Sunday, February 27, 2011

Movies, burgers, beer & Nuit Blanche.

By the title of this post, you'd probably think I've had a very busy month. To be honest, I just had a really busy weekend!

If you know me well, I don't need to tell you that I'm a huge fan of foreign movies. I also happen to never be disappointed by most movies made here in Québec — which is why I went to see Funkytown (2011) yesterday, starring (my absolute fave) Patrick Huard, among others. If any of us had been living under a rock for the past 40 years, Funkytown would definitely be a great way to get to know what went down during the disco era. I'm no movie critic, so I won't dive into what was good about it & what was bad about it, but I did appreciate it on many levels. I finally understand the importance of Le Lime Light, a club my parents always refer to when they reminisce on their good old disco party days. I definitely recommend it to every person out there who can handle 2 hours of loud disco tunes, coke (not the drinkable kind, kids), sex, violence, repressed sexuality, moral obligations and strong emotions. There was a scene in particular that I just couldn't watch; it broke my heart. I'm sure that if you see it/have seen it, you'd know what I'm talking about.

Onto another topic of my liking: food. To all my burger-loving friends out there who know about La Paryse and never told me about it, shame on you. I am shocked that it has taken me this long to be taken to this restaurant! You know I love burgers, why wouldn't you share this gem with me before?! I'll forgive you this once, but only because my experience at this joint was truly lovely. My cheeseburger with bacon was enormous and super yummy. I definitely enjoyed the simple retro/family feel of the decor. Being able to doodle away on my (nicely designed) paper placemat with a tiny supply of wax crayons was fun, too! Our waitress was sweet, kind and quick. Again, I'm no critic but I do know how to enjoy a good restaurant. I'll definitely be going back.

Post-burger, a craving for beer (of all things!) came straight outta left field.

So I was then whisked off to another spot I'd never been to before: L'Amère à Boire. You're probably getting a sense of which area I spent most of my Saturday night in, huh... Dude, this place is 3 floors high. I have to say, it was a little loud on the 3rd floor (which is where we sat), and sort of difficult to talk, but who goes out for beer to have a heart to heart anyway, right? I'm not a huge beer drinker to begin with, but it was definitely nice to find a simple, no fuss bar where I could just grab a pint because I felt like it. The only down side: some guy with an Iron Maiden t-shirt threw the remnants of his "empty" glass behind him, which is where we sat...and I got leftover beer on my boots. But that was taken care of. :)

Finally, as most of you are probably aware, our beautiful city's streets have been flooded with folks partaking in the activities created for the Montreal High Lights Festival this month. I am confident that good times were had by all, given the wide range of events. This year's was the 12th edition of this original amalgam of Montreal culture, and I was happy that fate brought me to it for the first time last night during the Nuit Blanche. Thanks to the (not so shitty after all, huh) smartphone app for the event, and some sweeeeeet connections (thanks so much Frank & Caro! I would have never known about this without you), I got to experience DJ XL5's whacky 2-hour-long video montage of hilariously bad Bollywood moments. Surprisingly, I left the room with the desire to actually watch Bollywood movies, despite the "OMG THIS IS SOOOO TERRIBLE!" screams & laughs that came out of my mouth. I managed to get home at 3am, a rare feat for me, and was super satisfied with my amazing night.

Happy Jessica is happy! More adventures soon, hopefully.

Funkytown (2011) starring Patrick Huard, Justin Chatwin & Geneviève Brouillette - see theatres & showtimes 

La Paryse, 302 rue Ontario Est - click here for more info 

Brasserie artisanale L'Amère à Boire, 2049 Saint-Denis - click here for more info 

Montreal High Lights Festival ends tonight, February 27; catch the last festivities if you can!

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Dumplings galore.

I realize it has been months since my last post. I miss writing! But time seems to be running away from me surprisingly fast. Every time I tell myself "OK, tonight, you'll write about your latest city adventure!", something else comes up and I'm whisked away from my computer. Naturally, being on a computer at the office all day long doesn't exactly invite more computer time at home.

Nevertheless, I do have a few places that I've seen in the past months that surely need to be mentioned. Today, I'm writing about my new favourite find: Qing Hua Dumpling.

One night, I was supposed to meet with my good friend Alla for dinner. She said she absolutely needed to bring me to this secret spot of hers, that she knew I'd love it. I asked her which place it was, convinced that I'd heard about it before (since I seem to either know or have heard of most places in Montreal), and she refused to tell me. She said that if I spread the word, it wouldn't be a secret gem anymore. Sorry Alla, don't hate me for posting about this! ;)

I have to admit that the restaurant is in an odd location - not somewhere I'd think of going for THE BEST DUMPLINGS I'VE EVER EATEN. But who cares, right? When the food's that good. Oh man. And also, I need to specify that the food is ridiculously inexpensive. Go during lunch hour and you get a miso soup and a drink with your bagillion dumplings for something like $12. Please correct me if I'm wrong... my memory lacks. All I know is that I remember eating boatloads of dumplings and being shocked when the bill came up.

I've since returned to Qing Hua with my good friend Pierre, and this fine food connoisseur totally approved. I've even recommended the place to some friends on Twitter and they loved it as well. All in all, this is the best food find of 2010, that's for sure. Thanks Alla, you're a star!

xx j

QING HUA DUMPLING, 1676 LINCOLN AVE. - click here for more info.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Thriller night!

Halloween is upon us, my friends! FINALLY!

I don't know about all of you, but I'm a huge fan of the freaky "holiday" (can we in fact call it a holiday? hmm). Dressing up and pretending to be someone else for one night is such an awesome experience. I love the feeling! The preparation that goes into it is usually demanding, but oh so worth it. I always have fun on Halloween.

In case you and your friends are unlike me and still haven't figured out plans for the weekend, make sure to check out's special Halloween Guide. You'll find costume ideas, event listings, scary movie suggestions, and more. For my fellow Montrealers, I think it's especially important that you check out what's going down in our city, fiesta-style. On behalf of all the tight-budget folks such as myself, I must voice my one complaint though: Why on Earth is Halloween so damn expensive? I guess that as adults we all know the answer, but it remains a huge inconvenience nonetheless.

As for myself, I'll be sipping martinis at the bar dressed up as the lovely Snow White. Dwarfs not included. Keep your eyes open, you never know who you might run into!

To those celebrating Halloween this weekend, I wish you all a very spooky, fun-filled, terrifying time!

xx j

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Saturday surprise!

This past weekend, my good friend Simon was in town. He was visiting from NYC, where he currently lives and goes to school. I don't get to see him very often, so I was glad to be able to spend the afternoon and evening with him on Saturday!

When he asked me what I wanted to do, I was pretty honest with him; I had absolutely no desire to be downtown that night (gotta love the chaos when the Habs are playing...not), and would rather hang around his place. When he's in town, Simon lives in Côte-des-Neiges, an area that I've never really spent much time in. I figured it would be a good time to "discover" it. (Side note: I find it pretty funny that I've been working out of Ville-Mont-Royal for over a year and still don't know the area and its surroundings very well!)

We started by walking around and ended up finding a Starbucks, where we sat for some hot drinks and deep discussions, just as we like 'em. By the by, pumpkin spice latte? My new bff. Anyway, afterwards we walked some more (walking = my favourite passtime), onto Queen Mary road, past the Saint-Joseph Oratory, which I remembered visiting many times as a kid. (Side note #2: Can you believe they are talking about renaming that street to honour Frère St. André?! Thoughts? I, for one, am not into it. Says the South Shore resident.)

My whole point for this post is coming up, I assure you! So we were starting to get a little hungry, and Simon pointed out "Oh, a sushi place!". To my surprise, it was Kanda. OK, so if you know me well,  you know my opinion on Kanda. How many times have I been to the Bishop st. location and been sick afterwards? Frustrating. I vowed to never eat there again. However, many people have told me that the Queen Mary location was much better, so I agreed to give it a try. To my surprise, it ended up being a very enjoyable dinner! The waiters were much friendlier at this branch, and the food arrived very quickly in comparison. Best part: I WAS NOT SICK! Notable perk: we were able to benefit from a Saturday night special, which consists of 2 people + 1/2 gallon house wine for $60. Dece! Anyone who goes to all-you-can-eat sushi restaurants knows what is to be expected in terms of sushi quality, so I won't even dive into that. But all in all, I was pleasantly surprised, and might reconsider my avid hate for the place.

Granted, the best part was chilling with Simon. Come back soon, buddy!

xx j

KANDA SUSHI BAR - click here for more info.