30 Seconds of Podcast Fame

Well, my random number generator didn’t have to work too hard. Ha. Thus, I’ll be sending out the mini, Quebec-themed packages to my sole two commentors from the last post. And I happen to have those addresses already…Maple butter coming your way! My schedule is quite busy tomorrow, so I’ll be sending them out on Wednesday.

In other news, I was listening to this week’s Coffee Break French Word of the Day podcast while falling asleep last night. And then there is was. My comment was read out for the little online community of French-learners! Of course, this isn’t a completely good thing, since there is usually a slight correction needed for the comments he reads.

Interested? Follow this link to the week’s podcast. It’s free!

Follow this link to start from Square 1 with Coffee Break French episodes. You’ll catch up to me in no time. Or if you’re interested in another language, head over to check it out. Much more than French over there.


Happy New Year! 新年快乐!

Yes, I spent about ten minutes last night trying to learn how to pronounce Happy New Year in Mandarin. So now I can say hello, mother, horse, and Happy New Year! Yeah, and you thought French pronunciation was difficult.

Chinese Lanterns at Shop

As we do every since 2006, Jordan and I found a way to celebrate the Chinese New Year. Today marks the first day of the Year of the Serpent, but many, many Montrealers were out in Chinatown to celebrate the eve.

Despite time spent Google searching in French and English, I wasn’t able to find out if much was happening in Chinatown, but since the temperature was rather mild and it’s not too far from us, we decided to stroll around the city in hopes of discovering something new.

Chinatown Arch Montreal

We’ve been to/through/by Chinatown in Montreal numerous times, but since we have an amazing Szechuan place in our neighborhood, we have ventured there too often. We hadn’t even set foot on the pedestrian street in the heart of the small neighborhood.

Street in Chinatown Montreal

Our first stop was at a Chinese bakery. We were like kids in a candy shop Chinese bakery for the first time.  We picked up our tray, grabbed a pair of tongs from the rack, and started debating why we might need steam cakes or green tea cake instead of mochi, and so on and so forth.

Chinese Bakery Montreal

Tongs at chinese bakery Chinese Dragon decorations

Hello Kitty Cake Chinese bakery

Chinatown bakery Montreal

Chinese baked goods

After leaving the bakery (and seeing more bakeries, though not as large), we walked into a small shop to find out what The Beard of the Dragon candy could be. It looks exactly like the name. I was suspicious. Jordan was too, since there are some shreds of coconut tangled up in that old dragon’s beard.

Dragon's beard Chinese candy
I know, it looks like gauze. Or a chrysalis. But this ended up being the best thing we ate all night! You just put it in your mouth and let it melt. It’s delicate, sugary, and peanutty. We should have returned to buy a box. I will be seeking out the Beard of the Dragon again in the future.


We decided to slow down on sweets and get a meal. I tried to be creative with my choice, but it ended up being a bit of a failure on that front. I ordered salted egg yolk shrimp skewers. The photo looked so enticing. The server suggested we order rice with it, as though there would be some liquid to soak up…
Salted egg yolk shrimp skewers
Eyes and all. No sauce. Generally, Chinese diners eat the whole thing. I left the tails at the end of course, and occasionally peeled away a piece of shell, but I didn’t shy away from the eyes. After five without sauce, I got a little bored with my dish.

Thankfully there was tea, and I sneaked some of Jordan’s Tsingtao.

tea and Tsing Tao
We also had some entertainment while dining. The restaurant was showing the Chinese New Year television special. And wouldn’t you know, Quebec’s hometown gal Celine Dion made her way into the program, singing in Mandarin and everything. We asked one of our servers if she had a noticeable accent while singing in Mandarin, but all he said was that he didn’t really like her anyway. Ha. It seemed like a fitting mix of cultures within a French/Mandarin/English speaking Chinatown. For your viewing pleasure:



We also paid tribute to China’s culture by Netflixing House of Flying Daggers. I do love that movie. Well, today, I’m off to prepare some of my homemade, relatively authentic Chinese while wearing my good-luck red.


Remember to leave a comment on Friday’s poutine post (or it’s post on Facebook) if you’re interested in receiving a little From Quebec with <3 poutine and maple treat package!


Happy New Year! And…uh…er…



From Wisconsin? Beware of Poutine.


We Wisconsinites are four times more likely to become addicted to Québec’s favorite junk food. It’s a fact. We are prone to eating the cheese curds already, and then when you add in French fries, we just cannot resist. I did try. We’ve been resisting as much as possible. But then La Semaine de la Poutine Week began, and I could not escape the propaganda that surrounds us. The week of resistance has passed, but you can still check out the website.

Before moving here, I thought poutine (traditionally fries, cheese curds, and gravy–but now many varities exist) to be a Quebecois food like milkshakes are an American food. As in….I eat one milkshake a year on average. But this poutine thing is serious. There are numerous restaurants dedicated to producing varieties you thought would have never worked. The locals eat it with relative frequency and yes, even make it at home.

Although I am 100% certain we’ll be eating poutine a few times every year while here, we decided to celebrate the week be trying a poutine à la maison. And I’ll admit that we cheated.

St Hubert poutine pack

But in my defense, I made the french fries from scratch. In fact, knowing that I had purchased potatoes the same night, Jordan asked me if I bought french fries at the store. Apparently my cutting was very uniform for once.

As far as the gravy was concerned, I sauteed onions, garlic, and jalapenos before adding the gravy mix. I really liked the jalapeno effect.

Jalapeno poutine

Okay, folks, I know poutine seems a little strange at first, but after the initial guilt, you’ll love it. And because I know you’re curious, I want to share. I’m going to send a poutine packet*, along with a few maple syrup treats, to two people. Because I cannot send to all of of you and certainly not all of you may be interested, you have to work a little for it.

To let me know you’d like to try some Quebec treats, leave a comment on either this blog post or on the Facebook post (you’re counted twice if you do both). If you’re not sure what to comment, you can either share your thoughts about poutine or simply tell me your weekend plans (I miss you and am curious!) I’ll use a random number generator and write on Monday evening who wins.

So what are you doing for the weekend? And what do you think of poutine anyway?


*Though the amount is very small, the gravy packet is not vegetarian.


La Fête du Super Bowl

Êtes-vous prêts pour un peu de football?

There should be no doubt in your mind that the Super Bowl is a masculine noun, right? Are you ready for some football ?

Êtes-vous prêts pour un peu de football?

Somehow this seems to lose its power for me when said in French….

Today I read a few interesting things about Super Bowl Sunday. First, about 10% of workers in the U.S. will call in the day after the big game. There is actually a petition to make the Monday after an official holiday. Second, only 1 person out of a 1,000 will change the channel during the Super Bowl. That’s right, we love to see those commercials. Or maybe we’re too busy getting more food during the commercials to bother changing the channel.

In any case, we’ll be filling up on our chili, chips, and pull-apart bread. I found a great recipe for blooming onion bread that I intend on trying this weekend. When the food is ready, then we’ll be ready for some football.

Ouais, la bouffe est prête

As the big game nears, I’m coming across more and more French-language, football-focused articles. And so, after many, many weeks of me not bombarding my friends and family with a proper vocabulary list, I bring you French [American] Football vocabulary.

  • le match: the game (sports game)
  • l’équipe: the team
  • le coéquipier: the teammate
  • le terrain: the field
  • la marque: the score
  • ganger/remporter: to win
  • perdre: to lose
  • le touché:touchdown
  • la zone des buts/la zone d’en-but (I have seen it both ways): the end zone
  • la transformation à la main: 2-point conversion
  • la transformation au pied: the extra point
  • le coup de pied au but: field goal
  • le safety: the safety (I never came across a diferrent word for this)
  • la défense: the defense
  • l’attaque: the offense
  • la tentative: the down
  • la ligne de mêlée: the line of scrimmage
  • l’entraîneur: the coach
  • le joueur: the player
  • le quart-arrière: the quarterback
  • le coureur arrière: the running back
  • le receveur: the receiver
  • la ligne offensive: the offensive line
  • la ligne défensive: the defensive line
  • l’arbitre en chef: referee
  • la pénalité=the penalty
  • le quart-temps: the quarter
  • les séries éliminatoires: the play-offs

And because the Super Bowl is about so much more than just the rules of the game….

  • Nouvelle-Orléans: New Orleans, of course
  • les publicités (les pubs): the commercials
  • une mi-temps: the half-time
  • la bouffe: the food/the grub
  • le spectacle de la demie=the half-time show
  • l’hymne national=the national anthem

Okay, okay, way more vocab than we really want for a fun day of food, sports, and commercialism, right? I hope you have a wonderful and safe Super Bowl Sunday–complete with a Harbaugh victory.