What a quaint European-yet-North-American city. It feels European because the buildings are old (meaning older than 100 years) and the fact that everyone around us is speaking French. I actually took French in high school which means I can speak approximately five words (Bonjour, Au Revoir, Merci, Garcon, Merde) and understand around ten. So how I cope with this quandary is when some guide or hostess starts speaking to us in French, I simply look at her like she is insane until she starts speaking English. Then I smile. That seems to be the ignorant American thing to do. We are staying in Vieux-Montreal, the old part on the water where all the battles against the Iroquois took place in the 1600’s. In fact, we just came back from the Museum of History and Archeology and saw the ancient ruins, which meant old sewer pipes and cemeteries. Yeah!
So far, this city rocks culinarily (ok, so that’s not really a word…whatever). We’ll start with last night’s dinner. We walked over to Boris Bistro which has a great outdoor courtyard. It mixes scaffolding, trees and brick. Positioned lights cast the tree shadows on the brick walls. How hip. Even the word “bistro” is a little too antiquated for Boris. Things like Coq Au Vin, and Beef Burgundy were not on the menu (unfortunately these were what Dad was craving). But they did have duck confit with beans and salad:
The beans in that bowl were excellent. I heard a rumor that the lentils here are exceptional because Canadians are devoted to pork and pork products. So the ham or ham hock or bacon that was cooked with those lentils was definitely quality pig. That pig probably had daily hot stone massages and tea at the Ritz. Lucky pig. Lucky me.
The next morning while Dad was doing work, I took a walk around the area to check out the surrounding. I mostly walked down by the piers where there were tons of families waiting to rent bikes and board boat tours. The water area is beautiful with a park that runs the length of the piers:
After my walk, I went back to get Dad so that we could go to Olive & Gourmando
They do breakfast and lunch and are way quirky, hip and popular. It’s a little confusing in the beginning. You reserve a seat and then go to the back to order:
And then go back to your table to wait for your food. No number. I think that’s cool that the servers remember who you are (though there is really only room for about 30 people at a time). Then, when you pay, you go up front and they just know what you had, and they ring you up. The place was packed and the food was delicious. Dad and I split a Cuban (again, going for the pig):
and then I had a side salad of zucchini, asparagus and potatoes and Dad had a cup of the house made gazpacho:
The gazpacho was so amazing that I’m thinking of writing into RSVP in Bon Appetit for the recipe. Part of it was a pureed tomato base, and then there were extra chucks of tomato, avocado, and zucchini.
Olive & Gourmando have their own bakery in the back so the bread and pastries are really fresh. I may choose to go back and pick up breakfast before we get on the train to New York.
In the afternoon we visited the Basilique Notre-Dame:
I’m sure you’re shocked that it reminded us of Notre Dame in Paris. We listened in on a little bit of a tour and found out that they organ has 7000 pipes. Wow. They have another chapel in the back that is for weddings and it's much more modern. Instead of Jesus on the cross at the altar, there is a modern sculpture of a amorphous sun-god looking down on His people. How un-Catholic, eh?
465 Rue McGill
Olive & Gourmando
351 Rue Saint Paul
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