Monthly Archives: October 2013

Montreal-Day 2

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Clock Tower

I first went to the Clock Tower to find it cordoned off by Navy personnel in full regalia. So I decided to walk along the waterfront before making my way to a metro station to go to St. Joseph’s Oratory of Mont Royal.

Inside St. Joseph's Oratory of Mont Royal

Inside St. Joseph’s Oratory of Mont Royal

I attended the 11am solemn mass with the Les Petits Chanteurs du Mont-Royal. They sang quite beautifully and reminded me of St. Michael’s Choir.

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Around Restaurant l’Avenue

After mass, I took the bus to l’Avenue (please refer to my review of it on an earlier post for details). Afterwards I meandered my way to Patisserie Rhubarbe (please refer to my review of it on an earlier post for details). I then walked to a 11 bus stop and waited for a while for the bus to come and take me to Mont Royal Park’s Belvédère Kondiaronk.

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At Belvédère Kondiaronk

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At Belvédère Kondiaronk

After taking my fill of pictures, I took the bus to St. Joseph’s Oratory to view the gardens there.

St. Joseph's Oratory

St. Joseph’s Oratory

Way of the Cross Gardens at St. Patrick's Basilica

Way of the Cross Gardens at St. Joseph’s Oratory

Way of the Cross Gardens at St. Patrick's Basilica

Way of the Cross Gardens at St. Joseph’s Oratory

Afterwards I went back to my hostel. At my hostel I figured out Monday’s itinerary since Monday was Thanksgiving so I wanted to be sure that the places I was going to were all open. I also started talking to a girl staying at the hostel and we ended up going to Schwartz’s (please refer to my review of it on an earlier post for details), Aux Vieux and Dieu du Ciel (please refer to my review of it on an earlier post for details) together along with her two other roommates. Aux Vieux is a vegan restaurant and the girl was the only one out of the four of us to order something there. I was still full from the smoked meat sandwich so I didn’t order anything at Aux Vieux. On our way back to the hostel from Dieu du Ciel, we walked past St. Louis Square and the houses surrounding the square look quite pretty at night.

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Montreal-Day 1

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Prior to my long weekend trip to Montreal, it’s been over a year since I last traveled. I took the midnight bus from Toronto to Montreal to maximize my stay in Montreal. The bus ride from Toronto to Montreal is alittle over 6.5 hours long. I rode on Megabus and I was pleasantly surprised to see that it was a double decker bus since I thought Megabus would be like Greyhound and just be like a regular tour bus. It’s not hard to find the Metro Toronto Coach Terminal however finding the right line up for the bus is another thing. There was this young couple in front of me who missed their bus by 24 hours. I’m guessing they bought the Friday midnight bus tickets rather than the Saturday midnight bus tickets. If you want to take the midnight bus on a Friday night, the correct ticket date is the Saturday midnight bus, when in doubt follow military time or the 24 hour clock. Megabus drops you off outside of the Le 1000 de la Gauchetière building which is where the metro Place Bonaventure station is located.

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When I got to the metro, I bought the 3 day pass ($18). The 3 day pass is valid for the entirety of my trip. When I went to Montreal, a one way fare costs $3 which meant that I had to make at least 7 trips for the 3 day pass to be worthwhile. During my 3 days in Montreal, I made a total of 19 trips. I really like how the STM offers weekend, evening and 3 day passes. Also the metro is much easier on the ears since the trains emit this violin tune when it comes to a stop rather than come to a screeching halt like the TTC does. Comparing the TTC and STM, I prefer STM more.

Place Jacque Cartier

Place Jacque Cartier

I stayed at the Montreal Central Hostel during my trip. It was slightly difficult to find it since its directions on their website didn’t account for the fact that the closest metro entrance/exit is closed down. Montreal Central Hostel has a nice looking lobby, includes wi-fi and breakfast (croissants, eggo, toast, coffee, tea, juice), has free local calls (telephone in the room) and it has a locked storage room. They also provide bedding, towels, soap and a paper cup. I was able to check in at 7am and leave my luggage in the locked storage room since I can only get the keys after 2pm. I basically got my keys at midnight when I finally went back to the hostel after a long day of sightseeing. The room I stayed in was clean and tidy although the washroom was quite small but it was clean and it has a shower stall rather than a bathtub. When I first entered my room, the other people were already asleep and the only free bed was the top bunk. I liked how there’s 3 electrical outlets by the side of each bed and there’s a box tied to the railings for you to put stuff in. It’s especially convenient for anybody who gets the top bunk bed because it can be slightly annoying going up and down the ladder at night with no lights on in the room.

Gardens at Chateau Ramezy

Gardens at Chateau Ramezy

Since my stay started on Saturday, I had to eat breakfast elsewhere. I decided to go to Olive + Gourmando (please refer to my review of it on an earlier post for details). After breakfast I walked past Place d’Youville before walking along Rue de la Commune to get to Place Jacque Cartier. Place Jacque Cartier is where City Hall and Chateau Ramezy are located. Bonsecour Market and Notre Dame de Bonsecour Chapel are really close to it.

Inside Notre Dame de Bonsecours Chapel

Inside Notre Dame de Bonsecours Chapel

Notre Dame de Bonsecours Chapel

Notre Dame de Bonsecours Chapel

I joined the Old Montreal Free Walking Tour. It starts at 10am and ends around noon so it’s a 2 hour tour of Old Montreal, Old Port and part of Downtown Montreal. I was to meet the guide by the fountain next to City Hall. Since the guide had a large white umbrella, he wasn’t hard to find. We started the tour with the guide explaining how the Free Walking Tour operates (by tips and they are all trained for a year prior to doing the tour). The guide then explained how in Montreal, most statues are in pairs in which one statue is of English origin while the other is of French origin. The English statues are also older than the French statues in most cases. The fountain has Nelson on one side and Vauquelin on the other. We then walked down Place Jacque Cartier to reach the garden of Chateau Ramezy where the guide explained abit about the history of Chateau Ramezy and the rivalry between Montreal and Quebec City and how Montreal was founded. Afterwards we walked further down Place Jacque Cartier and past Bonsecour Market to Notre Dame de Bonsecour Chapel.

Notre Dame

Notre Dame Basilica

We toured the inside of Notre Dame de Bonsecour Chapel. I liked how there are model ships inside the church and the statues of angels and Mary on the roof of the church facing the river. Afterwards we walked along the waterfront before heading to Notre Dame Basilica, Maisonneuve Monument and Place d’Armes. We didn’t go inside the Notre Dame Basilica however the guide talked about the history of Notre Dame Basilica and St. Patrick’s Basilica. We then went to see the inside of an old bank (in our  case, it was RBC) built during the 1920s-1930s. Afterwards we went and saw a section of the Underground City and that was the end of the tour.

Place Sun Yat Sen

Place Sun Yat Sen

I decided to spend the rest of my afternoon with a group of New Yorkers who were also part of the Old Montreal Free Walking Tour. We first had to find an ATM for them to withdraw some cash and while we were looking for an ATM we came across afew souvenir shops so we went in so that they could buy some souvenirs. We then walked around Chinatown. It’s very small in comparison to the Chinatowns of Toronto and there’s nothing especial about it aside from a bust of Sun Yat Sen at Place Sun Yat Sen. We then walked to Brasserie T! for lunch (please refer to my review of it on an earlier post for details).

Christ Church Cathedral

Christ Church Cathedral

Windsor Hotel

Windsor Hotel

After lunch, we leisurely made our way to Christ Church Cathedral. The architecture is Gothic and quite pretty. We then went to Dorchester Square which is surrounded by Windsor Hotel and The Gazette. The Windsor Hotel is part of Canada’s railway hotels which include Toronto’s Royal York, Quebec City’s Chateau Frontenac, Ottawa’s Chateau Laurier, Winnipeg’s Fort Garry Hotel, Hotel Macdonald in Edmonton, Hotel Vancouver in Vancouver and The Empress in Victoria. We parted ways at Dorchester Square.

Inside St. Patrick's Basilica

Inside St. Patrick’s Basilica

I walked to Mary Queen of the World Cathedral (there was a wedding going on inside at the time so I couldn’t go in). I then walked past Place Bonaventure and Tour de la Bourse before making my way to St. Patrick’s Basilica. The outside may not be as impressive as Notre Dame Basilica or St. Joseph’s Oratory but the inside is quite majestic. It was 4:25 when I finished touring St. Patrick’s Basilica which meant that I had to run since I had to meet my friend at 4:45pm at Metro Mont-Royal. Apparently I had plenty of time, according to my friend when I told him that I rushed over to meet him. We had dinner at Au Pied du Cochon (please refer to my review of it on an earlier post for details).

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At Belvédère Kondiaronk

After dinner we meandered our way to Le Lab (please refer to my review of it on an earlier post for details). Afterwards, on our way to La Banquise, I spotted the 11 bus so my friend and I decided to take the bus to Mont Royal Park rather than eat poutine. Mont Royal Park is a large park with two lookout points. We first went to the Belvédère Kondiaronk which overlooks downtown before walking to Belvédère Camillien-Houde which overlooks Stade Olympique (Olympic Stadium). After I finished taking pictures of the night skyline, we went back to Belvédère Kondiaronk so that we could make our way down the mountain towards downtown so we could get to the metro station.

At Belvédère Camillien-Houde

At Belvédère Camillien-Houde

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La Banquise

I couldn’t leave Montreal without eating poutine there during my trip so I walked to La Banquise for a late night meal prior to taking the bus back to Toronto. La Banquise is open 24/7. When I got there, the restaurant wasn’t too busy considering that it was Action de Grace (Thanksgiving holiday). I ordered the 3 amigos poutine ($10.06 including tax).

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The 3 amigos poutine is comprised of fries, gravy, cheese curds, hotdog sausages, pork&beef sausages and merguez sausages. It was quite good. I really liked the chunks of cheese curds, pork&beef sausages and merguez sausages. The fries were soft. Overall, if you’re craving poutine and it’s late at night in Montreal, I’d recommend this place for you for the variety of poutine and the fact that it’s open 24/7.

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Rotisserie Romados

I decided to have dinner at Rotisserie Romados because they’re famous for their rotisserie chicken. When I got there, I was slightly surprised since I was expecting it to be like a restaurant rather than a fast food place. There are afew tables for people to eat there however it’s more of a order your food and eat it elsewhere type of restaurant. So first you would line up to place your order then they would make your order and you’d get it and line up again at the cash register to pay for your meal. There was a fairly long line up when I arrived. I got the 1/4 chicken thigh with fries and salad ($7.75 including tax). The other options include the whole chicken, 1/2 chicken, 1/4 chicken breast with salad and fries and poutine. Their food is served in Styrofoam containers no matter if you’re dining there or not.

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The 1/4 chicken thigh with salad and fries is alot of food. I only ate the thigh and salad there and I saved the fries for tomorrow’s lunch. The chicken thigh was tender and juicy. It was seasoned with peppercorn and I got the spicy sauce. The chicken thigh also has skin on it which can be slightly fatty. The salad at Rotisserie Romados is not as good as the salad at Depanneur Le Pick Up. The salad at Rotisserie Romados is raw onion, lettuce and 1 tomato slice. The fries were surprisingly good still the next day, they were kind of spicy which was nice. Overall, I would recommend this place if you’re in the area and have a craving for chicken.

 

 

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Depanneur Le Pick Up

I decided to go to Depanneur Le Pick Up for brunch before heading to Jean Talon Market and touring Little Italy and making my way to Mile End and Little Lisbon. Depanneur Le Pick Up is on a residential street, if you didn’t know where to go, you’d almost miss it. It’s very unassuming. Inside it’s a convenience store and a diner. There’s afew tables and a bar where you face the grill. They serve water in a Perrier bottle. The people who work there are all very nice and friendly people.

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I ordered their daily special, Madame Croque ($8.25) and a moccachino ($2.85). Madame Croque is comprised of ham, gruyere cheese and bechamel sauce with an egg on toasted bread and a small green salad. Bechamel sauce is white sauce so it’s made with butter, flour and milk. It was delicious. The portions were large, at least it was larger than I expected. The eggs were sunny side up so they were runny which is the way I prefer my eggs in a sandwich. I felt that the cheese was decoration rather than a substantial part of the dish. The bread was perfectly toasted and had a nice crunch to it. The salad was nice. The ingredients were fresh and crisp unlike the pre-made store-bought salads from grocery stores. I really enjoyed the dish.

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The Moccachino was dark with a hint of chocolate. It was very nice. Overall, if you’re in the area, I would definitely recommend this place for brunch.

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Dieu Du Ciel!

Three people from my hostel and I walked to Dieu Du Ciel! for a drink after a detour to Schwartz’s so I could eat dinner.  I had the Rigor Mortis Triple ($5.75 including tax).

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Dieu Du Ciel! is a microbrewery. It was already jam packed when we arrived around 10pm. We sat outside on the patio. The guys went to get us a table while another girl and I ordered the drinks. At first I couldn’t decide between the Rigor Mortis Double or the Rigor Mortis Triple and the bartender was nice enough to let me sample both before I ordered. The Rigor Mortis Triple is a biere d’abbaye (abbey beer). It has a reported alcohol content of 9.5%. The Rigor Mortis Triple has a bitter aftertaste however it’s not as dark as other beers.

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If you like beers, this is a great place to go to since they have a huge selection of beers and they’re open until 3am seven days a week. The patio closes at midnight though.

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Schwartz’s

Before I went to Montreal, I heard about Schwartz’s which is synonymous with smoked meat sandwich. My friends in Toronto, when I told them I was going to visit Montreal, told me to go eat poutine and smoked meat sandwich which translates to La Banquise and Schwartz’s. During my Free Old Montreal Walking Tour, my guide told us that Celine Dion owns Schwartz’s.

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I set out from my hostel with three other people and we walked to Schwartz’s so I could eat dinner. We got there after 8:30pm and there was still a line up outside the door for a table. Since I was the only one who hadn’t eaten, I decided to get take out rather than wait in line for a table. I got the smoked meat sandwich ($7.64 including tax). It’s basically 2 pieces of bread with dijon mustard between a huge stack of smoked meat. It was absolutely delicious! There was alot of fatty oily smoked meat and at times an entire mouthful is just smoked meat. Overall, it satisfied the carnivore inside of me. If I’m in Montreal again I will come back if I have a craving for smoked meat sandwiches.

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Patisserie Rhubarbe

My foodie friend also recommended me to go to Patisserie Rhubarbe for their mille feuille. I got slightly lost trying to find the place but this nice guy basically lead me there when I asked him for directions. Coincidentally, he was going to Patisserie Rhubarbe as well to pick up his order. When I arrived there, they were sold out of mille feuille. I decided to get their panna cotta ($4.5) and verveine macaron ($1.25).

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The decor is rustic and it’s a very small patisserie. There are several tables for you to sit and enjoy their pastries and drinks. The people working there are very nice and friendly. It’s on a side street in a quaint residential neighbourhood so if you don’t know the neighbourhood, it’s slightly hard to find. The verveine macaron is ok. It’s not as good as other macarons that I had in Toronto although it’s definitely the cheapest macaron I’ve eaten. The verveine macaron has a lemony mint kind of taste.

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The panna cotta was quite delicious and creamy. I was unable to finish it so I got it as take out for tomorrow’s breakfast. The next time I’m in Montreal, I’ll come back for their pot chocolat (they use dark chocolate) and mille feuille.

 

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l’Avenue

My foodie friend in Montreal emphasized that I should have brunch at l’Avenue before I leave Montreal so on Sunday I went to l’Avenue and lined up for nearly an hour for a table. The decor is funky and there is a DJ spinning tunes. The washrooms are very interesting. The servers are also very nice and helpful. If you can’t read French, a word of warning, their menus are only in French. They don’t have any English menus at this particular restaurant. You’re provided with a complementary skewer of fresh fruit slices. You get a slice of watermelon and pineapple. You get a wedge of orange, cantaloupe and honeydew. You also get a whole strawberry. The fruit slices helps with the meal, especially if you order any of their eggs Benedict.

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I ordered the Benedict Berceau ($16.49 including tax). The Benedict Berceau consists of 2 Omega 3 poached eggs, sauteed pieces of chicken, onions, red peppers, potatoes, english muffin and hollandaise sauce with ketchup and mayo on the side. It was scrumptiously delicious! The portions were huge, I finished 75% of the eggs, chicken, onions, and red peppers and half of an english muffin and I was quite full. I didn’t expect myself to be full only halfway through my meal since I was very hungry while waiting in line. I was in awe of the couple beside me who each ordered an eggs Benedict plate and split a crepe.

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I would definitely come back here again for brunch when I’m in Montreal.

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Le Lab

After eating at Au Pied de Cochon, my friend and I walked to Le Lab. At the front of Le Lab, we met up with the people I had lunch with at Brasserie T! The world is full of coincidences. I ordered Zombie 1956 ($26 including tax) and my friend and I split it. The others had also ordered Zombie 1956 (two of them split it as well) and the other two ordered flaming shots.

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Zombie 1956 is a cocktail that consists of homemade Falernum, Angostura bitters, lime, grapefruit juice, pineapple juice, homemade grenadine, maraschino liqueur, absinthe, rum and decorated with an Orchid flower, fruit slices, a leaf and a sugar cube. When it was placed in front of me, the waitress set the sugar cube on fire. The main reason I ordered this drink is because there’s absinthe in it although setting the drink on fire is a bonus. Absinthe is an alcoholic drink that has a high alcohol content and is falsely considered as a hallucinogenic drug. Zombie 1956 was delectable although it is quite large if consumed by only one person.

Zombie 1956

Zombie 1956

I’ll definitely come back here for the cocktails.

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