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Nota Bene
Posted by Slavito in Montreal + Places on 13/Aug/2007
Nota Bene: TileI remember the first time I walked by the Nota Bene store on Avenue du Parc in November, 2004. A series of colorful German-made notebooks with aluminum edges were shown in the display window and I immediately thought “I am going to spend a lot of money here". And sure enough, over the following three years, I did...

Nota Bene sells an amazing array of imported designer stationery items – mostly of European and Japanese origin. If you're the type who prefers to think with a pen or a pencil in their hands, chances are you're going to love this store...

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Marché Atwater
Posted by Alban in Montreal + Places on 06/Aug/2007
Atwater Market (Tile)Like every good European, I am fond of food and like it to be as fresh as possible. I've always looked for the best ingredients to make my cooking exceptional for my wife, friends and family, as that's whom I usually cook for. Getting my groceries fresh from the market or straight from the farmer has always been my goal, because everything tastes better from the people who take care of their produce and work hard to bring the raw ingredients to our fridges.

In Montreal, I was overjoyed to find that there's more than one farmer's market open seven days a week. One of my favorites (not only for its nice building, which I really like) is the Atwater Market, situated very close to the Lachine Canal path, making it the perfect stop after a walk or a bike ride...

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Ottawa: I came, I saw, I left
Posted by Alban in Ottawa on 17/Jul/2007
If you know anything about Ottawa you probably know it as the capital of Canada and not much else. That's most of the story. Unless you work for the government, there's not much to do in Ottawa, particularly after sunset, aside from an all-you-can-eat lobster dinner and a cozy bed...

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Quick, where to go in Montreal on a Thursday night?
 Think beer, pool, conversation and a little live music by a good local band on a miniscule stage – not to mention the spirited roar of Canadiens' fans.

Located right in the middle of Plateau Mont Royal, L'Inspecteur Épingle is a bar where a variety of characters congregate to drink affordably priced pints of beer. Patrons are often perched on bar stools or lounging at corner tables beneath plasma TV screens, either listening to or ignoring the game and raising their voices just above the clinking of glasses and background music...

Read the rest of: "L'Inspecteur Épingle: Raise Your Pint, Follow the Puck
Pi Café: LogoI am amazed and grateful at the variety of cafés in Montreal. It is a city where people love to bring their office or school work to coffee shops, since most of them offer Wi-Fi. Hot beverages are essential during the colder months, but there is a difference between hitting the chain coffee shops and arriving by chance to a café in the middle of the very eclectic Blvd. St-Laurent..

Pi Café (Café π) is basically a mixture of coffee shop, workplace, gallery, chess venue and a place for tranquility. I've been there a few times, and it is a wonderful place to enjoy a café latte or tisane while you pull out your book, computer or schoolwork in a reasonably quiet environment.


Read the rest of: "Café π: Coffee, Tranquility and One Hip Bathroom

Alone at Le Grand Comptoir
Posted by Slavito in Montreal + Places on 15/Feb/2007
Somebody on the site mentioned that Le Grand Comptoir is one of the few restaurants in Montreal with friendly, non-pretentious “single person" table service and I would agree with them. What I mean by that is that going there by yourself doesn't necessarily present you with the typical dining-alone nuisances, like having to sit at the counter and thus forgo being able to relax in a chair, or being subjected to attitude from the host(ess) and the server. (After all, you're taking up a whole table and you'll only leave one person's tip!)

Like I said, Le Grand Comptoir is a fortunate exception to those experiences. You can go there alone at almost any time of day (except the lunch hour: too busy) and find more than a handful of individual tables to choose from...

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Good Catch General Store
Posted by Sheryl in Toronto + Places on 14/Feb/2007
Good Catch: PinsWhen I say the words "General Store", what do you think of? I bet it's the television show "The Waltons", isn't it? And then maybe the image of a dusty-shelved, small-town shop with some outdated products in faded packages and maybe one of those huge jars of pickled eggs on the counter, surrounded by locals, gossiping and chatting. Not exactly the kind of thing you'd think you'd ever find in downtown Toronto. And on that count, you'd be both right and wrong...

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Boom Shiva
Posted by Sheryl in Toronto + Places on 09/Feb/2007
Squash I was always under the impression that "tapas" was a Spanish word meaning small bites or small plates. In Spain, tapas is something you eat after work with a drink or two before heading off to dinner, sometime between nine or ten o'clock. Those little bits of snacks and olives, maybe some bread, are meant to tide you over until the big meal.

Not so in Toronto, where tapas bars have morphed away from Spanish snacks and drinks to full meals of every genre, at high-end prices. Problem is, you've got to eat a lot of little dishes to come up with the equivalent of a meal.

When Boom Shiva opened on the West Queen West strip last summer, they were the hit of the season -- finally, a bar with exclusively vegetarian food. Local critics sang the praises of the crusty old bar revamped into a fun and funky space with live music, tasty cocktails and a knowledgeable beer menu...

Read the rest of: "Boom Shiva
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