To Do and Eat in Montreal

For some background on this post read on here, otherwise let’s get to it! I’ll start with the to-do list since it’s a bit shorter photo-wise. 😛

To Do

1. Wander in Old Montreal

Much like Old Quebec, Old Montreal is the ideal place to wander. During our two days in Montreal, we were drawn to Old Montreal both times, the first to see the Notre-Dame Basilica of Montreal

IMG_0192IMG_0195 IMG_0196 IMG_0202 IMG_0199

and the second in seek of maple desserts (more on those in the to-eat section) as well as to enjoy the charming streets and adventurous waterside.

Photo Aug 15, 10 48 29 PM IMG_0350IMG_0336-3 IMG_0339

2. Discover plants you never knew existed at Montreal Botanical Garden

For a plethora of photos, see here.

3. Feel like a kid again at the Biodôme

Along with the Botanical Garden, the Biodôme is part of the Space For Life museum district. I hadn’t been to a zoo since I was little, but unlike a typical zoo, the Biodôme is arranged in a single loop, completely indoors, and organized by ecosystem. You won’t find lions or tigers here either. Instead the Biodôme is dedicated to ecosystems of the Americas, which include Tropical Rainforest, Laurentian Maple Forest, Gulf of St. Lawrence, Labrador Coast, and Sub-Antarctic Islands.

IMG_0319 IMG_0321 IMG_0311 IMG_0313

4. Take advantage of a quick photo op with the landmark Montreal Tower

While there’s also the $20 per person option of riding the funicular 165 meters up this world’s tallest inclined tower for a panoramic view of the city, we settled for the free selfie option. (Conveniently, it’s located right next to the Biodôme.)

IMG_0323-3

5. Check out the view atop Mont Royal Park

This park shares the same landscape architect as that of New York’s Central Park in Frederick Law Olmsted. Here there are multiple vantage points for a free view of the city.

2015-08-08 09.51.11 IMG_0324

To Eat

1. Fresh produce at Jean-Talon Market

Here the vendors try to win over your patronage with perfectly ripened, fresh fruits conveniently cut into bite-sized pieces that are entirely free to sample, no awkwardness attached.

2015-08-07 21.20.19.2

But aside from fruits,

2015-08-07 21.30.42

there are also lots of interesting veggies

IMG_0230 IMG_0229IMG_0227

and an unconventional variety of meat.

IMG_0232IMG_0233

On our particular visit, along with some fruits, we bought eggs to hard boil back at our Airbnb apartment.

2015-08-07 21.47.20

2. Maple anything

In addition to fresh produce and meat, Jean-Talon Market has a handful of prepared food stores, including one for Portuguese egg tarts! Being that we were in Canada though and not Portugal, we passed on the egg tarts and opted for maple syrup pie, which was intensely sweet and melt-in-your-mouth delicious.

Photo Aug 16, 3 02 25 PM 2015-08-07 21.46.38

In Old Montreal, we went mad for maple at the specialty store Canadian Maple Delights. Here we bought maple chunk muffins for breakfast later and to eat then and there, three different flavors of maple gelato (maple delight, maple chunk, and maple leaf cookie) along with maple taffy on snow.

IMG_0328 Photo Aug 16, 3 25 43 PMPhoto Aug 16, 3 32 08 PM

While maple gelato is pretty straightforward sounding, I’d never even heard of maple taffy on snow before. Turns out it’s extremely simple to make! All you have to do is pour some thick maple syrup onto ice and wait for it to firm up. The fun part is rolling the semi-solid taffy into a ball on the end of a popsicle stick. Although my store-bought version was more like “maple taffy on ice,” at sugar shacks where the harvested maple sap is boiled down to syrup, maple taffy is indeed made on snow!

IMG_0353IMG_0354 IMG_0007

3. Sesame bagel at St-Viateur Bagel

Call me a traitor, but in my book Montreal bagels trump New York bagels. They differ in appearance (Montreal bagels have a larger hole in the middle) but more significantly, unlike their NYC counterparts, they are mildly sweet from being boiled in honey water and extra crispy from being baked in a wood-burning oven. Sesame is the overwhelming flavor favorite in Montreal and after testing it from the two neighboring rivals, St-Viateur Bagel and Fairmount Bagel (both of which bake them fresh 24 hours a day), my loyalty goes to St-Viateur for its slightly sweeter but still not too sweet bagels.

2015-08-07 21.56.34

St-Viateur sesame bagels

2015-08-07 21.51.22 2015-08-07 21.53.54

2015-08-08 10.10.02

Fairmount sesame and power bagels

IMG_0356 (2)

4. Smoked meat at Schwartz’s

Not personally a big fan of meat, I originally was going to pass on eating at this Hebrew deli but ended up making a visit upon my cousin’s insistence. Good thing too! The “oldest deli in Canada,” this place has a line down the block for their “world famous” smoked meat. Although the line is long, it thankfully moves rather quickly since the service is speedy and efficient. We arrived around noon and waited maybe twenty minutes for a group of seven of us to be seated.

IMG_0239IMG_0240

It doesn’t look particularly impressive, but their smoked meat really is something special. It’s dry (but in the best possible way), not greasy tasting at all, and perfectly seasoned.

IMG_0005

Whew this ended up being a lengthy post, but there really was quite a bit to do and eat in Montreal!

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s