LATIN QUARTER — Halloween has passed, so it’s time to trot out the seasonal cheer: pop-up Christmas-themed bar Miracle is returning to Montreal this holiday season. It debuted last year at Ontario Street’s Nexus Bar, and will be in the same place this year. The space will be transformed with copious Christmas decorations, and drinks lean heavily into the theme, with the Chrismopolitan (vodka, elderflower, dry vermouth, spiced cranberry sauce, rosemary, lime, absinthe mist) and the Muletide (mezcal, amontillado sherry, allspice dram, ginger, lemon). Miracle was born in New York in 2014 and has rapidly expanded each year: there will be a whopping 52 of the bars this year, including new pop-ups in Ottawa, Quebec City and Toronto.
ALL OVER — Owner of Little Italy’s Gus David Ferguson is putting on his annual Bas pour Bulles fundraiser again, from November 20 to 26, where 10 restaurants will offer a free glass of sparkling wine to any customer who donates a new pair of socks. The socks go to homeless shelters in Montreal. It seems rather specific, but there’s sound logic to it: socks are in high demand for shelters, but aren’t often donated; poorly covered feet can lead to sores, and eventually lasting nerve damage. The restaurants participating are a very solid bunch: Nora Gray, Joe Beef, Pastaga, Pizzeria Gema, Santa Barbara, Restaurant Su, Tuck Shop, Lili.Co, Luciano Trattoria, and Gus.
BOOKSTORES — Prominent Quebec chef and Europea owner Jérôme Ferrer is dropping a huge new cookbook next week, dedicated mostly to sauces. That means dips, marinades, vinaigrettes, dessert sauces, and more — over 1,000 recipes in total. It’s called La Bible des Sauces and is out next Monday (November 13), and is being published by La Presse’s publishing house.
ALL OVER — Those looking for a food delivery service that isn’t Foodora or UberEats, take note: there’s a Montreal-based competitor on the market, named SnapGrab. It’s not brand new, but the company’s app just had a substantial update, making it more amenable to food delivery — they promise that all deliveries are done in an hour, and cover a mix of standard fast food places (Subway, Thai Express) and some more reputable local places like Qinghua (dumplings) and Seasoned Dreams (Caribbean eats).
PLATEAU — One local store already produced the Donald Trump doughnut earlier this year; now Plateau vegan spot Vegano created the Trump cake — the vanilla-orange base is the US president’s orange-hued skin, with the coconut-cream frosting on top serving as his hair. It actually looks rather tasty, and Vegano’s owner reports that it has been a bestseller.
ALL OVER — Starbucks continues to follow coffee trends, as the café giant is now serving nitro cold brew in its Quebec stores. The nitrogen-infused drink (which has a rather smooth feel) has been served at local cafés like Rosemont’s Paquebot for a little while now, too.
GRIFFINTOWN — In case you missed it, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau really likes the Notre-Dame restaurant strip. He already ate at Liverpool House with Obama, most recently he was spotted at the oh-so-locavore Eater Award winner Hvor.
LITTLE ITALY — Air Canada magazine enRoute dropped its annual ranking of the best new restaurants in recent weeks, and Montreal appeared just once — chef Mehdi Brunet-Benkritly’s bistro Marconi was ranked ninth. Tiny Quebec City Italian restaurant Battuto took out the top honours.
ALL OVER — Cheap eats mini-chain L’Gros Luxe is putting on its annual Grilled Cheese month getting rather, uh, creative — each of the seven locations is doing a different sandwich each week, and not all 28 versions of the classic are made equal: some, like the hot chicken grilled cheese and nacho grilled cheese sound appealing; a pad thai grilled cheese, less so.