Sunday, October 6, 2013

Montreal's 5th Oysterfest!!

Montreal is a fun lively city and is known for the Habs, delicious food, all the fun summer festivals and of course, poutine.  One of the summers best festivals in my opinion has got to be Oysterfest.  An annual food and of course oyster festival that just celebrated their 5th year benefiting the Open Pier Foundation.  This year's event was bigger than any previous year and really was a fun day for all.  Many different restaurants and bars set up their booths at the beautiful Terrasses Bonsecours in the Old Port of Montreal and served up their unique and delicious food.    

My first stop was the Imadake Izakaya booth.  I have eaten at Imadake before and loved their food and energetic vibe, so naturally I couldn't wait to try what they were serving up.  I ordered my plate of mackerel sashimi, octopus balls and crispy pork belly wrapped around an asparagus spear, and waited patiently for my grub.  My sister and I each grabbed an octopus ball and dug right into the deliciously crisp exterior and tender and flavourful interior - really a perfect bite.  The crispy tempura style fried pork belly wrapped around the tender asparagus spear was plain old delicious and the mackerel sashimi was fresh and lightly flavoured - best part of the plate.  The sashimi was lightly torched before being served which added a very light smokey flavour - excellently executed. 
Imadake on Urbanspoon   

After Imadake, we decided it was time to try some oysters.  We headed over to Le Boite aux Huitres and ordered up a plate of oysters served simply with a wedge of lemon.  This was my sister's first time trying oysters and she quickly helped me devour the plate.  Meaty, briny and salty, these delicious plump critters tasted as fresh as the sea - so good!   As soon as we had finished, I knew I had created a monster.  

Before ordering the next plate of oysters, I decided it was the perfect time to head over to the Burgundy Lion booth and order up two cold beers - is there anything better on a hot day?  We sipped our beers and had a few more oysters and found ourselves watching the Motts Bloody Caesar competition.  We watched for a bit and then decided it was time to sample some more grub.

Kyo Bar was our next stop where we were served miso minced pork lettuce wraps.  The idea was great, the execution was sloppy.  The minced pork was properly cooked but lacked a lot of flavour, I hardly tasted any flavour besides the pork - the miso was barely present.  The juices from the meat made this dish very messy to eat.  We cleaned up and moved on to the next booth that caught my eye.
Kyo Bar Japonais on Urbanspoon

Bevo Bar and Pizzeria's booth offered us a porchetta sandwich piled high with all the necessary fixings.  A delicious ciabatta roll topped with porchetta, marinated eggplants and grilled red peppers, this sandwich was really good.  My only complaint was that the porchetta was a bit on the fatty side - but still really good.  
BEVO Bar + Pizzeria on Urbanspoon

As we finished the sandwich, my sister and I decided we needed more oysters.  As we headed over to get some, I took a quick detour at a booth I had been looking forward to visiting, Back of House Catering.  I met one of the owners, Antony Nassif, a while back and have been a fan of his cooking ever since.  He is so creative in the kitchen and always manages to blow my mind - this day was no exception.  Rye waffles, smoked meat, Russian style coleslaw, salami maple syrup and pickled mustard seeds, had to be one of the best dishes at Oysterfest.  Mimicking an authentic Montreal style smoked meat sandwich, he chose to use rye flour for the waffle batter - excellent decision!  Having covered all the important elements to a perfect bite, (smokey, salty, sweet, sour, fatty and crunchy) Antony and his partners at Back of House Catering nailed this dish and really stood out amongst the other booths. 

After devouring the delicious smoked meat waffles from Back of House Catering's booth, we were so full but had two tickets left - more oysters please!  We ordered up another plate of oysters and sat down to enjoy them.  This last batch of oysters were bigger and meatier than the last three plates we had - delicious!  Seriously could have kept going all day and night but my stomach was so full it wouldn't let me.  We sat and digested for a bit before heading home satisfied and excited for next years event!  Oysterfest 2014 here we come!

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