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Breadbox/Supplied

Head to Décarie later this month for the carrot-based mock smoked salmon — and pick up some tasty baked goods while you’re there.

A new bakery is soon to open in Côte-des-Neiges with sourdough, stuffed cookies, and many more baked goods.

It comes from a company named Breadbox — under owners May Goldhacker and Arthur Schiller, the company has been in the bread business, selling sourdough and cookies online, in some stores, and in person at places like the McGill University farmers’ market.

Now, they’re preparing their own storefront on Décarie near Queen-Mary, to open this summer. Operating as a bakery and test kitchen, it’ll allow the company to branch out more, and it has a deliberately blunt name: Carbs.

“We want to reclaim carbs. They’ve been getting a bad reputation with people cutting carbs out of their diets...we believe that the problem is that people aren’t eating the right types of carbs,” says Goldhacker.

Breadbox/Supplied Arthur Schiller and May Goldhacker

According to Schiller, the offerings will lean towards traditional bakery offerings (with a focus on sourdough varieties, such as a sourdough rye), but he and Goldhacker say they aren’t afraid to try something new.

“You never know what you’re going to get with us.”

One such example is a vegan “lox” (or vegan smoked salmon) that Breadbox is offering and will be on sale at Carbs. Named By2048 (for the year that scientists predict that the planet’s oceans will be depleted of fishable seafood) — it’s made with carrots, softened and smoked to get a lox-like texture and taste. Another variety of the same product, named POKE, aims to replicate salmon sashimi.

Breadbox/Supplied

Carbs will offer all vegetarian options (and some vegan ones), and a variety of lunch-friendly options beyond straight-up baked goods — for example, sandwiches, that vegan salmon on toast, and more. Coffee and some frozen drinks should be available too — the bakery will also serve as a pick-up point for Breadbox’s online customers, and a production facility for the company.

Expect it to open later in July.

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If you’re up for a late night, you can rub elbows with the approaching-middle-age boy band.

OLD MONTREAL — ‘90s and ‘00s pop boy band sensation the Backstreet Boys are playing a show at Montreal’s Bell Centre tonight (July 15). Those looking to sing along to “Backstreet’s Back” are out of luck, as it’s sold out, but those still keen to see Nick Carter, etc., in the flesh can head to St-Jacques Street club La Voûte, where the boys (now closer to middle-aged men) will appear from 11 p.m. It’s relatively rare for big-name artists playing the Bell Centre to do such a public meet-and-greet type event (usually they just dine somewhere fancy, perhaps a hotel restaurant, then slip out of town), and in this case, not wildly expensive — it’ll set you back $US25 (but a VIP option goes as high as $250, for some kind of up-close contact with the fivesome), and there will be some kind of performance. It kicks off at 11 p.m. and goes surprisingly late for a Monday, and for a group of men who are mostly in their 40s.

Nous sommes fiers d’annoncer que Cora déjeuners devient un partenaire de choix de la compagnie aérienne WestJet. Il...

Posted by Cora restaurants on Thursday, July 11, 2019

IN THE AIR — Quebec-based breakfast and brunch chain Chez Cora is hopping into bed with airline WestJet. The airline will be serving Benedicts, omelettes, and more from the chain on flights over two and a half hours long, although it’s only for Premium customers (read: business class). The average person probably wouldn’t associate moneyed, business-class levels of luxury with the somewhat suburban Chez Cora (particularly when considering that the breakfast foods will be in extra-sad, in-flight form), but you do you, Cora and WestJet.

OLD MONTREAL — There’s a new festival focusing on Quebec-made spirits: Tribute will have its inaugural edition September 6 and 7 (Friday and Saturday) at the Palais des Congrès. It’ll cost $12 per person, which is just for admission, but if you buy before August 1, you get five tasting coupons, which seems like a pretty good deal. The first day (Friday) is for industry types only, with the Saturday open to all.

QUARTIER DES SPECTACLES — This year’s edition of YUL EAT food festival will go down from September 9 to 15 (slightly later than its normal placement alongside the Labour Day holiday).

VILLAGE — At the end of summer, Village/Centre-Sud’s Amherst Street will become Atateken Street, meaning “brothers and sisters” in the Mohawk language. This doesn’t change anything for the restaurants on the street (except their address, of course), but for the record, Haitian resto Agrikol supported the change.

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Including an excellent new taco spot in the Village.

VILLE-ST-LAURENT — There’s a new cannoli roller in town: Madame Cannoli, a patisserie dedicated wholly to the tubular Italian dessert has opened in the Galeries St-Laurent complex in Ville-St-Laurent. It’s a sort of build-your-own-cannoli set-up, according to the Journal de Montréal. If you order a cannoli, you get that cylindrical fried pastry base (made in-house), and can choose between 11 flavoured ricotta fillings (like lemon or espresso) Then there’s a range of mostly chocolate or nut-based toppings, and a variety of “drizzles” to top it off — sweet sauces like maple, raspberry, or Nutella. For those fearful of making their own combinations, there are also set menu items — and there’s coffee and other sweets, too.

Tacos Frida/Official

VILLAGE — Much loved St-Henri taqueria Frida has completed its first expansion. It’s now dishing up classic tacos (tinga, carnitas, al pastor, and more) on the pedestrian part of Ste-Catherine Street near Alexandre de Sève. It takes over former Italian restaurant La Strega.

Parma Café/Facebook

LITTLE ITALY — Italian coffee and snack spot Parma Café has made another expansion — it now has a location on the north side of the Jean-Talon Market. It features a patio facing the market, and a loungey interior. It’ll serve a similar menu to existing locations. Think panini, pizza by the slice, coffee, and sweets like cannoli and gelato. This is the third Parma Café — it already expanded once this year, with a location downtown on Beaver Hall. The original opened over on Bishop in 2016.

OLD MONTREAL — Attention, Old Montreal club- and bar-goers: Trendy dim sum bar Jiao has opened up a take-out window on the side of its premises, dishing out dumplings, noodles, and more, in classic Chinese take-out containers.

Shaker/Official

PLATEAU — The large space of former clubstaurant Buonanotte has opened as mostly-suburban burger and cocktail chain Shaker. It has a large sign reading “Mixologie”, if you must know.

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Vinvinvin is dividing its wine list not by colour, but by palate, with sections for mineral wines, funky options, and more.

Petite-Patrie has a promising new spot for libations and small plates, with Vinvinvin now open on Beaubien East to the west of Papineau.

As the name rather clearly implies, wine is a key focus: specifically, Vinvinvin is focusing on a group of terroirs that don’t often get prominent placement on Montreal wine lists. While it has been described as a Nordic wine bar, it’s central and northern European wines that make up much of the list, particularly from Germany and Austria; a number of Quebec wines also feature. (Importer Ward & Associates is behind the list.)

Interestingly, the wine list doesn’t break up wines by colour or varietal — rather, it’s divided by palate, with categories including obvious profiles like mineral and dry, and some less traditional traits, such as “punk” and “émotion” (customers will, of course, know if they’re ordering white, red, orange or otherwise).

While Vinvinvin is first and foremost a wine bar, its well-rounded owners mean it looks to have many strengths. On the wine side is sommelier Nikolas Da Fonseca (ex-Petit Mousso) — then there’s chef Marina De Figueiredo (ex-Candide), and Antonin Frenette-Laporte (from brewery Isle de Garde). Beyond wine, ultra-affordable craft brews from Isle de Garde and nearby brewery Harricana are offered.

Then for food is a range of smaller plates geared towards sharing — fried oyster mushrooms with sour cream, roasted turbot with Nordic shrimp, grilled cucumber, and yogurt, and a fancied-up baloney sandwich are among the options, which hover mostly around $12 to $14.

The space has had a serious makeover from its past life under different owners as “bacon bar” Brutus. Forget your serious-and-sombre wine bar stereotype: Vinvinvin features a bright design of wooden floors, patterned tiles, and various coloured swatches for the furniture — it’s eclectic, yet cohesive and fresh. (Take a peek at some images over at Tastet.)

STATUS — Vinvinvin is open at 1290 Beaubien E from 3 p.m. to 1 a.m. daily (3 a.m. Friday and Saturday)

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7 of the best places in town for fresh, fruity juices and smoothies.

The juice bar has been beloved by health nuts for ages now, but with juice cleanse plans hitting the mainstream, more and more people have become attuned to the benefits (and great flavours) of a fresh pressed juice rather than a frappe or other popular on-the-go alternative. Far from the juice you drank as a kid, the juice you’ll find at a juice bar is usually free from added sugar, packed with vitamins and definitely not made from concentrate.

Here, some of the best juice bars in the city that will leave you feeling healthier and full of energy — whether that means a generous serving of pressed kale and spinach or a more tropical, fruity libation.

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And take note: these guided walks through parts of the city’s food world aren’t just for tourists.

Doing a food walk in Montreal might not be the first thing that pops to mind when you actually live here. Our holy trinity of bagels, smoked meat, and poutine is easy to explore: you already know the big players (and if you don’t, we’ve got the scoop on that). But for those keen to delve deeper into local food culture — native Montrealers, new arrivals, and visitors alike — an afternoon spent on a food walk with a savvy guide is a chance to learn (and taste) more.

These tours are run by Montrealers obsessed with the city’s food scene. You can sign on to be part of a group or set up a private tour (for any occasion), usually for two or more. Here are some picks of the best options that focus on keeping it small and connected to the community.

Beyond the Market (Spade and Palacio)

Spade and Palacio’s co-founders worked as accredited tour guides for years before taking the plunge with their own business. “We got tired of wearing uniforms and spewing scripts”, says Danny Pavlopolous. He and Anne-Marie Pellerin offer various “non-touristy” tours by bike and on foot, focusing on art, architecture, history, and food. Their Beyond the Market tour is a three-hour exploration of the area surrounding Jean-Talon Market, with an emphasis on small businesses, the majority women-owned.

Tastings start with Salvadorean pupusas in the Latino neighbourhood east of the market, followed by a visit to Jean Talon market for cheese, charcuterie, and ice cream, where a short exploration break is included. Next stop is Brasserie Harricana for a Quebec cheese and beer sampling; from there it’s off to a third-wave coffee roastery, finishing up with a southern fried chicken picnic in the Parc de la Petite Italie, weather permitting. “We knew people would come to the market, but wouldn’t necessarily explore too much nearby,” says Anne-Marie. “And that’s important.” They give a curated list of their favourite neighbourhood haunts to all visitors (plus a branded bag for market shopping) to ensure that participants know exactly where to go next time.

Taste of Chinatown with a Food Writer (Random Cuisine)

Chinatown offers a compact zone for tasting a range of regional Chinese flavours, and Victor Yu’s tour is a perfect introduction. The indefatigable Yu offers a three-hour tour peppered with information about the history of Montreal’s Chinatown and its food lore. Booked through AirBnB as a Montreal experience, Yu tailors his tours to his visitors’ interests, dietary preferences, and the level of spice they can tolerate.

A typical tour might start with bao — airy Chinese buns filled with various sweet or savoury fillings — and move on to a Cantonese barbecue stall, followed by a sit-down at a local restaurant. From there it’s some a Lanzhou noodles or a spun sugar candy demonstration, Hong Kong bubble waffles, or perhaps a salty, crunchy Chinese pancake snack. The highlight for many visitors is an extensive supermarket tour, where Yu — a physicist by training — explains ingredients, what real bok choy is (and what isn’t), and his tips for the best tea to drink after too much fried food.

Beyond the Bagel: Museum of Jewish Montreal

The Museum of Jewish Montreal has been offering historically informed food tours for the past five years. Setting off from Mile End bakery Cheskie’s (complete with a tasting of its cheese-crown danish), the four-hour tour wends its way down Parc Avenue to the Main and into the Museum’s own café, Fletcher’s, sampling bagels, the iconic Wilensky special, traditional rye bread at Hof Kelsten, pickles at the site of Mrs. Whyte’s original factory, and smoked meat at Schwartz’s.

Beyond the Bagel/Facebook

The information-rich itinerary is as dense and chewy as a fresh bagel: who knew that Moishes’ origins are in part due to a failed gambling bet, or that the Fairmont Bagel Bakery building was owned by the Jehovah’s Witnesses for decades? The tour’s trajectory offers poignant insights into a community with street vendors, horse delivery carts, and markets that have now disappeared.

Today we’re eating cheese crowns, a sweet cheese-filled pastry from #Cheskie’s Bakery! Join us on our #BeyondTheBagel tour to learn more and try this sweet treat! Photo courtesy of Taylor Broening

Posted by Beyond the Bagel - Montreal Jewish Food Tour on Thursday, August 27, 2015
Will Travel for Food (Mayssam Samaha)

Award-winning Montreal blogger Mayssam Samaha has been sharing her insights into Montreal’s food scene for the past nine years, winning accolades along the way from Saveur magazine, among others. Samaha shares her love of Jean Talon Market through her own food tours; (she’s also a guide for international outfit Context Travel). Samaha can arrange for private tours and moveable feasts tailored to special interests and occasions, such as wine, craft beer, and specific cuisines and foods: think of a curated wander through Little Italy with arancini, bomboloni, pizza al taglio, and coffee.

Samaha adjusts her market tours to the seasons, always making stops for local cheeses and ice cider. She wishes that more Montrealers would explore the city’s food through these kinds of guided walks. “If you come with me as a native Montrealer, you’re going to know where to buy the best cheese, the best fish, the best charcuterie,” she says. “It’s okay to ask questions, to talk to the vendors, to find out what’s next, crop-wise. Then when those people come back, they can build on their relationship with the vendors — and it can become their own market, too.”

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A fancy Mexican spot in Old Montreal and a short-lived Plateau farm-to-table haunt are among other shutters to know.

Here’s a round-up of a bunch of closures to know from the last few months.

DOWNTOWN, ETC — Peruvian mini-chain Sandouchon has closed the doors on all of its Montreal locations. It launched a few years back with a location in Les Cours Mont-Royal and some pretty interesting options by Montreal food court standards — sandwiches featuring lomo saltado or duck heart were a welcome departure from the stock-standard fare on offer elsewhere. It expanded to the Rockland Centre and Ville-St-Laurent in 2018, but recently all locations were shuttered to undertake “restructuring”, although there’s been no sign of a return for the company since.

Bonjour à tous chères amateurs/amatrices de Sandouchon, comme vous avez pu le constater, le restaurant Sandouchon des...

Posted by Sandouchon on Tuesday, April 9, 2019

PLATEAU — After less than a year on St-Denis Street, Sri Lankan restaurant Nama closed its doors over the St-Jean-Baptiste weekend, per an email from owner Jeya Sivans. One of few spots in town to serve Sri Lankan cuisine, particularly in a mid-range setting, it was a welcome addition to Montreal’s food scene when it arrived last August, but alas, it’s no longer.

PLATEAU — Also gone after less than a year is farm-to-table restaurant Clairon on Rachel Street near St-Denis. It opened in fall 2018 and garnered warm reviews, but closed “definitively” at the end of June with no further details given.

C’est avec le coeur gros que nous vous annonçons la fermeture définitive du Clairon. Merci pour ces précieux moments et...

Posted by Clairon on Wednesday, June 26, 2019

OLD MONTREAL — One of few high-end Mexican restaurants in town, Notre-Dame Street’s Emilianos has tucked away its tacos after about two and a half years in the biz.

GRIFFINTOWN — Le Local is no longer: One of the earlier restaurants to take on the rapidly developing area just west of Old Montreal, it has quietly closed its doors on William Street.

DOWNTOWN — Reliable Sichuan spot JCer has closed down on de Maisonneuve — a post to social media cites an oblique “business change” as the reason.

Avis de fermeture du restaurant À nos chers clients et à notre communauté: En raison d'un changement d'entreprise, le...

Posted by Restaurant JCer on Wednesday, April 24, 2019

LATIN QUARTER — St-Denis Street karaoke bar C’est Si Bon is no longer — it shuttered in recent weeks with its social media presence completely deleted.

DOWNTOWN — Vowel-deficient Peel Street restaurant SLK RD appears to be out of business — its Facebook page has vanished, no reservations are available on OpenTable, and its phone line just keeps on going to voicemail. The restaurant was an attempt by the owners of chain eatery Houston Avenue to branch out into something different — but it seems that the overly vague “international cuisine” approach perhaps never really landed. It also involved many of the staff from now-closed restaurant Mercuri.

PIERREFONDS — Longtime West Island watering hole Chez Paul had planned to pour out its last beer in late May...until it didn’t. A planned purchase of the 50-year-old bar’s building has stalled due to new flood maps drawn of the area, and as a result, the bar seems to be staying open for the foreseeable future.

Seen any bankruptcy notices or papered-over windows in your neighbourhood? Tell us about it.

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The menu at Antonietta will change daily based on whatever’s good at the market.

A promising new neighbourhood Italian restaurant has arrived in Petite-Patrie: Antonietta is now open on Papineau near St-Zotique.

As previously reported, it comes from a trio of owners: Luigi Minerva, Daniel Abbandonato, and Massimo Zuccheroso. The menu is driven by chef Anthony Bottazzi, who comes from Caffe Biancamanno (just west on St-Zotique) and also brings experience from notable spots such as Italian restaurant Le Serpent and Montreal’s Maison Boulud.

Antonietta is taking the approach of a casual osteria — it’s billed as modern Italian cuisine that draws upon Quebec’s seasons, with local produce a focus. Expect a menu that will change frequently: fresh pasta, and a local meat or fish special will always figure into the menu, and it’ll showcase plenty of fresh produce from the Jean-Talon Market.

Neapolitan pizzas will also figure into the menu — that section won’t change as frequently, and will lean into classic flavours: think a margherita, or, if last week’s menu is anything to go by, a porcini mushroom option with scamorza and fior di latte. You can pair those with all-natural wines from Quebec and Italy, another focus on the menu.

Antonietta takes over a location that formerly belonged to Pizza Villa — it’s been made over into a bright, cheery space with a few soft, wooden tones.

STATUS — Antonietta is open at 6672 Papineau from 6 to 11 p.m. Wednesday to Saturday.

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Brace for barbacoa burritos and more on St-Viateur.

St-Henri burrito-and-more fixture Tejano BBQ Burrito is planning to open in Mile End in the near future.

Signage for Tejano, including a call for staff, has appeared in the windows of former bakery Farine, on St-Viateur Street near St-Urbain. (Farine closed its doors last winter.)

Tejano has been in the burrito business for nearly five years with a location on de Courcelle in St-Henri. It takes a build-it-yourself approach — customers choose between a burrito, tacos, or burrito or salad bowls, choose a meat (ancho cumin beef, pulled pork, and chicken tinga), and can then add rice, beans, salsas, and a range of toppings such as pico de gallo, cheese, lettuce, guacamole, and more.

As the name suggests, Tejano is firmly within the Tex-Mex canon (“tejano” means “Texan”) — between the fast casual approach and menu items, it’s not dissimilar to popular American chain Chipotle (which doesn’t exist in Montreal). That said, Tejano is obviously a whole lot better: counting Blackstrap BBQ owner Dylan Kier among its owners, Tejano has a solid focus on quality (as well as the meat-smoking chops to back that up).

It’s also not a multinational corporation with thousands of locations — Tejano has expanded just once before, adding a location on William Street in Old Montreal in late 2016.

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A vegan restaurant was apparently targeted due to its location at the heart of the city’s non-existent “Antifa neighbourhood”.

Members of a far-right political group have targeted a Trois-Rivières vegan restaurant, bombarding its premises with posters and making oblique online threats.

According to CBC Montreal, three men showed up at Café Frida in the centre of Trois-Rivières just before closing time last Thursday. The men asked an employee to take a photo of them in front of the building, making the ominous promise that they would “give [the café] some publicity”.

That night, a number of posters for a demonstration in support of Quebec’s recently-passed Bill 21 were put up on around Café Frida’s premises. Bill 21 bans any public employee (such as teachers or bus drivers) from wearing religious symbols, and has been enthusiastically supported by far-right, anti-immigrant groups such as La Meute.

The photo of the men at Café Frida was also posted online, with a caption in French stating that the men in the photo were “guardians of Quebec at the heart of [Trois Rivières’] Antifa neighbourhood”.

(There is, of course, no such thing as an “Antifa neighbourhood” in Trois-Rivières, or other cities in Quebec.)

Another of the men also posting comments apparently encouraging people to visit Café Frida without paying — he stated that Frida would be giving away free drinks to celebrate the Bill 21 demonstration.

According to Vice, the men who visited Café Frida have ties to far-right groups such as Soldiers of Odin, although it doesn’t seem that the threats towards Café Frida were done in the name of any particular group.

There’s no clear reason why Café Frida was targeted by the group — owner Gabrielle Cossette told both CBC and Vice that the restaurant has never hosted political events and generally avoided taking political stances. It seems that the attack was possibly grounded in stereotypes that vegans are inherently left-wing.

Of course, even if Café Frida was overtly left-wing, it wouldn’t make this kind of harassment acceptable, since freedom of association is a right in Canada. Besides, it seems unlikely that Café Frida or any other restaurant would be any kind of official gathering point for anti-fascists, given that Antifa is a decentralized group with no leadership and no kind of membership structure.

A police report was filed after the incident, and Trois-Rivières police say they’re taking the incident seriously.

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