Dinner at the top of the world!

Hi guys!

If you have the chance to go to Toronto, here we are with the first interesting and useful advice if you ever go there!

We spent a weekend in Toronto just a few days ago. We decided to go there by train since it’s the cheapest and fastest way to get there from Montreal. To be honest that wasn’t the best weekend to spend in Toronto because the Hurricane Sandy was on its way from New York City! Indeed it was raining all the time.. But no worries.. Despite this we really enjoyed the city.

We arrived there on Saturday and we immediately went to the CN Tower, the most spectacular place in Toronto. It’s a telecommunication tower completed in 1976 and until 2010 the world’s tallest free-standing structure and the world’s tallest tower with its 553 metres height. Defined as one of the seven wonders of modern world by the American Society of civil engineers, it will let you have an amazing view of the city thanks to the glass floors.

The entrance ticket to the tower is around 24$, but in one of the upper floors there is a restaurant, The 360, and a café, The Horizon, where it is possible to enjoy good food while looking at the world from above!
We decided to book a dinner at the 360 Restaurant (which includes the entrance to the glass floor) and we got there using the glass elevator. The restaurant is really elegant, a soft lighting ambiance with every table situated near the window or in the back raw but over a step to let everybody enjoy the view. The most amazing thing is that the entire restaurant turns on itself, so no matter on which side you are sitting, in almost one hour you’ll complete the 360 round.

We went for the 55$ menu which comprehends:

APPETIZERS:

Roasted Beet and Orange Glazed Duck Spiedini Spinach and leek tart, organic greens and petals

Summer Tomato Salad with Black Pearl Olives Grilled Halloumi cheese, organic baby arugula, fresh oregano vinaigrette

MAIN:

Sea Salt Crusted Atlantic Salmon with Fried Capers Sweet butter potatoes, grilled asparagus, preserved lemon vinaigrette

DESSERT:

Dark Chocolate Tower with Summer Berries, Raspberry coulis, vanilla crème Anglaise

The food is precious, especially the dessert!

We strongly suggest you to go there and… Enjoy your dinner at the top of the world!

A. G. V. 

Afternoon Tea at Birks Cafe’

If you are ever planning to come to Montreal, a must stop is the Henry Birks’ Café.

It is situated in the city center, more precisely in Rue Sainte Catherine right in front of The Bay, the most popular shopping mall in this city.

You can go there wether to have brunch, lunch or afternoon tea.

Unfortunately during the weekends it closes at 5 pm, so you won’t be able to respect the English traditional tea time.

We went there on Saturday after lunch and we fell in love with this place!

First of all, Henry Birks is a jewelry, so when you enter, before going to the mezzanine floor where the café is, you’ll walk through dreamy engagement rings and diamonds of every color.

The place, the atmosphere and the jewels immediately made ​​us think of Breakfast at Tiffany’s!

Now, come down to earth and go to the mezzanine, where a nice and kind staff will welcome you and get you a table.

During the afternoon tea hours (2.30 pm onwards) you can choose among more than 10 varieties of tea, macarons and chocolates.

Moreover, they offer the possibility to get a taste of everything with a 26.50 $ menu which comprehends many delicacies as you can see in the picture…

No need to say that we opted for this solution!

We had a really good time at Birks Cafe’!

So….If you are in Montreal and it’s cold outside, Birks Cafe’ is a great alternative to warm up and stay together with friends in front of so many delights!

Enjoy your English tea!

http://www.birks.com/en/static/cafe/welcome.htm

A. G. V.

NBA Match!

When you spend some time in North America you cannot miss an NBA match, if you have the chance to attend one.

Last night we went to Centre Bell in Montreal: NY Knicks vs Toronto Raptors.

We heard about the game thanks to the advertisement all around the city and we got out our tickets on the evenko.com website.

Unluckily  it was a pre-season game so people were not hyper excited as you could expect them to be. But on the other hand tickets were cheaper.

It goes without saying that the public was supporting the Toronto Raptors, being them the only canadian team in the NBA tournament and they were not disappointed since the Knicks lost 107-88.

We fell in love with Raptors’mascot, especially after they showed us this video

To make the experience complete we had nachos and hot dog with coke, as always on a diet!

We had a really good time and we hope you will have the opportunity to attend such an event as well.

MAKE SOME NOISE!

A. G. V. 

In Texas everything is bigger!

Hi guys!

Have you ever been to Austin, Texas?

If the answer is NO you can read my post (and then book a flight to Austin), if the answer is YES you can read it anyway and tell me what you think about it (and then you can book a flight, too)!

I have been in Austin, Texas, for a semester, from January to May 2011 and I attended the McComb School of Business.
While I was there I was staying in a college residence called Dobie Center (to be honest it wasn’t really nice) where I had the occasion to know many people from all over the world! I didn’t have access to a private kitchen but the residence offered restaurant services all day long.. This resulted in 6 kg gained – muffins were so good- but no worries, once back home I lost all of them in one month!

Austin is a really nice place to live.. Everything is huge: houses, streets,  cars, and hamburgers! Once I went in a pub and asked for an hamburger… Don’t do it, ever! Ask about the size first or you’ll be eating for ages!

I can give you some advices about the most interesting places you can go to while staying in this beautiful and crazy city!
First of all you HAVE to go to Sixth Street. It’s a street where you can find tons of bars, pubs and clubs! All people go there during the week end… Pay attention, you can get in only if you are 21..
Then you have to go to Town Lake,  a place where you can see all the city, Barton Spring Pool,one of the best known swimming holes in Texas, is a natural spring-fed pool with a year-round average temperature of 68 degrees, South Congress Avenue,an array of eclectic shops, restaurants, boutiques, antiques, music venues and galleries. Every first Thursday of the month, stores remain open until 10pm and State Capitol, the fourth building to be the house of TX state government in Austin. It houses the chambers of the TX Legislature and the office of the governor.

So now I give you 5 good reasons to go there AS SOON AS POSSIBLE:

1)      People are kind, friendly and helpful, and make yourself feel at home (and this is important if you go there alone)!

2)       You can see new amazing places like the swimming-pool in a natural lake

3)      You can taste the Tex-Mex food, a mix of American and Mexican food, which is usually spicy

4)      Austin is close to different places like Dallas, Houston or San Antonio, where you can go and watch a NBA match like I did, amazing!

5)       Last but not least, if you’re there for studying, you will be able to experience the real university life.  Austin is one of the biggest campus in USA and it provides students with everything they need: study, sport, food, and fun!

I fell in love with this city and I hope I have stimulated your curiosity!

Hook’em Horns! Keep Austin Weird!

A. G. V. 

OUBLIEZ LADURÉE, MAINTENANT C’EST PIERRE HERMÉ!

I’m pretty sure most of you can remember the lyrics from the song by Helmut Fritz, Ça m’énerve:

“Ça m’énerve tous ces gens qui font la queue chez Ladurée! Tout ça pour des macarons? Mais bon… Il paraît qu’ils sont bons”

Well, apparently, Pierre Hermé macarons are plus que bons.

Tastier, juicier and the result of a Parisian advice, those macarons nearly unknown by foreigners are the best ones you could ever have.

They have many boutiques dislocated around Paris, and many others all around the world.

Don’t forget to start your tasting experience from the most delicate flavors: first of all Infinitely Jasmin, a not-too-sweet cookie which gently melts once in your mouth.
After that: Infinitely Rose. I usually don’t like rose as a flavor, I find too sweet and too artificial, but still I was persuaded to try one. I never say no. And this time it was worth it.

A must taste is the Mogador one: enjoy the long lasting taste of passion fruit with milk chocolate in your mouth. Close your eyes and imagine to be on a Brazilian beach eating an actual passion fruit, since this is the sensation released by this amazing cookie.

Wait some minutes before passing to the olive oil mandarin one. You could think it is a bizarre combination but don’t talk too early……

Finish your sensorial experience by picking the classic Caramel, Chocolate and Dark Chocolate ones.

http://www.pierreherme.com/media/catalog/product/DEP_MAC_PE12_V2_FR_PETIT.pdf

Here is the link where you can find all the available flavors for the season.

Et voilà, les jeux sont faits!

A. G. V.

The Travellers’ ABC

Here we are with our first advice you should follow while travelling.
We thought about starting a useful rubric regarding hot topics you should care about during your trips!

It can happen that you’ll need to rent a car.

We rented one last week with some friends to go to Québec City, 3h away from Montréal.
First of all we called different car rentals to check the prices and we chose the less expensive, the choice was amongst Alamo, Avis and Hertz. We eventually chose Avis, even if the difference in prices was not that big.

Here you can see a happy us unaware of our destiny.

First of all : ALWAYS purchase the insurance option, you never know what could happen (or what they could pretend to have happened to your car 😉 )

Second of all : ALWAYS check the car before leaving the garage where you pick it up.

We are being very sensitive about this topic since after a nice day spent in Quebec City, being super careful about the car, parking it only in toll parking to be sure not to have any problem, we returned the car and we were accused to have damaged the vehicle.
It goes without saying that we were quite angry in front of the false accusations and we realized that they were taking advantage of the fact that we are young (and innocent).

GOD BLESS THE INSURANCE!

A. G. V.