Récits d'un couple heureux à Montréal: Troisième partie
Wednesday night's dinner went surprisingly well, and surprisingly painlessly. I was in the mood for Mexican, of all things, and there was a well-regarded place in the guidebook, so we hopped on the Metro (love those weekly passes) and made our way over to The 3 Amigos. Anne was... more than a little dubious about eating at a Tex-Mex place in Quebec, founded by three guys from Ontario, with perhaps the tackiest decor I've ever seen. (And I've eaten at the Iguana Cantina in Waltham.) The brightly-lit, furiously-blinking plastic sign out front wasn't exactly encouraging, I'll admit. But the fajitas were great (and were only 7 bucks), so the skepticism passed.
After that, it was back to the hotel to watch the Sox pound the Rockies, and get some sleep.
Yesterday... hurt. In a good way, I suppose, but I haven't done that much walking all at once in a long while. First up was a jaunt back into Old Montreal, to attempt breakfast at Olive & Gourmando, a bakery that Anne said had gotten rave reviews. We ended up with a brioche apiece (chocolate for me, apple cinnamon for Anne) and a chocolate croissant to split between us, with hot beverages (hot chocolate for her, mocha for me) to wash them down.
I'm spoiled, forever, on brioche now. It was absolutely amazing. If you're ever in Montreal, go to this place. It's kind of cramped, but you totally won't care.
Next up was a side trip into extreme geekiness. Some of you know that Anne and I are Heroes fans. Without giving anything away to those of you who might someday watch the show but aren't right now... there was a key image in the last episode (which will probably become more key in the next one) that we wanted to see if we could reproduce via photography.
For those of you who are also Heroes fans, but are not currently in Montreal, I'd like to state the following: We've been totally lied to by our prime-time television shows.
You can, in fact, stand at the corner of St-Laurent and St-Jacques, look south-southeast, and see the Basilique Notre-Dame... if you have the power to see through other buildings. Otherwise, not so much. (Also, St-Jacques doesn't extend NNE past St-Laurent -- you'd have to knock down half of the Palais de Justice in order to make it a four-way intersection, and I think they'd object to that.) We went south a block to St-Jacques and Place-D'Armes, which is the only place where you can get a view more or less like that one, and took a couple of photos. It wasn't really the same, though. (And for the record, there's not a door at that corner, either. Which is probably good, because if there was one, it probably would have been vandalized with the "S" symbol by now. Damned sci-fi geeks. ;)
(One other, very short, Heroes aside. In our failed quest for wacky Canadian TV the other night, we did stumble across a French-language cooking show featuring a man who looked startlingly like Zachary Quinto. As you can imagine, "Cooking with Sylar" prompted a great many terrible jokes, most of which you can probably reproduce on your own.)
Ok, non-Heroes-obsessed people, you can start paying attention again. :)
Going from one Catholic structure to another, we hopped on the Metro and went to visit Saint Joseph's Oratory. I'm no Catholic (heck, I'm no Christian), but I have to say... they've constructed some gorgeous structures over the years, and the Oratory was no exception. I'll let the photos (which we'll upload when we get home) speak for themselves, except to say that I was pretty sure that the approximately 84,320 stairs were going to do me in.
After that, we decided to wander over to the Parc du Mont-Royal, which is extremely pretty.
["This park was designed by Olmstead. I'll admit, I'm a little tired of parks designed by Olmstead. He also designed Central Park and the Wellesley campus." "It's a little known fact that Olmstead designed the Earth, some time ago. Pangaea? That was his." --Anne and I.]
We couldn't have asked for a better day for walking... which is a good thing, because we did A LOT of walking. ("I think it's mostly downhill," said Anne, shortly before we spent the better part of an hour straight doing nothing but walk uphill.) I think I had it in my head that there was a Metro stop somewhere on the edge of the park -- uh, not so much. We ended up trudging our way back down to Rue Sherbrooke with shaky, aching legs and a slightly crazed look of hunger in our eyes. We practically fell into our seats on the train. Now all we had to do was...
...say it with me...
...figure out where we were going to eat.
We ended up over on Rue St-Denis, and by the time we got there we'd narrowed it down to two choices: Fondue and Greek food. Problem is, they were in opposite directions from the train station. We wandered down to the fondue place first, and glanced at the menu... and I was kind of noncommittal. Anne decided she was more in the mood for Greek, and I responded, "ok, but I'm not walking back down here -- if we decide against Greek, we'll find something up near there."
I don't think I really believed that when I said it.
When we got there, the Greek place's menu was French-only, and there was some question about whether or not it was particularly veggie-friendly. So, what the heck, we decided to go back to the fondue place. I was pretty much dead on my feet when we got back, and was absolutely starving... so, of course, it turned out that they didn't open for another half hour.
It is only because the Second Cup next door served me a mocha blanc and a poppyseed muffin that I'm alive to blog this now. :)
Once we got in, the fondue -- which I'd never had before, in any form -- was outstanding. We owe Elyse for that recommendation. (We'll add that to the huge and ever-growing pile of things that we owe her for.) Fonduementale is highly, highly recommended. We ended the excursion with a stop into Le Valet du Coeur (a gaming store that I'd ordered from online long ago -- we just happened to stumble across their storefront and I was curious), and returned to the hotel, where we watched the Sox beat the Rockies again. (I could get used to ending my nights that way.)
Today was declared a "minimal walking" day. I'm not sure we actually managed that, because so far we've walked to breakfast, then walked to (and within) the Contemporary Art Museum, then walked back to the hotel. But it was a nice idea.
I'm not really wired to appreciate art museums -- luckily, neither is Anne, so neither of us objected when the other wanted to skip parts of it. The Inuit art was interesting, and while the "e-art" (yes, really) exhibit was eminently mockable in spots, it did have a couple of very cool parts. (Notably, one modern sculpture piece you could walk through that felt like a set from some alien locale in Babylon 5, and some fascinating LED artwork that played with pattern recognition in funky ways.) The main draw, though, was "American Streamlined Design: The World of Tomorrow", which was as cool as it (hopefully) sounds. rhysara, eat your heart out. There were countless art-deco chairs and at least a half-dozen toasters. ;)
The only down side was that I was once again reminded that I don't yet have the zeppelin or personal orbit jet that I was promised in the 1970s. Feh.
Once our feet finish resting, it'll be off to forage for food again.