Eating My Way Through Montreal (Part 3)

September 19, 2011 § 1 Comment

Remember that little hiccup I hinted at earlier – Hurricane Irene? Well, she finally makes an unwanted appearance during our trip to Montreal.

Our third day in Montreal began with another walk to Vieux Montreal. Whereas the previous day’s stroll was sunny and full of anticipation, this glum march was cloudy, cold and speckled with foreboding drops of rain. However, the crowded and convivial Marche de la Villette took our minds off the weather and ushered us into a lazy brunch lapse. I ordered the cassoulet maison – I had just read My Life in France by Julia Child and Alex Prud’homme and was dying to try the hearty country dish she slaved over to include in Mastering the Art of French Cooking.

Marche de la Villette's cassoulet maison (with grand cafe, $20 CAD)

Marche de la Villette's cassoulet maison (with grand cafe, $20 CAD)

My cassoulet came in a cute mini Dutch oven with a side of lame salad greens, sprinkled with carrot strips and citrusy dressing (doesn’t it look like it came out of a plastic bag?). However, I wasn’t disappointed with the cassoulet, especially since I absolutely love beans. The white beans took on a smokey ochre from swimming in a heavy tomato base. Chunks of fatty bacon and limp slips of onion completed the dish, lending it some robust flavors. It was the perfect thing to eat before braving the elements. Yet, by the time my friends and I left the restaurant and headed over to Pointe-à-Callière, the Montréal Museum of Archaeology and History, it was only drizzling.

After learning about ancient wine making methods and the history of Montreal, we realized we were stuck. As we sat on a museum bench, we watched tourist after tourist splash into the lobby, desperate to escape the thrashing winds and heavy rains that had settled in Montreal. We hadn’t found a way around Irene after all, we joked.

We must have sat there a good half hour before bundling up in our cardigans and getting ready to brandish our meager umbrellas. Our plans to visit Marche Atwater and other museums were put on hold. All we wanted to do was see if we could get back to our hotel in the sudden severe weather.  After another soaked tourist straggled into the museum, we braced ourselves and left.

Somehow, we found our way into Couche-Tard, the Canadian equivalent to 7-11 in my estimation. Wet and tired from being pushed around by the strong winds, we decided to stay indoors for the rest of day and bought of stash of junk food and cheap wine to hold us over until dinner. Of course, I documented this and, let me just say, the dill pickle chips weren’t all bad (but, the ketchup chips were sort of gross).

Lays dill pickle chips and ketchup chips ($2.80 CAD)

Lays dill pickle chips and ketchup chips ($2.80 CAD)

Once all dried off at the hotel, we didn’t dare go outside until dinner time when the weather had settled down. Or at least we thought. High winds tossed our small bodies and kept our dinner choices limited to nearby places, so we settled on pho at Pho Bang in Quartier Chinois.

Pho Bang's pho with eye of round steak and tripe ($8.00 CAD)

Pho Bang's pho with eye of round steak and tripe ($8.00 CAD)

As good as it was on such a cold night, I was sad, thinking how my last meal in Montreal was something I could get for cheap in New York’s Chinatown. Little did I know that this bowl of steaming pho wouldn’t be my last dinner in Montreal. Hurricane Irene would see to that the next day at the Amtrak station.


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