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Yuan Vegetarian in the Latin Quarter in Montreal, Canada

At $12.99 (14.85-ish including tax) for an all you can eat a la carte buffet lunch, Yuan Vegetarian must not be missed. If you’re vegetarian, you’re in for a treat. If you’re a meat-lover, you might appreciate the novelty.

I had lunch with a friend of mine who was bemused by the fact that a lot of the soy-based ‘meat’ is actually faux. It tastes nothing like chicken, or lamb or beef, but the food at Yuan vegetarian kind of presents itself as an alternative to common Chinese meat dishes. 

It’s a strange idea for some, but having grown up in Southeast Asia, I am all too familiar with the concept. Restaurants like Yuan Vegetarian are commonplace in some parts of the continent.

To start I had a small portion of the wanton soup. Fresh, simple and satisfying.

This was followed by the vegetable tempura and the spring rolls. The vegetable tempura consisted of eggplant and sweet potato. I didn’t like it, but my fellow diner did. 

The spring rolls on the other hand were really crunchy and yummy.

And then I had the raviolis with peanut sauce. It’s salty-sweet and one of the more unique vegetarian dishes I’ve had. Highly recommend. 

Pictured above is the General Tao eggplant. This dish was really impressive and delicious. Be careful how much you eat cause it’s deep fried so it’ll fill you up quickly.

Vegetarian crispy fried noodles - it’s one of my favourite dishes from childhood, so I really loved it, but my friend wasn’t too fond of it.

To each his own, I guess.

And here is the steak with curry sauce. It was OK - not the best dish, but it’s interesting for the novelty factor. 

By this point I was really full so it was time to go.

A good feed - I’ll definitely be back for more someday. 

Although admittedly, I’m so full that I need a siesta. 

Till then. 

Yuan on Urbanspoon

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The French numbers demystified.

Enjoy :)

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Day 7 of French Classes

Boy are things moving fast. I learnt the numbers today. AHHHH! 

If you’ve ever learnt French numbers, you’ll know why I’m tearing my hair out right now. 

But enough about that. Here’s a helpful and simple video on learning the numbers in French. 

Good luck!

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Canchitos - Latin Quarter, Montreal, Canada

Fresh hot bread plus cheese equals heaven. I accidentally stumbled upon Cachitos in the Latin Quarter today. The lady behind the counter quickly quipped, “First time here?”

I nodded. She gave me a small piece of the cheese cachito to taste. Talk about delicious. The lady went on to explain that cachito is a horn-shaped bread that hails from Venezuela. 

If you’re a lover of baked goods, you simply can’t miss this place. The cafe has both sweet and savoury options. 

I ordered the lunch special which consists of two cachitos, a soup or salad and a drink.

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I had the ham and cheese and the spinach and ricotta. This meal totally made my day. 

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I could go on and on about this, but I’m not going to. 

Fresh hot bread plus cheese equals heaven. 

Cachitos on Urbanspoon

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jeannie-languages:

The five most common irregular verbs used, conjugated to the indicative present tense. 

This chart is genius. 

jeannie-languages:

The five most common irregular verbs used, conjugated to the indicative present tense. 

This chart is genius. 

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I really wanted to see it, but Montreal was grey, rainy and overcast.
Such is life. 

I really wanted to see it, but Montreal was grey, rainy and overcast.

Such is life. 

(via umq)

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You have to see the pictures on this one. 

Magnificent. 

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If you’re looking to learn French vocabulary in an associative way that doesn’t use English as a base, this is one of the best videos I’ve found. 

It has a lot of useful and simple nouns.

Enjoy! 

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Three Amigos in Montreal, Canada

I had an amazing time last week at the Three Amigos restaurant on Sainte-Catherine. I loved their pollo con mole poblano so much that I’ve been raving about it to everyone who’s willing to listen.

Today, I went to the Three Amigos branch in the Latin Quarter. I was excited. It was going to be great. Or so I thought.

First and foremost, it took 30 MINUTES to get someone to take our order. That’s a pretty long wait for a half empty restaurant. When a waitress finally did take our order, she did so grudgingly. I surmised that she wasn’t the waitress for our table, but there was no need for the attitude. 

I ordered the enchiladas con mole: two enchiladas topped with that spicy, chocolatey sauce.

It was so-so. The sauce was delicious as expected, the rice was really good, the refried beans were great but the enchiladas themselves were cold-ish and didn’t really taste all that fresh.

The chicken was stringy and tasted of old. 

I wasn’t impressed. But the portion was large and the ambience is fun and colourful.

All in all, I think I’ll probably head back to Three Amigos again. But not this branch. Also, this is the second time this week that I’ve left a tip grudgingly.

Sigh. 

3 Amigos on Urbanspoon

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Day 6 of French Classes

It’s been six days and my French teacher was a little tough on me cause I don’t remember the vocabulary by heart. He thinks it’s cause I’m not focused. If this is a good cop, bad cop type of scenario, it’s not working on me at all. 

French is my seventh language - and out of all the languages I’ve learnt, it’s been the hardest on my tongue.

My mouth just does not like it. It does not come to me naturally AT ALL.

But then again, languages don’t come to any of us naturally. They are taught. They are learnt. They are used. 

If they are taught, learnt and used often enough, they become ‘natural’. 

But there’s nothing intrinsically natural about learning, speaking, reading or writing a language.

It’s easy to look at your students and tell them they’re not trying hard enough or that they’re not focused.

But maybe - they just don’t get it and need a little more time? Or maybe their style of learning is just a little different.

Who knows?

There is no one size fits all when it comes to learning.

A lot of blood, sweat and tears comes with learning a new language.

But then again, if I had my time over again, I would do all; all over again. 

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"Weren’t they scared? Really scared?"
“Yes, of course. But it’s a great deal easier to be brave when you don’t have a choice."

A Fairy Tale by Jonas T. Bengtsson

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Day 5 of French Lessons

Adjectives are here - whoohoo!

I can finally write some sentences. Although admittedly, they aren’t always grammatically correct.

Today I learnt qualifying adjectives - words that describe nouns. Colour, size etc.

1. Feminine vs Masculine 

The grammar is pretty similar to Spanish - you have to amend the adjective to match the gender of the noun. 

GENERALLY, to make a noun feminine, you need to add the letter 'e' and then to make it plural, you add an 's'. 

Sounds simple, right?

Well it isn’t.

Firstly, the ‘s’ you add to make it plural is NOT pronounced. So you’ll be writing it down, but you won’t be saying it when you read it out loud.

And secondly, there are exceptions to the general rule.

  1. When the singular masculine adjective ends with an S or X, you do not add another S.
  2. When the singular masculine adjective ends with an E, you do not add another E to make it feminine. 

WHERE TO PLACE THE ADJECTIVE IN A SENTENCE

In French, adjectives are also ordinarily placed AFTER the noun, although it is not always the case. 

HOWEVER, adjectives describing beauty, age, size and good or bad-ness are placed BEFORE the noun. 

Ok that’s as far as I’ve gone. More on this in the coming days or weeks. 

à la prochaine!

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"The wind whips the sea into foam.
“I think we’re going to have to move again.”"

A Fairy Tale by Jonas T. Bengtsson

Photoset

The food at Sushi Ste-Catherine is great value for money. You can order as much as you want, as many times as you want.

You scribble down what you want on a piece of paper. Be glad you don’t have to talk the wait staff here - they are RUDE, RUDE, RUDE. Yes, in capital letters. 

The food partially makes up for the lacklustre service. It’s not “authentic Japanese” food, but it’s delicious and hits the spot. 

The process itself is efficient. The dishes arrive quickly - so you won’t be waiting long. The portions are relatively small, so you can order all kinds of different things to try; or if you know what you want, you can stick just that. 

All in all, I highly recommend this restaurant if you want decent Japanese food on a budget.

Just know that when you leave the mandatory 15% tip, you will do so grudgingly. 

Sushi Ste-Catherine on Urbanspoon

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Vinizza in Montreal, Canada

Tonight I was in the mood for ‘real’ Italian food. Despite the widespread prevalence of so-called Italian food in our kitchens, restaurants and pizzerias, it’s hard to find the kind of stuff you’d get in Italy.

I was excited about Vinizza. After reading a few rave reviews, I was there. The restaurant is fancy. Some even called it romantic, but I wouldn’t go that far. Personally, I thought it had a corporate-ish vibe. 

The waitress who served us was really friendly, knowledgeable and patient. She’s one of the best servers I’ve ever had in Montreal. 

She brought out some bread and olive oil. I don’t usually write about this stuff, but the olive oil was delizioso so be sure to dip your bread and have a good time. 

On a side note, my partner in crime commented that olive oil doesn’t taste anything like olives. Go figure. 

The first starter I had was the Buffalo mozzarella with cherry tomatoes. This is one of my favourite Italian dishes of all time and the version at Vinizza was fresh, flavoursome and full of surprises. The cheese was happily soaked in a medley of herbs and olive oil. 

DIVINE!

The second appetizer I had was the polenta with mushrooms. It was one of the specials of the day. The mushrooms were great, the sauce was good, but the polenta itself didn’t impress me. It was kind of dry and just didn’t hit that spot. 

And then it was time for the mains. 

I can’t remember the name of this pasta, BUT, it had mushrooms and parmesan aged 17 years! I’ve never had cheese that old. Have you? I wonder how they preserve it. The best part of it was that the pasta was freshly cut and prepared upon ordering.

And then I had a bite. How rare… and how absolutely… unique. The flavours were delightful. 

I can’t say I’ve had anything like it. Mmm…mmm…mmm…

My partner in crime ordered the lobster ravioli which was another special of the day. I had a piece. Creamy, soft and delicate. I never order ravioli at restaurants because I know that it often tastes of too little.

This restaurant was no exception. I think the portion could have afforded to be a little more generous. But still, it was a one of a kind ravioli. I should know, I only had one. 

And then the mains were over.

Just like that. Che tristezza!

It was time for a sweet finish.

And there it was. One of the most satisfying desserts I’ve ever had in my life. Again, I don’t remember what it was called (oh Italian names!), but it was essentially a very delicious, very warm, very crumbly and very moist nutella cake.

When I was done, I wanted another. There are very few desserts that can top this one in my books. 

Now I’m in bed, recovering from my food high. 

Arrivederci!

Vinizza on Urbanspoon