Pastries, Coffee, & Mushroom Ice Cream

We woke up after a deep and satisfying sleep—the kind that can only be induced by a full day of travel followed by an enormous pot of hot cheese.  We made plans for the day while looking out over the winter wonderland we’d landed in.

A few hours later, we made our way to Café Myriade, a coffee shop with several locations throughout the city.  They primarily brew beans from Vancouver’s 49th Parallel, but also periodically feature roasts from Calgary’s Phil & Sebastian, Dartmouth’s Anchored coffee, and more!

Appropriately, many coffee shops prioritize the source and roast quality of the beans they serve, but Café Myriade also has an impressive milk program in place.  They recently introduced milk from Societé Original “Run de Lait” product line, or “Milk Run.”  Société Original works with ten Quebec farmers and collaborates with an independent Quebec dairy operation to produce high quality whole and raw milk products with no additives—it’s the only milk in the country that can boast that! 

Café Myriade’s drinks are made with this high quality milk, and it makes for  combinations that are so irresistable, even sworn coffee-avoider Lindsay couldn’t resist.  Her heart raced and she talked a little quicker for a few hours, but she reports that it was worth it.

Café Myriade also had an impressive retail selection of books, products, and pastries.  The café was beautiful; it’s a wonderful place to satisfy your sweet tooth, get a caffeine fix, and kill an afternoon with a good read.

From Café Myriade we wandered the streets, had our first ride on the awesomely vintage-feeling Montréal subway, and ended up at EVOO, our dining spot for the Montréal en Lumière festival that night. 

EVOO opened three years ago in Montréal’s St. Henri neighbourhood under the leadership of three young entrepreneurs.  To celebrate the festival, they introduced a completely Canadian menu, with ALL ingredients sourced on Canadian soil (and in the middle of winter, no less – an extraordinary feat!)

We started with a lovely cocktail made of Ungava gin, wild blueberry puree, and larch dust—it tasted like we were drinking pie!  I’ve since been very drawn to the golden hue of Quebec’s Ungava gin, a spirit infused with several arctic plants including Labrador tea, wild rosehips, and cloudberries.

Our first bite was a sweet little amouse bouche in the form of roasted squash with crispy shallots, pea shoots, and a lobster and beet reduction.

Next was a main that featured hay-smoked Okanagan pears - a first for both of us!  It was served on house-made creme fraiche with thinly shaved dried veal, cipollini, Quebec honey, and bright sorrel.  We ate it while sipping a mildly sweet and floral Pierre & Terre sparkling pear cider from Franklin, Quebec.

The next course was my favourite of the night, because it felt so distinctly Canadian: olive oil poached halibut served over a warm apple puree with roasted garlic, grilled lettuce foam, and a grilled celeriac.  We drank it with a lovely 2008 Riesling from the Foreign Affair Winery in Niagara.

We took a brief break from our meal to enjoy a dear little frozen strawberry and larch powder popsicle.  The taste of local strawberries in winter was an unexpected treat.

We returned to the savoury courses with a 2012 Pinot Noir from Tantalus Vineyards in the Okanagan, and homemade ravioli stuffed with slow-roasted leeks and homemade ricotta—as you can probably guess from that ingredient line-up, it was awesome.

Our final course was duck served two ways: confit and a seared breast. It came with king mushrooms, roasted carrot and cranberry salad, sumac, and Brussels sprouts.

Our dessert of grilled hazelnut cake, quince paste, and candied cedar was an excellent finish to the eclectic meal.  It was mildly sweet and served with house-made candy cap (a type of mushroom!) ice cream.  It was like eating a forest, and we do mean that in a good way.

It was astounding to see such a diverse array of Canadian ingredients (and even a good representation of Canadian trees!) all in one dinner.  We live in a remarkable country with so many diverse growing regions, and we’re very thankful to the crew at EVOO for reminding us of that fact.