Shanghai: Tock’s Montreal Deli and Brunch at Burdigala

Tock's - A Montreal Deli

Tock’s – A Montreal Deli

I miss sandwiches. That is possibly one of the things I miss the most in Shanghai. I miss having freshly baked bread that is crunchy on the outside but soft in the inside– piled high with sliced meat, sauce and veggies. Tock’s (221 Henan Zhong Lu; 河南中路221号) fills my sandwich needs by ticking off three out of four of those boxes. I have never been to Montreal so I can’t be an expert on what is a “Montreal Deli,” but I freaking love sandwiches and am an expert on those. Tock’s serves beautifully smoked meat sandwiches. You can order regular (150 g of meat) or monster (225 g). I love my meat and I love my sandwiches, but regular is honestly enough meat. I can’t imagine who can finish off a monster sandwich.

Duck Pastrami on a Montreal-style Everything Bagel

Duck Pastrami on a Montreal-style Everything Bagel

With your sandwich, you get an order of fries or salad. I would definitely recommend the Caeser salad over the fries. The salad was topped with croutons and bacon and the dressing actually tasted like Caeser dressing (and not just bland mayo). The fries were crispy, but I didn’t feel like they had much potato taste. For the bread, you can choose rye or a Montreal-style bagel. ORDER THE BAGEL. The rye is again, underwhelming. It’s kind of dry and lacks any rye bread taste. However, the Montreal-style bagel is to die for. Tock (yes, that is the owner’s name) explained to me the difference between a Montreal-style and New York-style bagel. Montreal-style bagels are boiled in water with honey and are a little bit more dense. That bit of honey makes for an awesome bagel because I like how the sweetness contrasts the saltiness of the meat. Also, when you order an everything bagel, there is topping on both sides (so key) just like a NY-bagel.

I ordered a smoked duck pastrami sandwich on a Montreal-style everything bagel and my friend ordered the smoked meat sandwich on rye. The duck pastrami was tasty but it was a lean cut of meat. I feel like it would be a good choice for someone who was looking for a “healthier” option. My friend thought his smoked meat sandwich was actually too fatty, but I could handle it without any issues. Next time, I think I would try the combination of smoked meats with smoked turkey pastrami. I think that would be the perfect combination of fattiness and meat. Finally, the key to the perfect sandwich is to order it with the spicy mustard. So yes, a smoked meat sandwich on a Montreal-style everything bagel with spicy mustard would be my sandwich of choice.

Shanghai: Burdigala

Shanghai: Burdigala

One of my friends had posted photos of her brunch at Burdigala (550 Wuding Lu;武定路550号) on WeChat. I am so glad she did; otherwise, I might not have found this gem. Burdigala is a wine bistrot with the goal to bring French wines to Shanghai and not charge a ridiculous amount. I found the atmosphere of the restaurant to be really cute and welcoming. There was some counter seating that would have been perfect a place to have a glass of wine with a friend.

Brunch at Burdigala

Brunch at Burdigala

For brunch, you can order à la carte, but the better option is to get the set price meal for 158 RMB. You start the meal with a vegetable salad (cucumbers, tomato, olives and ham) served in a glass jar and it is followed by cold cuts and plenty of baguette bread and a croissant. I know this meal looks simple, but it’s incredibly comforting. My friends and I used to have nights where we would literally just eat bread and cheese or bread and cold cuts/foie gras for dinner when we lived in Paris. After the meat and cheese course, you get roasted potatoes, a soft boiled egg with foie gras and a ham and cheese sandwich. The ham and cheese sandwich is so incredibly rich. You can tell that they grill that bread in delicious butter. If you weren’t full yet, you still get a jar of creamy yogurt topped with a fruit preserve.

With your meal, you also get to choose juice, tea or coffee. I would pass on the juice since it isn’t fresh and go for the tea or coffee instead. This brunch is definitely a bang for your buck because they’ll even refill your bread basket. Honestly, one order is enough to feed two people (although I don’t know how happy the restaurant would be if two people only placed on order) so it’s good place to go if you have an appetite.

Paris: Bagel Brunch at Sésame and Hand-Cut Noodles at Happy Nouilles

Sésame Paris

Sésame: Freshly squeezed juice, hot chocolate, soft boiled egg and a bagel sandwich!

Ah, comfort food. I’ve been lamenting about how much I miss bagels in Paris. So I was very excited to see bagel sandwiches at Sésame’s brunch. For 22 euro, you get one hot drink, one freshly squeezed juice, soft boiled egg, bagel sandwich, baguette with butter and jam, AND dessert. Talk about a deal! It was seriously too much food. I had to stop eating the baguette to save room for the Asiago bagel sandwich.

Sesame: Pecan Pie and Carrot Cake

Pecan Pie and Carrot Cake

I ordered the “Rachel” sandwich, which had chicken, avocado and honey, while my friend ordered the “Sally” sandwich, which had fresh goat cheese and veggies. For dessert, we ordered the pecan pie and carrot cake. I definitely won with my choices because the Rachel sandwich and carrot cake were delectable. Although it wasn’t the same carrot cake you find in the U.S., it was still flavorful, moist and topped with delicious cream cheese frosting. On top of that, I loved the vibe of the whole restaurant. The waiters were total hipsters. Or, maybe they just dress that way for work? We’ll never know. I felt like I was swept back to New York or even back to the Misson in San Francisco. Their lunch and dinner menu looked really good too because everything seemed fresh and simple (think salads and quiche).

Happy Nouilles

Happy Nouilles

I was happy Diane invited me for a low-key dinner at Happy Nouilles. Happy Nouilles is one of those small, hole in the wall Chinese restaurants that make fresh hand-cut noodles! I ordered the spicy beef noodle soup (辣牛肉面) and Diane ordered the ground pork noodles in miso soup (炸酱面). We split some stir-fried bok choy and a large Tsingtao. There is something so deeply satisfying about a giant bowl of spicy noodles with garlicky vegetables. While my soup was a little too diluted, I really enjoyed my hand-pulled noodles and the texture was perfect. Diane’s soup was definitely more complex and she ordered “hand-cut noodles” (刀削面), which were dense and filling. I’ll gladly return to Happy Nouilles whenever I’m craving Chinese food.

It was so nice to have some comfort food in Paris, especially given the extreme cold and rain we’ve been experiencing. I’ll end this blog post with a wonderful moment from this weekend– a brief respite from the gray and gloom.

Paris Invalides Rainbow

An extremely rare rainbow in Paris!

Jackie, stop eating


That pretty much sums up my entire New York trip. My only plans were to eat, shop, see some friends and eat some more. I’m the type of person who plans her trips around food rather than monuments. I had a huge running list of places I wanted to eat at and made all my reservations ahead of time. This will have to be a multi-blog post series because there is no way I can fit my entire trip in one blog post.

It was a great 4th of July trip to New York and everything would have been perfect if I hadn’t lost my voice. The sad thing is that I didn’t even lose it because I partied too hard or because I drank or screamed too much. Nope, I arrived in NY on Saturday morning at 7am and my throat felt a little scratchy. As the day progressed, it started to feel swollen so I took some Tylenol. It bothered me all day and I woke up on Sunday and my voice was gone. My voice is still gone and it’s been a continuous cycle of Tylenol every 4 hours and staying hydrated. I’d like to stop sounding like a chain smoker now.

Within my first 3 hours of NY, my friend Emily and I hit Murray’s Bagels, Doughnut Plant and La Maison du Macaron, which were all in Chelsea. I had heard SO much about New York bagels and never had one before and didn’t know what the hype was. I understand now. My first New York bagel was an onion bagel with scallion cream cheese. It was untoasted (because I would have been blacklisted if I asked for it toasted) and it was delicious.

First NY Bagel!

Agnes feels me. She understands the importance of “fluffiness.”

What I appreciate the most was having my bagel seasoned on both sides. I think that’s what surprised me the most. Having that onion-y goodness of both sides of my plumped up bagel. At first, I was only going to eat the 1 side with the onions on top and throw away the other half (keep in mind that I knew I was getting a doughnut too). But SURPRISE, there were toppings on the other side too. I wish all bagels were like that. Nothing is more sad than when you eat the top half of a bagel with all its delicious toppings and then are left with the ugly, plain side of the bagel. The bagel was so fluffy and I just could not get over it. I had never seen such a fluffy bagel before and the outside still had a nice hardness to it too. Continue reading