Friday, January 21, 2011

'le petit' vacation

three hundred and ten short miles north of boston lies an experience typically thought to be accessible only by a six-hour flight.  montreal, a city so close yet so foreign, offered all that we were looking for in a weekend getaway....and more.  after checking in late the night before at le petit hotel, we set out to explore the city.  a few metro stops later, we landed in le plataeu-mont royal borough of montreal.  this area is home to many shops and cafes (offering refuge from the freezing temperatures and blizzard conditions!).  

later that evening, we indulged in a classic french meal at brasserie l'express, followed by live jazz at diese onze next door (a recommendation from our waiter).  

sunday, we returned to le plateau to explore more of what the area has to offer and to check out some local recommendations.  with excellent espresso and pastries as our fuel, we trekked through the snow with intermittent stops in boutiques.  le touilleurs, a chef's dream store, was our main destination for the day.  we had read about this gourmet kitchen supply store in numerous articles and blogs and decided it was a must-see for our trip....and it did not disappoint.  

from here, we made our journey toward the much talked-about brewpub, reservoir.  with blunt service and no help with the all-french menu, we decided to point out a few random things off the menu and hope for the best.  lucky for us, everything came out amazing (including the house-brewed beer).  

 a few days of walking in negative-degree weather had caught up to us by this point, and we opted for some tv time in our comfy, warm room.  looking for something close for dinner, we went off the concierge's recommendation and walked two blocks down to an amazing experience at barroco.  crafted cocktails and spanish-influenced cuisine were absolutely perfect for our last night in montreal.  

even though we only had a few hours before heading out of the city the next morning, we simply had to visit every spot scribbled on the piece of paper handed to us by our waiter the night before.  the so-called "best patisserie in montreal" (le saveurs du plateau) certainly lived up to its expectations, as did the italian espresso bar, cafe olimpico, and st. viateur bagel.  

montreal is the perfect getaway.  it offers a uniquely european feel, rich in history, culture and some of the best food we've eaten yet.  the trip's best moments did not include looking through a traveler's guide, but rather talking to the locals and sitting back to enjoy what this beautiful city has to offer.  

r + m