Adventure Time Kitty: Wednesday in Montréal

Previous: Tuesday in Montréal

Something happened to me. Some strange, metamorphosis occurred changing me from a goal oriented, type A personality, to a slug. Not just an ordinary slug, a lie-a-bed slug. I could have jumped out of bed and traipsed all over the city getting into all sorts of mischief, yet I chose not to.

Now I could have just snuggled into the rather comfy bed and stayed there; however, then I would have run the risk of missing the amazing ham and cheese crepes my host was making. I don’t know about you, but homemade crepes, with melted cheese oozing and bubbling is not something I’m about to turn my back on.

I may have been driven from my cozy nest with the need to satisfy my hunger, but that in no way meant that I was going to get dressed. Nope. Nuh huh. I stayed in my jamies. Shocking, I know. Further, I decided that, as it was so late in the day, we might as well just pull out a deck of cards and make it a game day. Not just any card games, mind you, oh, no!

It was most definitely time to commune with my inner geeky game girl and play Magic the Gathering. We played a round, and I got spanked. I don’t mind losing, but that wasn’t just losing, that was humiliating. Seeing the cards that I was up against, I needed to fortify my arsenal! I wanted spells! Not just any spells, oh, no – I wanted spells that would neutralize creatures and wreck havoc on my opponent’s life force. Sadly, I’m not skilled enough to figure out how to find what I’m looking for or how to integrate these coveted spell cards into my deck. Happily, my host did. So, off to the comic book store (that also sold MTG cards) we did go.

The gent behind the counter was rockin’ a sweet fedora. When I mentioned that I thought he looked stylish in said chapeau, the older lady behind the counter took another look at him. She and I decided that yes, he is handsome and winsome. I purchased my selections and we marched right back home again so that I could try and avenge my honor.

We bought some pretty trippy cards, but I ended up not using them. Something about the walk to the store combined with chatting and flirting with the staff infused my card sharp skill with cosmic mojo. Seriously, I whipped the pants off my opponents the next two rounds! Yeah, I was feeling pretty sassy. Or was that hunger I was feeling? Perhaps quite a bit of both. Time to brave the cold, cruel world and forage for our dinner.

We moseyed to the Korean BBQ place within walking distance – wow, I think I could get used to being within walking distance to everything – where we bellied up to a table, and I promptly ordered a beer. Well, ya gotta start somewhere, right?

We dined at Seoul Chako Montreal. They served all of our requests ikorean2n small bowls, which we then cooked at the inset grill at our table. Totally cool!korean1

I know, I have this fascina- tion with diminutive things. You can imagine the field day I had in a restaurant that served me fresh foods in small, cute dishes. It’s like playing in my own doll house. Anyway, the fresh veggies, marinated meats, and steamed rice were delicious. We enjoyed cooking at our table, sharing tasty tidbits, and chatting amiably. If you haven’t had a chance to sample Korean BBQ, I highly recommend that you do.

juliette-and-chocolatesAfter dinner (we closed the place) we took a slow stroll to Juliette & Chocolat, where we topped off the evening with a sweet treat. There is nothing like thick, rich, and creamy hot chocolate. Until I tasted the amazing beverage that was served to me, I didn’t know what hot chocolate was.

I ordered the Mangaro 65% – Madagascar, which the menu indicated was cultivated on a former mango plantation, tastes of mango. Hints of gingerbread and citrus fruits.

Oh, myy! Yes, this! This! A thousand times this! Why or why isn’t there a Juliette & Chocolat close to where I live?!? It’s just wrong to introduce me to the garden of chocolate Eden and not let me stay there forever! Fine, just fine! I’ll make another annual migration to Montréal and have hot chocolate every day!

Next: Thursday in Montréal

Adventure Time Kitty: Tuesday in Montréal

Previous: Monday in Montréal

I rose early and made coffee using the French press I brought with me. I suppose that I could have ventured out and tried a different café, but the luxury of staying in my jamies while sipping coffee in bed won out over getting dressed. What can I say? The house was quiet, its other occupants still held tightly in Morpheus’s embrace.

I could have delved into a novel. I might have surfed the net or posted to one of the various social networking sites in which I lurk. But no, I went for more mindless entertainment: variations on a theme of tower defender. Yeah, leveled up defending my onion against monsters who wanted to take a bit out of her. Then I defended my fortresses against ogres and other meanies. At some point, I moseyed into the kitchen for more coffee and something that passed for breakfast. Geeking out over a video game while sipping freshly pressed coffee… I’m such a nerd. Get this, I got others sucked into my monster madness as they awoke.

For the duration of this visit I had the great pleasure of being Hobbitesque, in that I got to have second breakfast. Of course there was a mango involved! This time, my host had the pleasure of doing the cool mango trick. After eating, It didn’t take long to clean up, dress, and then gambol out the door into the waiting world. I thought that we walked from one end of Rue Sainte-Catherine to the other, but when I searched our route on Google maps, it’s clear that there was much left to explore.

Rue Sainte-Catherine is the primary commercial artery of Downtown Montreal, Quebec, Canada. It crosses the central business district from west to east, beginning at the corner of Claremont Avenue and de Maisonneuve Boulevard in the city of Westmount, traversing the borough of Ville-Marie, and ending on Notre-Dame Street just east of Viau Street in the borough of Mercier–Hochelaga-Maisonneuve.

I thoroughly enjoyed stumbling across unexpected architectural treasures tucked in between more modern buildings. I don’t think too many people thought that I was crazy for stopping in the middle of foot traffic to snap photos. While visually exploring Christ Church I mentioned to my buddies that it looked Gothic. The discussion ensued that it couldn’t be Gothic because of the era in which it was constructed. Of course I had to search the interwebs to discover the secrets of it’s style. Huh, looks like I’m not all that off.  >insert smug smile here<

The prese20140819_182711nt [Christ Church] cathedral, an Neo-gothic structure, was designed by architect Frank Wills (1822–1856), who also designed Christ Church Cathedral in Fredericton, New Brunswick. Before construction began, Willis died, and Montreal architect, Thomas Seaton Scott (1826–1895) was commissioned to carry out his design.[4] The structure was completed in 1859 and consecrated in 1867.[

We walked to the location of where the Place des Arts and Orchestre Symphonique du Montréal call home. I was there during fashion week, and we got to watch the crew doing the technical tests on the enormous screen at the end of an equally large cat walk. Now, why stand around watching when you can do so dining alfresco? What’s better than center stage? How about Taverne F! Talk about friendly-trendy, this small place packed a lot of personality. But, will it pass the taste test?

What better way to try a place than to share what’s ordered? We scored the octopus and the burger (laced with foie gras, aka cocaine – sooo yummy!). I’ve only ever eaten octopus a la sushi. I don’t know what I was expecting, but I was a bit surprised to see a tentacle with suckers still intact. It was served in the cutest little cast iron skillet, accompanied with slivered onions and Portuguese olives.

20140819_190132“Would you like to try the octopus?” My host inquired. Moment of truth, do I try it or do I decline? I can’t be the only one at the table to turn down this delicacy, now can I? Besides, it was in a cute little skillet! I think I expected it to be chewy, the octopus was in fact tender and skillfully seasoned. I’m not big on olives, so I avoided those and went for the onions instead.

We listened to the crew of FDM (I can’t remember what that stands for) as they played popular selections over their sound systems, or the organist played 20140819_192101selections from his repertoire. (Really, a friggin’ pipe organ was brought out and tuned for this event!)

It was just a snack, really. Just enough to fortify us for the walk back and to tide us over until dinner. I saw several more building I wanted to snap photos of, but it was just dark enough that the images were grainy and not worthy of posting.  We walked back via René Lévesque Boulevard. Many modern behemoths lined the street. I noticed the images of the beautiful, old buildings reflected in the glass of these technological giants; as if in silent testimony that we cannot go forward without acknowledging our past.

20140819_181812

St. James the Apostle was first opened for worship in May 1864. It is a Gothic Revival church built of grey limestone. Originally, it stood on open land and was given the nickname of St. Crickets in the Fields. This name arose when a British army regiment was garrisoned in Montreal at the time, owing to the American Civil War, and the officers took to playing cricket beside the newly built church.

Next: Wednesday in Montréal

Adventure Time Kitty: Monday in Montréal

Previous: Sunday in Montréal

I awoke bright and early. Well, it was 9 am in Montréal where I was staying, but 6 am West coast time, where I live. I both slept in and woke early. How’s that for Second Cuptime management? My hosts were still fast asleep – where does that phrase come from? Is it possible to be “slow asleep?” Isn’t that truly more accurate, as your breathing and pulse slows down considerable while sleeping?

Where was I? Oh, yes, rising early, throwing on clothes, and walking to the closest coffee shop for the magic elixir that brings brains online and gives many of us personalities. I scored a latte and sat on the patio. Bliss.

I probably sat there sipping coffee and people watching for an hour or so. I listened in on conversations spoken in multiple languages, none of which I understood. It was a peaceful yet energizing moment.

I gathered my thoughts and my belongings, and then headed back to the homestead. Meals were a collaborative event, and I had mango duty. I learned a mango trick via The Crazy Russian Hacker, a cool vlog to which my son introduced me. Yeah, peeling a mango using a glass went over big with the peeps. So much so, we scored another mango for Tuesday’s breakfast just so we could experiment. Mango experimentation, is that even legal?

After cleaning up the breakfast dishes, we walked to a park. I watched a woman play hide-and-seek with her spaniel, way too cute. The park is situated on an overpass, and over the edge of the wall were cars zooming toward their ultimate destinations. What a study in contrasts as below are the harried drivers and above the playful park dwellers.

Maison Shaughnessy
Maison Shaughnessy 1923, Boulevard René-Lévesque Ouest, Montréal, Quebec, H3H, Canada Formally Recognized: 1974/02/06 http://www.historicplaces.ca/en/rep-reg/place-lieu.aspx?id=9562

Nestled among modern behemoths are beautiful building of days past. Now home of the Canadian Centre for Architecture, this particular gem “reflects the taste for architecture Second popularized in France in the late nineteenth century and very popular at Montreal Empire

I had no idea what “architecture Second” means, so I searched Google and found this tidbit from Wikipedia:

Second Empire is an architectural style, most popular between 1865 and 1880, and so named for the architectural elements in vogue during the era of the Second French Empire. As the Second Empire style evolved from its 17th century Renaissance foundations, it acquired an eclectic mix of earlier European styles, most notably the Baroque often combined with mansard roofs and low, square based domes

On all of our city walks I noticed quite a bit of construction. Montréal will be spectacular once they finish repairing it. Kidding! It is a beautiful city, one I hope to see again.

Next: Tuesday in Montréal

Adventure Time Kitty: Sunday in Montréal

It was an easy journey from San Diego to Toronto, where I cleared customs and security, and then made it to the gate to await the flight to Montréal. Canadian customs is a breeze. There isn’t much to say about everything going smoothly. I was on a celebrity flight, as I shared air space with Sophia Lucia from Dance Moms, some NBA player with whom I am not familiar, and the Toronto Volleyball team. The cab driver did miss the exit, so I got an impromptu sight seeing excursion in a round about way. Other than that, I arrived on my host’s doorstep ready to eat, drink, and be merry.

salmonpasteappeWhat is a trip to Montreal without dining at Kazu? When revisiting a restaurant, there’s always the question of “will it be as good as I remember?”

Kazu continues to delivers on presentation and taste. We began with the Calcium salmon -Paste with tortilla

Amazing

KazuBarThe interesting layering of flavors are easily scooped up with the tortilla. It’s bad manners to lick the plate, so I didn’t, even though I really wanted to.

We sat at the bar, which is where all the action takes place. It’s like dinner and a show, watching the chefs create visual masterpieces. Next came the pork bones, and then the salmon and tuna salad. The flavors and textures were truly orgasmic. Seriously yummy.

salmon-and-tuna-bowl-kazu2

Next came Kobo steak that I think was my favorite. No, it was the appetizer… no, wait, the salad… What can I say? Kazu maintains its position as a go-to spot for dining while visiting Montréal.

A happy and sated Kat made it back to the homestead just in time to snore during watch The Guild, which is way too hilarious and features two from the cast of The Big Bang Theory, Simon Helberg, aka Howard Wolowitz, and Wil Wheaton. I’m not sure how many episodes I saw verses how many I slept through. No worries, I caught up to where everyone else was the next day. There are advantages to being an early riser in a group of night owls.

Next: Monday in Montreal