Montreal — Day 1
I’d been trying to get away on a weekend vacation with the wife ever since May, but as each weekend rolled around, I’d find myself doing the exact same thing as the weekend before — sitting alone in my basement listening to German house music and stuffing my face with erotic-themed birthday cake.
I’ve had Montreal on my mind for the last few years because I’ve heard it’s a quasi-European city that is packed with tons of hip people. I’ve always considered myself to be rather hip — I drive a sexy foreign car (Jetta, 2011) and I wear designer clothes (Van Heusen, sweaters) — so I thought Montreal would be a good fit.
Our trip started bright and early on Friday September 4, 2015. We got to the airport about an hour and a half before our 8 am flight so we could get something to eat. The wife ordered egg whites and wheat toast, while I went with a heart-healthy mix of 3 Heinekens, 2-fingers of Dewars, and 1.5MG of Xanax. Best meal of the trip!
Quick side note: When it comes to consuming large quantities of mood-altering substances at inappropriate times, there probably isn’t a more tolerant place in the city than the airport. I had 4 drinks and a fistful of pharmaceuticals before 7:30 am on a weekday, and not one person sitting around me thought that was strange. I don’t think a pregnant woman guzzling body shots out of a diseased homeless man’s belly button would’ve raised any eyebrows either. I think I’m going to start hanging out at the airport more often, even if I’m not traveling.
Anyway, we got to Montreal around 1:30 EST and immediately checked into our hotel, which was a 3-star in the heart of downtown for less than $100 US per night. Not too shabby, especially since the place had a swanky restaurant, packed bar, and a bumping pool scene. Unfortunately, we didn’t take advantage of the pool because I didn’t feel comfortable being around a bunch of bronzed and toned strangers with my beefy corpus and aspirin-like complexion. I can’t even take a shower without a t-shirt on.
After we got settled at the hotel, we went out to explore Old Montreal, which has pedestrian-only cobbled streets and buildings dating back to the 1600’s. If you like old-world European architecture, you’ll love this part of town. I hadn’t eaten in minutes, so our first stop in Old Montreal was a little French charcuterie to grab a snack and guzzle a few microbrews. The appetizer we got was incredible — smoked jamon, served open face on a French baguette, topped with melted brie and a fried egg.
After the charcuterie we spent the next 2.5 hours wandering around Old Montreal trying to find somewhere to go for dinner. Old Montreal is filled with tapas restaurants and pizza bistros but it’s tough to find something indigenous to Quebec. By 10 pm the wife was getting tired of trying to find something “local,” so we settled on a place called Tapas 24. My wife is normally a very kind and gentle person, but when she’s hungry, she has the temperament of a Rikers Island prison guard.
Tapas 24 is a Spanish style, small-plates restaurant. I emphasize the word small because the plates were microscopic. I’ve seen bigger portions coming out of the back of a UNICEF truck. Although the food wasn’t hearty, it was really good. The star of the show was the frites topped with fried egg and Iberian chorizo but the sausage and potato stuffed croquettes came in a close second.
We finished dinner around midnight and were back in the hotel room by 12:30. The wife went right to bed, but I decided to stay up and order room service because who couldn’t use an extra 1,500 calories 5 minutes before bed? I wanted something local, so I ordered 4 scoops of French vanilla ice cream and a couple of IPA’s from a local brewery before slowly drifting off into a diabetic food coma.