La Belle Ville: Montreal West in a Morning

My day began with a grumbling tummy and a passion for getting out onto the streets as early as I could. So by 8am I was moving and before 9am I was out. My first destination was Patisserie Belge, a French bakery that I lived above and behind when I moved to the city. I would always away with the smell of warm bread and the smudge of soot from their ovens. I was glad to find it intact. Other places through my journey were hollow facades or chopped up dollar stores. Le Faubourg was a true disappointment as it had been a magical little mall with small merchants. Oh well, all good things…If for nothing else I come to this city for the chausson aux pommes made my this bakery. Yes, their bread is killer and their actual pastries are glorious, but I am trying to cut out wheat in any large quantity from my system, so I had to accept that it was going to be just two chausson this morning. I ate one for breakfast/lunch and it carried me through until 2pm. The flakey buttery pastry and the apple sauce inside are so beautiful. Out of my $20 a week food budget in the poverty days I could squeeze in five chausson a week. For about $2 a day, these would carry me through some tough days. No one else makes them half as well. If you get a chance to stroll up Avenue de Parc, then you must stop in this place. Next stop was McGill. I had hoped to pick up either gym pants or shorts at the bookstore, but it was closed. Instead I was treated to an impressive Remembrance Day ceremony with light artillery and soldiers in kilts. I was happy to see such a large turn-out as soldiers do a job most of us would shudder at. So many family or friends have been involved in the Armed Forces that I would be an idiot to feel anything but respect for the hard work they do.Making my way across de Maisoneuve, I lucked upon a brilliant sculpture outside of the Musee des Beaux Arts. The angel is missing a large section of his [see anatomical parts] inner torso, but their are hands [perhaps signifying renewal struggling to come out of the wound] pulling upwards from the empty hole. I took a few images of this, not only with my phone camera, but also with the Leica M3. I plan on creating a silhouette in Photoshop for an icon or maybe even a tattoo for down the road. Finally, I decided to visit the Atwater Market. It is a place that I never ventured to while living here in Montreal. I simply never had the money for fresh produce, and it is a long hike from where I lived. Today…today though I insisted on pushing on despite blistered feet to see what it had on offer. Were I here with another person, then I would have bought pristine foie gras, perfect lamb loin and boneless rabbit [I apologize to India, who looks like a rabbit]. Given that my hotel has pans and a cooktop, the dinner would have been extraordinary. Alas, for one, that is just idiotic. I would end up either wasting precious animal or being unable to breathe from the amount of food. So instead I opted for items that were distinctly French and Montreal….sort of. The almonds are a new thing for me, as they are Spanish but very popular in California’s Napa wine region. The local pickles will be perfect with the tinned foie gras pate. I usually buy this pate at duty-free in airports, so it was a perk to find it here. One tin will serve as either a meal or appetizer with accoutrements. I also grabbed their last bottle of Bourgogne snails. In Montreal I used to buy snails in cans for $1.29 because it was the cheapest form of protein I could afford. At $14.95 a bottle, I am hoping for a glorious experience. Finally, there was the pate de mason.

I normally would never have entered this shop. It just felt like you needed to be in the know to go in, but given my new aspirations for adventure and the fact that their pates looked so authentic that it hurt, I had to go in. Mmmm, these were brilliant, especially the duck calvados terrine. In the end, I taste things like this, because I can make items like this at home and want to know what heights I am aiming for. I fell like this Christmas season will be the bestest ever.

 

 

 

 

 

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