Saturday, 22 March 2014

Last Night in Montreal

This post is named for a book I recently read called Last Night in Montreal by Emily St. John Mandel. It's an excellently written, perfectly paced debut novel. Go pick it up.

So, I spent a couple of days soaking up Montreal before my flight. Certain streets have become very familiar to me; it's weird that it's become my "default city" for the past few months. When I first visited in June 2012, I'd never have imagined that I would eventually get to know Montreal pretty well. I'd believed that was going to be a once-in-a-lifetime excursion. I'm also happy to have now seen the city in each of its dramatic seasons (if spring in Montreal is characterised by sunny snowstorms, then I've seen spring there).
This time around, I visited my favourite places but also saw a lot of stuff that I'd never got around to before. This post is going to be namedropping cafés and restaurants in the Plateau, plus a load of photos. I hope that's okay with you.

  • I must've already walked past this tonnes of times, but I finally went in because I wanted to escape the snowstorm. I was pleasantly surprised. They do six different varieties of pizza, and a slice is about $3. They've got a good selection of teas, and there's a salad bar, too.
  • This place is well-known for its breakfasts/brunches. Its vibe is kind of rock'n'roll. Its bathroom is the coolest (see photo below). As for the food, I ordered a déjeuner méditerranéen, which was eggs, potatoes, tomato and feta salad, and spinach. It was good and really filling, but that was one of few vegetarian options available.
  • Thank you for the recommendation, Ally! This is pretty near Concordia University. It had been appallingly long since I'd had Indian food, and this was a very welcome relief. Most of the meals are around $8. You get a lot on your plate, though, so make sure your stomach is truly rumbling first.
  • A vegetarian restaurant in Montreal I hadn't tried! This place was really, really nice. As my friend Andrea observed, it felt fancy inside but not in the way that made you feel underdressed or whatever. I had their poutine! There was an option for vegan cheese but I forgot to ask for it (there's nothing like squeaky cheese curds, though, let's be real). The sauce was made of mushrooms and black beans, and the chips were sweet potato. It was so tasty!
  • Who cares if I've been to Aux Vivres before? I need to tell you about their BLT. To replace the bacon, they use coconut flakes with vegan mayo. I know that sounds a little unorthodox, but oh my goodness, I can't even describe this bliss in my mouth.
  • ÉM Café
    This is a very nice café in the heart of Mile End. It seems like it would be a good place to get some work done. I haven't tried their food, but they do brunches, lunches and all the rest of it. I drank mango tea there, and I've been trying to figure out where I can get some for myself ever since.
  • This had only been open for a couple of weeks. It's pretty small and minimal-looking, but obviously the music playing is good. There are a whole bunch of free local publications on offer, in both French and English. I can't comment on the coffee as I've given it up, but the tea I had was nice; notably, you pay the same price for all the sizes.
  • So I think this is a chain, but it was the first opportunity I'd really had to experience frozen yoghurt. You can choose as many flavours as you want, as well as a variety of toppings. The price depends on weight. Here, I discovered that red velvet flavoured frozen yoghurt exists. Sometimes the world we live in is a wonderful one.

Because I'm having trouble with inserting the captions, here you go:
1. The Museum Quarter
2. L'Avenue du Plateau bathroom
3. Griffintown
4. Olympic Stadium
5. Foyer of Olympic Stadium (inside the stadium itself is where Grimes' 'Oblivion' video was filmed!)
6. Poutine at Lola Rosa
7. St. Joseph's Oratory
8. View facing south from St. Joseph's Oratory
9. Squeeeeque! L'igloo improbable by Alexis O'Hara, as part of the Underground City Art Festival
10. Street art in Mile End
11. Street art in Mile End
12. Last purchase from Drawn & Quarterly (It's a poetry book, by the way.)