A December 2001 trip
to Montreal by Shetraveler
Quote: Montreal is perfect for North Americans who want a traditional white Christmas without having to travel all the way to the "old World". It's the perfect combo of old world charm and North American sensibility.
*Doing the wave in the Centre Molson during a Montreal Canadians hockey game.
*Attending Christmas day mass in Notre Dame Basilica (complete with french liturgy, candles and choir), a true reminder of the meaning of Christmas.
*Listening to the native French tell us what the major differences were between them and the French Canadians. It goes way beyond just the language.
However, most folks in the service industry do speak English and will easily change from French for you.
Hotel | "Intercontinental"
Member Rating 3 out of 5 on February 20, 2002
360 SAINT ANTOINE OUEST
Montreal, Quebec H2Y3X4
Restaurant | "Toque"
My meal began with an unusual starter: a diminutive Sinku oyster served in a Chinese soup spoon. On the oyster was a combination of vodka, fennel oil, clementine and shallots. A drizzle of cranberry juice made it a Christmasy red jewel.
I continued with a cauliflower soup appetizer, but that description oversimplifes what I was presented with. This isn't your grandmother's cauliflower soup. A creamy puree below its own froth, it's crowned with a generous slice of pan seared foie gras and a golden mound of deep fried leeks. A halo of black trumpet mushrooms finishes it off. You go from a crunch, to a chew, and then it slides down your throat all in one bite.
I chose a vegetarian risotto as my entree, not because I am one, but because I appreciate creativity with vegetables. I was not disappointed. Although the vegetables were not immediately recognizable on sight (except the lovely al dente carrots), the flavors were familiar as I took bite after bite of the creamy nut colored risotto.
My dining companion chose the sliced duck breast resting on a square of polenta and some Jerusalem artichokes. The breast was well dressed in licorice and carmalized kumquats, providing the requisite sweet flavor duck begs for, but in a non-traditional way.
We finished off our meal with a selection of local non-importable unpasteurized cheeses (cow, sheep and goat's milk), a treat when you come from the States.
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on February 18, 2002
900, Place Jean-Paul Riopelle
Montreal, Quebec H2Z 2B2
Restaurant | "L'Express"
My companion started with a monk fish soup, delicatly suspended in a white wine and tomato broth. However, I was in need of serious traditional French comfort food, so I chose bone marrow served with crusty toast points. It may be an acquired taste, but that marrow is dug out of the bones and spead on the toast like a beefy butter. Next was the ultimate chicken soup, chicken pot au feu. Juicy pieces of dark chicken meat swimming in its own broth and surrounded by tender root vegetables. Since it was Chirstmas tim, I wanted to try something that was created just for the holidays, so to finish my meal I ordered a special Christmas cheese, Vacherin Mont d'Or, a creamy fromage served with walnuts and croutons. My dining companion chose the showy floating island. A mound of meringue crowned in spun sugar bathes in creme anglais, the dessert is deceptively light on the tongue but happily hits like a brick after several bites.
3927 St-Denis St
Montreal, Quebec H2W 2M4
Be prepared for a wait, since they don't take reservations. Turnover is quick though, so take the time to study the encyclopedic menu.
There's another location at 213 rue St Jacques.
Member Rating 3 out of 5 on March 10, 2002
201 St-Jacques St W
Montreal, Quebec H2Y 1M6
+1 514 282 0119
Attraction | "Bella Pella"
The products are fresh and fragrant. The bath bombs are meltingly good and the lotions are creamy,quickly absorbed, with a long lasting scent. It is a perfect place for gifts that are regionally produced (forget about buying that maple syrup). They also offer soap making classes.
If you find something you like, you can order it again via phone or fax. Their web page is www.bellapella.com.
Bella Pella Produits de Beaut
3933 Rue Saint-Denis