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The Lamb Shank Friki was everything I could ever hope for, and more.  It included braised lamb shank, Syrian whole wheat, cucumber and tomato salad, a palmful of raisins, almonds and pistachios, and plain yogurt with pomegranate seeds. The lamb was extremely tender and moist. The wheat was anything but plain since it absorbed the meat’s juices.  The raisins were a sweet touch, and the nuts provided a great crunch. The salad and yogurt added zest and freshness, and each pomegranate seed provided a tiny burst of fruitiness. Individually, the elements were truly tasty, but collectively, the combination of textures and flavors created magic. A little bit of everything in every spoonful was absolute bliss.

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Sweet Treat: Macarons at l'entoilage

A macaron is a small delicate confectionery that packs a really big punch. Basically, it’s sweet little thing where a layer of filling (ganache, buttercream or jam) is sandwiched between two almond/meringue-based cookies with feet. The different flavor and color combinations are endless, and interestingly, some of the options at l’entoilage boast an Asian twist.

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Lightly dusted with powdered sugar, my plate showcased a decadent combo of fresh banana rounds and melted semi-sweet chocolate sandwiched between thick, moist and flavorful slices of beautifully browned challah bread (characteristically a little dense, slightly sweet and eggy). It was so delicious on its own; it didn’t need anything to enhance it. It was hands down some of the best French toast I’ve had in a while.

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Burger lovers unite at m:brgr, a trendy gourmet burger bar downtown Montreal where patrons get to customize their own piece of work. The process is child’s play: pick the patty and bun, add cheese and pile on toppings. The catch? It’s not cheap.  You can dress your burger any way you like, but not at a fixed rate. Each item you select from the last two steps comes at an additional price. So, if you get a little crazy (men, I’m talking to you), don’t be flabbergasted when it’s time to pay up. At least a portion of all proceeds goes to the Montreal Children’s Hospital; that might help ease the blow.

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Curry & Naan

We both got the Chicken Thali, a selection of savory dishes showcasing lots of vibrant colors and wonderful aromas. It included butter chicken, a piece of tandoori chicken, mixed vegetable curry, salad, rice and naan. Everything on the tray was really fresh and tasted just as good as it looked. The butter chicken was really tasty; lean cuts of meat were used, and the sauce was smooth, rich and full of flavor. The tandoori chicken was unexpectedly tender and moist. The mixed vegetable curry was really mild, and I wished it were spicier and boasted a better range of vegetables, but it was good nonetheless. Mixing and matching different items is the best way to enjoy the food. So, I rolled up my sleeves, got a little messy, and it was all gone before I knew it.

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I had to see what all the White Pizza (Five Cheeses Pizza) fuss was about. An empty pizza pan later, I can earnestly say it was fantastic. The dough was spot on; it had the right thickness, a soft core and a flaky exterior.  The cheese medley (bahhh so much cheese) consisted of mozzarella, brick, parmesan, feta and ricotta; it was sinfully rich, fluffy in certain areas but dense in others, and not as oily and salty as I expected. As a whole, this warm, gooey goodness totally lived up to all the hype – it was just heavenly.

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