Montréal: city of food.
One of my favourite things about living in ottawa was proximity to Montréal. You could drive up for a weekend without thinking twice. This is still doable from Toronto, although somewhat more exhausting.
Arriving after eleven o'clock on Friday night, we didn't do much other than visit with our gracious hosts, Jen and Jason, and down a Jameson's or two.
Saturday morning we headed up to ndg in search of sustenance. Cosmo's was crowded, but the sun was shining so we took a table outside. "There's no menu," warned Jason, giving me a run down of what they have to offer. Standard breakfast fare (eggs, bacon, sausage, toast - "They have many kinds of bread - white, brown, rye, marble pumpernickel, kimmel - the kimmel is great, full of cumin seeds" - and the best hash in town), the creation sandwich (eggs, bacon, salami, with lots of mayo - really greasy"), and the mishmash (hash, sausage, bacon, eggs, etc., all fried together). "You should see them fry the potatoes." Yum. Eric chooses scrambled whites. I opt for eggs and sausage, with kimmel toast. Heavy, but delicious.
A long stroll is in order to take in the sights and walk off breakfast. Somehow, I find room for a pastry: a lovely buttery palmier, like Paul used to bring me from his many trips to Montréal. Eric can't resist a lovely lemon tart, despite being too full to enjoy it at that moment. I fear it may still be in his jacket pocket.
In the plateau we find a sunny patio to indulge in a local brew - what was it called? It's hard for us anglos to keep up with the pace of french resto patter - and a plate of frites with mayo. Mmmmm. We reach the Carré St. Louis just in time to catch the end of a mini festival - we catch the last three songs before they start putting away the chairs. Heading back up St. Denis, we hit a noodle place. I'm thinking it may be too close to dinnertime, but Eric wants a bite. Not much, just springrolls and deep-fried tofu, which even I, a very non-tofu person, enjoy. Just the right combination of crispy outside and tender inside.
Then it's time to pick up Jen and Jason and head out for dinner. They've been telling us about a place called Spirite Lounge (1201 Ontario) - something completely unlike anything back home.
The walls are aluminum foil. There is only one a la carte offering (although you can call ahead to request vegan), and if you don't clean your plate, you will be fined two dollars (an amount the restaurant matches, and donates to local charity). You will also not be allowed dessert. If you *do* get dessert, and don't finish that, you will not be allowed to return to the restaurant at all.
The first offering is a passionfruit daiquiri, with a touch of framboise. Very delicious, and they are happy to share the recipe. The entrée is a roasted-tomato bisque, with a hint of ginger and shavings of parmeggiana-reggiano. wonderful. The main is a crepe filled with sweet potatoes, red lentils, and gruyere, in a mild coconut curry sauce with mushrooms, broccoli, and a few hand-cut frites. All of the dishes offer a rich yet subtle blend of complementary flavours. We have no trouble finishing our meals, although Eric decides to forego dessert (i tild him not to snack before dinner).
By the time we get back to the plateau, all we can do is lie around and digest, as we plan the next day's culinary excursions.
Breakfast up the street is traditional fare: eggs, bacon, sausages, pancakes, beans, hashbrowns.
The old port was relatively quiet when we got there, too chilly for much street action. I did however get to see weird dancing man: apparently, he is a jazzfest fixture, and considers himself as much an attraction as any of the headliners. He did a few warm up moves in front of the old nelson hotel for a busker with a guitar (he prides himself on being able to dance to anything) while we ate Ben & Jerry's ice cream (they do have phish food, unlike most Ontario outlets, but no chubby hubby). Eric took a group photo for some tourists. We wandered down by the water, where Eric took more tourist photos. Perhaps this could be a new career?
After seeing Jen and Jason off to their various errands, we headed to Chalet Barbeque for some chicken. Ttender, juicy, flavourful, too much. I should have passed on the ice cream. We drove up to the lookout on the mountain, where we saw the same tourists we'd seen earlier at the old port. Had eric become a tourist in his own home town? Perish the thought!
Getting back to the apartment, we found Jason making soup. It smelled wonderful, but at this point, the thought of more food made me feel a little ill. But we still needed toget smoked meat! And bagels! And steamies!
This is where take-out comes in. After sharing a bagel (because you have to have one while they're still warm), we stowed our treats in the car and went for a drive around Eric's old neighbourhood. But on the way back, I somehow managed to eat not only my sandwich (medium on rye from the main), but a honey cruller as well.
I feel heavy just thinking about it, but can't wait to do it again. and the best part is, I have two kimmel bagels waiting for me at home.
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