For the first time in quite a while, I spent this weekend in Montreal visiting Lindsay. I missed it. Also: we appear to have saved up our appetites until now.
I landed Friday and dropped my bags at Lindsay’s, and after scratching Roscoe hello on his stupid little dingus head we shot downtown. We grabbed lunch and a (tasty, but too hot) cortado at Kafein, and spent the afternoon at an event.
After that we hit N Sur Mackay for cocktails; I had the special (which was Laphroaig and red wine and something else but mostly tasted like Laphroaig) and a Lemon Tartlette.
We were all hungry, and this trend of pouring cocktails into empty stomachs seemed dangerous, so we walked to Café Parvis. Lindsay and I had been there for brunch before (though she didn’t remember) but it was much better for dinner. We all shared a big cucumber salad, then Lindsay and I split a white margherita pizza — basically a caprese salad on a thin crust — and it was fantastic.
After dinner four of us walked a few more blocks to the Benelux on Sherbrooke and fought for some seats long enough to have one last beer. For me it was one of their house beers, the Captaine Ganache imperial porter.
Man. Busy day. The weekend was just getting started though.
On Saturday, after we dragged our tired asses out of bed, we did a bit of work and then got ourselves some brunch. We walked to Maison Publique, a frequent dinner destination, but not somewhere I’d had brunch before. While they have a varied menu, I went pretty straight down the middle re: brunch: pancakes + bacon. But wow, it was good. I wolfed it all down along with a Caesar. Lindsay had some kind of sausage + mushroom dish, with a bunch of Tawse sparkling.
After brunch I was on the verge of a pancake coma, so we stopped at Cardynal on the way home. Nice shop. Nice cortado.
After picking up a few supplies and heading home to pack, we Uber’d downtown to the Hotel Nelligan, where we’d stay the next few nights. It was a lovely, classic Old Montreal hotel, with exposed brick and such. We did some more work in our room, then did away with most of the supplies we’d brought while the snow whitened the outside.
That night we had dinner at Toqué, which…I mean, I’m going need some time & space to describe. There’s a reason it was ranked the #2 restaurant in Canada last year — it was the best meal I’ve had in Canada since the last time I ate at Alo (which was #1). I’ll write about that later in the week.
On Sunday we slept in a bit, but got up with the intention of heading downstairs for the last 30 minutes or so of breakfast…and then realized that daylight savings happened overnight, and the clock by the bed was wrong, so we’d missed breakfast. Dagnabbit. We came up with a plan B: Brasserie 701. As many times as I’ve stayed at the Place d’Armes, I’ve never eaten brunch there. We hit it pretty hard, starting with the bottomless mimosas (!) and going from there. My burger was one of the best I’ve had in ages, but I left in some full-stomach agony.
We grabbed a coffee on the way home from Crew Collective & Café, and just did more work back in the room.
It was a cozy room to work in too, I can tell you. We hung out there until it was time for dinner, which we’d arranged down the street at Bocata, a place we visited our first time together in Montreal. We had a few oysters to start, then Lindsay had the lobster carbonara tagliatelle and I had the sea bass. We paired this with a California white which, while predominantly Chardonnay, had a bunch of Rhone varietals in there as well, and it knocked us out. Terrific stuff. We had a cheese board for dessert with the last of our wine, then got some sweet Quebec wine and cider for a last taste. Well, almost: our server brought us a few shots of Sortilège. Ouf. We rolled home for more work.
This morning we got up early, ate some overpriced room service, and went to a thing for Lindsay. I got some work done back at a nearby cafê (Kafein again), then rejoined her for the rest of the day.
We had a little time at the end of the day before I had to leave for my flight, so we went to Dieu du Ciel for some beers (a Nativité blonde, a Résurrection porter, a Déesse Nocturne stout, and — praise be — a Péché Mortel) and very-late lunch before I hopped in a cab.
I got home a few hours ago, and I’m not happy about it. That was honestly one of the best weekends of my life, and it hurt to leave Lindsay, even if I’ll see her again in a few days. We’ll be talking about this weekend for years, though.
Cover photo from the Brasserie 701 site