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Yummy meals in Quebec City

Montreal smoked meat for dinner from Café-boulangerie Paillard

Montreal smoked meat for dinner from Café-boulangerie Paillard

Before and after our St. Lawrence cruise, mum and I stayed in Quebec City. We had the chance to visit a BUNCH of different restaurants, cafes, and other places to try what the city had to offer – to fill our happy bellies!

Of course… while in Quebec, we had to enjoy Montreal Smoked Meat – the best place I had it from was Café-boulangerie Paillard which happened to be around the corner and across the street from our hotel. This place was ALWAYS packed which I think speaks really highly of how popular and tasty it is. I also had Montreal Smoked Meat from a fast food chain… and it was no where near as good as this!

Trois Garçons

Café-boulangerie Paillard was so popular, that although we planned to go there one morning for breakfast it was just TOO crowded and we wanted a slower pace, so we checked out Trois Garçons across the road instead. (Also super-close to our hotel)

Breakfast from Trois Garçons - eggs benedict for me!

Breakfast from Trois Garçons – eggs benedict for me!

 

We stayed at the Hôtel Manoir Victoria – a really nice hotel with a beautiful lobby and lovely rooms. The only challenge were the stairs to get into the hotel – a bit of a pain for my mum when her knee bothered her, especially with suitcases.

 
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Posted by on March 25, 2017 in Out of town - Quebec

 

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Beacon Drive-In – Victoria, BC

Breakfast at Beacon Drive-In

Breakfast at Beacon Drive-In

One morning while we were in Victoria we decided to go to Beacon Hill Park – a lovely seaside park basically in downtown Victoria. It’s a large park, and connects to other open areas for jogging, biking, walking, and dog-walking to enjoy lovely seaside sights on one side and glimpses into Victoria on the other. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on October 23, 2014 in Out of town - BC

 

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Vancouver: The Elbow Room

Vancouver: The Elbow Room
BC Benny from The Elbow Room in Vancouver, BC.

BC Benny from The Elbow Room in Vancouver, BC.

Years ago a friend took me to The Elbow Room for a late lunch, and during our visit to Vancouver in December, I added it to my ‘must visit’ list to show Connie as well. (Especially since it was just a few blocks from our hotel!)

The food at The Elbow Room is good, with a varied menu, but it’s really the atmosphere or attitude that makes the diner stand out. With a list of ‘common sense’ rules listed on the blackboard (as well as the menu) it’s good for a chuckle when you are picking out what to order or standing in line to get in.

(Luckily, due to an unanticipated bit of snow, The Elbow Room wasn’t terribly busy while we were there, so we didn’t have to wait at all!)

BC Benny from The Elbow Room in Vancouver, BC.

BC Benny from The Elbow Room in Vancouver, BC.

At The Elbow Room they have assortment of “rules” (including one that insists that quick service is important, and as long as they’re finished chatting they’ll be quick to take your order…) which make for a funny, different experience. The staff are chatty and opinionated, but it’s all in good fun – go with an upbeat and easy-going attitude and you’ll have a good time. If you’re in a hurry, feeling irritated, sensitive, easily offended, or are having a bad day, skip the Elbow Room and check out one of the dozen other places to eat within spitting distance.

I had the BC Benny – “Two large poached eggs, smoked salmon, cream cheese and fresh chives on an everything bagel and smothered in hollandaise.” Though of course I had to pick off the chives. (No substitutions is one of their rules too…)

Have you been to The Elbow Room? What do you think? Let us know in the comments below, and don’t forget to follow us on Twitter! 

The Elbow Room
560 Davie St (Yaletown)
Vancouver, BC

The Elbow Room Cafe on Urbanspoon

 
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Posted by on January 14, 2014 in Out of town - BC

 

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Karelian pasties

“Karelian pasty (karjalanpiirakka) is a traditional Finnish dish made from a thin rye crust with a filling of rice. Butter, often mixed with boiled egg (eggbutter or munavoi), is spread over the hot pastries before eating.” – Wikipedia.

Karelian Pasty

Karelian Pasty

When I first tried a Karelian pasty in a hotel in Vantaa (the Bonus Inn), upon arriving in Finland, I honestly didn’t know what it was. I didn’t realize that it would be topped with anything, so I just ate it on it’s own.  In our hotel buffet, the pasty was slightly warm, which definitely made it better than the cold version I tried later on (also unaware of how it should be eaten…)

It struck me as a labour-intensive item, and everywhere I saw it, it appeared to look identical (just more or less browned) so I presumed it was a mass-produced item.

Lounge in the Bonus Inn

Lounge in the Bonus Inn

Although there are plenty of recipes available for making Karelian pasties, they’re also available ready-made from companies like Vuohelan Herkku Oy. They offer the pasties fresh and frozen, with both rice and potato fillings. They offer gluten-free, egg-free, lactose-free and soy-free alternatives for customers looking for a taste of Finland. You can also connect with Vuohelan Herkku Oy on Facebook (in Finnish).

Lounge in the Bonus Inn

Lounge in the Vantaa Bonus Inn

The pasties were really chewy, and the rye flour made them really dry.  As they were, I didn’t really care for them – but now that I know how they’re supposed to be eaten, I think I’d try them again the RIGHT way if given a chance.  (You know, on my one-day return trip to Finland!)

The Vantaa Bonus Inn was actually really nice, although we only spent one night there between the airport and other travels. The room was clean and efficient (efficient means small compared to American/Canadian hotels), the lobby was nice (although the front entrance would be difficult for anyone with mobility concerns – but the back entrance would be fine) and the buffet was great. I had hoped to check out the sauna while I was there, but with only one night and a fairly early departure the next morning, I didn’t get the chance.

Recipe

I don’t know if I’d try to make these at home, but if you are more confident in the kitchen than I am, here’s the recipe:

Karelian pasties (Karjalanpiirakat)

Ingredients:

1 decilitre water
½ – 1 tsp salt
2½ decilitre rye flour

Rice filling:

2,5 decilitre water
1 litre milk
2,5 decilitre rice
1 tsp salt

Rinse the rice and place it in boiling water. Simmer until most of the water is absorbed. Add the milk, lower the heat to a minimum, and partially cover the pot. Simmer until the milk has been absorbed and the rice has turned into a thick porridge. Season with salt and leave to cool.
Add the flour and salt to the water and mix into a solid, compact dough.
Form the dough into a strip and divide into 12 pieces.
Roll the pieces into flat thin ovals.
Spread some filling on each oval. Then fold the sides towards the center, pinching and making neat pleats along the edge.
Bake at 300 ºC for about 10 minutes.
Brush them well with melted butter or a butter and water mixture.
Place the pasties, separated with baking paper, in a bowl and cover with a towel to soften the crusts.
Serve warm with butter or egg butter which is made by mixing equal parts of butter, (cottage cheese) and chopped hard-boiled egg.

Taken directly from ThisIsFINLAND. Note, a decilitre is approximately half a cup.

Breakfast in the Bonus Inn

Breakfast in the Bonus Inn

I thought that the pasties looked very time-consuming to make, and this video illustrates how to make them, in case you are up for it. Don’t worry, there isn’t any real sound so you don’t have to understand Finnish!

 
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Posted by on November 12, 2013 in Out of town - Europe

 

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I guess I can’t be a Viking

Or

“herring for breakfast”

Herring for breakfast

Herring for breakfast

While I was in holiday in Finland, the main songwriter and singer (Mathias Nygård) for one of my favorite metal bands (Turisas) tweeted:

“Meat, beer, herring, vodka, cabbage, cleavage, more meat, more beer… Polish dinner 10/10”

I presume that some of his followers weren’t keen on the herring, because he then replied:

“Hey! All of you downplaying the herring. If you want to be a Viking, better get used to it. You’re gonna be eating a lot of it. #herring”

Well, I guess I won’t be another Canadian Viking… I tried the herring, and….no.

When I was younger, my (German) father would occasionally get ‘rollmups’ from the deli; pickled herring wrapped around a wedge of pickled cucumber, stabbed through and secure with a toothpick. With the skin on, and bits of onion floating in the brine, they still looked better than they smelled. I’d always be brave, on each newly opened jar, and accept “just one” when he would offer. I kept hoping that I’d acquire a taste for them, and cement my cultural heritage. My mum, who was clearly a quicker study than I was, turned down the offer, usually with a wrinkled nose.

Onions, brine, fish skin… They looked better than they smelled… And they smelt better than they tasted. There wasn’t even any relief in the pickle itself; the flavours of herring permeated the pickle too. The skin side of the fish was vaguely slimy, while the fish itself was just chewy enough that I had to really ‘savour’ it; I couldn’t just swallow it down and forget the taste until the next time a precious jar was unscrewed.

But then I went to Finland…

My first try was at the hotel buffet in Savonlinna. The dining room was lovely, the cereal selection vast, and the herring sitting amongst many other breakfast offerings.

Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on November 4, 2013 in Out of town - Europe

 

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Breakfast for dinner

Well I had hoped to bring you a few more non-Finland posts, but I guess I’m clearly not drinking enough new teas or going out to enough new places for sushi, because I don’t have anything ready to post that isn’t from my trip to Finland. (Or perhaps I just can’t wait to get back there!)

This is actually a kind of silly “oh, look at the unusual names & flavours” post, which perhaps you’ll find silly or funny or useless – but maybe it will also make you think “hmm I wish we had that here!”

A light dinner after those delicious, large Finnish breakfast buffets!

A light dinner after those delicious, large Finnish breakfast buffets!

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Posted by on October 30, 2013 in Out of town - Europe

 

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Primehotel Savonlinna breakfast buffet

In my previous post, I showed off the beautiful buffet at the Primehotel Savonlinna, in eastern Finland. Today I’ll show you some of the breakfasts my companion and I enjoyed during our all-too-brief stay.

Breakfast buffet in Savonlinna

My companion’s sugar-topped cereal

My companion really does like it sweet it seems; she sprinkled sugar on top of her cereal along with seeds, dried fruit, and nuts. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on August 31, 2013 in Out of town - Europe

 

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Savonlinna Buffet

Along with Turku and Naantali, another town I visited in Finland in June was Savonlinna. Best known for an annual Opera Festival in the Olavinlinna castle, the town has just over 27,000 residents, and is in eastern Finland, very close to the Russian border, and surrounded by beautiful lakes.

Our hotel was on a small island, accessible via a footbridge from the main area of town, and very close to the train station.  Like our hotel in Turku, our hotel had an excellent breakfast buffet, and for the few mornings that we spent in Savonlinna, we enjoyed what they had to offer!

Beautiful sunset in Savonlinna

Beautiful sunset in Savonlinna

We stayed at the Primehotel Savonlinna Oy hotel in Savonlinna.  This is right on Lake Saimaa – famous for the hard-to-spot freshwater lake ringed seals.  From our room we had lovely views of the town across the lake, and around the property there were two additional islands, one small one which was just for walking and hiking, and another larger island which had a number of interconnected walking/hiking trails, and one building – a pancake cafe! Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on August 29, 2013 in Out of town - Europe

 

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A Finnish breakfast

In my last post, I showed you some of the things I had for breakfast at the Centro hotel in Turku.  I thought I’d share with you the huge variety that they had to offer, just so you can see what breakfast might look like there.

A wide selection in the hotel's buffet breakfast lounge

A wide selection in the hotel’s buffet breakfast lounge

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Posted by on August 12, 2013 in Out of town - Europe

 

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Island Lava Java Bistro

While on holiday on Hawaii’s big island, I took a few photos of yummy things, just to share here on Happy Sushi Belly (including some sushi of course!). One place we went to in Kona, was Lava Java, where we had an amazing breakfast – featuring this fantastic vegetarian omelet.

Tasty Breakfast

Tasty Breakfast

The omelet was filled with roasted vegetables; squash, eggplant, onions (which I picked out), and carrots, plus it was topped by avocado, and served with a side of salsa and fresh fruit salad. (And an orchid which I wore in my hair for the rest of the day…) Delicious!

... and what a fantastic view!

… and what a fantastic view!

Island Lava Java
75-5799 Alii Dr, Kailua-Kona, HI
(808) 327-2161 ‎
islandlavajava.com

Island Lava Java on Urbanspoon

 
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Posted by on February 23, 2013 in Out of town - USA

 

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