I'm an American, from Arkansas, living in Quebec with my Italian/French Canadian husband. I worked in libraries before moving to Canada. My husband and I live just off the Montreal island with our cat, Eliza. We are in our early 30s. I enjoy gardening, furniture restoration, reading, watching British television, and watercolors. I love secondhand shops and used book stores. I've lived in four Southern states (Arkansas, Mississippi, Tennessee, and Alabama), Massachusetts twice, and California. I'm quite the explorer.
I would eat food from any country, but love Mexican cooking the most. I do miss it living in Canada, but I've discovered a different, yet enjoyable, foodie life here. I have always been curious about the way other people eat and why they eat a certain way. My cooking style is generally healthy, but flexible, and I enjoy eating foods from all over the world. I'm much more inclined to try all fruits and vegetables rather than an animal product, but I'm not a vegetarian. The history of food is also something that fascinates me. I love reading ancient cookbooks and learning about cultural foodways. My favorite spots are the cooking section of a used bookstore, ethnic and farmers' markets and local farm stores. I would never pass up a trip to Trader Joe's or Whole Foods either. The closest ones to Montreal are over 5 hours away, so we have invested in a deep freezer and I stock up when we go to the U.S. - which is often. I can't bear to be away from the New England coastline for very long. I think it is one of the most beautiful areas in the world.
I don't feel I have truly experienced the Montreal food scene, but we try to eat out once a week to see what's on offer. Currently we like Bofinger BBQ Smokehouse (Southern BBQ), Le Petit Munich (German), Baton Rouge (Steak and Ribs), Havre aux Glace (Gelato), Chez Cora (breakfast), Pizzeria Napoletana (authentic Italian pizza), Sucrerie de la Montagne (best sugar shack breakfast) and Vergers and Cidrerie Denis Charbonneau (best apple orchard breakfast). These restaurants are very far apart, on and off the island. We have gone the distance to find them and try them several times for consistency. These are the spots we would be proud to take our out-of-town guests.
Montreal offers an excellent selection of ingredients even if you have to dig a bit. If you are looking for a particularly hard to find ingredient there will always be some tucked-away ethnic market that will have it, such as curry leaves and tamarind paste from Singh Farm in Dollard-des-Ormeaux, Oaxaca cheese and brown chipotles from the small market above Chipotle and Jalapeno on Amherst in Montreal or Lebanese cucumbers, harissa paste, and lavash bread from Supermarche Akhavan. I could go on about the ethnic markets here and I do in my blog. I also love Marche Hawai for Asian groceries and Milano Fruiterie and Iris/Giannini Importing for Italian foods. The farmers markets and food halls here are excellent. We frequent Marche Jean-Talon and always make a point to visit Olives et Epices and Chez Louis.
This blog is simply a way to share my favorite recipes and expat experiences with my readers. I hope you enjoy my blog and I would love to hear from you. Send me an email at madamemonaco AT gmail.com.