May 24, 2013
YOWZA. Ok so that was probably a few too many travel posts and I’m just glad to be blabbering about absolutely nothing once again. Also I’d like to point out that my butt is not shaped like that. I swear the wind’s blowing straight through that cotton and expanding that jumpsuit in the oddest of ways! Oh but that view. NOT MY BUM VIEW, I’m talking about the scenic view.
That’s the kind of view where you can’t help but pull over to the side of the road and admire just how beautiful this dang place is. And that’s exactly what we did. We were driving through the canyons between Malibu and the Valley (this is my favorite part of the LA area, mind you), windows down, dirty and dusty from the Topanga Folk Festival (more on that next week), our car winding and curving along the street, when this jaw-dropping vista pops up to the left of us. We pulled over right then and there, got out, and let the wind creep in our cotton jumpsuits and make our bums look all big and outta sorts. You get the picture. Aside from this glorious day, here are a few other things I’m loving:
+ The 7-minute workout. You guys, this just MIGHT be the thing that changes my mind about working out! How fantastic does it sound? Ok no, I haven’t tried it yet but by golly, I’m starting it up on Monday…or maybe the following Monday.
+ 20% off everything at ASOS until Monday with the code TAKE20. You better believe I’m taking advantage of that, maybe in the form of this perfect cami, this colorful swing dress, and this adorable overall thing that I likely also wore in the 2nd grade.
+ I mean WHO ISN’T making tacos this weekend? I think I’d like mine with a side of these taco pickles, please.
+ Peony season at Trader Joe’s! The most glorious 2 weeks of the year. Run to your nearest TJ’s and pick some up, I swear your life will instantly feel better. I’m loading up until those things are out of stock.
I hope everyone has a lovely Memorial Day weekend (and hopefully it’s a 3-day weekend?). Same time, same place next week. xo
May 23, 2013
Ok now on to the good stuff. We were pretty clueless about where to eat and shop in Montreal and relied purely on recommendations from internet friends, Foursquare lists, and one episode of Anthony Bourdain’s The Layover. What we discovered? Montreal has really good food. I mean REALLY good. Although we ate and shopped a TON, I’ve narrowed down our favorite spots below. The photo quality is reminiscent of blogs circa 2008 so bear with me. I only used my iPhone and at the time, I wasn’t thinking about taking high-quality pics because I was stuffing my face and slipping in and out of food comas. #blogfail. Anyway, the favorites –>
Olive et Gourmando
This was BY FAR our favorite place. And by “favorite,” I mean we had lunch here 3 times and I’m not kidding. It’s an adorable cafe with a daily-changing menu of sandwiches/salads/soups and a case full of delicious pastries. I can’t decide what I liked more: the cajun chicken, guacamole, and mango sandwich OR the quinoa salad with chickpeas, haricot verts, snap peas, and tiny peppers. I tried something different each time and couldn’t resist something sweet from the pastry counter after each meal.
This restaurant calls itself a “tartare bar” so we knew we had to check it out, being that we love tartare and all. It was lively, hip, and we ate some of the best tuna tartare I’ve ever had. My favorite was the tuna with sesame vinaigrette because it reminded me of poke bowls. We also ordered the mac & cheese poutine and easily gained 5 pounds each. Two thumbs up.
I was legitimately scared to go to Joe Beef and I can honestly say it was the craziest of our experiences. It was also beyond amazing. Let me explain. This restaurant specializes in MEAT. Lots of it. If you’re wondering why 2 semi-vegetarians (we don’t eat red meat or pork) went here, I have no answer. The menu, which changes daily, is written on a chalkboard wall…in French. Yes, I took French in high school but I can’t read “horse heart” and “sea urchin fried in cornflakes.” We had the waitress read us the entire menu and ended up finding quite a few things we’d enjoy. We ordered burrata with green beans, an egg gelee, lobster spaghetti, and halibut with mussels. Oh and a few glasses of sparkling wine and a bloody mary or two (the bloody mary comes with an oyster and a crab leg, NBD). Everything was beyond delicious. I still have dreams about that lobster spaghetti and I don’t think I’ll have better lobster ever again. Sigh.
This little vegan cafe is perfect for lunch and we both loved it. I had a tempeh bowl with brown rice, veggies, and a thai peanut sauce that really hit the spot. They also had a full menu of teas which made my heart happy.
On our last night in Montreal, we dined at our hotel’s restaurant and I’m so glad we did. There was a band playing, soccer games on tv, and the food was simple and delicious. We ordered fish & chips, a nicoise salad, and a half dozen oysters. It was a perfect meal to end our trip. Plus, they served the best beer of our lives: Kronenberg 1664 blanc.
Juliette et Chocolat
We went to this chocolate-only dessert bar one night and split a crepe with nutella and strawberries. Ok why aren’t there dessert bars in Los Angeles? This would totally be my jam on a Saturday night if there were.
Kyle’s a longtime lover of Rooney’s online shop so this was a must-stop for us. It’s a well-curated men’s & women’s store with brands like Gitman Vintage, Saturdays NYC, and they even had some sweet New Balances. I wanted that Apolis market bag SO BADLY, but my mom calls me “bag lady,” meaning I probably don’t need another bag in my life.
This was another great store we visited with a line-up of really unique designers, like Dana Lee and Apiece Apart. I haven’t seen a store so well-curated in a long time. Plus, I wanted their plant stands soooo badly (not for sale, of course).
Alright and because I loved the place so much, two more photos from Olive et Gourmando. That’s cous cous with a tomato-based sauce and roasted veggies, topped with pistachios and minty yogurt. I mean, really? So delicious.
Last thing! I haven’t mentioned our Montreal hotel much, but we stayed at the Auberge du Vieux-Port and loved every second of our experience. It was smack in the middle of Old Montreal, the room was beautiful, the staff was so accommodating, and there was complimentary breakfast every day. And I mean GOOD complimentary breakfast, like eggs benedict and waffles. It was nice to save a few bucks each day by eating breakfast in our hotel.
And lest you think my blog is turning into a travel blog, it’s back to regular programming tomorrow!
May 21, 2013
Real talk: I got tired of looking at my own Montreal photos so I needed a little break between photo diary 2 and this one. But now I’m back and feeling really positive about the experience. We all need a little break sometimes, ya? In this last installment of Montreal photos (I’ll share our favorite restaurants/shops next), we visited the beautiful botanical gardens, hung out on the roof of our hotel, and explored the city by night.
On this particular day, the temperature dropped dramatically and I thought my face might freeze over. We tried to ride the city’s bixi bikes in the morning but then I lost feeling in my hands and ears. Spending the day at the botanical gardens, with it’s regulated climates and breathtaking greenery, was exactly what we needed. Plus, one of the greenhouses was filled with the most beautiful butterflies I’ve ever seen. FILLED. I’m not talking 5 or 6 butterflies. I’m talking hundreds of them and strong feelings of should-I-be-scared-because-they’re-kind-of-creepy-and-keep-landing-on-my-jacket??
Oh and don’t even get me started on how gorgeous Montreal looks at night. I didn’t take many night photos because I never really bring my camera out at night. Big mistake. The one night I brought it out, I took about a hundred photos and I’m so glad I did. This city is pure magic! I miss it already.
May 15, 2013
We spent a lot of time in Old Montreal because it’s just so dang beautiful and otherworldly. Also, our hotel and favorite lunch place were both there too, so that made it easy to just wander around those cobblestoned streets all day long. Note: riding the city’s bixi bikes on cobblestoned streets, on the other hand, is not easy. Things get real bumpy. Fair warning.
We didn’t have too many plans in Montreal so we were more than happy to explore the area and take a million photos of buildings. Besides endlessly wandering, we rode bikes along the water, visited the Museum of Contemporary Art, and did a little shopping. Oh! We also had the best meal of our lives on this particular night. There is a grainy photo from it below, with a chalkboard menu all in French (talk about living on the edge), and me looking a bit terrified for what’s about to happen. But just like I did with NYC and Brooklyn, I’ll share all our favorite eats and shops soon!
May 14, 2013
So I thought I could cut down my photos from Montreal into one post and I was very wrong. VERY WRONG. Instead, there will be a few more, and consider this a fair warning. This was the first part of our Canadian adventure, where we tried to speak French (ca va?), still paid for everything in US dollars, and were lost 95% of the time (by the end of the week, we were sayin “eeh?” after every sentence like true Canadians). We explored the downtown area of Montreal, hiked through a wooded forest to the top of Mont Royal, strolled through the cobblestoned streets of old town, and shopped at Marche de Jean-Talon (a beautiful food market).
We walked about 8-9 miles a day in that vastly spread-out city and loved every minute of it. Of course, they have other amazing public transportation services that we used constantly as well, like their impeccably clean metro line and the bixi bikes lined up throughout the city. Everything about Montreal was accommodating and easy – you gotta love a city that looks out for its people. Speaking of the people! If Canadians aren’t the nicest humans on this planet, then I don’t know who is. LOVE THEM.
aaaaand a grainy selfie: