Sunday, March 20, 2011

Montréal & Vermont, Part 3

Day Four: Friday
True to vacation, Austin and I slept in until 11 AM whilst Brenna (ever the early riser) was up and showered and ready by 9. When Austin and I finally hauled our over-slept selves out of bed, the three of us headed down to Rue Saint Paul for breakfast. 

The night before while walking we'd noticed a tiny little restaurant called Chez Suzette which specialized in crêpes and fondue. Having been informed that crêpes were an absolute must to eat in Montréal (like we needed telling) I'd made a mental note to return the next morning. 

And friends, let me tell you. Not only are crêpes a must in my new favorite Canadian city- the crêpes from Chez Suzette are a necessity. The prices were reasonable, the food superb, the service wonderful, and the atmosphere perfect. Having worked in two fine dining restaurants as a hostess/waitress I'm kind of a restaurant snob (but no matter what I always tip 20%. You should too. No, really, you should. Your tips = my college fund). This charming little place in Old Montréal was exceptionally marvelous, passing every standard I have for restaurants. I suppose Europeans and Canadians just got it right when it concerns fine cuisine. 

As I'm writing these post-trip I keep reflecting on how much of the voyage experience centered around food. The fact that our cultures are so often defined by how we sustain ourselves on the most immediate level speaks volumes to what our needs are as human beings, and, more importantly, how important it is that everyone everywhere has enough to eat. I realize this is a deviation far from my delights and little joys in Montréal, but it is something that needs mentioning: I am very, very lucky and blessed and fortunate to not only have enough to eat, but to have the means to sleep in and meander a few blocks over and be fed. That is a luxury. I neither grew the ingredients for my food nor harvested them; I was not up at the crack of dawn to cook my meal nor did I have to worry about my meal. It bodes reminding for me- my trip to Montréal, while lovely and relaxing and full of life lessons, was a trip of luxury. Okay, diatribe over. Back to spring break!

After crêpes, Austin went to the Musée d'Archeologie before we all headed over to the primary shopping district in Montréal: Rue Sainte-Catherine. It was an afternoon of CRAZY busy dressing rooms and colorful fabrics. I had two exclusively French encounters; one, where I bought two über-hipster headbands from a place called Garage, and the other when I tried on my dress from none other than Urban Outfitters. (Figures, really. I rant about world hunger and go on to blog about my new dress!) But! My French apparently wasn't too shabby as I had no problems with either clerk and paid for everything just fine. Merci, Mme Bloom!
Rue Saint-Paul
Our shopping (and walking) rendered us pretty tired so once again we went back to the hotel for a spell before hitting Saint Paul's again for dinner. This time we chose a rather more upscale place called Les Pyrenées which was aptly named after the mountain range than runs along France's southwestern border with Spain.

It was here that I think I had the real French cuisine experience. I'd been told that Montréal is very European but this was as if I'd taken a ship to the continent proper. When our waiter asked me what I cared to drink with my goat cheese crumbled over sautéed vegetables (the cheapest thing on the menu) I replied with "Une rosé s'il-vous-plaît" (a glass of Rosé, please). He promptly told me that rosé was a terrible wine, only to be had in the summer by the pool. Instead, he told me quite insistently, he would select a nice white wine to go with my meal.

Now, I worked in two pretty upscale restaurants this summer. My night job was as a waitress (I hosted at the other place during the day) and as a waiter I had to have a somewhat thorough understanding of wines. The reality of that, though, was that in the US I'm underage and therefore certainly not educated on the language that is drinking fine wine. Our waiter most definitely educated me on the subject as the wine he picked for me was exquisite, if not pricier than the glass of putrid pink I was supposedly going to try to have. It was one of those moments where I was totally thrown in the simplest of situations; a real "when in Rome" time. Quelle chance!

Montréal was beautiful and all lit up as we walked back to the hotel.

The Cathedral (again)
After our stroll we, like the party-crazy (not) students we are, went back to the room. Austin and Brenna tried to go swimming (the pool was closed) and I wrote my first blog post (see below). It had been a lovely, long day, so we decided just to hang out and veg before bed.

Annnnd the last installment to come! I have lines to memorize and a paper to write and a midterm to study for....yikes. Procrastination: over. 

-the wanderer

current jam: "the king of spain" the tallest man on earth (sense a trend?)
best thing in my life right now: waffles!
days until departure: 77

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