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Archive for February 17th, 2009

Valentine’s Weekend

hvd

JT surprised me with a getaway to Montréal; we left Friday morning and returned on Monday afternoon! What an amazing romantic mini-holiday!

We rented a Toyota Camry Hybrid…totally cool. It cost a total of $65 for gas all the way to Montréal and Back that’s 1,100 km or 782 miles round trip!

teepdrivingshot

We had an amazing time. Great meals, great entertainment and great shopping. We stayed at L’Hotel De La Montagne. They have recently renovated the rooms – nicely appointed, modern style.

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bedroom1

We arrived Friday afternoon, unpacked and settled into our room, and then ventured outside for a brusque walk. The temperature wasn’t bad, but the wind was awful. We didn’t venture too far from our base dropping into stores along the way (I spotted a great pair of Italian leather boots, which I spent the next 2 days pondering). We had a Guiness at The Irish Embassy, just down the road from our hotel. On the way back, we dropped into Ogilvy’s a Montréal department store icon.

Dinner on Friday night was at Globe Restaurant. We started with two raw oysters (just to get the romantic mood going…JT is such a trooper!) I had the appi sizes of Bizon tartar (YUM and very generous portions) and stuffed grilled calamari (Calamari stuffed with chorizo, Beluga (black) lentils, tomato confit). JT had the Cole Slaw and Crab, and the Roasted Grain Fed Chicken, yukon mash and oyster mushrooms with Alexander sauce (he said it was very tasty!). I would definitely recommend this place. I would have gone back on Sunday, but our friend’s Denis and Lynda had another suggestion!

Saturday, Febrary 14th

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We woke relatively early and had breakfast at Eggspectations – we shared a mexican style omlette with rye toast and Café au Lait – YUM.
Then we had a chilly walk to the Montréal Museum of Fine Arts. We enjoyed their permanent collection, but I was surprised at how small it was.

We took the Metro for free (was it because it was Valentine’s Day? Who knows) down to Montréal’s Old City and had lunch at one of our old favourites Crêperie Chez Suzette, and had a ham, gruyere and béchamel sauce crepe, with a lovely glass of wine. JT had beer from a local brewery (sorry, couldn’t find it on the net).

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We were so full from lunch, Valentine’s dinner was take out Onion Baja’s from one of Montréal’s top restaurants, Le Taj!

Sunday, February 15

We ate breakfast at Dundees Bar and Grill, just up the road from our hotel. We were bad and I had eggs benny and JT had smoked meat hash both with just about the BEST crispy fried potatoes I have EVER had!

We took the Metro to the Montréal Botanical Gardens and spent the next hour and a half walking through some of the loveliest exhibits (we saw lemongrass, nutmeg, vanilla, cardamom to name a few!) We passed on the insectarium (for obvious reasons, if you know me).

Another short Metro trip and we’ve arrived at Montréal’s China Town. It’s a lot smaller than most Chinatowns – just a couple of streets. We popped into a few gift/dishes stores, but they were no Tap Phong!

We did come across a great Pho place, but damned if I can remember the name of it. After searching on line was unsuccessful – it’s the modern asian restaurant just down from the Japanese Fondu place! (it also has a takeout area right beside it – if you know the name, kindly let me know!).

With a stop along St. Catharines to Simons (a fantastic shop, reasonably priced) where I bought some great cami’s and a new sweater; and of course a great shoe store J Bloom, where I bought a rocking pair of boots I’ve been thinking about since Friday afternoon! That’s double, right?

Sunday night dinner was at Europa with Denis and Lynda (we went to their wedding about 2 and a half years ago.) The three of us had the chef’s tasting menu, and fortunately for John, he was able to enjoy all the extras!
Menu:

  • Teaser I: Lobster cream Cappuccino with truffle shavings
  • Appetizer: Lightly seared and smoked King salmon, celeriac and Alaska king crab salad, granny smith apple caviar
  • Teaser II: Jellied shot of something fruity, but I cannot recall and the menu on line doesn’t say
  • Amuse Bouche: Spoon of bizon tartar
  • Main Course: I had the Pétoncle Géant: Roasted U10 scallops, “Blanche de Chambly” beer beurre blanc emulsion, barley risotto, rice lettuce espuma
  • Main Course: John had the Slowly braised veal cheeks, fondant potatoes and parsnip purée
  • A selection of desserts from our pastry chefs (these wonderful mini-cookies were served on the three-tier platter AND pink cotton candy!)
  • Dessert: Chocolate macaron presented on a crispy feuillantine, chocolate ganache (unfortunately, I was not able to taste this, as JT gobbled it before I had a chance!)

Wow…That was Delicious!

Monday, Feburary 16 (Statutory Holiday, Family Day in Ontario):

We rose relatively early again and had an amazing breakfast at Reuben’s Deli on St. Catharines. I had the Montréal Bagel with Smoked salmon and cream and JT had Smoked Meat Hash – both delicious. The egg dishes were quite reasonably priced. As we were walking back to the hotel, a few snow flakes started to fall!

We begun our journey home around 10:30 – a little later than anticipated. The day was overcast, which is great for driving. We made good time to Belleville where we stopped at the Crabby Joes for a bite. They really should have called it Crappy Joes! I had French Onion Soup. How doe you screw up French Onion Soup? Every pub in Ontario has this soup on the menu and this one was by far the worst I have ever had the misfortune of eating (what a shame, we were scoring so high with food in Montréal!). The first thing was that they put in way too many croutons (yes,croutons and not toasted french stick), so the damn things soaked up all the liquid, AND the liquid, whatever was left seemed to be a gelatinous goop. The cheese was plentiful, but tastless. JT ordered spinach salad, and oops, the kitchen ran out of spinach…so he had a roasted turkey wrap, which wasn’t bad. Oh well. We arrived home around 4:30, returned the car, unpacked, started laundry and got into the wine. We had popcorn for dinner. We’re working out every night this week.

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