Un petit morceau de Montréal

Disclaimer:

Dear French people,

Please forgive the very likely possibility that all my French words/expressions are wrong and/or misplaced. Je suis sorry :(

Last weekend I took a trip to Montreal. Granted it’s already been five eight days (I started this post on Friday)since said trip so some parts of this post might be made-up hazy on the details. The last time I went to Montreal, it was one of those single girl Eat, Pray, Run from hobos weekend.

This time it was more of an Eat, Eat, slow-comatose-jog away-from-hobos type of deal. I learnt a lot about my digestive capabilities, much like how Elizabeth Gilbert learnt how to make millions writing about hers.

Regardless, I tossed a dollar into one certain hobo`s venti Starbucks cup; he was a real entertainer. He was outside the Metro, theatrically jumping up, down and around a milk crate giving a gallant French sermon in a booming voice that would make The Tenors want to tranquilize him, steal his vocal cords and leave him with a ten dollar bill, bleeding from the neck in a ditch behind a Montreal poutineri.

Many people asked me whether I was visiting friends in Montreal or whether I was taking a trip with someone. Apparently,  the idea of going alone for no conceivable reason isn’t something that crosses the minds of normal people. This is why I never update my Twitter. It’s easier to just shrug a no then it is to type ‘Solo getaway to Montreal, bitches!! #foreversingle’.

Is it really so bad  that I find sitting awkward and alone in fancy restaurants infinitely more appealing than taking long knee-busting yet dreamy romantic walks through the cobblestoned streets of Old Montreal? #sarcasm

Speaking of fancy restaurants, I went to many! When I say many, I mean two.

It was Friday night when I had my first food experience. I was perusing online for places to eat when I stumbled on one very close to the Bed and Breakfast I was staying at. It was a tapas place. Tapas make me nervous. Who knows how the hell to order them?

The place I wanted to go to was called Confusion Tapas du Monde. The irony of its name was not lost on me while I spent the next 45 minutes goggling what is tapas and how to order it. The best answer was: Ask your waiter.

I called the restaurant. This was the actual conversation we had:

Tapas waiter: Bonjour!

Karen: Hello sir. Do you speak English?

TW: Yes ma’am. I actually speak very good English.  (Dollop of politeness with rich warm undertones of french sarcasm)

K: Great! I was just wondering….do I need to make reservations for one?

TW: You’re coming for dinner on a Friday night by yourself?

K: Yes.

TW: We can give you a table at the bar.

K: At the bar?! Can I not have a table?

TW: But the bar is actually quite pretty.

K: I’ll think about it.

I thought about it. As much I’d like to brag that I decided to have my Montreal adventure on my own terms, did I really want to sit alone at the bar of a restaurant where I’d be too culturally handicapped to properly place an order?

Of course not! But I went anyway. I have no Eat, Pray, Love reasoning behind embarrassing myself except that I was just very hungry.

Confusion Tapas du Monde. The bar (against the wall) WAS very pretty. Yes, those are swings. Genius.

I had three dishes.

Exaggeration alert: The broccoli soup was THE BEST I ever had. It came in a mason jar. 

The coolest and most ineffective way to eat soup

I also had escargo on a slice of zucchini and some grilled calamari. I couldn’t take pictures of everything on account me looking like a complete moron. So I drew you the closest thing.

I even ate the leaves.

Average rating of Tapas Confusion: 4 out of 5 maple syrup lollipops. An extra half eaten one for the smartass waiter.

_______________________________________________________________

The next restaurant I want to talk about is Verses. This is a restaurant that I stumbled on by accident which is why I’m so pleased with myself. I originally intended to go to another restaurant that I checked out on Trip Adviser  But when I got there, it was looked like a truck pit stop with penis drawings on its Closed sign.

N’importe quoi! (my cheap googled french way of saying whatevvverrr!)

I walked around hungry looking for alternatives but everything seemed unnecessarily expensive. Finally, in the heart of Old Montreal, I found a cheaper oasis called Verses. The interiors were fancy enough. And yet their prices were deceptively cheap(er). $22.00 for a two-course meal was acceptable to me.

I ordered the cream of cauliflower soup because I`m a toothless old woman at heart.

The best part of this soup was that I didn’t need my dentures to have it.

The entrée was where I had a similar conundrum to Confusion Tapas. There were three items I could pick from: 1) Boring salmon. 2) Interesting sounding beef tartare 3) Good ol` steak.

The beef tartare looked very intriguing. Mainly because I had no idea what the hell it was and this weekend was all about treading into the unknown. I had no google on my phone, so I texted one of my friends and asked her. No response. I decided to bite the bullet and asked my french waiter whether he recommended the beef tartare or the steak.

“Madamoiselle, beef tartare is raw beef.“

Steak it was. I`m all for treading into the unknown, but you have to draw the line when the unknown involves the possibility of explosive diarrhea.

My blackberry camera makes everything on this plate look rarer than it actually is

Average rating for Verses: 4 out of 5 maple syrup lollipops. And extra one for the waiter not judging me.

For the sake of this blog post not becoming 72 pages long, I will now only post some more very bad photos I took of my food from all the other places I ate at. This neither diminishes nor takes away from the fancy feel of everything.

Like this whole wheat crepe filled with walnuts, pesto and goat cheese at La Brioche Lyonnaise- a cute little cafe on St. Denis:

I endured three stares and a dramatic eye roll for taking this picture. You’re welcome.

This tiramisu that I took to go without taking a fork.

When our minds fail us, we have hands.

And the most terrible crime of manners in the history of manners: A sneaky shot of the first course of my lovely THREE COURSE homemade breakfast that our host Nathalie made for us. This was poppy-seed bread pudding.

Each following course does get bigger in portion size

And for good measure, here’s the farmer’s market where I got the best honey and maple syrup in the world.

Beautiful fall day at the farmer’s market

I just noticed that there are grapes hanging from the ceiling.

And that was my awesome food adventure in Montreal. I hope you enjoyed these photos as much I enjoyed eating whatever is in them. I have officially decided that a spring and fall trip will be a Karen tradition from now on. Where else would I get honey for my tea?

20 thoughts on “Un petit morceau de Montréal

  1. your montreal trip sounds wonderful! i took myself out for ice cream by the lake the other day; it was strange being alone, but also quite empowering, especially considering the vow to which you were privy this summer :)

    let’s chat sometime! <3

  2. We need to get hashtag foreversingle trending like, stat.
    Also, I want a maple syrup lolipop. And everything else you ate that had no meat in it. my only complaint about this post is that there aren’t enough pictures of you in it. Where are the selfies??? That’s the best part of any solo journey! Everyone knows that ;)

  3. I might have to steal your handle: #foreversingle. I got the #sarcasm down pat.

    As I was pondering your single at the bar conundrum, I’m reminded of my new Bible regarding Mr. Right…you’ve read it ;). Being single at the bar at a fancy restaurant is the best place to meet young single guys vs. sitting alone in a restaurant, though my solitary, feminist side totally understands and supports that.

    Is it weird that I know what tartare is, but have no clue about tapas? I mean I’ve heard of it…no idea what it is…I wikied it…all good :D

    Side Note: Love your drawings

    Glad you had a great time in Montreal…we need to definitely catch up.

    • lol everyone seems to love the #foreversingle.

      I considered the Mr.Right bible theory of sitting alone at the bar. I dont care how feminist or confident you are as a woman. Its still horribly awkward when you actually do it.

      Its not weird at all. I didnt know what either one of those things were. Its all a learning experience. Now when we meet Mr. Right and he takes us out for a very expensive meal (because that’s what Mr.Rights do), we will not look like idiots.

      Phone date tomorrow? We really do need to catch up.

  4. I’d like to say this sounded like a fun time but I’m not really sure.

    You ate a snail? Or is escargot slug? But isn’t a snail without a shell a slug anyway? I doubt you ate the shell.

    You’re slowly but surely becoming a bitter cat lady who cannot be bothered. That’s not as insulting as it may sound.

    • “…slowly but surely becoming a bitter cat lady who cannot be bothered”. I missed your insulting-sounding non-insults.

      I always have a great time there!…which is why I keep going back, even if it means I have to carry along the #foreversingle hashtag.
      I didn’t just eat a snail, I ate a dozen of them. They were de-shelled so I guess techinically they were slugs by the time they landed on the dinner plate.
      Either way, they went well with the zucchini. In the end, that’s what mattered.

    • Winter is hell in Montreal. But so beautiful at the same time. I don’t know if you had a car while you were there but the one thing about that place is if you took the Metro, the underground is ALWAYS stiffling hot!! It almost makes walking outside feel good (almost) But yes, Montreal’s biggest saving grace from all the weather problems, gangs, mafia, road construction and bodies in bags is the food.

  5. I don’t why it is that people have such a thing about going solo. I am an average person with a wife and a circle of close friends and some extended acquaintances but I will often go to gigs and other events on my own, particularly if I want to see or do something and no one else wants to come. I don’t feel phased by this but others do apparently. I totally get what you say about going into a restaurant and being offered a bar stool place or in my case, I been offered places tucked away in a corner out of sight.

    On Montreal, yes a lovely city. Was there in 2008. Quite charming and lovely food particularly in the Old Port area.

    • Thank you!! I’m so glad you understand the appeal of solo getaways! Not having to stick to a plan, not having to please anyone else, not HAVING a plan…
      Everyone seems autotuned to feel sympathy for the guy that goes off on his own.
      Montreal is very charming. Its just the right mix of Europe and North America.

      Thanks for stopping by!

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