Mar 21, 2010

It's sugaring-off time! The best sugar shacks near Montreal



It's March, finally... spring is here! And so is sugaring-off, the decadent tradition that has quebecers gorging themselves on massive amounts of cabane à sucre specialties like fèves au lard (beans) and tourtière (meat pie), all containing copious amounts of maple syrup, and served in "shacks" or "cabanes" near the maple groves where the syrup is harvested. And at the end.... there's always "la tire", where hot syrup is poured on snow and rolled up, like a make-it-yourself warm lollipop (pictured above).

The newspaper La Presse did a great roundup of the cabanes à sucres that they recommend. You can read the article here. These are the shacks that they list as the best:



AU PIED DE COCHON
Saint-Benoît-de-Mirabel
Owned and run by celeb-chef Martin Picard, a million times cooler and better than any of the other sugar shacks, it's already fully booked for the remainder of the season. Basically, you have to book this year if you want to eat there NEXT spring! Sigh...
450-258-1732

LA BELLE ÉPOQUE
Saint-Bernard-de-Michaudville
450-792-2031

AU GRÉ DES SAISONS
Oka
450-479-1010

CHALET DES ÉRABLES
Sainte-Anne-des-Plaines
450-478-0822

ÉRABLIÈRE D'AUTREFOIS
L'Assomption
450-588-0165

CABANE FAMILLE ÉTHIER
Saint-Benoît-de-Mirabel
450-258-3807

FERME LE CRÉPUSCULE
Yamachiche
819-296-1321

SUCRERIE JEAN-LOUIS MASSICOTTE ET FILLES
Saint-Prosper
418-328-8790

Mar 11, 2010

Ski resorts near Montreal: spring skiing season is here!



The days are sunny and balmy, yet most ski mountains in Quebec still have plenty of snow and all their trails open. This is the best time to ski!

There's always the famous Mont Tremblant, Quebec's top ski resort. But you could also go skiing at one of the smaller ski resorts, like Mont Sutton, Mont Orford  or Sutton, all three in the Eastern Townships region, just Southeast of Montreal.






Mont Tremblant

Mont Tremblant: 94 pistas, vertical drop de 645 metros. 1000, chemin des Voyageurs, tel. (514) 876-7273

Fairmont Tremblant : 3045 chemin de la Chapelle, tel. (819) 681-7000
The most famous of the hotels, built in 1997 to resemble a castle (pictured below). Ski in, ski out.




Le Westin Resort & Spa : 100 Chemin Kandahar, tel. (819) 681-8000 (pictured below)
French-style rooms with gas fireplaces, many with kitchenettes. Heated outdoor pool and jacuzzi. Great Japanese restaurant.



Aux Truffes: 3035, chemin de la Chapelle, tel. (819) 681-4544
The best for typical Québec fare done in a high-end style.

Le Cheval de Jade: 688 rue de Saint-Jovite, tel. (819) 425-5233
In the nearby town of St. Jovite, a traditional French restaurant.


O clima no Le P’tit Caribou (1000, chemin des Voyageurs, tel. (819) 681-4500)
For years, it's been THE place to go for drinks and flirting.


Spa Nature Le Scandinave : 4280, montée Ryan, Tel.: (819) 425-5524
Gorgeous nordic spa with several outdoor baths.




Mont Sutton

Mont Sutton: 53 trails, 460 meter vertical drop ( tel. (450) 538-2339,


Auberge le St-Amour: 1, rue Pleasant, tel. (450) 538-6188
Very cute B&B in the town of Sutton.

Auberge West Brome: 128, route 139, tel. (450) 266-7552
Bigger inn, out on a country road. Most rooms have kitchenettes.

Le Mocador Bistro: 17, rue Principale Nord, tel. (450) 538-2426.  Great little bistro....Sutton is best known for its glades skiing, through the trees:

and it also has a cozy bonfire at the top of the mountain:






Mont Orford

Mont Orford: 54 trails, 540 meters vertical drop, 4380, Chemin du Parc, Tel. (819) 843-6548

L’Ancestrale: 200 rue Abbott, tel. (819) 847-5555 (pictured below)
Cozy bed and breakfast in the heart of downtown Magog.



Hôtel Chéribourg: 2603, chemin du Parc, tel. (819) 843-3308
A big hotel, a tad generic, but very close to the mountain.


Lady of the Lake:125 chemin de la Plage des Cantons, tel.. (819) 868-2004
Nice bistro right on lake Memphremagog.

Manoir Hovey: 575 chemin Hovey, tel. (819) 842-2421
The fanciest hotel in the region, part of the posh Relais&Châteaux association




Restaurant L'Expresso: 1691 chemin Rivière Aux Cerises, tel. (819) 843-7320
Cute little Italian bistro serving large plates of pasta.




And here, a video showing spring skiing at Mont Orford, last week!









Mar 7, 2010

The best of Montreal nightlife: Koko, Le Vauvert, Jello and Bassment



As with every other city, Montréal also has "the right spots" depending on the night of the week. We asked Josh Silver, who knows the city's nightlife more than most, for his tips to help us choose the right place for the right night.


His suggestions are spot-on! So here it goes, Montréal nightlife by Josh Silver:


MONDAY NIGHT:
I recommend checking out a place called L'Orignal (it means "Moose" in French)... This "Chalet-Chic" restaurant will make you feel like you are Up North in a cool cottage! They have amazing Staff nights on Mondays where a lot of Old Montreal Locals hang out, the prices are inexpensive, the music eclectic, the staff AMAZING, and the food deliciously different!
If you like Oysters, this is the place! They have the best oyster shucker in the City (Daniel Notkin) working there. He knows everything there is to know about oysters, as well he hand picks the best & freshest stuff from around the Globe.

TUESDAY NIGHT:
I recommend that you go for dinner at a place called Ora  in Old Montreal... 394 St. Jacques st. west (Old Montreal).
Girls eat free so it's always crowded on Tuesdays...  After dinner, head to Suco Lounge located in the Opus Hotel (St. Laurent & Sherbrooke st.). Amazing vibe on Tuesdays! House music, Hip hop & RnB, with a cool crowd in a swanky place...


WEDNESDAY NIGHT:
Check out L'Appartement Resto Lounge in Old Montreal for a cool dining environment with many of Montreal's attractive individuals, have a drink in their cozy lounge downstairs before or after dinner. 600 William Street, corner with McGill street.

If you are in the mood for live music, head to the Jello Martini Lounge on Ontario st. (just east of St. Laurent). There is an amazing Martini list, great live music (Soul & Funk), cool retro environment, and hip local crowd.


THURSDAY NIGHT:
I recommend "Le Vauvert" swanky restaurant / lounge (located in the St. Paul Hotel in Old Montreal)... Amazing "Happy Hour" on Thursdays (enough said).
Dinner menu is terrific! This place is a favourite hang out for Models & the Jet-Set type...
French Folklore states that Le Vauvert was a Castle in France where the Devil himself used to hang out and play!


FRIDAY NIGHT:

Macaroni Bar, an awesome Supperclub! It serves amazing nouveau Italian cuisine such as gnocchi poutine and other exciting dishes. After dinner, the place gets absolutely hopping!
DJ "Avi Large" knows how to rock the room with some of the best dance music out there...
There is an outdoor terrace so the place is a lot of in the Summer as well...
From beginning to end, this place offers a totally fun experience! This is the place to be on Friday nights for sure...
Macaroni Bar: 4448 Boulevard St Laurent, corner of Mont-Royal




SATURDAY NIGHT: 
Have a spectacular Pan-Asian dining experience at Koko Supper club located in the Opus Hotel. This place has an incredibly stylish environment, with a sophistication that stands out.
Dinner turns into a Party after 11pm....

Also check out the underground styled House Music club called BASSMENT.
Situated adjacent to the old Port, housed in a great space. If you like dancing, this place is not be
missed.
990 St-Antoine Ouest, Enter from the Rear of the building.

The Velvet Speakeasy Lounge is one of the coolest new spots to open in Montreal in a while. The place is situated in the very old and charming Auberge St. Gabriel. From the first experience walking in down the long cave like corridor lit by candles, to the eclectic bartenders / waitresses that work there, the music, cool underground atmosphere, and hipster crowd, this place is a total blast! Saturday nights are my favourite there... This place is very unique, and will stand out as somewhere that you have never experienced before."  
Velvet: 420 St. Gabriel. Old Montreal.
CLICK HERE TO READ MORE ABOUT VELVET AND SEE PHOTOS

SUNDAY NIGHT:
For an intimate and tantalizingly warm spot on Sunday nights, head to Barroco restaurant for their Famous "Lobster Shack Sundays"... (self explanatory).





Josh Silver (Hype Energy Drink Canada) can be contacted at josh@hype.com