound tolerable. Well, fine, they sound good. Really good.
It’s also where we shot one good video on Friday afternoon (and many outtakes, which may or may not see the internet’s light of day) that you’ll see a bit further down.

BRIGITTE SAYS:

Thank goodness the Jetta has a very loud audio system so that I was able to crank up the volume! The heated seats came in handy and when you wave your hand in front of the infotainment system on the Navigation screen, a list of options appears on the bottom…very cool. 
As Jay drove around the city (where we saw our share of folks who didn’t signal) I was happy to play DJ as we loudly listened to DMX, 70’s on 7 and Lithium, with various artists in between. 

Lunch at Le Quartier Général Restaurant

BRIGITTE SAYS:

Dominic Laflamme, owner of Le Quartier Général greeted us as we entered his ultra-charming restaurant and was kind enough to speak with us as guests were filling his 52 seat establishment.
Listed as a hot spot to discover in EnRoute’s magazine in 2010, Le Quartier Général is a place where patrons enjoy locally sourced products that deliver big on taste. 
Bringing your own wine has been a massive hit as it allows patrons to bring in their favorite vino to accompany the culinary creativity that the restaurant provides.
The menu has been carefully curated to omit lengthy meal descriptions. This is intentional to encourage engagement of his team with the patrons to understand the meal and its composition. 
The items on the lunch menu depicted all things French Canadian, from foie gras butter to steak and frites and the irresistible Pudding Chomeur.
Jay and I shared our meals to maximize our exposure to the chef’s talents. 
White Sausage Pogo was a hit with me as its flavourful chicken breaded pogo style was a whimsical take on an old school favourite. Jay swooned over their deconstructed poutine that consisted of mashed potato fries in tater form accompanied by a melt in your mouth braised pork shoulder served with a green peppercorn sauce with green onions and shitake mushrooms. 
For our mains, we both thoroughly enjoyed our proteins via Portugese chicken and the house specialty, the Hanger Steak. The succulent chicken was grilled and served with a slightly spicy red pepper coulis and brussel sprout Cesar salad. The steak oozed flavour with its foie gras butter and double-fried frites with homemade mayonnaise.
For our sweet tooth, we indulged in the classic Pudding Chomeur. That in itself is pure French Canadiana…so much so, that I had to order two because they were that delicious. Above that, we also shared a sweet vanilla and praline doughnut. 
Le Quartier Général is without hesitation a place where you would want to sit back and enjoy delicious French cuisine in a very relaxing and charming establishment.

JAY SAYS:

I’m not nearly as well versed food-wise as my counterpart who graduated from le Cordon Bleu but I do know what I like and what tastes good. In this case, everything that came out was delicious. 
I do quite like the bare-bones menu description instead of having 50-ish words that try and dress up a menu item; let the food speak for itself.
 

Dinner at Kitchen Galerie




BRIGITTE & JAY SAY: 
 

The dinner at Kitchen Galerie should be called Foie Gras Mania! Seriously speaking I have never eaten so much foie gras in one sitting in my entire life. Jay and I were privileged to be treated to an 8 course dinner, each one integrating foie gras into the meal. The duo behind this intimate galley eatery are executive chef and owners, Matthieu Cloutier and Matthieu Bourdages. Both of which were at the helm of their open concept kitchen. 
I love the fact the patrons can see firsthand the work and passion that is involved in some of the more intricate dishes. Since we were about to embark our foie gras culinary journey, our ever so friendly sommelier, Gabriel Gallant guided us as our wine pairings had us traveling to the likes of Austria, France and Italy. 

8 Course Foie Gras Menu
1.    New Brunswick oysters with pan fried gras and sweet honey
2.    Sea urchin with a garlic, onion foie gras cream
(Paired wine - Chablis, 2015, Gérard Duplessis, France)
3.    Maple syrup granite, Mujol (Spanish herring) caviar served with foie gras snow
(Paired wine - Kamptal, Loiser Berg 1er cru, 2014, Brundlmayer, Austria)
4.    Lobster, squash chutney and foie gras terrine
(Paired wine - Cotes de Thongue, 2015 Les Haut de Montarels, France)
5.    Beef tartar with truffle mushroom
6.    Pork shoulder with shrimp and chorizo lentils in a foie gras sauce
(Paired wine - St. Joseph, Aléofane, 2014, Natacha Chave, France)
7.    Pear crisp with foie gras cooked ‘dish-washing machine-style’
8.   Tarte tartin pan fried foie gras
(Paired wine - Coteaux du Layon, 1996, Moulin Touchais, France)

Each of these perfectly executed dishes gave a new appreciation to the various and complex ways one can incorporate our buttery friend, foie gras.

I would have to say that I have several favorites (it’s very hard to single out just one) when it came to our dinner last night. The sea urchin with its velvety garlic cream was phenomenal. You could taste the saltiness of the urchin yet the garlic and onion foie gras cream balanced it perfectly.

The pork shoulder was a hit for both Jay and I as it was the perfect marriage of surf and turf. The pork was melt in your mouth tender and the shrimp and chorizo lentils were impeccable accompaniments to this savoury course.

For the pear dessert it was written on the menu that it was cooked ‘dish-washing-machine’ style. Needless to say I had to find out what that really meant. And you can imagine my surprise when we were told that the foie gras in fact gets cooked in their washing machine!!! The said that the steam of the machine provides the right temperature for their foie gras to be satisfying to the palate.
To our surprise, Jay and I both had the rare opportunity to be taken behind the kitchen line to see how the chefs assemble their lobster, squash chutney and foie gras terrine dish. We loved how they wanted to make us feel special all the while their very busy eatery had no end in sight in regards to patrons coming in to experience the same kind of food love that we just had!
The mere fact that Kitchen Galerie provides a huge array of diverse meal selction including the option of a four-course, six-course or eight-course meal is impressive to say the least. A definite food experience for any food lover searching for something one of a kind.

A jazz tribute performance to renowned Jelly & George


JAY SAYS:

Here's what the official description states: 

Two of the most brilliant composers of the 20th century–ragtime legend Jelly Roll Morton and the immortal George Gershwin–revisited by three of the most sparkling rising stars in contemporary jazz: terrific pianists Aaron Diehl and Adam Birnbaum, and spectacular vocalist Cécile McLorin Salvant. Get ready for a magical evening glittering with the timeless classics and lesser-known gems of these two giants of jazz.

Even though Brigitte and I were a bit late arriving, we were still able to enjoy the musical talents of this established collective of musicians. 
There were terrific rounds of solos from each member sprinkled throughout the night, with each one improving upon the last. 
The musicianship was sky high and the dynamics of the music was incredibly high, with each musician contributing towards producing a remarkable collection of music.

Performers include:
Aaron Diehl, piano
Cécile McLorin Salvant, vocals
Adam Birnbaum, piano
Paul Sikivie, bass
Lawrence Leathers, drums
Corey Wilcox, trombone
Evan Christopher, clarinet
Bruce Harris, trumpet

BRIGITTE SAYS:

Even though my eclectic musical tastes don't steer directly towards jazz music, my appreciation for what these musicians do is high. The smooth vocals only added to the band being fully in snyc with each other. 
It was a great way to close out an entertaining day and I highly recommend picking up their album through your avenue of choice. 

Modern Travel: Montréal en Lumière Day 1