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Thursday, 25 November 2010

MONTREAL:Est ce que "Je me souviens.."? Part 2

Shopping & Restaurants:

I was in a shopping mood...when am I not! But was soon disappointed by my lack of finding anything I really wanted to buy. Everywhere I had hit the mother load in last year yielded nothing this time. "La Vie en Rose", Canada's answer to "Victoria's Secrets", a place that had some good basics had now turned into "The Best Little Whorehouse in Quebec" with enough plumes to fill a birdhouse and garter belts to supply the whole of Moulin Rouge for the next 10 years. "Gap" looked despondent and downright suicidal, "M0851"this great Canadian leather design boutique I bought a handbag in last time,didn't seem to have evolved much, "American Eagle" for tshirts and casuals was frankly too youthful for even I(menswear far more interesting ) and don't get me started on shoes! I voiced my disappointment to my sister who simply replied:" Montreal isn't exactly the fashion capitol of the world..." I tried on and fell in love with a pair of Mou's but refrained from buying them at my BF's nagging behest...if he had his way , I'd be doing laundry and the cooking in stiletto heels and Agent Provocateur nipple tassels...as if! I guess it wasn't worth arguing about nor was it worth it at Holt Renfrew where I finally tracked down the Tory Burch wedge heel booties I have been coveting for months.
"Are those the ones you have been talking about? Well forget about them." This coming from Calvin Klein himself.
Tis the season to be jolly careful anyway...Recession is a bitch and then you over buy!
Shoes in general are a tricky subject in Montreal..where they lack in style and grace and trend , they make up for in function,durability as well as unmitigated ugliness. Seriously outside of Holt Renfrew, where there was a small but decent shoe department,  everywhere else was quite tricky in trying to find anything that slightly resembles a half decent looking shoe.The extreme weather conditions dictate function over fashion and that is understandable but can anyone explain these to me?....And this was somehow the standard shape we came across on many men's feet without the festive tinsel and brocade. The only term I can think of using in describing these is :a sawn off shot gun in drag.
So to recap: if you are in the market for Uggs in every shape and colour,puffa coats, puffa jackets,puffa boots, Burburry anything... Lumber shirts, waffle tops,duck boots or LuluLemon sports wear...than go nuts! If not....go have lunch.  

 I may be watching way too much MasterChef and Top Chef but my heart was set on finding a molecular gastronomy restaurant in Montreal and was guided online to: "Bar&Boeuf"which only happened to be up the road from our hotel.  I was excited at the prospect of discovering some fabulous restaurant on our doorstep and even more in indulging in one of our delights. My BF chose a lovely entree of smoked trout,all beautifully arranged on the plate with dabs of this and smears of that...I was impressed and it tasted good. I was looking forward to my Heirloom tomato salad with pumpkin seeds and greens...I got a big bowl of salad..no more,no less and one that simply refused to end...salad from Hogwarts anyone?
For the main dish we both decided on the Angus tenderloin which was to be served with fries. It didn't sound very molecular...maybe the fries would actually be a fries tasting mousse!As the waiter put down the machete style steak knives we were brought our next dish . At the sight of all those fries strewn across half the plate...I'd rather hoped he'd also bring a shovel.
I picked up my machete expecting to slice through my beef like a knife through butter only to find resistance coming from tendons as thick as guitar strings. Of course my BF,God bless him, was slicing his piece like a skater on ice and enjoying every morsel. When I declared defeat and finally layed down my weapons did a  waiter sidled up to me and ask:" Madame,Is everything to your liking?"
"Yes,lovely thank you...Just a little too many fries for me and what is left of my meat is being held hostage by a tendon."
"M:Brgr/Brgr Bar" on Drummond is a fabulous joint for all lovers of the ultimate burger.I kid you not..this place is a trip. The menu in itself is an adventure and a feast of choices in how you construct the burger of your dreams. Fancy Kobe beef and white truffle shavings ? This is your place...or your basic AAA grade beef with Swiss,bacon and caramelized onions..no problem whatever you fancy is there on the menu. Knock yourselves out,the burgers are delicious,the side orders perfection: I highly recommend the sweet potato fries,the wedges are so more-ish with each yielding bite, you don't know what to eat first or where to take your next bite. A Montreal Must.
One night we were desperately trying to find a restaurant for dinner behind our hotel on Rue Saint Paul when a door suddenly opened and out popped a guy exclaiming:" Man! That was good!" We stopped,turned and looked into the window of this unpretentious restaurant filled to the rafters with jolly faced patrons tucking into steam filled plates of what looked like a down to earth home cooked meal. This was "Stash Cafe" a Polish restaurant and a cuisine I had never tasted.We didn't hesitate long after glancing at the menu and then at the faces of happy,sated people. They had us at "Pierogi"...
Pierogis are dumplings filled with either meat,cheese or cabbage and served with the most delicious and aromatic sauerkraut that has ever passed my lips.This was divine and I had to ask for more...
My BF went with potato latkes (4 huge pieces) served with sour cream and between the two of us going "mezze style" we had us a feast,sipping on beer and listening to the hearty crowd enjoying the food and each other while we all were treated to a pianist tickling the ivories and all our fancies with  renditions of Rihanna's"Umbrella",Supertramp, Ave Maria, even Lady Gaga. It was surreal and therefore most memorable and believe it or not we returned twice for lunch and weren't disappointed.
We didn't have too many "gaseous"moments due to our large intake of cabbage although my BF  firmly insisted to the contrary the following morning.He declared in no uncertain terms that I had "tooted a 5am bugle reveille" loud and clear.
 Pity it didn't deter the bell boy...


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