Montreal, QC, Canada

I have spent a good amount of time over the past several months thinking about our last trip to New Orleans. We went last March and spent another five days there and had to try to put together a fresh tourism to-do list of things we had not already covered. Having spent two full vacation weeks there in the past five years, finding things to do on this trip was tough and I vowed- or at least hoped, that I would not have to go back to an admittedly great city, but one that I would hope could be passed over in favor of a new city we had not yet been to. With mom and dad living there regularly now, even without the tourism, at least there is the visiting with them that makes the trip worth it anyway. Well, I had been pretty adamant that I was done with New Orleans for a bit of a time.

Every year for the past ten or so, most people know that El and I participate in something called Outstanding In The Field. Well this year is no different. And this will be the first year we will return to the same farm for a field dinner. The tickets for the dinners always go on sale the first day of spring and we have all spring and summer to plan (if necessary) what we will do with our time around the dinner. Considering if we will make a weekend out of it or instead just going and coming home. Last year we went to the dinner that is considered the Montreal stop, though the farm is actually about an hour south of the city. Last year we came to Montreal for the weekend and this year we planned to do the same. El and I have been thinking about this weekend since the first day of spring. Planning since then to make a long weekend of our trip to the city and incorporating the dinner into a return trip to the city. This is what keeps me thinking about New Orleans. I would say that I have a similar affinity for Montreal as I now have for New Orleans. So why do I look so forward to revisiting Montreal, while wincing at the idea of revisiting the Big Easy? I don’t know that I have an answer, but I think I may have to reevaluate my feelings at some point in the next several months- or in the next 48 hours as the case may be.

Friday 8/18/17

Waking up at home, our morning routines didn’t change much. El got up at the ass crack of dawn like she does every day. I had a late show last night so I took advantage of my day off to sleep in a little. I wind up getting up and complete my packing, eat breakfast, and do final prep so I am ready when she gets home from her run. El arrives home earlier than expected and we are able to shave about an hour off of our planned departure. Instead of getting out by 10:00am, we are on the road just after 9:00am. She wants to stop at a bakery she likes and grabs breakfast on the road. I am saving any future appetite for our lunch plan, so I pass on getting anything else to eat. The ride is an easy 206 miles. There are literally two roads between us and downtown Montreal. One of our slight challenges is that the GPS we have does not have Canadian maps and like 30 seconds after the customs stop at the border, the map runs out and searches for a non-existent update. We need to move over to the phone that I don’t prefer, but it gets the job done. Our first stop today in Montreal is a ramen shop called Yokato Yokabai (4185 Drolet, Montréal, QC (514) 282-9991) that is said to be the best ramen place in the city. I read a Yelp! review and sent it to El and she agreed we needed to go here on this trip. As we pull into the neighborhood, it looks like they have alternate side parking on Fridays between 1-4pm. Not sure, but it might be for street cleaning. This means that before 1pm, every car owner needs to get their car to one side of the road, so as not to get towed. However, being that it is 1:15pm now, the chances of us finding an empty spot takes a little more time and patience than it would any other time. I don’t want to take the chance at parking illegally, so we drive around the neighborhood until we eventually come across an acceptable parking spot. It is only a few blocks away and it is not raining, so we are all set. We head directly to Yokato Yokabai for ramen. It is full, but not packed. They have several tables and 2 full bars with stools. We are asked if we will be ordering alcohol as there are two sides to the place and if you will order drinks you need to be seated in that section. We had no preference and they seated us right away. Each table has a glass with a wad of menus in it- and a mini-golf pencil. You each take a menu which is only ramen. One side is in French and one side in English.

between the two of us, we figured out almost all of the options, filled out the menu, only to realize the other side is in English

You make your choices by darkening the appropriate circle corresponding to the kind of broth you want, spiciness, if you want bamboo shoots or pork belly, or both etc. The waiter collects the tickets and writes your name and table number on each accepted ticket. We each get a cup of green tea and wait. It only takes about 5-10 minutes for the soup to arrive. Wow! Housemade noodles and a pork marrow broth that was rich and wonderful. Just an incredibly tasty and filling soup. We both experiment with some of the condiments- hot chili oil, toasted sesame seeds, and pickled ginger.

an amazing bowl of ramen. this ain't your college Nissin ramen

But, for the most part we don’t need the extras- though the spicy addition to the broth adds a new taste that I quite enjoy. They keep up a steady pace of customers the whole time. Totally worth the stop. On the way out we both hit the restrooms which are located downstairs. The walls are filled with Japanese artwork and as you walk down the hallway there is a window where you can watch the noodle maker cranking out ramen noodles by the binfull. As I stand in the hallway waiting for El I start to admire the wall murals. In a moment of realization I see that all of the murals are animations of sex scenes- like Kama Sutra sketches, complete with painted censor pixilation. I guess I just wasn’t expecting that in a family restaurant. But, I get a laugh out of it.

animated pixilated porn in the hallway

Full from lunch we walk back to the car and head to our parking garage near the hostel. There is a large festival going on in our neighborhood this weekend and we are hoping to avoid street closures. We aren’t really too far from the garage, but agree it would have been too far to walk. We have done this routine enough that now we just drive to the garage and take our bags with us to the hostel to get checked in. The next thing we have on our agenda is a walking food tour that we have to meet at 5:00pm. It is now around 2:00. We are checked in and decide to try to nap before heading to the tour. We know we will have to take the Metro and that will need some refreshing of the maps. We will allow ourselves an hour to get to the spot in Mile End, an area we have been to many times, but aren’t familiar with the exact meeting spot. I am able to sleep for two hours, but El is not so lucky. She finally started to dose, only to be awakened by her fancy exercise watch that vibrates to tell her she has been inactive for too long. She spends her nap time, reading. We stop at the ATM on the way to the Metro. Once in the station there are only kiosks to buy tickets as there is no one manning the booth at this time. On the first ticket purchase we always need a few extra seconds to refamiliarize ourselves with the options. This is always frustrating if there is a line and I don’t want to hold up the people behind us. Luckily, this time there is only one person behind us when we get to the front of the line. I let her go and the extra time this gives us reminds us how easy it is to buy the tickets. We follow the metro/walking directions to get to the meeting spot and we are waiting with plenty of time to spare. Other people arrive until our group of 11 are all accounted for. We even get a couple of people significantly early for their 5:30 tour! The tour starts at the meeting spot at a place called La Panthère Verte (The Green Panther). It is a vegan eatery specializing in local and organic food. Our super-perky guide, Sandy introduces herself and gives the cafe the sign to start preparing our food for this stop. She then has everyone go around the table introducing themselves- which is the lamest move on any tour guide’s part. If I want to introduce myself to someone- that’s my business, but that charade of telling a group of strangers my name, where I am from, and why am taking this tour is a waste. Well, I guess that is literally what it was, a time waster until the beer and sandwiches got made and ready for delivery to our table. The first stop food comes out and it is a falafel sandwich and a mug of beer. There is some brief confusion that almost turns into a standoff between Sandy and one of the girls on the group where the girl refuses the beer and asks for a non-alcoholic option. The girl’s brother steps in and tells Sandy, she is only 13 years old and needs a non-alcoholic option. Sandy actually says that since the beer is already poured, the girl could just have it and no one would tell. I ask what difference that makes? This can only end badly. Just go get her a juice and make it right. Sandy sticks to her argument that the tour was booked for an adult ticket and if she did not want the beer she should go buy something else. Meanwhile, the sister-in-law is scrolling frantically on her phone to find the receipt to prove she actually did order a kid’s tour ticket. The brother asserts that this was not a viable plan. And in the course of three seconds the brother tells Sandy to go inside and bring a non-alcoholic drink, the sister-in-law finds the receipt for the kid’s ticket, and Sandy relents and invites the girl to come inside to choose her drink. With the beer already poured, our table gets an extra mug to split. Upon his offer, I share the extra beer with the brother. As we all dig into our sandwiches, we get a little more background of the business model of this restaurant and the sourcing of all of the ingredients in the sandwich- including the on premises baking of the pita bread. The sandwich reminds me that just because it is vegan does not necessarily mean it has substituted ingredients.

falafel sandwich and and beer. and vegan to boot

The sandwich is really tasty and the Beau’s beer is much better than the awful Sleeman’s that we have been getting at the hostel. We move on to the second stop of the tour, stopping every block or so for info about the neighborhood’s history or its features of today. We arrive at a chocolate shop for stop #2. It is called Chocolats Genevieve Grandbois and Sandy gives us a few fun facts about the shop and the proprietor who developed her signature flavors that have not changed in the 20 years the place has been open. We all file inside and are offered a single handmade dark chocolate cube filled with salted caramel. Before eating we are invited to smell the cube and enjoy the aroma before popping it in your mouth.

handmade chocolates

The bite does not last long and before we know it, there is another serving tray on the counter with Dixie cups. Each half filled with drinkable chocolate. We don’t get this too often, but it is oh, so good, when I do. Think of it as rich chocolate pudding, thinned with warm cream. Not like powdered hot chocolate, but a much creamier version. A one ounce portion is all you need. Sandy reminds us that in order to keep the tour moving along, we are asked not to make purchases on the tour. We are given a tour book that includes maps and coupons should we choose to return later for purchases. Our next stop is one that El and I have been to on our own- St Viateur Bagels. The local institution is a 24 hour bagel shop that has cranked out millions of bagels over the years, one batch at a time. Our group is corralled into a corner where we can see the bagel-making process in action. Sandy gives us a little history and details the steps in turning out a finished product. 90% of their bagels are sesame and one of the steps is to completely cover the uncooked bagel in seeds. New York bagels have seeds on top, but ours have them all over! My takeaway from the process is that instead of NY steaming the dough, here they are boiled in honey water, and while NY bagels are baked in an over, here the ovenmaster still uses a wood fired oven that must be continually stoked and monitored for proper temperature. We are each given a sesame bagel and a single serve cream cheese to dip the warm bread in. Once everyone has a bagel we are squeezed into another corner of the shop to eat and admire the wall of fame- you know signed photos of Canadian celebrities who endorse the “good eats” at this place. El and I choose to split one bagel and take the second to go for breakfast tomorrow morning. Of course at the end, Sandy asks the new yorkers in the group to pass an opinion of comparison between the New York style and Montreal style. El speaks for both of us when she says they are different and both have their pros and cons. Sandy dismisses that response as too diplomatic and adds that she feels the Montreal bagel has the advantage. I disagree. If I want a ham, egg, and cheese on a bagel- only a NY bagel will do. If I want to grab a fresh, hot bagel and wash it down with some warm drinkable chocolate and sit in Mount Royal Park, St Viateur is the choice. Just take separate, but equal as a realistic opinion and do not debate this. Our next stop is around the corner at Drogheria Fine. This is a place that is known for their pasta sauce. There was a family selling pasta sauce to locals who teamed up with a gnocchi maker to serve the sauce over gnocchi as a way for people to sample the sauce. The place is not even a shop. You cannot go in- as there is nothing to go “in” to. There is only a sliding window where a sidewalk pedestrian can stroll up and buy a container of gnocchi and/or sauce to go. They give each of us a small Chinese food container of the potato balls lathered in sauce and dusted with pecorino-romano cheese. It was a fine stop, though listening to Sandy gush about how this is the best sauce on the planet and how lucky Montrealers are to have it available to them- was a little much. All the while I am thinking “El makes way better sauce than this”. Two doors down is our last stop of the tour. It is called Kem CoBa, and it is an ice cream shop. During our last stop at the gnocchi place, Sandy ran down to give them a heads up we were coming and to start getting the sampler tray prepared. The shop is tiny and the line is long, so I didn’t actually get to see all of the offerings inside. We all got the same...a cup of soft serve Madagascar vanilla ice cream twisted with passionfruit sorbet.

ice cream/sorbet twist

I ate it and enjoyed it, though I am less than passionate about passionfruit and would love to try the vanilla twisted with a different sorbet next time. As we all sit on the benches in front of the shop, Sandy gives the last of her info sessions including the history of the ice cream shop and taking votes on everyone’s favorite stop of the tour. As we finish our frozen treat, the group starts to peel away in their own directions. El and I need to head back to the hostel to prepare for our evening a Rockabilly vs. Psychobilly (rockabilly music on steroids) concert at Les Foufounes Electrique. We get back to the room for a quick change and to grab anything we need for the evening and drop anything we don’t. The stop is brief and we are out the door in minutes. We have been to this bar several times- one of my favorites in this city, but we have never seen a show here. It is $20 each at the door and the third of five bands are on stage as we enter. I don’t know any of the bands playing (neither does El), but I was able to Youtube a few songs and know the band sounds shouldn’t be a completely foreign. My research focused on the last two bands: Gutter Demons and The Brains. Both bands play a similar style of psychobilly- every member looking like Jerry Lee Lewis and sounding like the Ramones.

Gutter Demons at Les Foufounes Electrique

Gutter Demons at Les Foufounes Electrique

Very loud, very fast. I quite enjoyed the show, but being largely unfamiliar with the music, it all sort of sounded the same to me- though I did recognize the songs I saw on Youtube. After a little over an hour and a half, I was getting a little tired on my feet and I know El was too. This show was part of a festival and they were trying to finish here at 10:00 so that they could continue down the street at a bar called Katacomes- I didn’t need any of that, so, I was good to call it a night. We stop at the hostel bar for one last beer before heading up to bed. Unfortunately for us, they are hosting a live band tonight and the volume is just a little more than comfortable sitting, drinking a beer, and journaling/knitting. The reception desk actually has a limited beer tap and we grab one there and go sit in the common area while sitting, drinking a beer, and journaling/knitting, and discussing our plans for tomorrow- and at some point El remembers that we forgot to bring our dinner plates for the dinner tomorrow. We will need to add a stop to our itinerary tomorrow. We finish and are sleeping in short order- and it is not even midnight.

Saturday 8/19/17

We set an alarm, but not too early. With our limited hours in the city I don’t want to spend it sleeping. We are up around 7:30 and eat breakfast in the hostel. It is continental and included in the room price. El remembers the bagel and we share it. El Yelp!’s “thrift stores” in Montreal during breakfast and it looks like St Laurent is full of them. We are out on the street around 9:00 with a plan and maps in tow. Today is our Outstanding In The Field dinner that has a check-in and hors d'oeuvre hour starting at 3:00. We know it is about an hour away, but I have a stop I’d like to make on the way- more on that later. We take the Metro up to Mont Royal station and walk to the first on the list. Now, in the Yelp! reviews, some are known for their housewares selection (or at least their offerings have made it to the review), while others are just known as a good/great shop but with limited specialty departments. We find the shop and we are about 30 minutes from opening time. We find a coffee shop next door and sit on the bench enjoying a decent cup of coffee waiting for the door to open. We are the first customers in today, and I ask the bag check girl where I can find the housewares department. She becomes the first Montrealer ever, to ask me to speak French! Such a Quebec City thing to hear, but Montreal? Never. Well, she is sorely mistaken if she thinks my French skills are going to get me anywhere in this city. El takes over the conversation and asks for housewares. We find the section, and though the selection is weak, we settle on a couple of $1 plates. For that price, ones that we can throw out instead of lugging around. Instead of taking the Metro back, we decide to walk back to the room on this great morning. We continue down St. Laurent passing the other thrift stores from Yelp!. Some are permanently closed, but even if we don’t see another, at least we have our plates. On the way, I spot a $2 coin on the street. We eventually hit a store that is considered to be the best thrift store in the area, called Eva B. As we walk in, the bag check girl offers us an iced tea. We decline and ask for housewares. Looking around I see a glass cooler with several sandwiches/paninis. Food? In a second hand store? Well, yes. It turns out they have all kinds of desserts and sandwiches and cafe offerings. We don’t need any, but press on upstairs. They have some housewares, but still not much of a selection, and still not exactly what I want. I buy two more anyway. At $1 each, my $2 coin covers it and we are good to go. Walking through this ultra-quirky cafe meets pawn shop, I think we might need to spend some more time here. We walk back to hostel and change for dinner. We have been discussing the Notre-Dame-de-Neiges Cemetery and trying to figure out if it is better to Metro or bus there or better to drive there. It is on the other side of Mont Royal, and with local festival activity possibly resulting in closed streets, we head to the parking garage to get the car and drive to cemetery. We park outside and initially attempt to walk in. The place is open, but we are wondering if there is a map or other information available that we have to get from the funeral home (as you do in some cemeteries). El runs into the funeral home and is directed next door. We head to the building labeled Human Resources, but it is closed. As we stand there, we notice cars just driving in and out of the grounds. So, we get back to the car and decide to take a spin among the plots and see what we can see. There is nothing remarkable about the grounds, except the size. There are over 1 million people interred in this cemetery. I was hoping with those kind of numbers to get a photo of sprawling fields full of headstones.

one million is a lot of headstones. no way to capture the expanse in a photo. you can see the opposite facing stones in the foreground

Alas, the number of trees in the area makes it feel more like many small plots instead on one enormous place. I was also hoping for more marble sculptures or remarkable headstones, but it is really much more of a plain cemetery. At least from what we can see from the car. We only spend about a half hour here. The only thing that struck me as different here, than others we have visited is the orientation of the headstones. Ordinarily, you would see a row of headstones every six feet or so. Whereas, this layout resulted in lanes of opposite facing headstones with about 12 feet of grass between them. I am not sure if the people buried underneath are laid in the same direction and one would have a headstone, the other a footstone. Or if they actually buried them head to head. With the amount of superstitious people in this world, I expect they are footstones and not buried facing the west. After getting some pictures, we start our drive to the to the town of St-Chrysostôme, which is near to Hemmingford (where the dinner is tonight). I read this description on Atlas Obscura: “This rotting 19th century church doesn’t look as bad as it could considering it has been abandoned for decades, but the small cemetery on the grounds looks even better,” and this made me want to check it out. We were going to be in the area, so why not? The place is called the Edwardstown Anglican Church and we have an address. As we leave the cemetery in Montreal and try to head south, the highway construction is horrendous and detours start to force us so far from our route that the GPS eventually gives up and takes us 60 miles on backroads through the countryside of Quebec. Towns consisting of six houses clustered together- the kind of towns where you can’t help but wonder where the people that live here work or what they do for a living. Some of the roads, though two-lane, have high speed limits and we make it to our destination in respectable time. Not knowing exactly what we are looking for, the GPS tells us we have arrived, but we drive right past it. I guess I was looking more for a parking lot with a broken down church, rather than a grass field with a brick building in the middle. The cemetery was nowhere to be seen. We turn the car around and realized we had found it. I pull up to the front gate that is locked- the kind of gate that is more to keep cars out, thank people- or at least we rationalize. There are virtually no signs of life, so we take our chances. Walking up to the brick building the walls are bowing out and one good storm could bring this thing down. There is some graffiti and the windows are boarded up. The front door is open, but walls just inside the foyer prevent us from seeing inside. It certainly looks creepy. Looking further beyond the building, we see the remains of the cemetery mentioned in the description. Sadly, vandals seem to have turned their attention from the building itself to the headstones. I don’t know when the Atlas Obscura entry was written, but the caretaker may have taken a permanent vacation since then. Of the 30 or so grave markers in the cemetery, every pedestal style headstone had been knocked over.

an example of the cemetery that time forgot

Of course we have no idea when that happened- and it could have been last night for all we know. But, I assume it was not last night and wonder how long before the destruction is noticed and if it will be addressed. Do these graves ever get visited any more? The newest date I saw was from a 2008 internment, but most were from the 1950’s or earlier. Maybe they don’t get visited. I don’t know. All I know is that is was a bit sad. I started to feel like the reason they have a lock gate is to keep trespassers out, so maybe we should just leave and leave alone. A couple more photos on the way out and our excursion ends about 10 minutes after it started. Back on the road to our farm dinner. 32 minutes away. We are among the first to arrive and the first to check in. We know the drill and what we are supposed to do (mill around waiting for food and beverage) and not to do (disturb the dinner table). It does not take long for the drinks to start. A Quebec sparkling white wine (or a rose meade). I like the white and definitely do NOT like the rose. It has a funny aftertaste. Soon the hors d'oeuvre start. Today there are three offerings:

Seared duck with a dollop of smoked creme fraiche, a pea shoot, and a ring of pickled onion

Grilled zucchini bread with egg yolk puree, and sliced baby turnip, pickled carrot, radish, and beets

Bacon and cheddar cheese scone with a drop of garlic aioli on top

We position ourselves near the “kitchen” to make sure we don’t miss anything that comes out. Also, we start our people watching for the evening, and boy there are some characters here. We keep the food and drink flowing during the hour until we are called to the welcome speech. This is where Jim and his team are introduced and give a brief history of the OITF concept. They introduce today’s farmer and they get us going on our farm tour. After the 30 minute tour we are set loose on the table to claim our seats. El and I always sit across from each other and this was no different. We wind up at a table with three other couples. One couple is friendly enough, but they are at the dinner with other people and their conversation is all in French. The other two couples are here together and over the course of the evening, we realize we have a lot in common, or at least several similar interests. This is their fifth OITF dinner together, and we wind up really enjoying talking food and travel with them. One of the better social experiences we have had at one of these events. The dinner is served the same style as every other time. Family style and each dish is designed to serve eight.

First course: presented as pork head cheese, though I would describe it as more of a pate with a side of house-made mustard, sourdough bread and butter.

Second course: heirloom tomato and cantaloupe salad with shallot vinaigrette and roasted sunflower seeds. The serving bowl is smeared with a mascarpone and ricotta blend that you can eat with the salad, if you like.

Third course: whole grilled trout served with an oat tabouleh, pea puree, fennel, and dilled cucumbers. This was an unexpected hit and the deboned fish was really tasty. Not ready to make it myself, but happy to try it again. Even El liked it- and that is saying something.

Fourth course: wild mushroom stuffed chicken served with grilled vegetables, pickled eggplant, and roasted peppers.

Fifth course: blueberry pie with a roasted oat crumble and yogurt foam.

Every year, with one exception, we wish coffee was offered with the dessert. Unfortunately, this year was no different. Also, sometimes you get a wine that you don’t like, but this was the first time that people almost universally panned multiple wine selections. Not like they were soured, but just a bad tasting drink. It was funny how almost everyone tried the red wine and threw it out and asked for more of a different selection. Even the dessert wine that are usually on the sweeter side, this one tasted like liquid Pez. Paired with the sweetness of the pie, it made me pine for a cup of coffee. The dinner is done about 8:30 and we head back to Montreal for the night. Our hostel is in the heart of the Gay Neighborhood and with this weekend’s Pride Festival activities in full swing, finding parking in our garage is tough, but around 9:30 we are back in our area. We do not need to go back to the hostel, and opt to just hit the town- or settle into a cozy bar as it were. El chooses a place called Le Lab on Ste Catherines. We have passed this place a hundred times and I have never noticed it, though it stuck out for El and we walk into a reasonably quiet place. There is a DJ spinning 1980’s vinyl, but not too loud. There are a few others at other tables or at the bar. Not crowded, not empty. El gets a strawberry take on a Moscow Mule and I opt for an Old Fashioned with Rye. We both enjoy our drinks, but by the time we are finishing, my eyes are getting heavy and I am ready to start winding down- even though we should just be getting started. It is convenient that the hostel has a bar downstairs, although their beer selection bites. We head back to the room so I can drop off my backpack go down to the bar for one last round. I would have gone back to Foufounes Electrique or Piranha if I was up for more bar hopping. Last night there was a band down in the hostel bar and tonight it is just the radio playing. I am consistently amazed how many people are in the hostel bar. I don’t know if they are all or mostly hostel patrons, as anyone can come to the hostel basement to drink. Are many locals choosing to drink here? I find myself fading fast and decide to finish up here and call it a night. We have a breakfast reservation tomorrow on our way out of town and then hope to be on the road before 1pm.

Sunday 8/20/17

Our breakfast reservations are for 10:00am, but I figure we will be able to be there long before that time. We discuss our options of eating first and then coming back to check out or do we check out first and take our stuff to the car? Once we drop stuff at the car do we Metro to the breakfast and back to the car or do we just drive to the restaurant? In the end, that is what we go with. Check out, walk to car with bags, drive to restaurant and then get on the road directly afterwards. El looks up the brunch menu at Être Avec Toi (e.a.t.) and decides that she can get her desired dish ordering off the breakfast menu as well as the brunch menu, so if they agree to seat us, we are in good shape. Upon arrival, it is obvious they are not crowded and we are easily seated immediately. We are in a fancy hotel’s restaurant. The decor is somewhat odd. Think of it as a high end room, with high end artwork on the walls. Then, they let a graffiti artist loose inside and every piece of art got tagged. It just would have looked more authentic if they got a real graffiti artist than what looks like some million dollar artist’s interpretation of graffiti’d artwork. This is one of those places that is great with the lead up to the food, but the execution of the meal leaves a bit to be desired. As we are seated, or chairs are pulled out and pushed in for us. Coffee is served immediately and the order taking process takes exactly as long as it should. I order lobster benedict and El gets some sort of maple heavy breakfast that includes maple crepes, maple glazed bacon, maple baked beans, and an egg. It is one of those places where your waiter only takes the order and a runner delivers it. Besides watching the cart wheel on past us as the runner attempted to deliver our food to the next table we realize we are missing part of the order and our waiter is nowhere to be seen. There are only like twelve people in the whole room and our guy is disappeared. We are missing juice and an order of toast. Finally, we flag him down and things arrive swiftly. After the breakfast is complete and the two of us are sitting behind completely cleared plates, getting the check becomes another ordeal. Just so slow for the room, especially when we are trying to get on the road.

It is 206 miles to Montreal from home. It takes about 3 hours, but the border crossing plays a big factor in the timing. Since El and I both have Global Entry, we are able to use the fast lane to enter the U.S.. It does not work for going into Canada, but this time the line wasn’t too bad.

We are home about 2:00pm and still have enough time to do our weekend routine.

This trip just underscored how much I enjoy spending time in Montreal, especially with El. It also reminds me that sometimes it is more about who you are with than the actual checking off of tourism stops. I mean we had fun gong thrift store hopping on St Laurent on Saturday- so much so that we both agreed we would go back to Eva B next time just to spend a little more time there.. So, as I conclude this journal, I think I need to rethink my feeling towards New Orleans. Other than being a little far, I suppose I should be a little more receptive to the idea of returning to good food, good drink, and good company. Hopefully able to toss a show or two into the mix and we should be able to have as good a time, if not better than if we go to Montreal. Now if New Orleans was just a little closer, that would be the best of all possible worlds. Come to think of it, maybe they have a good second hand store we could explore.