Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Montreal - Day 2

Walk til we wobble

We woke up around 9-ish and slowly got ready for our day. The great thing about planning your own trip and not following no tour guided itinerary is the ability to sleep in as long as you want without the need to use the alarm clock. Which is why traveling on our own has been extremely convenient, plus it makes us happy.

J and I got our plans sorted together.

First stop for breakfast, Frite Alors... again! We wanted something to munch on before we get our "real" breakfast. Mind you, it was already like noon when we came here.

We got the amazing classic poutine. J and I fell in love with this immediately. I mean, I was always a bit skeptical about this since it has cheese in it and I'm not a big fan of cheese unless it's cooked/melted and then there's the gravy which I'm afraid would be way too saucy, heavy, and thick. Boy, did Frite Alors proved me wrong. Everything about it was just perfect. Cheese curds were chewy with a little squeak to it, the gravy was not salty nor heavy, the fries were just fried perfectly so the gravy wouldn't soak into it to make it mushy. 

Definitely the most perfect breakfast. If they had a Frite Alors here in NYC, I would probably go every week... or even every day if I can without busting my belt.

With this is our tummy, walking was a lot easier. Although it doesn't mean our next destination wasn't far. J kept telling me we should've gotten a pedometer to see how much we walked, I totally agreed.

These old monasteries/churches were everywhere. This is exactly what gives Montreal that French vibe.

Totally bugging the boyfriend while he tries to take scenic photos.
I'm glad we decided to walk cause it gives us the chance to see stores that are located in the area, not to mention these weird buildings. It's also a bit odd not seeing so many people out in the streets. I guess it's a good thing since you know how busy the streets are in NYC.

Road side building art, anyone? The face on the far back right side is so darn creepy, this was as close as I'm willing to get to take the photo. Yea, call me a wuss =P

Breakfast part one is served! I've had New York bagels before and was curious as how does Montreal bagels differ. Fairmount being one of the well known shops in Montreal that sells probably the best bagel there is.

Supposedly open 24/7 and they always make new fresh batches of bagels. They're best known for the sesame bagel and that's exactly what I got. Btw, the employees are mighty fast.

Sesame bagel with cream cheese. I couldn't get any simpler than this. J was like just regular cream cheese? Yes, just regular cream cheese, thank you. One bite into this bagel and I can tell why Fairmount sells the best bagels. Surely, it's nothing like a New York bagel. Montreal's bagel is a lot crustier with a soft but not dough-ie interior. There's actually a hole in the middle of the bagel and the sesame that covers the bagel makes it fragrant enough to just inhale it all. What amazed me the most was the cream cheese. Extremely light (no I didn't order low fat), felt like it was whipped. I wished I bought a whole jar of it!

J opted for a garlic bagel with cream cheese and lox. Fresh salmon but I'm not a big fan of garlic bagels so I passed. But still, look at the color of that salmon!

Just a couple of blocks down was our breakfast part 2. Another bagel joint that I've heard has been going head to head with Fairmount. I just have to try it out since I'm already here in Montreal.

St. Viateur it was. This shop was a tad bit roomier than Fairmount but quality of the bagel is what matters.

Look at those bagels! Makes me think how do they sell out of it so quickly when they make batches like that.

I'm nit-pickie so St. Viateur already lost some points here. They use Philadephia cream cheese and they didn't cut the bagel for us and spread it. But, to talk about the bagel, this bagel was a lot softer. There really wasn't any crust to it but it did taste a bit sweet. So, the verdict was... J and I both agreed that Fairmount had taken the crown for the best Montreal bagel.

As we were walking down the street finishing the last bite of our bagels, we saw this. A mobile vacuum cleaner! How cute! The guy in the mini car was so meticulous with his job, trying to suck every little garbage there is to offer in the empty streets/road.

The next thing on our agenda list was Old Montreal. J wanted to take a look around there, I just shrugged and follow since I don't know what Old Montreal holds. To get there, we took Monteal's Metro for the first time. Not entirely lost since J had his iPad and his sense of direction was always better than mines, we got to Old Montreal in no time.

Montreal's metro are insanely clean and their platform isn't as packed as it is in NYC. If you've been to NYC, you'll know what I mean.

The metrocards of Montreal. We accumulated quite a bunch on our trip.

Wouldn't be complete without a photo in a train station. I still can't get over the fact of how clean it is there. J told me Montreal trains runs on rubber tires... coooool.

I loved how simple the structure of their metro system is. They have only 4 main train lines and they're coded with colors instead of letters of numbers.

The slope down to Old Montreal. This place was starting to get familiar as I walked down and then I suddenly remembered that it was the same place we went to the first time we step foot into Quebec.

We did some tourist shopping in the gift shops. Got myself some Ice Wine Tea, I love Ice Wine so when I saw it in the form of tea I knew I had to get it and let my parents try it. We were also looking for a restaurant that has escargot. J and I both looked at every menu there was on the strip of Old Montreal - good thing about restaurants in Old Montreal, they put their menu outside so anyone can take a look at what they have to offer before stepping foot in. We ended up heading back to where we started because that was the only place that sold it.

Papillon. The place where we gorge into escargot ecstasy. For those of you who don't know what escargot is, it's just a fancy name for snails.

Mussels. J loves mussels so we ordered it. 

Escargot... with cheese. Lord, this just taste amazing. And I didn't have to de-shell it, I'm getting spoiled here!

In that case then let's order more! There's only 6 in each order and they're tiny. There's a lot of butter that was used so it's actually great to eat it with some bread and soak up all the juicy goodness.

After this small meal (yup, we considered it small) we trekked down to Au Pied de Cochon. We plan to drown ourselves in fatty meaty goodness and just fall into a food coma afterwards. After traveling all the way down there, we found that they were full for the night so we had to make reservations for the next evening. Darnit, I knew we should've made reservations but that's ok, good thing we're not leaving the next day or I'll be pissed. So, from Au Pied de Cochon we decided to see if we can find another restaurant that J found that morning in the hotel which had bone marrow and truffles. To our disappointment again, the place was closed down. Jeez, what luck! While walking and feeling a bit grim, we saw a liquor store and bought a couple of bottles.

Feeling the pain in our legs from walking, we had to suck it up and walk home. Since the train was far from where we were anyways. Eventually we sought to take a little break and eat at a local diner and just catch our breathe.

It was the colorful decoration of the exterior that lured us into this place, actually it appealed to J more than I did. I actually just wanted to head back to the hotel and crash but I knew we both had to eat something. All that walking literally burn off everything we ate.

Yes, more poutine! J got his with meat this time, I just stuck with the classic since I wasn't feeling oh so hungry anyways. The poutine here was a lot different. The gravy was extremely salty, to a point where I just couldn't finish it. After this quick bite, we decided to stop by Schwartz's for some smoked meat since it was along the way.

I felt so relieve when we step through the doors of our hotel. Never felt so good to sit down. 

Our empty fridge with water and liquor.

Nothing better to end the night with some great smoked meats and champagne. Day 3 will be a bit more mellow.

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