This, my friends, is a grilled banana and fleur de sel caramel crepe from Juliette et Chocolat, a small chain of Montreal restaurants devoted exclusively to dessert.
Okay, fine, they have a tiny savory menu, but it’s relegated to the bottom back corner of the menu. Montrealers pour in here at all hours of the night to get a serious sugar fix, not a mushroom crepe.
So naturally, I had to bring my lovely college friends Amory and Mike here on their first-time visit to Montreal this last snowy-freezing weekend. Along with that bad boy, we also shared one of Juliette’s petit pots, aka little glass pots of goodness. Ours had layers of mousse, chocolate ganache, and incredibly tangy passion fruit.
I got a text from Amory the following night, almost sheepish.
"We’re at Juliette et Chocolat again."
I mean…of course they were.
You gotta love a restaurant that sells ninja turtle boots out of fish cases.
Last night, my oldest friends in the Montreal took the visiting BF and I out on the town for dinner. After a few dead ends, we seredipitously ended up at the last table for four at Big in Japan's restaurant location, a self-proclaimed “Japanese brasserie” once frequented by a very drunk Martin Picard and Anthony Bourdain for national television's viewing pleasure.
However, I like Alison’s explanation much better:
"Its the kind of place that, no matter what you order, you never know exactly what you’re going to get."
I love a place that’ll throw you a curveball, so Jake and I went all out and ordered their chicken dish for two ($35) and a couple steamed pork buns WITH KIMCHI (which I insisted on at an all-caps level decible).
The buns were solid — not mind-blowing for taking my steamed pork bun virginity, but the hoisin-ish sauce was awesome and the kimchi was super-pickled, which always earn points with me.
And then came the curveball:
Yes, that’s right — our spiced chicken with salt-and-pepper rice, daikon salad, and kimchi sauce (whatever it was, it was DELICIOUS) came in a giant casserole that needed only a cover to be granted legitimate dutch oven status.
There’s just something thrilling about getting a whole cooking pan full of food, especially if you are dating a giant man with a giant appetite.
In any case, I’d come back drunk for it. Anthony, you’re invited.
I want to be healthy and treat my body like a temple, I do, but that becomes more difficult when there are dishes like macaroni and cheese, steak frites, and oh yeah, the great Quebec delicacy of POUTINE running around on menus everywhere.
Patati Patata, one of my favorite Montreal eating establishments, solves that problem for me and everyone else who struggles with the healthy-or-deliciously-unhealthy problem with this dish of Poutine AND salad. Oh, and it’s only $6.50.
P.S. I’d highly suggest throwing in one of their adorable $2 mini-hamburgers, all dressed. You won’t regret it…and plus, you’re eating salad, so you’re good.
I’ve only said goodbye to two before, and I’m still not sure.
On Sunday, I’m saying goodbye to Los Angeles, a place I’ve lived since I graduated a year ago. So I’ve done the things I’ve felt I should: had one last party in my tea-candlelit backyard; eaten good meals with friends; hiked up to Griffith Observatory, one of the places that made me fall in love with L.A. in the first place, and squinted at the Hollywood sign and the hills one last time.
But I’m beginning to learn that cities do a better job saying goodbye to me than I do to them.
In the six months leading up to my departure from Boston, the city where I went to college and feel I truly became “a grown-up” (or some version of it), I got my stuff stolen from me not once, not twice, but three whole times.
Nothing bad had happened to me in the four years I’d lived there and employed varying degrees of my street smarts. But when I made the decision that Boston and I were done, Boston started fighting back. Boston became that angry girlfriend that knew I wanted to break up with her, and was trying to get me to do it ASAP and stop putting her through all this misery.
First, in October, someone grabbed my bag off the back of my chair at my usual Harvard Square bar. A couple months later, I had my wallet plucked from the purse I was wearing across my body at a dance club with a big group of friends. Not too long after that, I was rounding the corner onto my street after a long night in the Gauge magazine office when someone in a black mask scooted up behind me, pointed a knife at my stomach when I whirled around, and demanded my bag. Thankfully, my computer wasn’t in it…but it died two weeks later, just in time for finals, and wouldn’t turn back on, not for the nice man at the Genius Bar trying to figure out if he could fix it.
Los Angeles is being a little kinder. He knows I really, really don’t want to leave: I’m a Canadian whose temporary OPT work visa is running up, and no, I am not getting married or sponsored. So L.A. is going easy on me. So far, I’ve only had two parking tickets this week and a really nervous stomach.
Which brings me to the purpose of this blog.
I’m headed on a month-long road trip towards an even bigger adventure, the one where I go back to Montreal, the first city I ever loved and left, because the US Immigration system has not been kind to me. The one where I eat my feelings all along the northern route through the United States, along which I’ll be driving my car, Loretta, with my boyfriend of two months. The one where I take life’s next lemon-y step and see if I can make lemonade.
I’ve always wanted to make really great lemonade.
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