Discover Montreal’s Best Shopping for Foodies

Discover Montreal’s best shopping for foodies. Spade & Palacio Tours will show you the best places to buy and try all things edible in the north end of Montreal.

Good friends Danny Pavlopoulos and Anne-Marie Pellerin met in a Montreal tour guide course. And upon graduation, they decided to form their own company, Spade & Palacio.

Ever since then, they’ve educated visitors and native Montrealers alike on the very best food products available in their ‘hood: the Mile End and Mile X section of the city.

Pavlopoulos and Pellerin want their clients to walk away with a true local experience. So how do they select the stops for their tour?

“The selected locations are actually our favorite hangouts. We have spent hours in each of them enjoying their products. We call them our living rooms. The products are the best in their league, hands down,” says Pavlopoulos.

The lively three-hour tour starts with the best pupusas in the Latin Quarter at Salvadorian restaurant Los Planes and finishes with a picnic meal of Southern barbecue from Triple Crown at Parc de la Petite-Italie at the junction of St Laurent and St. Zotique in the north end of Montreal.

Les Bonnes Tomates du Quebec
Les Bonnes Tomates photo credit: John Cameron

In between, there’s serious food shopping at the Jean-Talon Market and surrounding areas.

“We show our guests around the way we would with a friend from out of town. We are proud to be part of only a handful of tour companies that share this ideology in the city,” adds Pavlopoulos. “We aim to teach and to share our neighborhood experiences with our guests.”

Since 1934, the Jean-Talon Market has supplied Montreal with fresh Quebec products and specialty items from around the world. Jean-Talon Market is open every day, year-round.

Visitors will find a variety of produce (including organic and pesticide-free items); flowers and fine herbs; fish and meat; and ice cream and sorbet made with local fresh fruits like sweet Quebec strawberries.

Delicious barbecued lamb, pork and chicken sandwiches as well as bison on a stick, makes the market a great lunch destination.

The Jean-Talon Market is also a great spot to sample Quebec wines and ciders around a cozy outdoor bar that allows for great people watching.

Danny Palacio of Spade & Palacio
Danny Palacio (on left) photo credit: Sherel Purcell

At the Jean-Talon Market, participants will meet unique vendors such as the “Sausage Pimp,” who produces tasty items like shrimp and scallop sausages.

Spade & Palacio can also show how to get the best deals on produce by shopping the back lanes of the stalls for bulk sales on produce that can be whipped into hearty soups and sauces to be frozen for later use.

Brasserie Harricana
Brasserie Harricana

At nearby Brasserie Harricana, guests discover a variety of tasty microbrews served with a spicy take on the famous French fry and cheese curd dish: poutine.

A short walk away into the light industrial area of Mile X, visitors can buy vacuum-packed bags of fair trade Ethiopian, Peruvian and Columbian beans from Dispatch Coffee , used in their excellent cold filtered brew.

Down the street, check out Manitoba restaurant, where the dinner menu changes frequently, based on the fresh and wild food items available – as it should be in a restaurant that prioritizes natural ingredients sourced locally.

These are all served in a cool redesigned space with an inviting patio attached that focuses on the great outdoors.

Rest assured that Spade & Palacio will show you the very best food products available in their ‘hood.

Golf the Journey at Pechanga

A Golfweek selection for “Best courses you can play”, Journey at Pechanga, set in the foothills of Temecula, one hour north of San Diego, is one of the most eco- sensitive in the country. This beautiful track offers a variety of challenges through natural canyons, massive boulders past streams and over hilltops.

The Journey at Pechanga teebox
The Journey at Pechanga teebox

The Journey at Pechanga course designer, Arthur Hills, created this championship 18-hole course with input from the Pechanga Band , routing fairways around the giant oaks,  and building doglegs that snake along fast-running creeks with steep climbs to cliff-side tee boxes.

“The construction of the Journey at Pechanga golf course was controversial,” says Paul Macarro, Tribal Chairman for the Pechanga Indian Reservation. “Initially, the golf course builder wanted to clear cut our sacred trees but we held firm.”

The Great Oak at Pechanga
The Great Oak at Pechanga

The Pechanga, who have a great respect for trees, managed to save their giant coastal oaks along with their ‘grandmother’ sycamore tree.

Thankfully, all the conditions to honor sacred natural items were finally met, including ancient granite and the ancestral “kitchens,” large boulders with built-in mortars where Native American women ground the insides of acorns and other grains and seeds into meal.

The replica kiicha, the small dome houses made of twigs and vegetation, serve primarily as a barrier between the course cart paths and the remainder of the Pechanga Band’s sacred land.

Tule House at Journey at Pechanga
Tule House at Journey at Pechanga

The result, ironically, is the best and arguably the most natural feature of the Pechanga Resort complex. The course offers clear views of the surrounding, boulder-topped hills, as well as an open-air dining option bordering the course fairways appropriately called “Journey’s End.”

The surrounding hills do more than offer a great backdrop; they also provide six holes of challenging and scenic elevation. Meanwhile, closer to earth, the other holes – no two are alike – offer water hazards, deep sand bunkers and historical, natural artefacts which determine the interesting layout of the track.

Hole 17 The Journey at Pechanga
Hole 17 The Journey at Pechanga

The par three 17th has the most elevation on the back nine. Par is a great score on this hole. Just 180 yards from the whites, your only bail out option is the front bunker.

This is not your average resort course by a long shot; coincidentally, that’s the shot you’ll need to clear hundreds of yards of scrub, rock-guarded waterways, steep fairway and green-side bunkers.

Practice area at The Journey at Pechanga
Practice area at The Journey at Pechanga

To compensate for its toughness, Journey at Pechanga offers a well-designed practice area. It’s divided into a separate driving range, putting green and a most-impressive short game area. It’s complete with sizeable sand bunkers and replica rough areas from which careful shots land on slanted greens to help golfers prepare for the challenges ahead.

Randy Chang Golf School at Journey at Pechanga
Randy Chang Golf School at Journey at Pechanga

If your game needs a tune up, visit Randy Chang’s Golf School on-site at Pechenga Resort & Casino. Golf Channel Academy Coach and PGA pro, Randy Chang has the rare ability to explain the swing simply and to help you make changes quickly.

Previously published on USA Today 10 Best



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