Between enjoying yummy food, sitting outside in nature (after being stuck inside all winter) and spending time with loved ones, it's no surprise why picnics have become a summer staple in Montreal. This has been especially true during the pandemic.
The team started doing these picnics during the pandemic after years of visitors coming to the orchard and asking to explore the grounds.
They offer monthly menus based on what's in season on the farm and in the area, packed in a beautiful picnic basket that you can take anywhere on the property, whether it's on the tables and chairs scattered throughout the rows of apple trees or on your own picnic blanket.
We booked for five of us to go to celebrate lots of birthdays this month. I went for the first time last year in October, so it's no surprise the menu was different in July — lots of fresh veggies, cold dishes and light sauces, but there was one thing that was consistent: the UNBELIEVABLY fresh quality.
For July, the chicken was the only hot dish, so we decided to eat that first, and let me tell you, it was probably one of the best chicken dishes I've ever had IN MY LIFE. It was quite reminiscent of a Thanksgiving turkey in a light, yet creamy gravy and I could have easily had a whole basket of it.
We then moved onto a veggie sandwich. If you know me, you know I'm a mega-fan of sandwiches. I couldn't decide which was better: the fresh veggies or the fluffiest, doughiest bread that tasted like it was pulled out of the oven five minutes earlier. The rest of the menu was filled with lots of great dishes like salads, porchetta, cold soups, and some fish, too.
Of course, there's always a sweet treat to end off the meal. This month's menu included a fruit shortcake. I'm not much of a shortcake person, but this was honestly so light and delectable that I think I may be one now.
It was such a great day on the farm that we didn't want to go home. It's only 40 minutes outside of the city and felt like a much-needed escape from the hustle and bustle. At $80 per basket (a basket is made for two people), it was actually great value for money and I cannot wait to see what's on the menu next month!
La Cabane d'À Côté Picnic
Price: $80 for a basket for two
Address: 3595, Montée Robillard, St-Benoît de Mirabel, QC
Why You Need To Go: For one of the coolest and tastiest picnics you can have less than an hour from Montreal.
While there are a million and one spots to enjoy a 5 à 7 in the city, not everywhere does happy hour quite like this Montreal restaurant in the Village.
Resto Keela serves $6 drinks from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., including house draft beer, house red or white wine, and speed rail mixed drinks, which is a choice of vodka, rye, rum, or gin — a pretty hard drink deal to beat.
As for food, you can go every week and try a different $6 dish at happy hour. "The $6 bites change from week to week but we always offer 3-5 options," owners Kristin Murphy and Johnny Hamilton told MTL Blog.
I went on September 10 and got to try green beans with a cashew romesco sauce and feta crumble, chorizo sausage, chicken Kaarage with kimchi cucumbers, and organic cherry tomato salad with blue cheese. And I kid you not when I say these dishes all take your taste buds on a culinary trip to heaven.
Keela's full menu is also filled with tons of unique dishes for you to try. The celery root carpaccio is hands down my favourite.
Every Friday night, you can hear the sweet voice of Bud Rice sing live at the restaurant.