Endless Banquet in Montreal

medieval banquetAnthony J Kinik and Michelle Marek really do appreciate their life in Montreal, and they share their passion for their city’s culture and cuisine in an extraordinary ‘food lovers’ blog. Their weekly adventures in the old city are filled with details relating to hidden fruit and vegetable markets, butcher shops, seafood shops and of course restaurants and Montreal spa and posh hotels and resorts, even portable toilet rentals and off the wall ideas.

… an endless banquet is a blogspot you can actually taste, and the authors do a great job presenting their anecdotes and knowledge in very readable prose. Readers will appreciate the novel manner in which AJ inserts his appetite into his daily adventures, and I love how both he and Michelle smother their text with expert details. Food lovers will savour the ‘before and after’ pictures of the ingredients contrasting the finished dishes. The photos usually accompany detailed recipes along with tips and tricks regarding preparation and delivery.

So it should come as no surprise that Anthony J. Kinik has some training as a storyteller. endless banquetHe originated from California where he earned a PhD in film studies; states that he’s always been interested in food, and actually began taking cooking classes when he was just ten years old. I’ve read and discovered that he loves soup and ‘uses pepper in everything’. Kinik is no stranger to print media either. He’s written for Gourmet, and the Montreal Mirror.

Michelle Marek, the blog’s co-author (and Anthony’s girlfriend) originated from Vancouver where she was inspired to cook by her mother. She was a vegan for 12 years, but now “eats anything”. *Its interesting to note that she despises TVP (textured vegetable protein) and chose to avoid it as a vegan.

AJ and Michelle met in Montreal in 1999 and soon discovered they had lots of similar interests, which includes books and films, cats and of course food. Both artists consider Montreal to be “a great eating city, a city of gourmands”

In 2004, AJ and Michelle were cooking and entertaining together more often, usually after exploring the city’s markets, collecting cookbooks, and reading copious amounts of food literature. All of this cuisine art really impacted Michelle, and she quit her job as a subtitle editor for films and enrolled in pastry school; now she works as pastry chef.

Aj and Michell from Enbdless BanquetThe blog began in Nov. 2004 when, AJ relates, “we did the only sensible thing. One dreary day, we headed down to a Vietnamese restaurant in Chinatown, and over a good bowl of pho, we came up with a name–” and the name is “…meant to convey a sense of the ideal life.” And he goes on to write that, “…the Internet opened things up quite a bit and provided many new voices. In terms of food writing, it provided a forum… for food cultures that had been marginalized.”

Salad on Endless BanquetBy the summer of 2007 the blog was getting 15,000 hits per month. Today the content includes recipes (many pulled from other publications) and reviews. Anthony and Michelle have written a book, APQO, a short work dedicated to the enjoyment of four fruit: the apple, the pear, the quince, and the orange.  The authors write good pieces about visits to local Montreal restaurants, they publicité en ligne and pass judgment on the Montreal Food Guide which reviews eateries in their city. Here’s AJ’s Flickr page.

Endless Banquet gives AJ and Michelle the ability “to broadcast our dream version of Montreal. Consider this a condensed, lushly illustrated, two-dimensional version of our beloved city.”

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Black Sheep Reviews in Montreal

Black Sheep Reviews

Joseph Belanger writes about movies in a snappy review blog with cute seasonal banners. Black Sheep Reviews was born in September 2005 just after Joseph realized that he could combine his love of writing, and his love of watching movies in a recipe for success online.  This blogger’s natural passion for cinema, and his literary aptitude are equally obvious – that’s what makes his blog posts so delightfully personal and easy to read.

Joseph Belanger at laptop computerThis guy is an expert on vintage cinema, and something of a student on the old Hollywood studio system. He seems quite familiar with the careers of veteran filmmakers Roman Polanski, Howard Hawks, and Canada’s own Norman Jewison. Black Sheep Reviews is packed with the same kind of detailed information found in professional movie critic’s daily newspaper columns, and specialized film magazines. In my humble opinion, Joseph’s blog is better than most newspaper film reviews, and that’s because he’s real. He writes first from love, and second for money (coffee money).

Three years later, Joseph is more committed to this volunteer project than ever, and doing daily reviews has patterned itself into his overall identity.  Perhaps only the other bloggers reading will understand that sentiment. Joe takes it seriously. He believes that this vocation is the most important job in his life, and as such it defines him. In his own words, “It’s a part of me.  I wouldn’t know who I was without it.” As an example of this blog’s quality, here’s Black Sheep’s review of the animated Wall-E movie, Hello, Wall-E!  Meet Dolly which reads like a transition piece – unless I’m mistaken, this post actually marks the first time Belanger has branched out past singular film reviews to write about film trends. He scours the papers and reads Entertainment news and has personal relationships with editors and ‘gate keepers’ that hold the secrets and leak the tasty tidbits to alternative press. Be sure and check out (and join) Black Sheep Review’s Facebook Group which now has almost 500 members and it’s growing as people all over Canada discover Black Sheep Reviews.