Adventures in Montreal: Part Deux

E and me getting ready to party!

If there is one important fact you must know before you visit Montreal, it is this: it is a party town! These people have a party ethic like none I’ve ever seen. Admittedly, I wasn’t at Sodom or Gomorra, but I imagine it’s similar. After 4 straight nights of partying like rock stars, a day of sight-seeing, and two days of travel home (we had to stop over in CT to pick up the baby), I am pooped!

But let me back up and recap some of the highlights of the trip…

Food

Montreal, like New York, has a ton to offer in the food department. And it just so happened that my picky, non-adventurous hubby all of a sudden decided that his palate was ready to try all kinds of new things. The best meal we had was at this amazing restaurant in Old Montreal called Bar & Boeuf, but since we recently started eating fish, we decided to call it Bar & Boeuf & Pesche. And that’s what we had that night – the most amazing halibut dish with spatzle and some other stuff that I was too drunk to remember.

What the pho?!?! 😉

We also ventured into Chinatown and had Pho (pronounced FUH, contrary to popular belief) for the first time! But it will certainly not be the last, and now we’re preaching of its goodness to all who will listen. So light and yummy, it’s practically the perfect food!

Our final night in Montreal, we strolled through the streets, debating what to eat, when the Portuguese waiter at the Portuguese restaurant started talking our ears off. We decided we might as well eat while he chatted us up. It had been almost 12 years since I had eaten Portuguese food, and it was just as good as I remembered. Wood-fired chicken with rice and french fries, followed by my all-time favorite dessert, uma nata. Natas are little custard cups – almost like having a creme brulee inside of a croissant. You really couldn’t dream up a more perfect dessert, in my humble opinion.

Savoring the carrot cupcake…mmmm...

We also went back to that adorable cupcake shop and scooped it for the NYCupcake Guide. True to the name, the cupcakes were “d’liche.” Plus we got to hang out with the owners and “talk shop.”

Culture

I’m sure many of the things I’m about to talk about are also part of our culture here in NYC, but for some reason, it just felt different in Montreal. With their influences coming from American, French and Canadian cultures, they simply have the coolest melting pot of…stuff!

Sunday was the day we really got to wander around, and our wandering took us to Park du Montreal where we heard there would be a famous drum circle on Sunday afternoon. Indeed there was…and it was pretty great. At least 20 drummers gathered in a semi-circle near the giant monument, banging out primal rhythms for a large crowd. Women and children danced in the middle and an old lady in red clicked her castanets like there was no tomorrow. It was an “anything goes” feeling – so free, so fun!

We decided to walk further into the park where we found hiking trails (which I scaled like a spider monkey) and then…we found them. LARPers. That’s right, people, real life Live Action Role Players. With costumes, swords, shields, armor…they were gearing up for what we assume was going to be some kind of battle later in the afternoon. When we found them, they were divided into their camps, scattered about the lawn, some sparring for practice, some napping on their shields, resting for the battle that was to come. I had only heard tell of these people, and occasionally seen them in movies, but seeing them in the flesh was quite a treat.

As our walk through Montreal continued, we enjoyed a New Orlean’s-style jazz band playing on the street while we had lunch, an entire block cordoned off for performance art, unique shops and, of course, Montreal’s famous graffiti’d buildings!

Throw in all that good food and you have the recipe for a fantastic work/play vacation! I hope you’ve enjoyed my Adventures in Montreal. I put together a super short video of some clips I took of the trip – it starts with the big, blow-out party of the week (that’s an office, people!!!), drum circle, LARPers, Castanet Lady and the jazz band 🙂 Enjoy!

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