I’m not a travel writer, mostly because I hate travelling. Eating, drinking and being absolutely hilarious I can do, hot dog legs at a beach villa I am less good at. Either way, I flew to Canada last month with the boyfriend to experience the east coast, spending time in Toronto, Ottowa and Montreal.
Of course, I made a list and I think I stuck to most of it. I definitely need to go back and try more places though.
Dailo – 503 College Street Toronto
Our first night was slightly marred by our checking into our hotel, opening my bag and realising it was full of someone else’s clothes. After a hasty run to the closest H&M with our Toronto living friend, we headed to Dailo in the Italian quarter. Dailo serves an East Asian menu but with a fabulous modern take on everything. We went for the chefs choice which was $65 each (£36) and we had the chef choose what we ate. It was incredible!
Particular highlights were the pumpkin and burnt butter dumplings which were sweet, light and utterly delicious. The braised lamb neck rendang was a revelation. Instead of being served in bite-sized chunks, it was served on the bone and was packed with flavour. I was able to portion it out with a spoon and I will certainly be trying this at home. We also loved the sliced, mid-rare ribeye steak and was served with bok choy, radish, pickled mushroom andblack bean bagna cauda. Pickled mushrooms are an absolute revelation to me and I want these on EVERYTHING in the future. I highly recommend everyone try here if they’re in the city.
McLeans Pub – 1210 Peel St, Montreal
The pub itself isn’t much to write home about. It’s a sports bar in Montreal that shows the hockey and serves some ok beers. I included them because they served me my jalapeno poppers with strawberry jam. I had to call the waitress back to ask WTF it was doing on my plate and apparently the owner thinks its great. Well reader, the man was correct. Spicy fried stuff loves sweet, so why not jam? (Shame the jam on its own is awful).
Ottowa was great and I wished we had stayed an extra day. I was really a mash of great and terrible things. Sadly I had a bi of skinful so the pictures are few and far between but I did enjoy this massive bottle of “Big Blue”. It tastes like your dad letting you have a sip of his lager dash in the pub garden in the summer and I loved it. My BF, however, thinks it tastes like piss. Horses for courses innit. We tried to have dinner somewhere but the food they served was awful so we were taken elsewhere to Brothers Beer Bistro. Despite being a little bit up its own arse it served us some stonking food. I am still thinking about my dish of rabbit nuggets on homemade kimchi with a side dip of apricot and East Asian flavourings. It never occurred to me to nugget a rabbit but my goodness I need someone in Bristol to do that soon. I also tried a Beavertail, a flat doughnut covered in maple syrup, caramel, nuts and god knows what else. Eat one hot in the -2c air and you’re in heaven!
Niagra – Wine Country
Niagara Falls, it’s pretty big, very wet and not unlike Weston Super-Mare. The drive-in is a forest of motels, hotels and chain restaurants, the drive out is a horror film worthy. haunted houses, arcades, fast food and the sort of depressed forced fun that we usually associate with tired seaside towns. However, head out of the tourist trap and into the country and you realise that the area is covered in vineyards. We toured a few and enjoyed flights of four taster wines in each for around $7 (£3.50) until we finished at Pearl Morissette a beautiful winery that serves a full tasting menu.
I won’t bore you all with the finer details but 8 courses of exquisite food, wine and jolly conversation were had by the gang. I highly recommend getting out there if you’re in the area, just make sure you’re not tricked into driving.
These are everywhere and I love them. They’re a Canadian institution and serve fresh doughnuts, coffee and great breakfasts. You must go and try the double-double coffee if you have a sweet tooth (far too much for me) or get a large black coffee, 6 doughnuts to go and a breakfast muffin. Banging.
Eggspectation – 190 Sainte-Catherine West, Montreal
Holy crap on a hotdog this place was brilliant. Being in a new city you know you should try the indies but sometimes you just want the familiarity of a chain. This place focuses on the humble egg and turns it into a party platter for one. The above was an order of french toast and two eggs cooked how I liked. What I got was a groaning plate of french toast, eggs, home fries, sausage, fruit and of course maple syrup. Enjoyed with an adequate cappuccino it set me up for breakfast and lunch.
I ate in a lot more places than this, just didn’t photograph anything. If you want more recommendations for food and beers please drop me a message