FOOD | Poutine for Every Occassion

Don’t worry, I’m not speaking a foreign language in the title of this post. Chances are, unless you’ve travelled to Canada, or can call a Canadian one of your close friends, you have no idea what poutine is. Oh, readers. How my heart aches for you. Actually, my heart aches because I ate too much artery-clogging poutine on my last trip to Montreal, but that’s another issue.

Living abroad, whenever someone asked me about Canadian cuisine I would always have to explain that being such a multicultural country, Canada has very few Canada-unique dishes. One of our claims to fame, is poutine. Poutine is fries, topped with cheese curds (the squeakier the better, in my books), covered in hot gravy. Try explaining this to an Italian. I should have created a separate blog just to record the looks of horror they gave me. To this day, I’m still not sure what gravy is in Italian, but I liked to refer to it as meat juice, or meat sauce. Drooling yet?

While in Montreal a few months ago, during a food tour, we stumbled across a little restaurant in the heart of the Mile End neighbourhood with a queue that would rival the cronut queue in NYC. Wait, are kids still lining up for that?

So, after seeing said line up, we took to Google to find out more about this restaurant. Fabergé had great reviews, and there were rumours of a breakfast poutine. The next morning we got up early and sauntered over, excited to beat the brunch rush. Let’s set the scene. Two clueless Torontonians round the corner only to discover the WORLD’S LONGEST LINE. Truth. You can read about it in the Guinness Book of World Records. Take two: same Torontonians set alarms to arrive at the same restaurant 22 hours later. Conclusion? We got a table for two where I tasted the below breakfast poutine firsthand, and washed it down with a mimosa or three.

20160905_103903_resized

Address: 25 Avenue Fairmount Ouest, Montreal, QC H2T 2L9

Phone: + 1 514 903 6649

Advertisements

FLIGHTS | Naxos = Wine and George (Part 2)

I know I left you hanging on my last post with promises about our wine cost negotiations. Well, after refreshing your browsers hour after hour, the moment has arrived. Today you will learn why a smile, and a promise of drinking a lot of wine, can be financially beneficial.

Canadian girls: Oh, look! Retsina is only 3.50 euro per half litre. But a half litre isn’t very much. I wonder if we order a litre if they’ll give it to us for 6 euro.

Server: What can I get you?

Canadian girls: We will have a lot of food (I can’t remember specifics, sorry.) And we will have two half litres of retsina, but we will only pay 3 euro for each half litre. Ok?

Server: … … … … Ok.

Canadian girls: Great! We will have three litres total of retsina.

We came across the restaurant after a day of sailing with George*. George’s wife lured us in one afternoon with the promise of a great day of sailing on a small boat and seeing the Greek islands. She was adorable, and after some negotiations to make sure we paid a student rate, we agreed. When we showed up that morning we realized that George’s lovely wife would not be joining us. George was hilarious, and if you aren’t offended easily then I would probably recommend spending a day sailing with him. He will likely insult you, unless you are a female in which case he will 100% insult you, at least five times. He can’t insult you just once, because females never listen so you won’t even hear the first few insults.

Anyway, back to how we came across this restaurant. After our day of sailing, George recommended that we go to a restaurant just off the water and tell them that George sent us to get a free appetizer. Interesting fact of the day: the words “it’s that white building there – tell them George sent you” can apply to every situation in Greece. There are no non-white buildings, and no one not named George. I’m 87% sure I could travel the entire country telling people that George sent me and get some kind of nod of recognition at each place.

*Sailing George is not Hotel George. I told you there were a lot of them!

Sailing wasn’t all bad. We did get some great pictures, and you can’t photograph an insult so I’ve almost forgotten how offended I should be by George. Some more retsina will help, I’m sure.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

FLIGHTS | Naxos = Wine (Part 1)

This post is dedicated to my all-time favourite island. That’s saying a lot, seeing as I come from one of the most beautiful islands in the world (Vancouver Island). Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Naxos, Greece.

A couple of summers ago, as our two years of living in Europe were coming to an end, a friend and I made a travel to-do list. Greece was on top, but we weren’t much more specific in terms of where we wanted to go. In our research of the islands, we came across the island of Naxos. What’s so special about Naxos? Dionysus, the Greek god of WINE, came from Naxos. That’s enough reason right there to plan a visit.

After flying in to Athens, we set off on a large ferry the next day. Upon our arrival, we were greeted by a lovely man name George (the first of many) who took us to our accommodations. He gave us the quick low down on the island, and we dropped off our bags and went off in search of beaches. The below three came out on top:

Agios Georgios: semi-organized, right in town, great waves, and overall a great beach.

Plaka beach: we had to take a bus to get here, but man am I glad we did. We got off the bus, climbed over the sand dune, and were greeted with a long stretch of white sand and blue water. And a naked old man. Warning: this beach is clothing optional! We settled in to the first chairs we came across, and a couple of hours later a young Greek boy came around asking for payment for the day. I can’t recall how much it was, but it was definitely a bargain. Go. To. This. Beach.

Villa Marandi beach: one day we set off in search of a new beach on foot. We continued south west beyond Agios Georgios, past Laguna which is popular for kite surfing, and eventually we had to get back on to the main road. After a short walk on the main road, we wandered down a side street that led towards an almost abandoned beach, with a handful of chairs. We made ourselves at home on the empty chairs and suffered through yet another amazing beach day. Bonus, on our walk back to town (hot and exhausted from beaching), we hitchhiked and were actually picked up but a lovely older Canadian couple!!

IMG_20140721_161038[1]

Much more to come on Naxos this week, including our sailing adventure with George (who else), and that time we negotiated the price of our retsina based on how much we committed to drinking.

FOOD | Let’s Manger!

Apologies if the title of this post is a little unclear, but I like to throw in the occasional French word to sound très chic. Did it work?

There are going to be many posts about Paris, because j’adore Paris, but because this restaurant received great reviews from everyone I sent there, I begin with La Cave Gourmande. This was one of my favourite meals in Paris. We were wandering our way up through Montmartre one evening, and starting to scope our restaurants, when we happened upon this cozy little restaurant. After chatting up the owner, he swore to us that he served the best bœuf bourguignon in Paris. Well, always a believer, we promised to return on our trek back down. We started with the foie gras, which as long as you don’t focus too much on where it comes from, is absolutely decadent. Followed by the hyped-up bœuf bourguignon, at which point I nearly fell to my knees to beg the owner to either hire me, marry me, or feed me for life. None of these happened.

I’ve sent multiple people back to this restaurant since I went in Spring 2014, and all have written to me afterwards to tell me how delicious it was. World, you are welcome. Now go forth and manger!20140504_221326

Address: 96 Rue des Martyrs, 75018 Paris, France

Phone: +33 (0)140400330

FLIGHTS | Churches, and Bones, and Milan, OH MY!

To no one’s surprise, many of my first posts will be about Milan. But, I want to break stereotypes today and talk about something other than the Duomo, or the Last Supper. Have you ever been to an ossuary? If you haven’t, then read on for a bone-chilling (you’ll get it later) description of a church in Milan. If you have, then please keep your comments to yourself until the end so you don’t ruin it for the others.

There is a church in the centre of Milan, San Bernardino alle Ossa, that comes complete with an ossuary. Let me save you the trouble of searching this word. An ossuary is defined as the room into which the bones of dead people are placed. Wait, why do we need to specify “dead people” here?

Back to the bone room ossuary. I’m honestly surprised that this place isn’t a bigger tourist attraction. Yes, I know it’s kind of morbid. But, it’s also pretty fascinating and different! It’s also very cool during the hot Milanese summer. I guess a Spritz would also cool you down, if bone rooms aren’t your thing.

I’ve included some of my very professional looking pictures below, because if I keep talking about a room full of bones, you’re going to start picturing me in an Indiana Jones movie or something. Spoiler alert: I kind of was.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Address: via Verziere, 2, Milano, Italy

Disclaimer: This post about human bones, is not to be confused with my upcoming post about animal skulls in Marrakesh!

Welcome!

For those of you who started to follow me back in the days of LaCanadese, welcome back! For those of you who are new, I hope you enjoy my writing.

I started my LaCanadese blog in 2012, when I moved to Italy to pursue a dream. I enjoyed writing about my adventures overseas, especially because it was an easy way to let people know what I was up to. Fast-forward to 2016, and I am back in Canada with seemingly little to blog about. I kept being asked about my blog, and I started to feel like LaCanadese should have a FAQ section!

Q: Olivia! I miss your posts! When will you write something new?

A: Would you consider paying for me to travel around the world for one year? I think I could continue blogging for a bit on that.

Q: Olivia! We were talking about your blog the other day, and remembering what a great writer you were. Will you continue writing?

A: Should I get royalties for my blog posts that people keep talking about? Can I just keep riding on the limited number of posts I made? Am I the Fawlty Towers of blogging?

Q: Olivia, are you alive?

A: Yes, just because I have reduced my online presence, I promise you that I am still alive and well.

Q: Okay, Olivia, this is getting ridiculous. You had better blog immediately, or you’re out of the family.

A: But, how can I write for a blog that translates to “The Canadian in Milan” when I am clearly no longer living in Milan?

It took a while, but I have finally come up with a direction for my new blog. To start with, many posts will be a re-write of what you may have already read on LaCanadese, but these new posts will focus strictly on travel, style, and food. If you know me, you know that I am passionate about all of these!

My hope is that this blog can become a go-to for anyone looking for travel or dining recommendations around the world, and anyone who enjoys fashion and reading my musings on it.

PS – If you have ideas for a topic you’d like me to discuss, please let me know in the comments!

IMG_20160326_210626