Favorite brunch places in Laval: Allô! mon coco

Who needs a getaway when your food looks that good? Welcome to Allô! mon coco! The one we went to is located in Centropolis, Laval.

“Doesn’t this make you feel like you’ve landed in a resort buffet?”

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Allô! mon coco brunch

Brunch culture is extremely strong in Laval and Montreal. So much so it is akin to real punishment to have breakfast at home on weekends. For me at least :). Although we’ve tapered off quite a bit, we try to do at least one brunch every two weeks either on Saturday or Sunday. I usually prefer Saturday which leaves me with Sunday to help my body recover from the food induced coma of the previous day.

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Allô! mon coco breakfast

What to wear:

It is brunch not a visit with the Dalai Lama so it’s okay to look like your growling stomach got you out of bed. Just do it in a stylish way 🙂 The last thing you want is for you to just happen to meet an old friend with your hair looking like a snake pit. In which case I sincerely advise you to hide behind whatever you can find, human or object. I’ve clearly thought about everything, thank me later 🙂

Portions:

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Judging by this pic, it is obvious portions are gigantic with plenty of choice. No risk being bored here. It’s also fairly delicious too.

Who to bring: Just about anybody as long as they are paying for you :). It is family friendly. There are long lines but service is efficient. They have plenty of locations all over Montreal as well.

Price: Reasonable

The last time we went I was able to resist their big side of potato. I can’t even begin to tell you how difficult that was. Their mash potato is so good it should be illegal.  I comforted myself in the fact I had great discipline and courage…but not for long…

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My self-righteous omelet:)

I felt both victorious and bitter. On one hand I was glad I resisted but on the other hand I felt bitter looking at dear husband enjoying his side of potato sitting right besides me. He didn’t even have the decency to pretend he wasn’t enjoying it. All in all, it was a pretty well-spent Saturday.

Bisous and talk next week!

 

 

 

Great weekend activities around Montréal: A nice walk in the Oka park

A lovely afternoon in the park…

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Don’t we look lovely here?

The morning started out nice enough. Dear husband was in a nice mood so I told myself “Fabienne what better moment to suggest a nice little walk in the park than now”:

Me: “How about a quick shower followed by brunch and then a nice walk in Mount Royal park?” dear Husband agreed at the first  two and barked at the “walk in the park” part.

Hubby: “What’s with you and that park, it’s turning into a real obsession, you know?”

Me: “Well, we all have our little obsessions, don’t we? Plus I like it because we can get a good workout with the stairs. It adds some challenge”. But apparently not everybody is looking for a challenge on a nice Saturday morning. Some people rather stay in bed. shocking I know…

Hubby: “How about the other park, the Centre de la nature?”

Me: “No, I prefer Mount Royal? The other one is always full of moms and toddlers and babies and strollers and flies, etc”.

Husband: “Well, they need fresh air too, you know. But I suppose they could stay home on weekends to give you more room to wiggle! How about Oka Park?”

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We got ready in record time, got through brunch and made it to the park in record time. I am at my happiest in nature and with plenty of sun. The Park Oka is such a nice gem. From where we live it’s about 45 min drive. There’s an entrance fee. There’s also the beach on the other side. The last time we went to that beach was in 2014 when we first met. How time flies…. I’ve seen couples with babies and small children and I am not sure how much of a good idea it is but I suppose if they’re used to it there should be no problem.

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An insect repellent of some sort is mandatory as well as proper hat and sunglasses. Lots of annoying and vicious mosquitoes. For those obsessed with hitting their 10000 steps a day, you’ll be served. With the mosquitoes hurrying you, you’ll have no problem hitting that goal. In fact, you might even set a new record…

Once we hit 5000 steps, I suggested to dear husband that we start retracing our steps. Dear husband assures me with the confidence of a pioneer:”We just need to keep going and we’ll hit the end of the park and get to the parking lot”. Since I am not good with direction I trust him. 7000 steps later, we hit the end of the park except there no exit. We had to cross the entire park again in the opposite direction to get to the exit or whatnot.

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Upon learning that cold truth, my sense of adventure failed me and I found myself haunted by visions of people stranded on deserted islands and dying of thirst and hunger. To top it all off a suicidal mosquito decides to flap its little wings straight into my right eye.

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Initially I worried we wouldn’t be able to hit 10 000 steps but with our “misfortune” we made it well past 14 000. The sun was already going down which seemed to bring out the most vicious breed of mosquitoes. But thanks to the help of  these “lovely” mosquitoes, we made it rather quickly to the other end of the park, just under an hour.

On our way back we stopped by the Magasin de l’Abbaye d’Oka. We bought some cheese and saucissons. They have all sort of delicious little goods up there. In my book a stop at this Abbaye either before attempting the Oka park or after is simply mandatory. Life is about balance: Cheese with 10000 steps:)

It was a very enjoyable walk. Lots of fresh air. We highly recommend. Bisoux!

 

The black Swan…or the ugly duckling

Version Française…

A nice perfect Saturday I was leisurely walking down Saint Laurent in the Mile-End neighborhood when I came across a nice little boutique. Looking in from the outside you’d think it a mere shop that sells ballet clothing but it was much more than that judging from the scribbling on the front window. It was a ballet class offering and it was very light and vivacious. If I had to translate it would probably be: “Whether you think you’re skinny, fat, in between, slim or slim fat, you can do it! Our ballet classes are fun and a great workout. Come on in, we’re waiting for you!”

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So as they say fools rush in so I went. I usually avoid these types of places like the plague for the simple reason that there always seem to be lurking around some tall, long and lean person with cheetah-like muscle and a gazelle-like grace who can do it all including giving birth to 10 kids back to back while maintaining a perfect body to show us all mere mortal how it should be done. Considering that day I’d just had a heavy brunch, the last thing I needed was to be reminded of my round belly and my lack of body consciousness. Still against all odds I rushed in round belly and all. And it went rather…well. The minute I stepped in I was greeted by a long lean young woman. She was uncommonly friendly for these kind of places considering I in no way looked like the usual crowd. She looked like an adolescent boy with a bun and lipstick. We chatted a bit as she walk me through the different classes, schedules and general tone of the environment. Everything was going fine until the manager showed up. Then everything changed.

She installed herself behind the reception desk with a brief hello and gave me one of those looks that says it all. Pest control must greet vermin the same way. It was brief and cutting. She looked so scrubbed and healthy and shiny you’d think she is fresh out of the dishwasher. One look and you knew that everything down to her close friends and family is vegan and came straight from the earth bowels. I am sure she comes from a long line of all natural and homemade, heal-the-world, salt-of-the-earth vegans. Even her ancestors must have themselves been vegan even before the term was officially coined. I suspect just as in nobility or wealth it takes at least two generations to produce someone like her. Either that or she is a con artist in which case I need her autograph.

Standing under her gaze I felt self-conscious as if surrounded by the screaming souls of all the animals whose meat I have consumed over the years. It seemed as if they were asking for justice. An eye for an eye or at the very least forbiddance to enroll in the next ballet hop class. I felt like she could see my insides and the nice juicy, plum piece of steak I had just consumed under my husband meat-eating leadership over brunch. The young woman seeming not to notice the subtle “rapport de force” kept going on about the benefits. It is then that probably cornered and feeling unholy I did the unthinkable…I asked for the price of all of these wonderful classes.

The answer came from behind the desk, a quick and cutting, ‘it depends’ with a look that seems to say “don’t you low life meat eater have an insanity class waiting for you somewhere? Preferably where the sun doesn’t shine?” Finally, the young woman decided to put me out of my misery and blurted out the price. I gave her a much grateful look and said ‘thank’ you. We understood each other immediately and I left without asking further questions. I think from now on they’re gonna use the same tactic for all the flesh-eaters daring to step into Sacred territory.

Well, I guess I’ll have to put my black swan plans on ice:)

LAC DES CYGNES…OU VILAIN PETIT CANARD

English Version…

 

Un jour je flânait sur la rue Saint Laurent dans le quartier Mile-end et je vois une petite boutique avec une devanture super intéressante qui proposait dans un langage super comique et fun de faire du ballet non traditionnel. L’enseigne était vraiment accrocheur, genre quelqu’un qui ne se prend pas trop au sérieux…comme moi. Après de longues minutes de réflexion je me décidai à y entrer vu qu’il y avait aussi un petit café se partageant l’espace. Au pire, je me dis si une nana au profil “lac des cygnes” m’approche d’un air indigné comme ça arrive souvent dans ce genre de magasin, je ferai semblant d’être venue pour le café. Je dois avouer que j’avais quand même beaucoup d’appréhension car bien que n’étant pas en surpoids je n’ai pas nécessairement un profil “lac des cygnes”.

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Alors là, il faut que je sois honnête et avouer que la fille qui s’approcha bien qu’elle corresponde assez au profil épuré genre lac des cygnes était super gentille. En la regardant j’ai tout de suite compris que si je devais participer au prochain lac des cygnes il faudrait littéralement remplacer cygnes par éléphant. De loin, on aurait dit un ado avec du rouge à lèvres et de très longs cheveux noirs rassemblés en chignon tellement elle avait les fesses musclées et étroites. Elle m’a pris à part et m’a fait faire le tour des différents cours de ballet disponibles. Ils avaient même du ballet hip hop, je crois. J’étais de plus en plus intéressée vu que je me cherchais une activité sortant un peu de l’ordinaire. Tout se passait bien quand soudain la directrice du studio sortit de nulle part et s’installa façon buddha stoïque derrière la caisse. Elle devait avoir une antenne pour les gens “non In” tout comme je suppose un exterminateur aurait un sixième sens pour la détection de vermine. A vrai dire, je n’avais pas du tout le profil végé-bio machin-truc recherchée. Je devais probablement être entourée d’un aura carnivore.

La directrice, elle, avait plutôt le profil mère nature c’est-à-dire que tout ce qu’elle mange, touche, voit et boit doit être le plus près possible de son état naturel. Je pouvais d’ailleurs très bien l’imaginer en train de faire son propre kombucha. En portant une attention particulière au visage on pouvait déjà noter les signes d’une vieillesse timide qui s’installait tranquillement d’une manière décidée sans que la propriétaire des lieux s’en rende compte. Tout sur son être était aseptisé. A bien la regarder on avait l’impression que même ses petits bracelets en corde avaient été tirés des entrailles même de mère nature.

Je sentis au regard furtif qu’elle me lançait que mon profil ne correspondait pas nécessairement à la clientèle cible. C’était clair que j’étais un carnivore sans discipline qui buvait de temps à autre une canette de bière et du coke. Autrement dit je n’avais pas le profil tofu kombucha. C’est alors que me sentant guettée, je commis l’irréparable…j’osai m’enquérir du coût…Je pense que c’est alors qu’elle perdit tout espoir. La réponse fut rapide et nette. Elle prit tout de suite la direction des opérations avec un énigmatique ‘’Ça depend’’ tout en esquivant chacune de mes questions à propos du coût jusqu’à ce que bien sûr la fille qui m’accueillit initialement eut pitié de moi et me lança le prix d’un air gênée. En entendant le prix, le miracle tant souhaité se produisit: Je remerciai rapidement la fille et je quittai le magasin sur le champ sans demander mon reste. A leurs regards de connivence j’ai tout suite compris qu’elles venaient de se rendre compte qu’elles possédaient là une nouvelle tactique infaillible pour se débarrasser des gens “non in” osant s’aventurer en terre sacro-sainte :).

C’est clair que je dois continuer à travailler sur mon profil black swan….

ZYNG – Quartier Latin

Hello Gang,

Désolée pour mon absence de la semaine dernière ! On était en plein déménagement.

IMG_20160608_131929.jpgJ’aimerais vous parler de l’un de mes petits coins favoris du temps ou j’habitais au centre-ville.  Des fois ou moi et mon fiancé on se mettait en diète pour la énième fois et qu’il se transformait en un véritable combattant contre la malbouffe, j’allais me réfugier là-bas de temps en temps pour manger un bon petit général Tao et oublier que j’étais en diète. Je ne suis pas une experte en général Tao mais leur version me plaît beaucoup. Ils ont réussi à avoir une bonne balance entre le sucré, salée et croustillant. Ce qui je pense est considérable! On a été leur rendre hommage une dernière fois durant notre semaine de déménagement.  Vous ne pouvez pas le  voir sur les photos mais j’ai un sourire carnassier. De plus, les ingrédients sont relativement frais et les prix très abordables.

A ce sujet, je vous recommande de regarder le documentaire “The Search for General Tso” disponible sur Netflix expliquant l’origine de ce plat.

ZYNG – Quartier Latin

Hello Gang,

Sorry for being MIA on the blog last week. We were moving!

I’d like to introduce you to one of my favorite hiding places in the quarter Latin…at least it used to be when I used to live in the gay village. Yes I have come to the realization that I don’t live there anymore. Denial can only do so much.

That little place is called Zyng Asian Grill.  It is a little restaurant in the heart of Quartier Latin. I usually go there when my fiancé and I have just started a diet for the 100th time and he is turning into a prime diet enforcer. I usually take refuge there and order their general Tao which strikes the impossibly perfect balance between sweet, salty and crunchy. Plus their prices are very affordable and the produces are relatively fresh.

On that note, I invite you to watch the Netflix documentary titled “The Search for General Tso”. It is so edifying and fun! I can assure you that you’ll learn something new!