Postcard from Montreal

36 Hours in Montreal?  I had more like 27 hours (not to be confused with 127 hours, also known as almost 32 days).  When my sister said she'd be at a big conference just 4 hours up the road, I jumped at the chance to share the weekend with her.  The ride up took just under 5 hours because I was quite delayed at the border.  The lines didn't look long, but it took forever.  I zoomed back (with no wait at the USA gate) in 4 hours with one short stop.  (And no tolls.  Can you believe that, everyone?)

I've heard tons about Montreal bagels (even in 1987, when I was really too young to be thinking about it).  But I just didn't have time to eat one on this trip.  I know we'll be back this summer, but if I can't wait until then, I may just need to go to Mile End in Brooklyn (a Montreal-style Jewish deli that imports the bagels and smokes the meat in-house). 

Naturally, after parking the car, my first stop was Schwartz's.  The long line outside scared me a little, but it turns out that's for the restaurant.  Anyone can walk in and order at a counter, then either take out or head to the back where there are some tables and stools.  I won't lie, it was hot in there.  Besides the obvious reason (hi, they are smoking meat all up in there), I think it was hot inside a lot of places in Montreal because it was the first warmer day in quite a while after a long, cold winter.  I had the smoked meat sandwich, $5.90.  I didn't make any specifications (I think someone behind me ordered "lean"), and it arrived with a little mustard on rye.  It was delicious, and it smelled like heaven.

Schwartz's Montreal Hebrew Delicatessen on Urbanspoon

By the time I arrived, Sister had already had French food several times, abysmal conference fare, and tapas. When we finally headed out to dinner we didn't feel like waiting too long for our dishes.  Yelp led us to some options for pollo a la brasa, often referred to as "Peruvian chicken" (although in Montreal one place explicitly said "Portuguese").  I remembered the drill from the good old days in Arlington at El Pollo Rico or Super Pollo, and I figured for a low price Sis and I would be chowing down on 1/4 or 1/2 a chicken and some sides.  That's exactly what happened.  We had super juicy tender chicken, potatoes, and decent slaw at Coco Rico. We tried Romado's first, but they close at 8pm--we arrived a little later, and they were actually out of chicken.  We grabbed some pastries from Presse Cafe on our way back to the hotel, which we served ourselves with tea from the lobby (because nearly every day of my life ends with a hot beverage).  The ginormo biscotti was dipped in delish white chocolate on one end and regular ol' chocolate on the other.  Sister happily guessed correctly that the danishy-twisty friend had apple in the middle.

 Is there anything like Diet Coke in a can?  So what if it'll kill meNot if something else does first.

 Sweet industrial decor.

Coco Rico on Urbanspoon

Now on to the main event.  You and I both know what I was really looking forward to--brunch.  The fruit of the hen.  My favorite.

I read around on Yelp and elsewhere and decided we should go to Le Cartet.  We waited about 15 minutes, but we used that time wisely in their little shop.  You could definitely do some damage getting takeout and boxed/preserve treats for a picnic.  I stocked up on some made-in-Quebec treats for my best buddy back home, and obviously got a blueberry and chocolate spread that I finished alone in two short workweeks.

Lots of choices here for brunch--you could get anything from a pastry to an enormous plate with many things on it, and every option in between.  We opted for enormous plates with everything on them.  Sister had the Brunch de L'Atlantique: Eggs with smoked salmon (or lox, right Em?), half a bagel with all the typical accoutrements, greens, a little sweet potato and salmon cake, and fruit.  They weren't kidding about the salmon, I know.

I went for the Brunch de Sante: yogurt with granola and blueberries, poached eggs on greens, and grilled bread, cheddar sticks, and a fig.  And it came with coffee and juice, all for $15.  I highly recommend you go there and try it.  Illy coffee.  Luv.

Le Cartet on Urbanspoon

Sigh, home sweet home.  For now.


  1. I'm so jealous of your boarder ease! Whenever I've returned from MTL it's taken painful HOURS of waiting to get back through. So not groovy.

    Buuut - glad you had a great time! I'm so envious!