August 25, 2011

Bonjour Canada

Yea yea its still Canada but its as close as I'm getting to Europe this year. Although a taste of Montreal makes me want to hop on the next red eye to Paris.  Its actually true what they say - turning any word French automatically makes it sound infinitely more romantic. We just about died every time we passed by a chocolatier or saw the words creme glacee.

A (late) breakfast in Mont Royal followed by walking, exploring and shopping, Mont Royal vaguely reminds me of East Village in NYC.  Its filled half with up-and-coming restaurants, boutiques, ethnic cuisine and half with gorgeous residential apartments and hostels. We ventured to the famous 24 hour-a-day/7-days-a-week La Banquise for the famous Canadian poutine later in the afternoon.
Finally tried the much-heralded poutine! And from supposedly the most famous place in Montreal no less. Final verdict? Ambiguous. We ordered the classic which is french fries with gravy and cheese curds and got some bacon thrown in. The fries were not your typical golden diner fries which in this case still worked. The whole mess reminded me of the kind of cheese fries you order from Allegro's at 3 in the morning....I guess that's why this place is open 24 hours. 
Escargot, Salad and Belgian Fries in Mont Royal; My travel companion is absolutely in love with escargot from her travels in France (major jealousy over here) although I've never been very fond of the butter-soaked aspect of the dish. That was until I realized they aren't always soaked in butter. Huh. Well, I still think they aren't that exciting given the other options that exist on a menu. 
Vieux Montreal
Ham quiche with beet salad at an adorable chocolatier/cafe by Notre-Dame Basilica (pictures forthcoming!).  This light and airy quiche inspired me to make quiche on my first full day home...which my father promptly gobbled up. haha.  
A life-changing panini. Sure it looks unassuming but man what a flavor combination: smoke salmon, cream cheese, roasted eggplant, capers, peso and arugula.  I am tying this one at home kids. \
Lunch at Jardin Nelson in Old Montreal. We were fortunate enough to experience gorgeous weather all week and this day was no different.  Every restaurant we passed was filled with bustling diners sitting on patios, by windows and in the open sun. Jardin Nelson took this to the extreme and had two dining terraces as well as an open roof available for locals and tourists alike. The crepe was rather disappointing but  the live jazz music was quite enjoyable. 

A flaky and delicious chocolate croissant and brie cheese fondue with baguette and grapes. I never really got the whole fruit and cheese combo but I always like anything I eat enough times :)
Downtown Montreal
(Left) Portobello burger with sprouts, tomato and some sort of amazing creamy cheese...might have been cream cheese haha. (Right) Burger with brie and bacon. A late (a little too late) spontaneous dinner at 10pm after a 3 hour nap left our stomachs grumbling. This happened to be one of the few places where the kitchen was still open at 10pm (don't ask me why everything closes so early).  The burgers seemed like a safe bet off of the pretty Americanized menu but they were DELICIOUS. I think adding brie to anything just makes it taste good. Funnily enough, they didn't ask us how we wanted our burger cooked but even the medium-well quality left the burger nice and juicy. 

Forthcoming posts: the official most adorable cafe in Montreal (which we went to 2 days in a row even though it was on the other side of town), a good old fashioned French dinner in the Latin Quarter, and a great big bunch of gratuitous scenic shots.

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