A family hike to Ausable Chasm


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When I was young, we travelled to Myrtle Beach every year and we would stop in Lake George or Lake Placid on our way home. One year, we stopped in Ausable Chasm in keeseeville. I had been impressed by the canyon, the walkways and the wooden bridges that would crisscross the gorge.

I decided to bring my own kids there for a day trip with The Producer. We planned to eat a big American breakfast which was accomplished in Plattsburgh at Perkins restaurant. We felt heavy and bloated after that meal. But, we wanted the experience and we got it.

By the time we got to the chasm, it was eleven am. The sun hit us full blast. Now, you all know I have a family of polar bears i.e. the sun is not always our friend as a stroke of sunshine sometimes means a bad case of heat stroke soon after exposure.

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We walked the Inner Sanctum Trail followed by a foray into the Dry Chasm as well as a portion of the rim walk. This was supposed to be very demanding and long. By 2 pm, we had done it all. The scenery remained gorgeous but everything felt much smaller. It felt exactly like one does after revisiting your elementary school. Something that had struck you as larger than life suddenly appears so small.

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The whole family enjoyed the day trip but we were slightly disappointed with how quickly we covered the grounds. There is more to see and do in our own national parks than at Ausable Chasm.

The one lasting souvenir was my son and I suffering from heat stroke on the drive back home. As polar bears, we should stay inside during the deadly hours of 11 am to 3 pm during the warmest summer days. Do you think we will listen to our own advice? Of course not.

I saw two kids with a great haircut at the Chasm and The Producer used his barber skills on baby boy bear to mimic the style. What do you think? I love the clean-cut mohawk look.

Happy Monday my friends.
Ps: i visited Manhattan with the kids last week, wait for that blog entry. It should be interesting. It seems the Producer failed to share the photos from the trip with me so I will wait until I have the pictures before I write about our visit to the City that never sleeps with baby girl shopaholic bear.

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New-Orleans in my Own Back-Yard? It is possible if you visit Café Mardi Gras in the Village.


Let me start this off with a confession.

I love to read about vampires and werewolves. I’ve read all of the Anne Rice Novels, the Sherrilyn Kennyon books as well as Charlaine Harris. Both fictitious universes take place in and around New-Orleans. I absolutely must visit New-Orleans, it is a DREAM of mine. The swamps, the quarter, the people, the music, the rich historical heritage of voodoo, the humidity, the heat, it all seems wonderful.

Some words sound particularly pleasing to my ears: crawfish, beignets, po’boys, chicory coffee, etc.

I was able to visit New-Orleans from Montreal. I was able to live my dream with my taste buds thanks to Café Mardi-Gras. My taste buds flew there while my feet were firmly rooted in Montreal’s Village at the Corner of Papineau and Sainte-Catherine at a charming restaurant called Café Mardi Gras.

Café Mardi Gras, a little slice of New-Orleans directly in Montreal

Café Mardi Gras, a little slice of New-Orleans directly in Montreal

Café Mardi Gras is located at 1684 Ste-Catherine East, Montreal, Qc, H2L 2J4. They have a website: http://www.cafemardigras.ca

The Café Mardi Gras flag

The Café Mardi Gras flag

The first thing I want to say is how cheerful everyone was. The chef was dancing and singing. He was working in a virtual inferno and enjoying every minute. I do not remember his name but I remember his smile and his steps. The owner, René, was also extremely friendly and hospitable.

A nice Open kitchen, friendly staff and NOLA beads everywhere make this a magical place to visit

A nice Open kitchen, friendly staff and NOLA beads everywhere make this a magical place to visit. See the happy chef laboring away. 

The level of courtesy and friendliness guarantees I will come back for seconds and thirds. This will most likely become a classic restaurant for the producer and I.

We chose to sit inside because we had been in the sun all day but Café Mardi-Gras has a lovely terrace.

The view from the terrace

The view from the terrace

Now let’s talk ambiance. There was music (cheerful music, not too loud.) The menu was written with chalk on black boards. There are Mardi-Gras beads on the ceiling and in the centerpiece of the table as well.

Mardi Gras Mask and Beads as a Center Piece

Mardi Gras Mask and Beads as a Center Piece

It’s a casual atmosphere typical of “Let the Bon Temps roule” The fact that the restaurant is in the Village also adds to the atmosphere. It’s laid-back, open-minded, fragrant, inviting.

For starters, we ordered fried okra. It was light and delicate tasting.

Fried Okra, A delight

Fried Okra, A delight

We shared the Taster’s platter. At 20$, it’s a steal. You get a portion of Crawfish Étouffée, Jambalaya, Shrimp Creole. The crawfish étouffée was my favorite, the jambalaya was the Producer’s favorite.  I would have liked to have a bit more crawfish in the crawfish étouffée. The flavors were bold yet aromatic and harmonious. It was perfect. I loved every mouthful.

The Taster's Platter

The Taster’s Platter

For drinks, I had a white beer “Dominus Vobiscum” and the Producer had a strong beer “O’Born Evil”. My white beer tasted of bananas (I prefer a more citrusy tasting white beer) while the Producer’s beer was quite good.

O'born Evil, Strong and manly beer

O’born Evil, Strong and manly beer

Dominus Vobiscum, Banana Tasting White Beer, Bleh!

Dominus Vobiscum, Banana Tasting White Beer, Bleh!

For desert, we had beignets. WOW! Delicious. We had gone on a long bike ride during the day so the desert was an indulgence we could afford. I also had the chicory coffee which I ordered iced, I would have preferred it warm but that’s because I don’t like iced coffee that much.

Beignets and Chicory Coffee, hmm good!

Beignets and Chicory Coffee, hmm good!

When we come back to Café Mardi-Gras, we know what we want to order: crawfish étouffée for me and jambalaya for the Producer. We will order two “O’Born Evil” beers to go with that. Desert will be beignets and the coffee.

Thank you René for a wonderful evening at Café Mardi-Gras.

Thank you René for a great night in New-Orleans without my passport.

Thank you René for a great night in New-Orleans from the comfort of my own city: Montreal. I will see you again soon! It’s a PROMISE! 

A pretty picture to start off the week


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On this plate, there is a small raspberry cupcake, an old fashioned bread pudding and a date and chocolate chip homemade muffin. Each one of them are in small bite portions but loaded with flavour.

I invite you to do lots of sports so that it becomes okay to eat all three in one sitting.

So, get on your bikes or go for a run, desert will be waiting when you get back.

Enjoy your week, my friends.

Happy Canada Day!


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You will find us on the route verte (the transcanadian bike path) all summer.
Since I am still limping, it feels marvellous to ride and to feel the wind in my bike helmet.
I have a new distance calculator on my bike and will be able to track my mileage.

I will advise you of the distances travelled.

Happy Canada Day to all.

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The open road calls. Ciao for now!

Ye Olde Orchard Pub and Grill Restaurant Review


Ye Olde Orchard Pub & Grill, Saint-Sauveur

Ye Olde Orchard Pub & Grill, Saint-Sauveur

Yesterday, to celebrate father’s day with the Producer, we drove up North to charming Saint-Sauveur. This quaint little village is the locale of our very first date that September so long ago. We routinely do pilgrimages as a way of reminiscing. It’s become a family tradition. We do the same with Gananoque, locale of our honeymoon.

This time, we asked the iPhone to recommend an Irish pub in the Saint-Sauveur area. Iris informed us that the best one was Ye Olde Orchard Pub & Grill on Rue Principale (Main Street.)

The producer ordered fish and chips with a McAuslan Cream Ale.

The Producer and the Saint-Ambroise Cream Ale

The Producer and the Saint-Ambroise Cream Ale

I ordered thew grilled vegetable salad with McAuslan Abricot Wheat Ale.

St-Ambroise Abricot Wheat Ale

St-Ambroise Abricot Wheat Ale

McAuslan and St-Ambroise are the same company. So both beers are actually St-Ambroise and not McAuslan.

We started off with nachos served with homemade salsa. It was delicious.

Nachos and Homemade Salsa

Nachos and Homemade Salsa

As to the main courses, the portions were ginormous. I grazed so much that I’m surprised I did not yell “moo” all afternoon.

Grilled Vegetable Salad with Goat Cheese

Grilled Vegetable Salad with Goat Cheese

As to the fish and ships, there was more batter than fish on the fish. The Producer prefers two nice fillets to four. Typically, when they serve four, they add more grease and less fish.

Fish and Chips, batter much?

Fish and Chips, batter much?

Now, the beers were perfect. They were nice and refreshing after our trek on the Petit Train du Nord. The terrace was lovely (if you visit in the winter, the inside is very stale looking, it needs a complete re-haul).

It’s a great place to soak in the sun (I was in the shade while the Producer burnt to a crisp on the opposite side of the table), have a few beers with some nachos and snacks. The food was good but it’s more of a place to spend an afternoon drinking getting your buzz on. The service was very friendly.  Cheers!

Cooksploratrice and the St-Ambroise Abricot Wheat Ale

Cooksploratrice and the St-Ambroise Abricot Wheat Ale

My New Ride


As a newly mobile person, I have replaced my wheelchair by a two-wheeler.
Is she not the prettiest thing you ever did see?

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Now, all I need to do is battle the fear and hop on.

Wish me luck.

10 000 visitors and going strong


Hello Folks, 

This blog project started off as a way for me to keep busy while the boys in my life were playing football and my daughter was with her friends. It was a pet project. I have been at times very verbose and at times, a little more silent. Initially, the blog was about food and only food and then it became about movies, books, tv shows, food, happiness, my travels, etc. It’s become a bit of a diary of sorts. Sometimes, I’m funny. Sometimes, I’m sad. But you’ve stuck by me. 

With this post, I want to thank you for the visits, the likes and the comments. It must be said, I love the comments most of all. 

The next major milestone will be 20 000 visitors. When will that be? It’s entirely up to you. whether you’re a frequent visitor or an infrequent one, please know that I cherish your visits. You are a great source of joy for me. 

So, to thank you, I will grant you one wish. Via a comment, give me a challenge topic to write about and I will do it. 

Blessed be! 

Thank you! Merci! Gracias! Grazie! 谢谢! Tack! Danke!