My first trip to Montreal was just two years ago. My long time friend Mike and I snagged a deal on the Adirondak train and spent three days wandering about on a tight budget. We stayed at Casa Del Popolo and drank cheap pitchers of Canadian beer at St. Laurent Bifteck. We ate Portuguese chicken, Australian hand pies, and hunted down smoked meat sandwiches at 4 AM. Despite the punishing winds of Canadian March, we were both instantly in love with the city. Especially Mike. When it finally came the morning of our train back to the States, he did not accompany me. Mike made his home in Mile End, and I’ve never seen him happier.
Fast forward to this past December, Mike had settled in a flat a few blocks from the Jean Talon Market and I was finally able to plan a long weekend visit. Kevin and I were fortunate enough to snag a gorgeous AirBnb right around the corner from the market, Metro, and of course, Mike.
Last time I was in Montreal I was flat broke. I was going to school full time while moonlighting as an event planner for a restaurant tour company and getting all the freelance writing contracts I could handle. This time I was no longer a starving writer, and I budgeted in the most important part of any trip—food. My goal was to essentially eat my weight in pork and foie gras, and I think I came pretty damn close.
Jean Talon Market was like like a francophilic Reading Terminal and it was glorious. Wall to wall cheese, chocolate, meat and foie gras. We even managed to find foie gras macarons, and while we didn’t expect to like them I think we wound up eating about 5.
That evening we ate at the iconic L’Express. There are few better ways to end a day than with martinis and red meat.
We spent most of the day walking around and eventually wound up in Vieux-Port, which had been turning into a lovely little winter village. We made our way back to Mont Royal for a late dinner at Au Pied de Cochon to feast on its namesake plate. And I do mean feast.
Not the most attractive thing I’ve ever seen but possibly one of the best. It’s an entire pigs foot stuffed with foie gras on top of a bed of polenta blended with so much cheese it took on an entirely different form. It was phenomenal. If you are ever in Montreal and want to spring for a night out, you absolutely have to have this place at the top of your list. Have a late lunch and make reservations for after 10 to save your sanity.
Our final day consisted of a bagel expedition which due to its unexpected complicated nature, I did not photograph, followed by a much-needed pitstop at Crudessence. This place is just so lovely. Big bright windows and two cozy communal tables, as well as a very impressive raw vegan menu. It was snack time, so we stuck to dessert and smoothies.
Oh, by the way, did you know Montreal has a cat cafe? Because after we got smoothies we spent probably two hours there drinking tea and giggling at the furry residents.
We had an early train back, so we initially planned to keep it simple for dinner.
However, I thought it would be borderline criminal to bring Kevin to Montreal and have him not experienced smoked meat and poutine. So, after a few pints at trusty St. Laurent Bifteck, we set off for Schwartz’s to split their famous sandwich then proceeded to trek across town to Resto La Banquise for some of the most well known cheese curds in Montreal.
I regret nothing.