Travel Destination: Algarve, Portugal

black lady travel blogger at Praia de Marinha Algavre Portugal

Praia de Marinha – Algarve

When we went to Lisbon for the first time two years ago, we totally fell in love with Portugal and made the promise to visit others parts in this country down the line. Back in June, we decided to visit Algarve, the southernmost region of continental Portugal.

Algarve is very famous for its impressive cliffs and its marvelous beaches such as Praia da Marinha which has been ranked one of the best beaches in Europe. Thanks to its breathtaking landscape, Algarve is the most popular tourist destination in Portugal.

blue sky, blue water and cliffs in Algarve Portugal

Praia da Marinha – Algarve

To explore what the region has best to offer, a number of operator tours propose activities and packages to admire the must-see places. For example, Carvoeiro Caves agency invites you to sail from Carvoeiro  to the famous Benagil cave going through breathtaking Praia da Marinha. After the tour, we recommend you to try A Marisqueira restaurant specialized in sea food and grilled dishes located about 500m up the main road east of Carvoeiro beach.

We chose Islands 4 You which is a new company offering boat tours in the Ria Formosa Natural Park and its incredible islands to visit the area. During the boat tour, we sail around secluded beautiful islands and stopped at Deserta, Farol, Culatra, and Armona.

Once the anchor dropped, we had a time window to visit the villages or take a swim in the crystal clear water. Each island has restaurants and bars offering local and international cuisine. In Armona, we went to Tolinhas restaurant specialized in sea food. Everything was so fresh and delicious that we forgot to watch the clock and were about to miss the boat departure (this is what happens when you are a foodie!)…

During the tour, we learned that the Ria Formosa Natural Park is the most important wildlife sanctuary in the Algarve and plays a considerable role in the conservation of the flora and fauna. With over 170 km², the park is a stopping place for different birds during the spring and autumn migratory periods. If you are a nature lover, you will definitely enjoy yourself there!

crystal clear water and white sands Algarve Portugal

Ilha da Culatra – Algarve

Mosaic Armona

Mosaic in Armona – Algarve

The capital of the region is Faro which is best known for its cultural, artistic, and night life. The best way to visit the city is by foot while admiring the paved street and discover hidden beauties. In order to go back in time, walk around the charming well-preserved Old Town and visit the Cathedral of Faro (Sé de Faro in Portuguese).

Moreover, don’t miss the Municipal Museum of Faro where the archaeological collection is the most significant, with artifacts from pre-historical, roman, and medieval periods. Among the famous objects, you will find the busts of Emperor Hadrian and Agrippina the Younger.

Museum with inside garden in Faro

Municipal Museum of Faro – Algarve

Street of Faro and blue sky

Street of Faro – Algarve

To make the best of our stay, we opted for a central location in Faro and used hotels.com to book a room at Hotel Eva for one night. We loved the warm welcome from the hotel staff, the great amenities, and the brand new rooftop. As luck would have it, the night we stayed happened to be the rooftop opening night and we were invited to join the festivities. Moreover, we were delighted to have this incredible ocean view from our room.

sea, blue sky and boats

Ocean view from Hotel Eva – Algarve

At the departure from Paris Orly airport, a lot of airline companies offer regular flights to Portugal  which will allow you to discover the Algarve region, even just for a weekend. Low cost companies such as Transavia invite you to explore Portugal at a fair price! From Montreal Dorval airport, you will have at least one connecting flight on your route and will be able to find competitive prices on skyscanner, cheapoair, or priceline for example. So, what are you waiting for?

Le Blumenthal: new Montreal brasserie in Quartier des Spectacles

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Le Blumenthal

On May 15th, Le Blumenthal opened its doors at the Maison du Festival in the heart of Quartier des spectacles just right on time for summer season. This new Montreal brasserie hot spot is well located for a pre-show drink and meal.

We were invited last week for the opening cocktail to taste a glimpse of the menu headed by chef Rémi Brunelle (Leméac, Albert Bistro) and a selection of wine chosen by sommelier Jean Benoit Hinse. Le Blumenthal is the oasis of Quartier des spectacles and here are three reasons to try it!

1. THE DESIGN

You can’t miss the tree in the center of the dining room and the leaves all around the lounge, it’s so refreshing! This decorative touch where the city meets the countryside has been conceived by the Gauley Brothers, the ones behind places such as Foiegwa and Atwater Cocktail Bar.

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Le Blumenthal – Dining Room

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Le Blumenthal – Lounge

2. THE VIEW

Just steps from the Place des Festivals, the Blumenthal offers a stunning view day and night in the heart of the action. Moreover, during summer, the terrace has a capacity of 150-seat to welcome you!

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Le Blumenthal – Place des Festivals

3. THE MENU

You can enjoy “a cuisine that reflects our values” said chef Rémi Brunelle! In fusion with the green design, the menu includes choices of vegetarian dishes from starter to main course.

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Le Blumenthal – Starter: beets, ricotta and cress

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Le Blumenthal – Main course: Vegetarian Hambourgeois

Countdown to summer time has officially begun, see you on the terrace 🙂

Le Blumenthal

305 Ste Catherine Street West, Montreal

Open everyday from 11 a.m to 11 p.m

Photo credit: Patricia Brochu

Cannes Film Festival: Opening Cocktail at Mouton Cadet Wine Bar in Montreal

Mouton Cadet Wine Bar 2017 – Cannes Film Festival

For this 2017 edition of Cannes Film Festival, Baron Philippe de Rothschild SA opened the doors of Mouton Cadet Wine Bar. Until May 28th, the terrace of the Palais des Festivals will be once again the meeting place for the cinema and also the place to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the festival, in a decor entirely conceived and decorated by the French decorative artist Mathias Kiss.

At this occasion, restaurant Le Richmond located in Montreal Griffintown neighborhood transformed its terrace by using the decor of Mouton Cadet Wine Bar to celebrate the opening of the Cannes Film Festival.

Mouton Cadet Wine Bar – Le Richmond

Mouton Cadet Wine Bar – Le Richmond

Mouton Cadet Wine Bar – Le Richmond

Mouton Cadet Wine Bar 2017 – Le Richmond

We were invited to plunge into the Cannes Film Festival universe while tasting hors d’oeuvres and limited edition of Mouton Cadet wines. Note that Mouton Cadet Red wine 2014 (15,65$) and Mouton Cadet White wine 2016 (14,65$) are both available at SAQ.

Le Richmond

377 Richmond, Montreal

Photo Credit: Myriam Frenette

Tartarefest: Vote For The Best Tartare of Montreal

Tartarefest 2017

Restomania launched the 4th edition of Tartarefest at Rosewood restaurant on May 19th. More than 20 restaurants have created tasty tartares for the occasion, and you are invited to vote for the best tartare of Montreal by May 28th.

Tartarefest offers the chance to enjoy a gourmet fine dining experience at participating restaurants without the hefty bill: a tartare plus drink from 10$. Among the restaurants competing in the Tartarefest, Êat and Caribou Gourmand are innovating this year by offering vegetarian tartares.

Vegetarian Tartar – Caribou Gourmand

Vegetarian Tartar – Caribou Gourmand

At the restaurant Caribou Gourmand, the vegetarian tartare, made of fennel, apples, goat’s cheese, walnut, honey and lemon, comes with a generous portion of homemade French fries. I recommend a glass of Pinot Gris Leon Beyer (2014, France) to accompany the vegetarian tartare. As a foodie, I always have space for starter and dessert: here are my choices…

Quebec Cheese Plate – Caribou Gourmand

Blueberry Crumble – Caribou Gourmand

As you can guess, my vote goes to Caribou Gourmand for this 4th edition of Tartarefest. During the final day on May 27th, the Best Tartare of Montreal 2017 will be announced at the Fish Market La Mer. All the profits of this day will be donated to the Douglas Foundation (Mental Health University Institute). Visit Tartarefest to vote and Restomania to reserve your tickets. Enjoy 🙂

Club Soya: New Sushi Restaurant in Montreal

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Club Soya – Photo credit: Myriam Frenette

Club Soya is the newest restaurant in Montreal Quartier des Spectacles inspired by Japanese, Hawaiian and local cuisines. Opened few months ago, Club Soya invited us earlier this week to taste its menu and to celebrate the opening of its terrace.

Elaborated by Chef Geneviève Everell (Sushi à la maison), menu features sushi, maki-burrito, poke bowls and salads. Recipes change with seasons depending ingredients availability at local markets. During the launch event, we chose vegan poke bowls and vegetarian sushi.

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Vegan Poke Bowls – Photo credit: Myriam Frenette

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Vegetarian Sushi – Photo Credit: Myriam Frenette

While waiting to receive its alcohol license, Club Soya offers a menu of mocktails signed by Étienne Bernard (founder of Bar Co) and well harmonized with plates served at the restaurant.

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Mocktail – Credit photo: Myriam Frenette

Club Soya has a small capacity (perfect if you are looking for intimacy) but you can still enjoy the menu by ordering on Foodora  and be delivered right to your door.

Club Soya

225 Sherbrooke West, Montreal

Invasion Cocktail: Celebrate the Art of Mixology

Photo Credit: Karel Chladek

Invasion Cocktail, the Montreal and Quebec City cocktail festival, will be back for its 4th edition from May 10th to 16th with a busy schedule. More than 35 participating bars, 250 exclusive cocktails, 6 days of festival to discover the cocktail scene of Quebec!

Presented by MadeWithLove, the most extravagant mixology competition in Canada, Invasion Cocktail is a unique opportunity to discover exclusive cocktail creations that will be presented only in an ephemeral way throughout the week.

Photo Credit: Karel Chladek

There are many new features for this 4th edition, do not miss…

  • Opening night at Phi Centre on May 10th: signature cocktails, music and good vibes only!
  • New edition of Brunch Festif at Pied de Cochon Sugar Shack on May 14th presented by French brand Liqueur St-Germain.
  • MadeWithLove National Final on May 16th at TRH-bar: the 16 finalist bartenders from across Canada will face a panel of judges in hopes of winning the title of Best Barchef MadeWithLove 2017.

Visit Invasion Cocktail website to download your free pass and to find more info about the festival schedule.

New Brunch Menu at Les Enfants Terribles

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Les Enfants Terribles (Ile-des-Soeurs) – Photo Credit: Patricia Brochu

Inspired by both classic and modern dishes, chefs Oussama Ben Tanfous and Simon Laborde launch a new brunch menu available at all Les Enfants Terribles restaurant locations. At this occasion, I had the pleasure of tasting the dishes added to the brunch menu last week at Ile-des-Soeurs location in the presence of founder Francine Brûlé.

Chefs well understand that food habits are changing and this is the reason why they decided to adapt the brunch menu to this new reality. “We cook with the best products, fresh and local, and a small rebellious sideOur dishes represent what we are: Les Enfants Terribles, a Montrealer Brasserie “said Ben and Simon.

Among the new dishes, we have choice of diverse flavor such as crab BLT, merguez Chakchouka, duck toast and various vegetarian plates. Here is my top 3…

1. Blueberry Donuts

As revealed on my instagram account, my favorite from this new brunch menu is Blueberry Donuts! If you want to add a sweet note to your brunch, Blueberry Donuts are perfect for sharing. Donuts are flavored with ginger and topped with blueberries sauce, vanilla ice cream, Chantilly and mint.

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Blueberry Donuts – Photo Credit: Patricia Brochu

2. Orange Chocolate French Toast

Looking for “revisited” French toast? Orange Chocolate French Toast is waiting for you! This French toast is made with Hallah bread and topped with chocolate milk sauce, spices Chantilly, pecans, fresh and candied oranges.

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Orange Chocolate French Toast – Photo Credit: Patricia Brochu

3. Super Healthy

If you plan to hit the gym right after brunch, opt for Super Healthy made with 2% plain greek yogurt, fruits, granola and Quebec’s wild honey. It’s light and full of energy with a dose of protein for your muscles!

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Super Healthy – Photo Credit: Patricia Brochu

Brunch is served on Saturdays and Sundays (including certain public holidays) from 10 am to 3 pm, reserve your seat(s) online at Les Enfants Terribles. Also, note that the restaurant will open its 5th location in May at Magog in the heart of innovation district.

Montreal Brunch Restaurant L’Avenue Opens In Saint-Henri

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L’Avenue Saint-Henri – Photo Credit: Patricia Brochu

It’s official, well known brunch restaurant L’Avenue just opens its second location in Saint-Henri neighborhood on Notre-Dame Street West at walking distance from Lachine Canal and Atwater market.

The new location preserves L’Avenue original signature with a decoration mixed of urban influences designed by Montrealer artist Alex Scaner and vintage furniture style (don’t miss to visit the bathrooms….).

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Chef Alexandre Loiseau – Photo Credit: Patricia Brochu

To refresh the menu, Chef Alexandre Loiseau has concocted new dishes inspired by local ingredients which I have been invited to try in exclusivity a week ago. Both fancy and hefty, these new dishes confirm that brunch is a meal where creativity has no limit. And guess what? New vegetarian and gluten free items have been also added!

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Yogurt – Photo Credit: Patricia Brochu

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Pancakes – Photo Credit: Patricia Brochu

I can’t conclude without mentioning the burning question on everyone’s lips ” what about the waiting line?”…well, all I can say is hurry up guys! First come first served 🙂

L’Avenue

3612 Notre-Dame West

922 Mont-Royal East

Opening hours: 8am to 4pm (Mon – Sun)

New Menu At Crudessence Raw Vegan Restaurant

vegan raw food

Beetroot Carpaccio – Photo credit: Sylvie Li

Since its first steps with delivery service of organic lunch boxes to cooking classes, Crudessence celebrates 10 years of healthy food with new raw vegan menu revisited by executive Chef Sarah Karook available in Greater Montreal and Quebec locations (restaurants and counters).

one person smiling

Chef Sarah Karook – Photo credit: Sylvie Li

Chef Sarah Karook is very familiar with vegan cuisine with 15 years of experience in this specific food field. Today, as a proud ambassador of Crudessence, her mission is to democratize vegan cooking and make it more accessible.

The new menu is inspired by foreign cuisine of several countries and reflects the image of people of our beautiful Quebec province. From Italian flavor to vadouvan Indian spices, each meal is highly nutritious, organic and sustainably sourced.

vegan raw food

Lasagna – Photo credit: Sylvie Li

vegan raw food

Salad and Vandouvan Plate – Photo credit: Sylvie Li

The idea of raw menu is to offer the optimal potential of food for a fully healthy experience. I invite you to visit one of their restaurants or counters at Avril Supermarché Santé and Comptoir la Moisson to try the new menu.

Food and Health: Expo Manger Santé et Vivre Vert 2017

The 20th edition of Expo Manger Santé et Vivre Vert will be held on March 24th, 25th and 26th at Palais des Congrès de Montréal. More than 35,000 visitors are attending for one of the most largest food exhibition in Quebec. This exhibition is the unmissable event of the Spring which gathers in one spot the best resources in food, health and environment.

This year the theme of the Montreal Vegetable Cuisine Championship is ecogastronomy and will be hosted by Caroline Dumas on March 25th at 10:30 am. Participants will have to come up with a gourmet hand held that uses local products and anti-waste. Each candidate will have 30 minutes at its disposal to create the meal under the watchful eye of the jury composed of the cuisine editor-in-chief of Coup de Pouce magazine, Catherine Clermont, columnist and author Bob the Chef as well as the nutritionist Bernard Lavallée.

Moreover, among the exhibitors, several of my favorites vegetarian and vegan restaurants will be represented as Lola Rosa, Aux Vivres, Copper Branch, Crudessence and more.

Entrance: 11$-14$ ( free for 16 and under)

Info about opening hours and exhibitors list : expomangersante.com

Palais des Congrès de Montréal

1001 Place Jean-Paul-Riopelle, Montreal