Thursday, July 28, 2011

Raspberry Social!

raspberry social.001 fig. a: best event ever

Raspberries are here!  We're on! And you're invited!

That's right, AEB's Summer of the Social continues:

QC raspberries fig. b: QC in the house

Raspberry Social
Sunday, July 31st
2:00 PM - 4:00 PM
Parc Laval (avenue Laval, 1/2 block south of Laloux, between avenue des Pins and carré St-Louis)

gorgeous, height-of-season Quebec raspberries served with Michelle's sponge cake and whipped cream

rhubarb lemonade, iced tea, and iced coffee by our friends at Myriade

live music by the Better Late Than Never String Band

BLTN String Band fig. c: BLTN

$10 suggested donation

all proceeds go to Santropol Roulant

See you on Sunday!


p.s. If you missed our Strawberry Social, this is what it looked like!

Saturday, July 16, 2011


One Wednesday evening, a few weeks ago now, a friend of mine launched into a theory of hers:

"Wednesdays are the new Thursdays!"

I was a little skeptical at first, but then I looked around me. We were standing in the middle of a gorgeously appointed gallery in Montreal's west end. There was a vernissage going on in full effect and the place was buzzing. A DJ was spinning tunes and the bass was rumbling through the cavernous space. And representatives from Rézin, the local wine importation house, were serving up generous pours to lubricate the proceedings. And, like I said, it was a Wednesday. Maybe she was on to something.

winesdays @ la qv fig. a: winesdays @ La QV

Fast forward a week, and I found myself at La QV--"votre caviste"--on Beaubien, where Team QV was hosting another installment of their 20-week extravaganza, La QV Été. You've heard of a "cinq à sept"? How about a "cinq à dix"? That's right, 5 hours of wine & beer tasting (mostly wine), nibbles, socializing, and shopping (wine, beer, charcuterie, etc.), all in the cozy confines of La QV. Sound like fun? It is.

A couple of weeks ago, Daniel (a.k.a. Montreal Oyster Guy) brought a selection of popping-fresh oysters from New Brunswick, Massachusetts, and Washington, and Team QV matched it with a crisp Sancerre. Ten days ago there were pickled pigs' tongues paired with an Austrian urkorn beer. This past week there was a beautiful terrine aux poireaux served with a lovely sylvaner.

And this coming Wednesday, July 20th, there'll be another collaboration going on: Team QV will be providing chopped liver plus samples of a Côtes du Rhône (Domaine de la Roche Buissière's Petite Jeanne, in magnums!) and AEB's very own Team Švestka will be providing a selection of summer pickles, along with our famous oignons confits, all of them for sale at near-wholesale prices.

I should add, Team QV knows their Côtes du Rhônes, and Domaine de la Roche Buissière is an outstanding producer. Their 2007 "Flonflons," which we had the pleasure of having at Lawrence one night last year, was one of our top three bottles of 2010--utterly enticing, and a remarkable value (Thank you, Etheliya! Thank you, La QV!). It would be an understatement to say that I'm excited about their latest vintage.

svestka summer 2011 fig. b: Švestka Summer 2011

So come by, have a glass of wine and a nibble, and say "hello." Here's what you'll find on tap:

--Domaine de la Roche Buissière's Petite Jeanne
--Julie's chopped liver
--Švestka Preserves Inc.'s oignons confits, spicy carrot pickles, gingery pickled beets (red and gold), zucchini pickles, and pickled radishes
--and a selection of Quebec cheeses


--Domaine de Pervenches lamb
--organic sausages by Fou du Cochon
--beautiful petits chèvres from the Eastern Townships
--and a juice-of-the-week selection*

Anyway, I'm still not 100% sure about this "Wednesdays are the new Thursdays" business, but with La QV Été going on well into October, I'm positive that for the time being, at least, Wednesdays are my new Winesdays, and I like it.


Salon de dégustation de La QV, 29 Beaubien Est, 504-5082 (Little Italy)


p.s. To keep abreast of the whole La QV Été schedule, contact "info at laqv dot ca"

* To pre-order the lamb, the sausages, the chèvres, and the juice, please contact Julie ("julierondeau at laqv dot ca") by Sunday.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Strawberry Reveries

smackdown 1 fig. a: who's that girl?

For those of you who just can't get enough, we've got still more summer strawberries for you--this time in the form of a "strawberry smackdown" hosted by Lesley Chesterman of the Montreal Gazette. The idea was to pit two local chefs in a friendly strawberry-centric competition. Michelle jumped at the opportunity. So did our good friend Stéphanie, of Pâtisserie Rhubarbe fame.

Michelle's entry was her latest strawberry dessert from Laloux, a deceptively simple-looking strawberry fantasy that's come to be known as her "Bohemian Rhapsody" around these parts.

smackdown 2 fig. b: Michelle's Bohemian Rhapsody

If you haven't had the pleasure of hearing Michelle describe the dessert herself, it all started with stories her mother used to tell her about summertime in Czechoslovakia. It seems that instead of summer camp, Czech kids used to be carted off to these summer work camps where they'd spend a couple of weeks picking hops as part of the national beer-making effort.

Summer work camps? Nationalized industries? Doesn't sound like a lot of fun, does it? Except that apparently it was.

The kids were out of the city and in the countryside, they were camping, and they were relatively unsupervised. There was music every night, there were songs and dancing, and there was no shortage of summer intrigue, and a fair bit of summer romance, too. There were also strawberries--lots and lots of wild strawberries--and flowers.

Michelle loved hearing these stories (she still does!), especially because her mother would get so animated when she told them (she still does!). They were/are clearly among her mother's fondest memories.

Anyway, earlier this year, before strawberry season even began, Michelle came up with the idea of creating a dessert that would capture elements of these remembrances of Czech summers past. There would definitely be hops, of course--the most floral she could find. There would also be strawberries and flowers--an homage to the wild strawberries and the wildflowers that grew alongside the hops in the Czech countryside. There would be malt--another nod to the art of making beer. And there would by rye--Michelle imagined rye crumbs mingling with the hops and the strawberries and the wildflowers after the Czech youngsters had had their lunches in the fields.

Beyond just a nice story with a lot of vivid visuals, Michelle saw the potential for a great strawberry dessert--and thus the Bohemian Rhapsody was composed.

You really have to stop by Laloux to experience Michelle's strawberry fantasy exactly the way she envisioned it, but if you don't live in the Montreal area, or if you'd prefer to try making it yourself, you can find Michelle's recipe here, along with Stéphanie's utterly gorgeous fraisier

smackdown 3 fig. c: Stéphanie's fraisier

and the rest of the "strawberry smackdown" story.


Sunday, July 10, 2011

Strawberry Social Wrap-Up

strawberry by MS fig. a: exterior decorating*

We're a little exhausted, and our hands are still deeply stained with strawberry juice, but--oh, man!--was it ever worth it.  We honestly couldn't have been happier with the results.

Perfect size, perfect weather, perfect setting, perfect ambience, perfect company.  And the strawberry shortcake tasted pretty good, too.

For those of you who couldn't make it:

Silk-screened strawberries helped soften the look of The Wall.

the wall 1 fig. b: The Wall

Seth & Michelle were in charge of serving the strawberry shortcake.

the wall 3 fig. c: S & M

Michelle shows off a portion of her lovely strawberry shortcake.

strawberry shortcake fig. d: strawberry shortcake!

The view from the street.

strawberry social 1 fig. e: AEB street view

Michelle was pretty pleased with the results. She was simply beaming.

the wall 2 fig. f: triple strawberry

Matt and Max, a.k.a. The Better Late Than Never Band, had some attendees dancing up a storm.

better late than never band fig. g: get down!

Thanks to our friends at Laloux and Myriade for all their assistance (especially Melanie and Seth!). Thanks to Matt & Max for providing the sweet sound of music. And thanks especially to all of you who joined us and helped bring the time-honoured tradition of the strawberry social to the streets of Montreal.


p.s. Interested in getting your very own AEB limited-edition silkscreened strawberry social print or t-shirt? Drop us a line at ajkinik at gmail dot com.

* Photo courtesy of Mark Slutsky.

Thursday, July 07, 2011

Strawberry Social!

strawberry picking! fig. a: how strawberries are picked

You've heard us wax poetic about Quebec's strawberry socials before, now, in collaboration with our Kaffeklatsch partners, Restaurant Laloux and Café Myriade, we're holding our own! This Sunday, July the 10th!

Get this:

Fresh Quebec strawberries will be served with freshly baked shortcake and freshly whipped cream.

Iced coffee, tea and rhubarb lemonade will be on hand to refresh.

Live music will be played.

And it's all taking place outdoors, in lovely Parc Laval (on avenue Laval,* 1/2 block south of Laloux, between avenue des Pins and carré St-Louis), in the heart of the Plateau.

The strawberry social will last from 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm (or until the strawberries and shortcake last!), and it will be by donation only (suggested donation: $10), with all proceeds going to help our friends at Santropol Roulant.

And, finally, more information (of the "social media" kind) can be found here.


Come One, Come All & God Bless Strawberry Shortcake!


* That's right: on Laval, not in Laval, silly.