Sunday Special – Montreal


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View of Montreal from Parc Mont Royal – Photo credit: Taken and owned By John Lian (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

Today we will check out the city which I think is the coolest in all of Canada and that is Montreal.  This fun city is the largest city in the province of Quebec and the second largest in Canada after Toronto. Not only that, this city is the second largest predominantly French-speaking city on the planet, just after Paris. Additionally it was recently ranked as the world’s best city to study abroad by Quacquarelli Symonds. Finally, Montreal is celebrating its 375th birthday this year. Which if you don’t know, makes it older than Canada (which turns 150 on July 1).  Montreal wa founded on what was Hochelagaa St Lawrence Iroquois village in the 15th century, though First Nations peoples inhabited the area for centuries longer. It was part of New France until the mid-18th century.  Today Montreal is a vibrant and social landscape that has a bit of a European feel to it. It has been far too many years since I visited though I do recall enjoying the vibe of the city a great deal. Perhaps another visit is due.

  • Visit historic Old Montreal and take in various sites such as Bonsecours Market, the Old Port of Montreal, and the picturesque Notre-Dame Basilica. Or perhaps you’d like to wander its cobblestones streets via food tour?
  • Take in a pretty city view from Parc du Mont Royal (Mount Royal Park) or visit the Jardin Botanique de Montreal (Montreal Botanical Gardens) in Parc Maisonneuve?
  • Foodies rejoice – Montreal has some great restaurants and dining of all ranges, though do try the Montreal-style smoked meat, the bagels and of course poutine!
  • Sports fans take in all manner of games to watch:
    • Montreal Candiens NHL hockey
    • Montreal Allouettes CFL football
    • Montreal Impact MLS soccer
    • Auto racing
    • Boxing
    • Women’s hockey
    • Tennis
  • Music and comedy festivals abound

I don’t think my list has done this city justice though I hope it inspires you check out Montreal at any time of year. 

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Vieux-Port Montreal (Montreal Old Port) – Photo credit: By Joanne Lévesque (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

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Montreal-style bagels – Photo credit: By Garyperlman at English Wikipedia (Transferred from en.wikipedia to Commons.) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

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Montreal-style smoked meat – Photo credit: By chensiyuan (chensiyuan) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC BY-SA 4.0-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

Sunday Special – Malaysia


If you haven’t figured out already, the weeks prior to a big trip are rather hectic for me. I work more (since I’m self-employed and don’t get vacation pay I make it up beforehand), do all the errands and basically stress out while being extremely excited. I leave for Malaysia very soon so I decided today’s post would be about why I chose this country as a destination.

First and foremost has to be that I want to see the Petronas Twin Towers. I have always thought they look amazing and want to see them up close and personal. Seeing them from the ground as well as the view from above is a draw for me. In fact, I have already booked my viewing from the Skybridge and observation deck for sunset on my second day in Kuala Lumpur. I’m stoked. The other reason to see Malaysia is because of the four letter “F” word. Yeah, that’s right – its about the FOOD! Of the Malaysian food I have tried here in Canada I can honestly say it is one of my favourites. I am hoping to try a vast number of different dishes so I can sample all the various influences and flavours. Those are the main factors that lead me to chose Malaysia as my next destination. While doing research to see what other things this Asian country has to offer I learned of history (Malaca), beach islands (Tioman, Langkawi), beautiful landscapes (Cameron Highlands, Borneo) and a variety of street art (Malaca, Penang). These are just a few of the things to choose from. I certainly am excited!!! Soon I will be posting my own photos for you to see!

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Petronas Twin Towers at night in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia – Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons – taken & owned by Shiva Kumal Khanal

By Shiva Kumar Khanal (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

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Food in Georgetown, Penang – Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons – photo taken and owned by yeowatzup

By yeowatzup from Katlenburg-Lindau, Germany (Georgetown, Penang, Malaysia) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

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Food vendor in Georgetown, Penang – Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons – photo taken and owned by yeowatzup

By yeowatzup from Katlenburg-Lindau, Germany (Georgetown, Penang, Malaysia) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

It Made My Mouth Water


We must eat in life in order to survive. Sustenance is a requirement, so might as well enjoy what you eat. While on my big trip I did just that. Now of course there were times when the food was not so great – like the time I made a horrible pasta dish at my hostel. I don’t know how I mucked up pasta but I did. Then of course there were some dishes that just were not to my liking due to my taste buds. But then….oh then, there were some amazing dishes. Many were homemade and others were at restaurants. Below is a list of some of dishes that appeased my palette and made me want seconds. They are in no particular order, however, it bears mentioning that the food I loved the most was in India. Homemade vegetarian food in Punjab was the single best food moment of my life. True story. It rocked my mouth’s world.

So here is my list of fav foods and where I had them:

  • Halusky – potato dumplings with sheep’s milk cheese & bacon. Comfort food at its best! I went here 4 times.  Old Slovak Pub in Bratislava, Slovakiahalusky
  • Rasam Rice – My friend Vidya made this while I stayed with her in England. It’s a southern Indian dish that has kick and flavour. OMG it was good & spicy. Actually all her cooking was good!
  • Svickova – meat and dumplings in a yummy sauce/gravy. Again, comfort food that is great. Only problem was that it was so filling that I couldn’t finish it all. My friend Vilem took me to a traditional Czech restaurant in Prague for lunch and I tried this at his suggestion. It was so yummy.svickova
  • Lettu – So this one isn’t really part of my big trip but it is. Lettu are Finnish (buttermilk) pancakes. They are similar to crepes in that they are very thin however they kick those crepes’ butts. I add them to this list as I did have them, at home visiting my parents. My mom makes the world’s best lettuja (plural for pancakes) and I must include them.  And don’t argue with me who makes the best ones – my mom does. You won’t win this argument.
  • British Ham – forget what you know about ham. My sister and I went for a pub lunch with some friends while we were in Chester and it was suggested to me to try the ham and eggs. Wow – tender, not very salty and definitely not like processed ham that you can buy in the grocery store. The only ham that tastes better is a Finnish “Joulu kinkku” (Christmas ham that is brined and then cooked low ‘n slow).
  • Almost all the food in I had in Punjabb, India – okay so I don’t know the names of my fav dish, I think it’s Bhindi Masala (it’s made with okra) and then pretty much all the dahl recipes. And Roti…homemade roti. The family Dempy & I stayed with grew just about everything and it was so fresh that it made all the difference. I miss that food and it is what I remember most about my time there.
  • samosa

okra dish

  • Belgian Waffles & Frites – These 2 are a tie for this country. The waffles really are amazing – light yet crisp. I had mine with just a dusting of sugar and it melted in my mouth. The frites were equally good. Crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside. Add a side of spicy mayo and they may very well be the best fries you’ve ever tasted.wafflesfrites

 

  • Crepes – had sweet ones (nutella and banana) while in Paris at a cafe near the Notre Dame. It came with a sparkler. A perfect amount of sweet.

crepes

 

  • Shopska Salad – simple is best. This salad I enjoyed in both Macedonia and Bulgaria on a couple occassions. It is similar to a Greek salad but way better. I think it may be the sirene cheese that makes it so good. Cucumbers, tomatoes, onion and peppers tossed with the cheese. Add a splash of oil and it is heaven. I tried re-creating it here at home. It failed miserably (sad face).
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  • Tarator – I had this cool yogurt soup while taking the free Balkan Bites tour in Sofia, Bulgaria. Wow! I loved it. I made it a home too as they share the recipe. Not bad at home but way better in Sofia! Actually, all the foods I tried on the Balkan Bites tour were fantastic.

tarator ms brown

 

  • Smoki – okay so not really a food but junk food. They are basically like cheese puffs but peanut flavoured – and so addicting. Love them.

smoki

 

  • Belgian chocolate – need I say more?
  • Beglian Chocolate

That is my list of fav foods while I was away. I wish I could describe to you the wonderfulness of it all. I hope the few pictures I have can give you an idea of how happy my mouth was. So, what are your favourite food memories from travelling?

Next up – best drinks…

All photos taken and owned by Wanders The World/Eeva Valiharju

VANCOUVER HOT CHOCOLATE FESTIVAL


I am so excited! I just found out the dates for the 4th annual Hot Chocolate Festival. It begins tomorrow January 18 and runs until Valentine’s Day February 14, 2014.

During this time frame you can visit any of the 25 participating venues serving delectable rich hot chocolate and drinking chocolate. Add flavours like hazelnut, caramel, cardamom and much more and you are in chocolate heaven! Last year I only visited one location, Chocolaterie de la Nouvelle France. A small unassuming shop tucked around the corner of Main St on 21st Ave, this space gave me the best chocolate drink I have ever had. It was rich, it was thick, it was a wall of chocolate.  I actually had my chocolate craving satisfied for some time. I may not get drinking chocolate again due to its intensity and richness but I will have the milder hot chocolate.

If you would like to know more about where to enjoy some of this sweet velvety goodness then check out the link below from VanCity Buzz or check out City Magazine. Your taste buds will thank you.