May 26th, 2011
The original Borgias were wealthy patrons of the arts, and if the mini-series is to be believed (has TV ever let you down?), masters of sinful self-indulgence.
Chef Nicolina Servello, Chocolatier Nada Fares of Le Maitre du Chocolatier and pastry artist Jami Liverman have come together to create Les Nuits Borgia, a hedonistic multi-course gourmet romp ($100 per person, $130 with wine pairings). The menu for our visit included a flavorful porcini and wild mushroom crostini followed by a marvelous Fior di Latte medaglione on a bed of minted pea puree. The main course was a toothsome truffle salt-seared bavette on a crisp corn polenta cake, followed by a delicious dessert of chocolate cherry clafoutis with a sour cherry reduction and vanilla bean ice cream.
Held on only one Thursday per month, the 22 (maximum) guests may arrive as strangers, but after dining at the communal table, leave as friends.
Reserve online here.
March 3rd, 2011
We aspire to throw fancy dinner parties, complete with canapés and creative cocktails, but without a team of elves to craft hundreds of tiny vol-au-vents, we usually end up offering our guests take-out and beer.
We’re no longer a second rate hostess now that we’ve discovered Cool & Simple gourmet frozen food. We stopped by their efficient store to pick up everything we needed for our upcoming intimate soirée, starting with scrumptious Asian-style salmon tartare ($19.95), followed by a dinner of duck magret ($28.95) and ending the night with some lovely macarons de Paris ($9.95). We crossed our fingers and picked up some thaw-and-serve brioche ($5.95) in case our little dinner party for two lasted until the next morning.
We hear men love women who can cook. —JN
Cool & Simple, 333 Richmond Rd., Montreal, 514-281-9883, www.cool-simple.com
October 29th, 2010
Sure your kids have tried to convince you that candy is the fifth food group.
But in order to stave off a Hallowe'en dinner of Smarties and Twizzlers (with the attendant sugar crash two hours later) we suggest filling the kids up with these ghost-shaped stuffed pastas called sacchetti, tossed with lemon zest, olive oil, parmesan and fried capers.
In Vancouver at Bosa Foods and Italian grocery stores nationwide.
May 29th, 2009
We’re no Emily Post, but when it comes to entertaining we do appreciate that matching plates are a start in the right direction.
You’ll never go wrong with a set of crisp and clean dishes from boutique-gallery À Table Tout Le Monde. It’s elegant cutlery and tableware from Japan, Holland and France had us breaking out the dog-eared Chez Panisse cookbook and planning our next dinner party. We’re going with the white saladier and legumier bowls ($29-$72) and the bubble-shaped Ego coquetier ($16) in an irresistible matte texture.
Now if only we could get our soufflés to stand at attention.
À Table Tout Le Monde, 361 St-Paul W., Montreal, 514-750-0311, www.atabletoutlemonde.com
July 14th, 2008
It’s Bastille Day, and while you might not have a French bone in your body, it’s a perfect time to embrace your inner Carla Bruni-Sarkozy:
2. Head to Le Massillia for colourful Marseilles’ cocktail, La Tomate, made with liquorice-flavoured Ricard and a splash of grenadine syrup. 4543 Parc, Ave., 514-678-1862.
3. Dine at the ever-fashionable L’Express and revel in their divine steak frites. 3927 St-Denis St., 514-845-5333.
5. Slip on a little French Lingerie Lip Balm and restore puckered-out lips to their sultry best. Find someone nice to French kiss and it’s a perfect day indeed.
February 14th, 2008
Uh oh, you’ve left it to the last minute. Don’t panic, here are some easy-peasy ways to fête your sweetie on V-Day:
1. Pop open a bottle of bubbly and snuggle under warm blankets in a horse-drawn sleigh-ride through Mount-Royal Park. Reserve your own by calling ahead: 450-653-0751, ($45/30 min, $75/1hr).
2. They say food is the way to a man’s heart. Pick up something sweet from down-home bakery Cocoa Locale. Its lavender vanilla cake infused with beet juice is to-die-for delish ($8). Cocoa Locale, 4807 Parc Ave., Montreal, 514-271-7162.
3. Favorite bistro over-booked? Have a soirée à deux catered at home. Pick up a spread from Gourmet Chez Vous including tomato-fennel soup with heart-shaped croustades and chocolate fudge cake (from $17.95 per person). Gourmet Chez Vous, 275 Elm St., Beaconsfield, 514-694-9351, www.gourmetchezvous.com
4. Get away without even leaving town. Hotel Nelligan’s Passion for Two package includes breakfast in bed, champagne, chocolate, massage, and dinner at Versus Restaurant. Two nights from $783, reserve at www.hotelnelligan.com
5. If it’s the 11th hour and you’re still empty-handed, we suggest cuddling up on the couch while watching the 2003 romance Love Actually. If there’s a dry eye between you by the final airport scene, we’ll eat our hat.