Saturday, April 5, 2014

Westmount's Green House Spring Floral Exhibit by Montreal photographer Hera Bell

Each year I try to visit Westmount's Green House during this time of the year.

It is an oasis away from the hustle and the bustle of a town. A marvelous green space to get away from Montreal's cold weather.

Each Spring they prepare an amazing floral exhibit.

When you enter the premises the aroma of the hyacinths can become intoxicating. Almost each week another variety of tulip opens up.

While your visit you might run into students studying, babysitters sitting and feeding babies, kids running around and having fun.

For the photographers it is an amazing place to get lost photographing the colorful array of flowers. The good news, they allow tripods.

Here are some samples of what I mean. They were all taken hand held with available light at an overcast day.


The admittance is free.  You pay for parking.

Happy Spring everyone.


Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Restaurant Europea, A Rare Culinary Gem To Discover In Montreal by photographer Hera Bell

Their story in Montreal started 11 years ago.

After graduating from Vatel in Nimes,3 young friends  Jerome Ferrer, Patrice De Felice and Ludovic Delonca. opened their own restaurant together in st Cyprien.France.

When some of their Canadian clientele encouraged them to move to Canada, they have sold the restaurant and took the trip towards Montreal. Sadly they got robbed along the way. So they landed to Montreal 11 years ago almost with nothing.

Their love of culinary adventures and strong will brought them today where they are.

They will soon be crowned by getting into the list of the very prestigious group of   Les Grandes Tables Du Monde.   Europea  will be first Canadian restaurant accepted to become a part of this prestigious group.

They are 3 partners. Two are chefs. They work long hours and they are consumed to make your experience something very unique.   Your visit will be a culinary  extravaganza visually and gastronomically. It is a must go place.

Each plate is a marvelous visual puzzle to discover first, then a gastronomic marvel to experience.

Here is their Prestige menu we had that evening.  To see it larger please click on to the image. They change their menu every 4 months. Their Fall menu is now being served.

PS: All the red texts are links. Please visit the links.

I hope you will enjoy my poor quality snap shot photography done under very dim and harsh available lighting. I could only photograph the plates as they brought them in front of us from my seat at a busy table.



Before the deserts we were  invited to their kitchen that evening. It was another highlight of our evening.

The deserts were spectacular and tasty.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Hera Bell's Asian Inspired Fennel & Yellow Beets Salad

I love harvest time. You can find all bunch of locally grown yummy veggies and fruits.

I particularly am in love cooking with yellow beets since my discovery of them few years back.

Check out the nutritional value of beets.

They are great oven roasted. They are great boiled... Lovely in color. And they do not stain your hands as bad as red beets.

So I peel them off. Cut them into cubes. Shred a fresh claw of garlic and a sprinkle of salt, boil them until tender.

Meanwhile, slice up an entire fennel.

Add it into a bowl. I squeezed an entire orange, one lemon, then added 2 table spoon of apple cider vinegar. I added 4 table spoon sesame oil and 2 table spoon olive oil and 3 tablespoon low sodium soya sauce. I cut 2 marinated garlic into very tiny pieces. Pour over the sliced fennel.

When the beets are ready and still hot drain them ad add them over the fennel. This process with make the fennel softer. Add some lemon or orange grind, chop 3 shallots. Toss the entire batch, and refrigerate.

I can assure you it will be very yummy. Bonne appetite.

PS: The photos were shot with a cell phone.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

La Verita Your High ($$$) End Italian Dining Experience In West Island (by Hera Bell)

If you live in the West Island and you have a date who loves Italian food and who is easily impressed by a high end menu ($$$$$)  I suggest you go and experience Restaurant La Verita in the heart of Dollard Des Ormeaux's Marche De L'ouest...

I heard about them few years back from a friend who was raving about the place. My mother in law loves Italian food. When the place got suggested again by my sister in law, we have decided to treat my mother in law for her birthday.

So off we went last night without any reservations around 7pm on a Friday night. We took a chance.

The friendly and polite staff seated us. They brought us eact the menu.

The web site does not have any menu on line. Their pasta dishes are between $19.00 and $25.00. They include soup or salad.

They brought us a small plate of warm focaccia bread. It had sun dried tomatoes and few black olives on the side. Later on they brought  the bread which was yummy and warm.

The soup last night was a cream of pea soup with subtle hints of mint.

I was very happy that I opted for their lobster ravioli dish with a light creamy sauce. My dish was $24.00 and it was tasty.

When the time came for desert, our friendly waiter made a menu presentation on a tablet. He indicated that their signature desert is Mascarpone cheese cake.

If you ever to this restaurant, I strongly suggest you to keep space for their deserts. It will be the best part of your dining experience.

My hat off to their pastry chef.

Apple pie with vanilla ice cream.

Espresso crème brule..

And voila their delicious mascarpone cheese cake.

All the photos are snap shots with a cell phone.