Always leave ’em wanting more, right? While you’ve been waiting on the edge of your seat (or something like that) for the last post about my Canada trip, I’ve been busy with life back at home in Minnesota. And also planning for my next trip! More on that in a bit. As for the end of this trip though…
The last day in Montreal was good, albeit quiet. After an early start for the trip to Québec City the previous day, we unsurprisingly opted to not get up early. And since we had to head to the airport to catch our flight home in the afternoon, we didn’t have time to do anything too crazy either. So this day was really about just enjoying the city, doing some more walking around, and of course, eating. 😀 First up on the agenda was a trip to Schwartz’s Deli, which not only came recommended from a friend of mine, but is also a very well-known eatery in Montreal. We had already gotten a peek at it when we went to Coco Rico as they’re next door to each other, so we knew exactly where to go! It was a little early for a full-on lunch meal (we were there around 1030-11a), plus we wanted to save room for poutine (more on that below), so we opted to just split a sandwich. I say “just” but the sandwiches are pretty damn big there, so half of one is very decent snack! Like Coco Rico, Schwartz’s is often pretty packed, so don’t be surprised if you see a line out the door when you visit. But don’t worry – many people are there to just grab something to go. Also like Coco Rico though, there isn’t much eating space inside Schwartz’s (just a collection of about 12-15 stools along the back wall), but there’s more than enough space to enjoy a sandwich. We opted for a pastrami sandwich as that felt suitably deli-ish – it was pretty tasty! As I said, the sandwiches are big, so there’s a lot of meat in them and they’re also not particularly cheap (~$7 USD for our pastrami), but you should still grab a bite here the next time you’re in Montreal. If we hadn’t already been planning on eating poutine later, I would totally have ordered their poutine – a couple seated next to us was eating it and it looked amazing!
Speaking of looking amazing, a couple of photos!
After Schwartz’s, we continued to stroll, mostly through the Plateau neighborhood, with two goals in mind – chocolate and poutine. Scott wanted to pick up some decent chocolate (ie – something nicer than a candy bar from back home), but the shop we were going to stop at is unfortunately closed on Mondays, so that was a bit of a bust. But we still enjoyed the walk, though this day was definitely the hottest of our trip. Not unbearably hot, mind you, but still the most heat we had to deal with. No matter though – we continued along to another destination, the Gay Village. Since it was early afternoon by this point, we didn’t have our eyes on going to clubs and getting drunk, but it was cool to see such a vibrant, big LGBT part of the city. And as an added bonus, there was an art installation lining the streets as part of the Aires Libres Public Art Event, so we got to enjoy that as well.
Our final “official” destination in Montreal was La Banquise, a restaurant famous for their poutine (a quintessential Canadian food). This is another place that came to our attention through both our own research and recommendations from others and it was delish! One look at the menu and you’ll quickly realize that poutine is the dish you HAVE to try, so don’t even bother getting anything else. Or do, but make sure you get poutine to go with it. 😀 This is another really busy place, so expect to wait, but it will be worth it! Pay attention when you’re walking in though – there are two lines (one for takeout and one for eating in), so pick the right one. We ate in and only had to wait in line for a few minutes before we got a table. The prices are very reasonable ($7-10 USD for a regular size of poutine) and the portions we got were pretty generous, so you won’t leave with an empty stomach. We each ordered a regular size, but we could have easily split one, though that may be because we’d already had that delicious pastrami from Schwartz’s. Bring your appetite and your cash as La Banquise only accepts cash or Canadian debit cards. Don’t worry though – they have an ATM in the restaurant, so if you forget to bring cash, you’ll be able to get some there.
Check out the rest of our day below!
Skirting around the edge of La Fontaine Park.
I only took this picture of Mado because I loved the sign.
The poutines we enjoyed at La Banquise. I had La Festival (swiss cheese, hot peppers, and onion rings) and Scott had La Bacon (with, you guessed it, bacon). Needless to say, we didn’t finish either one!
And thus ends our time in Canada! We really enjoyed Montreal and I’m so glad we did the side trip to Québec City as well. I would re-visit both again, especially Québec City as we were there for such a short time. I recommend paying both a visit, especially in early September because of the great weather.
Next up…back to the United Kingdom! Yes, I’m off there for about a week very soon, so watch out for a new group of posts about my favorite place to visit. After arriving in London on Thursday, I’ll be heading straight to Brighton to meet up with friends and will then head to Wales the next day for a weekend of fun and Doctor Who with even more friends before heading back to London on the Monday to spend a few days in my favorite city. Late September used to be the time when I would often visit the UK, but over the last few years, that shifted to November (primarily because of the timing of the Doctor Who events I wanted to attend). I’m excited to be going back in September again though and even more excited to be seeing lots of friends in the process.
See you soon, UK!