Monday, August 21, 2017
We got up and had a shower. I love the water pressure in Montreal. There is a lot of water in Quebec. For as long as I can remember, there has been talk of exporting it. We don’t though, not yet, anyway, so we just use all we want. It’s not going to run out, unless we sell a hell of a lot of it. The contrast with California is stark. Our shower could have been better, though. What it needed was one more ability bar, so I wouldn’t have to reach around Elvon to put down or pick up the soap, or the shower head. It’s an easy fix, so I asked for one.
Then we had breakfast and headed for the gym, just like home. And, just like home, that meant that we hit the gym around 1:00 pm. When we were done there, I took Elvon back to the room to rest and went to work across the room.
Around four, we left for Westmount village to pick up the eye drops at Jean Coutu, our local pharmacy chain. JP used to own four of them. Traffic was worse than I expected on the highway in, explained by the tow trucks loading five vehicles onto flatbeds, in the Turcot interchange. The pharmacy is across the street from my Montreal pedicure place, and I was in sore need of one. If they took me right away, we could still make our reservation at Bonaparte. They did, and I took four or five Duolingo Spanish lessons, while my toenails were being spruced up. Three or four people took them with me and it was very jolly.
On to Bonaparte, where the street had been paved nicely and Elvon could again get in to his favorite Montreal restaurant. His daughter, Cathryn, Matt’s father Lou, and his girlfriend, Patty, were already there. Matt had to leave to attend his best friend’s funeral, back in New York. So sad, too young to die. Cat and Matt and Lou and Patty had been helping Ginger with her charity picnics. They had hosted and entertained veterans on Saturday and were expecting about a hundred and fifty seriously disabled people tomorrow. Ginger was likely calling that one off, though, as the weather forecast was grim.
Bonaparte is interesting. Back in the 80’s I used it for expense account lunche, or had the simple lunch menu, when I had to pay for it myself. It’s next door to Centaur Theatre, and still has a simple pre-performance menu, as well as high-end à la carte, and a six course tasting menu. If we thought we could do six courses any more, that was only $81, and the quality is very high. Cat and I had “Crème brûlée et foie gras de canard poêlé sur toasts de pain d’épices”. The crème brulée was made of duck liver, egg yolks and cream, and was to die for. The foi gras poêlé was divine, as seared foie gras usually is. If you screw it up, it melts on you, and all you have is a puddle of grease. Note the French word for “toast” in the description. We could have made a meal of three of those, but would doubtless have been up all night.
As it was, we followed it with steak tartare and profiteroles au chocolat, and were fine. Elvon had a salad, seafood linguini and two of my four profiteroles. Cathryn wasn’t sharing. Lou and Patty had the table d’hôte, which gave them a very nice salad, steak frites, and dessert. Lou’s was lemon meringue pie and Patty’s was crème brulée. A bottle of red, a bottle of white, nice cappuccinos, tea for us, and we were done.
Tuesday the twenty-second, Ginger’s party day, was a down day for us. All she needed there, if she even had it, was one more cripple to take care of. So, we stayed home. Weather bug was pretty good. There was a storm around 2:00 pm and another predicted for 7:00 pm. It’s about time I told you about this Holiday Inn Express, too. It has everything a HI Express has, but is a cut above. It has four stars. The décor is nice. There’s a 3-foot Kugel Ball in the lobby, just like the Hilton in Hong Kong, when we were there. The living room and library are very nice, and the breakfast room is large and well appointed. Some of the chairs even have arms, for Elvon. Tony, the Manager, is excellent, and he works with me. I have a sweet deal on a couple of nights, not to move out, when we go to Cornwall. They added a bar in the bathroom, too, as requested yesterday. It’s that sort of thing that keeps us coming back. Pasquale, Susan and Erika on the front desk bend over backwards for us, and our maid, Maria, is a darling. The room itself is minimalist, but it’s a decent size and every piece of furniture works for us. It has a king bed, an armchair with a footstool, that doubles as a breakfast table, with a towel as a table cloth. The desk is a large two-table nest. The part the computer is on can be pulled out and become our dinner table, with the desk chair and arm chair to sit in.
After all the usual, breakfast, work and gym time, I went out between storms, around 3:00 pm. I drove West to St. Charles and North in a great circle route to the Western branch of l’obèserie. For those of you new to this blog, that’s the Patisserie de Gascogne, now known simply as “La Gascogne”, the best bakery/pastry shop in the world, in our humble opinion. I hit up the Royal Bank on St. Charles for $300 and kept going, passing another tow-truck, loading a banged up car. There seems to be a lot of that around here. I think I know why, but I don’t want to say, because I am a Quebec driver, too.
The traffic lights were out, as they were in all the stores on St. Charles, so I couldn’t hit that Dollarama. I turned back East on Pierrefonds boulevard and went to the one on it. It happened to be in the same little shopping center as a Tim Horton’s, so I had to have a donut before I toured one of my favorite stores. Dollarama provided glass glasses to drink wine out of, a cutting board, a set of three kitchen knives, a pizza knife/server that is so good, I am going to take it home, a USB-MicroUSB cable, 24 wet-wipes, and a little bottle of rubbing alcohol, all for $25. That sets me up for a couple of weeks.
I turned right on St. John’s Rd. and made for my true destination, La Gascogne. There I put in an order for a croquant, which would serve 12, to be picked up by Jo-Anne tomorrow at 5:00 pm. That would be dessert Thursday night at Rosemary and Nick Sidorchuk’s in Cornwall. I added to that order, a little box of flaky appetizers, 6 croissants, 4 chocolatines, 3 carrot muffins, and 2 packets of chocolate covered orange peels. Then I bought a baguette, a little pot of duck liver mousse, three Quebec cheeses, a Tiramisu and a key lime tart. I already had a bottle of red wine, so we were set for dinner.
I moved the computer and paperwork to the top half of the desk and installed the lower table in front of our window. I washed my dollar store purchases, opened the wine and laid out the spread, just in time for the sound and light show. There was no lightning, as what it was, was a tornado. It passed just a couple of miles from us, with lots of rain and 180 km/hour winds. It uprooted trees, demolished cars, and threw roofs around. We just saw our local trees bend, and the lovely rainbow when it was over. Note the bottle of wine to the left, the seriously crappy industrial view in the foreground, the city and the rainbow in the distance. It was pretty special. Elvon’s favorite part was that he could see his bed from this particular table. It didn’t hurt that every bite was of top quality. Eating in can be very good in Montreal. Bonsoir.