I needed a brief vacation, and Montreal was a convenient place to meet a friend I hadn’t seen in far too many years. That’s how I ended up there for a long weekend, and while I normally would have spent the entire time wandering the streets, chasing interesting photographs, and sampling local food, very little of that happened this time. Aside from a pleasant Friday spent roaming Old Montreal, weather the rest of the weekend was cold and snowy and that made sipping bourbon on the sofa and talking into the wee hours far more appealing.
All that’s to say if you’re looking for a guide to Montreal, this is not your place. But I can offer my abbreviated greatest hits:
La Banquise, which is a classic stop for poutine, had a line out the door so we went across the street to Microbrasserie Pit Caribou (951 Rue Rachel E). They have local microbrews, including a tasty blond IPA, liquor, and charcuterie that featured ridiculously good bacon. It was packed, but the staff was friendly and we got a table quickly.
Montreal bagels are a thing. I don’t remember where we bought them, but I liked them and strongly recommend not thinking, “a bagel is a bagel,” because these are not what you’re used to eating, at least if you live in the US.
I’m a fan of Les chocolats de Chloé, where I bought citron, rhum et raisin, and banane chocolates. They were fantastic. They were even better for breakfast, or so my friend told me.
I have a Ferris wheel fetish, so we rode the La Grande Roux. The visibility was terrible and it was snowing, so our timing wasn’t great. But I was on a mission. If you’re in Montreal, pick a clear night and ride it.
One more travel note: This was my first trip with Global Entry, and bypassing the line made all the hassle associated with getting approved worth it. Step up to a kiosk, take a selfie, go straight to passport control. Easy.
More about the trip to Cali to follow, but doesn’t this pic look like it dropped through a time portal? The Caddy parked out front was serendipitous, though a ’70s-era Eldorado would have been even better. Ah, the joy of shooting expired Fujifilm Provia.
The Bali Hai website, menu, and servers warn that their world famous Mai Tai is “Quite Possibly the Strongest Drink You’ll Ever Consume…(Limit 2 Per Person)”. Order one and they’ll ask, “Did you read the menu? Are you sure?” I did, I was, and it is. One was plenty.