December 29, 2011

Montreal Calling

For the May 2-4 weekend The Honey and I made a trip to Montreal. Friends were celebrating their 10th wedding anniversary and Montreal is a bit special to them – he proposed there while on a weekend getaway. It had been a while since we picked up and took off to Montreal and we really like these friends, so we couldn’t resist joining them (along with other family and friends).

May was still quite cool and rainy here in Ottawa, but the weather changed once we got closer to Montreal. The whole weekend there made it seem as though summer had finally arrived – the sun was shining and warm, the flowers were in full bloom, trees had leaves and blossoms, and it suddenly became shorts and t-shirt weather.

We were staying in Mont-Royal Plateau, a new area for us, and spent much of the weekend exploring this lively neighbourhood. We wandered through La Fountaine Park, along St Denis & Mont Royal streets, popping into shops and cafes. Of the dozens and dozens of times we’ve been to Montreal we had never set foot in the Plateau, and so we continue to see something new after all these years.

Our first dinner was at Bières et Compagnie (4350 St Denis St), a given that our friend is a beer nut and this place makes all their own beer. He had been before and raved about the food, unfortunately, once I saw the menu I realized it wasn’t going to be very ‘me-friendly’. If it didn’t have beer in it then it had wheat. Luckily though the waitress was knowledgeable about the food and when she didn’t know, she asked the kitchen. With my options being very slim, I decided on a Chicken Caesar salad (sans croutons!) which turned out to be very nice.

For lunch the following day we found Une Crêpe?, located at 425 Mont-Royal Ave E. I’d heard they had buckwheat crepes and if there was something for me, then The Honey was happy. We both enjoyed our crepes and surprisingly the buckwheat flour didn’t have the overpowering flavour like it does when I cook with it. I could taste my apples and cinnamon and savoured the nice flavours.

Later for dinner, my friend had chosen Le Flambard (851 Rachel St E) for a special celebratory dinner for us all and because their website stated they could accommodate food allergies. Another first for The Honey and I was an occasion to take our own alcohol and being a large group, this allowed us to enjoy our dinner a bit more (we were still civilized!). Our waiter was very attentive and so helpful in making my dinner choices. We all had the table d’hôte (very reasonably priced at around $30) with varying options and no one was disappointed. Given that dinner took most of the evening between our four courses and many bottles of wine, our waiter maintained his sense of humour and attentiveness (and was tipped well in appreciation as a result). We were still talking about it the next morning at breakfast.

All of us stayed at the Auberge de la Fontaine (1301 Rachel St E) where the rooms varied from being spacious to being cozy (in a good way). Our friend had reserved a room with a large patio and we spent quite a bit of time there hanging out, talking about whatever, having a few beverages, and of course, enjoying the gorgeous weather. Just off the lobby there is a small kitchen where guests can keep some goodies and prepare something for themselves too. Breakfast was a variety of baked goods, fresh little quiches, breads, cereal, fruit, and yogurt. I suggest speaking with an employee the day before to see what they’ll have on offer, just to be on the safe side. I dug into one of the quiches when I didn’t see the crust, thinking it was baked eggs (but a little pastry was there on the bottom!). With the warm weather I didn’t mind just having yogurt, but in cooler weather I might bring something.

It was such a lovely weekend and the perfect way to spend a May 2-4 – with friends and great weather. Upon returning to Ottawa the nice weather followed and summer really did begin.


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