Yoooo. It’s been a long time. To tell the truth, I was getting pretty bored of just writing about what I was eating. So I’ve got to come up with some other ideas that will make me excited to update and write.
I just got back from Montreal. Originally, Ryan and I were supposed to go – I found out about the Osheaga festival earlier this year. The lineup looked amazing, AND it was in Montreal. I’d never been before. Instead I ended up going with my lady friends and we had a blast. Angel, Lindsey, Laurea, and I drove up from Brooklyn, and Robyn flew in from London to meet us there. We rented a house in the Plateau neighborhood, in between the two main streets St Laurent and St Denis, so we were right in the middle of a lot of action.
The first night, we ate at Le Comptoir, which I found on Chowhound and also a suggestion from Andrew (my chef friend from Toronto – who will now be working at a Momofuku restaurant. Woot!) It’s a small wine bar with shareable platters, and we ordered a bottle of [insert Frenchy red wine here] and a few dishes to share. We had a great waiter – we just told him we wanted the charcuterie board and three of their best non-meat dishes, and he brought us a lobster dish, beet salad, and and octopus dish.
It was a great meal to start off the trip. We asked him about some local non-touristy spots and he suggested a bar called Big in Japan, as well as Lawrence, which was another one of our picks.
We headed to Big in Japan after dinner, which was behind a nondescript door next to an all-night rotisserie chicken joint. There was a long, hot & humid hallway where a small line had formed. The doorman had one of those hipster handlebar mustaches….you see where this is going. Inside was a maze of bartop lined with little candles, sake and whiskey hanging from the ceiling, and pretentious hipster servers prancing around in black and white. We ordered some cocktails (cheap by NYC standards) and they were pretty lackluster. We stayed for a round and met Robyn at a dive near our house.
The next day we woke up early and headed to St Viateur Cafe – one of the two famous Montreal bagel spots. We’d been told to try both. I had an $11 bagel in the traditional style – lox, cream cheese, tomato, onion, capers. I shared it with Robyn, who ordered the smoked meat and mustard bagel. They came with salads so we ordered three bean and crab. The three bean salad was from a can and the crab was basically pollock with red food coloring. Awesome! The bagels themselves were fine – I’ve had the same at Mile End in Brooklyn. The general consensus: no need to eat any more bagels.
We then headed to Marche Jean-Talon, which is a famous farmer’s market. We bought 24-hour Bixi passes and biked over to pick up some afternoon snacks. The prices were outrageously cheap, and the quality and choices were amazing.
I bought some yellow cherry tomatoes and split the cost of cheese with Laurea (goat and a stinky semi-firm cow’s milk cheese). Robyn, Lindsey, and Angel bought fruit. Laurea bought chanterelles. We headed home to prep everything and picked up some wine, then ate everything on our back deck.
I also picked up some treats to take home, a port jelly made with chocolate and strawberries (good for steak and cheeses) and a jar of salted vegetables, which you can use in everything from soups and gravies to eggs and vegetables.
I managed to not eat ANYTHING at the festival. No hot dogs, grilled corn, or any meat made transportable by bread. I was proud of myself! I did manage, however, to ingest a disgusting amount of Red Bull. And beer. And vodka.
The best meal by far was on Saturday night at Lawrence. We stumbled in after being herded like sheep through the Biodome at around 5:40pm with no reservations, and they were able to accommodate us. Really cute place with simple, outstanding food:
By and large/head and shoulders above…the best meal I’ve had in a really long time. And super reasonably priced, considering we each got a cocktail and a glass of wine.
It was really hard to fully enjoy the city and all it has to offer while also trying to make it to the festival in time to see the bands we wanted to see. But we managed to pack in a lot of things in our short visit. Bands, the Biodome, biking, shopping, after parties with performing bands, Club Super Sexe (yes, we did it), and a short jaunt into old Montreal.
Next time I will bring Ryan and we will eat the shit out of smoked meat and more Lawrence and Joe Beef and Schwartz’s and then bike it off before heading to microbreweries and drinking ourselves silly.