For my birthday weekend we went to Montreal to visit my father. We drove up Friday, had a yummy dinner on the grill, and spent the night at his girlfriend’s house. It’s always interesting driving through Canada. It’s not that far from the US, and you’d think it wouldn’t be too different, but it is, in many ways. The land gets much flatter after leaving Vermont. The architecture of houses and such are different. The traffic signs are very different, often pictographic rather than worded. While some people may call it the 51st state, it seems like a foreign country to me.
Saturday, we started off with scrumptious pastries and coffee. It seems like all the food up there is good. After a slow start, we made our way into Montreal and checked in at the hotel my father got for us for the rest of the weekend. It was pretty nice. It looked like it had recently been redecorated, in a modern style.
After leaving the hotel we wandered over to the Beer Festival, which I enjoyed very much. There was no entrance fee, so we were free to wander around and check things out. We got some sausages for lunch. There were a lot of sausages there. Then, we bought some drink tickets and souvenir glasses, and it was off to the stalls. There were many beers represented, and they put a good amount in your glass. Each beer had an associated ticket cost, and all were quite yummy. We sampled quite a few and listened to the celtic band playing, but ultimately, it was too hot and crowded to hang around any longer.
After a stop back at the hotel to drop off a few things, we headed out into the city, and ended up in the section they call Vieux Montreal, the old area of the city. There were lots of cool buildings to admire. And lots of yummy food! We wandered the streets for a while. Some of the buildings are quite old and quaint looking, somewhat European. We had dinner at a restaurant, wine bar, and jazz club, Modavie. I had venison medallions, in a fruity sauce, accompanied by risotto and an unusual vegetable assortment, including some types of squash that are apparently common in Canada but not the US and beet puree. Later we had gelato at a cafe. Creamy and yummy!
On Sunday, my boyfriend and I caught breakfast at a chain cafe called Van Houtte, which looked like a safe bet to accept credit cards since we had no Canadian cash. Despite being a chain, the food was very tasty. They had yummy pressed sandwiches (mmm, ham & brie), and I had a salad that was kind of like coleslaw, but so much better, made with yet another special Canadian vegetable. My father met us there, and we spent some more time in Vieux Montreal. We saw some crazy street performers and some cute shops. We stopped at a church, which was apparently dedicated to sailors. It had many small boats holding candles hanging from the ceiling. There was a group singing classical songs acapella with some medieval instruments thrown in, so we listened to them for a while. Ultimately, we ended up in the Chinatown of Montreal, which was very small. We stopped at a Chinese pastry shop, which was self-serve, an interesting difference from those in Boston.
As it was Sunday, my father and his girlfriend left early to get home to her son. We were left to our own devices for dinner, and I had my eye on the crepe restaurant I had seen earlier. I had a chicken crepe with mushroom sauce. It was a little odd with the slight sweetness of the crepe. Maybe I’d try for a different filling next time. But dessert, oh dessert! It was chocolate fondue, with fruit, marshmallows, and little rolled up slices of crepes. The marshmallows were a bit too much sugar, but I loved the crepes and the fruit is, of course, a classic. Stuffed, we were happy to call it a night.
Monday was yet more food, with breakfast (at lunch time). Croque monsieur sandwiches at a “home made” shop. There’s a special word for “home made” in French, but I can’t remember it now. We also stopped in Burlington, VT on the way home and had a sandwich at a local cafe that my boyfriend’s sister recommended. The weather was beautiful, and Burlington is an adorable city.
It seems like we didn’t get around much in Montreal, but we didn’t really have any specific activities we wanted to do. It was nice to just hang out.