In case you’re still hungry for Verdun, I’ve got a few more hot spots in my borough for you to explore. These are the gourmet places you’ll want to check out if you’re a foodie, from cafés and bistros to fromageries and specialty groceries.
Most importantly, however, I must correct a mistake from my last post about Gastronomie le Naked Lunch, which—as a restaurant, at least—is sadly no more. However, it lives on in its gourmet canned goods incarnation, found in grocery stores and upscale boutiques throughout the city.
Bistronomie Terre Ferme – 4816 Wellington
As for the restaurant at 4816 Wellington? It’s currently called Bistronomie Terre Ferme and has been taken over by two employees of Naked Lunch, according to an article in Voir. Their current menu (which changes weekly, just like at Naked Lunch) includes a table d’hôte consisting of an entrée of crème de maïs vanillée avec pétoncle fumé-poêlé, popcorn et huile de truffe (smoked scallops with a vanilla corn-cream sauce, popcorn and truffle oil… there’s a recipe and video in French here, to give you an idea of what this dish looks like, as my description/translation makes it sound a bit gross). The main dish is flanc de porc confit, purée de courge musquée, légumes racine, sauce chipotlé (pork flank confit with acorn squash purée, root vegetables and chipotle sauce). For dessert there’s panacotta à la fleur de lavande, compote de Kumquat, and tuile d’amande (lavender flower panna cotta with Kumquat compote and an almond cookie).
This sounds fairly similar to the types of meals you would have found at Naked Lunch, so I don’t think the set-up has changed very much. They’re also still selling the Naked Lunch canned items, so it looks like the Naked Lunch relationship is still strong here, despite a change in ownership.
For more menu items, be sure to check out the Terre Ferme website.
Fromagerie Copette & Cie – 4650 Wellington
For those seeking more of this upscale vibe in Verdun, there’s a great cheese shop (or “fromagerie” in French) just up the street on Wellington that you should check out. Fromagerie Copette & Cie offers approximately one-hundred (!) different kinds of cheeses, including a wide variety of Quebec-made artisan cheeses that you won’t find anywhere else in the city. Thrifty Table has a great article on this shop, which offers store co-owner Luc Gendron’s suggestions for four regional cheeses that create a harmonious appetizer for a party of six, all for under $25. Take this list with you when you go to avoid going bankrupt in this small but pricey shop, as they’ve got some cheeses with price tags that will really raise your eyebrows.
Cha Noir Tea House – 4646 Wellington
Got an hankering for some tea or chocolates? Then you’ll definitely want to check out Cha Noir Tea House! Next door to Copette & Cie, this little Asian-inspired tea house offers plenty of excellent loose teas to choose from (whether you’re into black, green, or anything in between), as well as desserts, fine chocolates and fresh fruit juices.
Want to take some tea home with you? Looking for a great gift for a tea lover you know? They’ve also got teas for sale in bulk, by the pound or kilogram, and accessories like loose tea holders and fancy teapots available for purchase. Tea-sampling workshops are also available in French for those that are curious about trying new things, and the walls often feature works by local artists to stimulate your senses as you sip.
Marché Branche d’Olivier – 4342 Wellington
Marché Branche d’Olivier is a total godsend for home cooks and anybody who actually likes their food to have spice. While the usual grocery stores may carry amenities like salt and pepper, if you start asking for serrano chiles, they’re going to give you the “What the heck are you talking about, lady?” look. (Trust me, I’ve been there. Now, stop giving me that look, IGA, and learn how to source items your customers want!) For those hard-to-find “ethnic” items, there’s Branche d’Olivier, or The Olive Branch, a fabulous little grocery store that stocks everything from bulk spices to Indian canned goods to that special brand of salsa you love (Herdez is in the house).
If you’re looking for speciality items in Verdun, there’s a good chance The Olive Branch carries it. They specialize in natural and organic products, as well as Oriental (Asian, Middle Eastern) foods and spices. They’ve got organic white tea, fair-trade chocolate, natural soaps made from olive oil, a wide assortment of spices, canned chiles, dried legumes, fresh tofu… if it’s a hard-to-find ingredient in a recipe that goes beyond your grocery store’s realms of possibility, check here before making the time-consuming trip down to the Atwater Market. You’ll be glad you did.
Café La Tazza – 3922 Wellington
If you venture all the way down to 3922 Wellington, you’ll find Café La Tazza, a tiny café that serves up a mean cappuccino as well as offering a variety of gourmet items to those looking for foodie-friendly gifts. Though the café only holds eight tables, it’s a great place to stop in for a hot drink on a cold day, or to treat yourself to one of their homemade desserts.
On holidays and throughout the year there are coffee tastings and special themed items for sale; an article in the Gazette mentioned pumpkin pie and Halloween cupcakes for October 31. My husband and I popped in looking for truffle oil, which they don’t carry, but the owner was very friendly and made suggestions about where to look. If you’ve got a hankering for a certain type of coffee, like say authentic Kona, she can even make a special order for you if you’re nice.
Verdun is for foodies
From sweet to savory, high-priced to affordable, Verdun is full of great gourmet finds. You’ve just got to know where to look!