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Sunday, December 6, 2009

Shopping and Food- Il Focolaio, Nocochi, McLean’s Pub


‘Tis the season to spend hours scouring the malls for a gift for that special someone. I went downtown Montreal with my friend Alexandra this past Saturday to do some Christmas shopping. I had two specific things on my list, I found one easily but was completely unable to find the other. The Husband is a big football fan and I wanted to get him a jersey of his favourite player. I went to four or five different stores and had no luck. Alexandra was looking for dresses for two Christmas parties and found some really nice ones. At least one of us got everything on their list. Alas, even though I was unsuccessful we did have some really good eats.



For lunch we ended up going to Il Focolaio which is a pizza restaurant with 64 different kinds of pizzas. They have basic kinds like Margherita (basil, mozzarella, sauce) and more exotic ones like pizza with escargots. I ended up having pizza Said which had, sausages, Capicolo, onions, black olives, green peppers, mushrooms and I can’t remember what else. Their pizzas are cooked in a wood oven and are really good. You get a huge portion for a pretty decent prize and they are ready really quickly. I think we literally waited just five minutes for both of our orders.


Here are a few shots of one of the public squares in downtown Montreal.


Next up was a really cute cafe called Nocochi. They specialize in Persian cookies and sweets in addition to having a really good selection of teas and coffees.

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Their cookies almost look jewel like sitting in the display case. I didn’t count how many different varieties there were but there were a lot. Most of the cookies had a definitive Middle Eastern bent with flavours such a cardamom and rose water. They sell cookies by the unit or 15 for 6.95$ so we decided to split a plate of cookies and we each had a pot of tea.

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Don’t the cookies look so pretty? They were very small and dainty and it was really nice being able to have a wide choice. My favourite were the eponymous Nocochi cookies, which are made from chickpea flour and cardamom. The girl at the counter said that we had to try them and we were not dissapointed. They literally melt in your mouth, I would go back just to have more of them.


The tea was also delicious. We both had flavoured blends, she had a white tea blend with peach and I had the black tea with bergamot and chocolate (sounds weird but tasted great).

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The inside of the store was very sleek with a few splashes of colour. This is a really nice place to sit down, order some sugar laden confections and just chat over a pot of tea with a friend.


For dinner we ended up at a pub called McLean’s where we were joined by on of Alexandra’s friends. By this time I was checking my watch every few minutes since I had to catch my train back up to suburbia (the good side of living far away is cheaper housing, the bad side is that having a social life gets a lot harder). To continue the carb fest we ended up ordering several baskets of fried food: chicken wings, onion rings and beer battered mushrooms. I also had the third beer that I have ever had in my life. I know that sounds very weird but I was never that drawn to drinking it. Since I didn’t know what to order and they insisted that in a pub one must have beer they ordered something mild for me. When it came I took a sip and said that it taste like Perrier, after which they proclaimed that I was nuts. After the munchies and the beer I hightailed it back to the train station full of good eats and with a lighter wallet.

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