“W” upsidedown is “M”

An upsidedown “W” is an “M” and if you put W and M together, what have you got? ….


G and I flew to Montreal (way too) early on Thursday morning for a long weekend away filled with champagne-drinking and good French/Quebecois food exploration.

And while the adventure started poorly, when, at 5:00am, the car broke down right at the entrance of the Park ‘n Fly lot with the gate up and me, disbelieving and pissed, holding the ticket in hand – we did manage to push the car to a parking spot and catch our flight. Due thanks to CAA for their quick response.

This was a foodie’s escape suggested by Cousin Ora, who unfortunately wasn’t able to make the trek to Montreal at the last minute, leaving our fivesome a foursome (moi, G, Blee and Cousin Richard). We stayed Thurs-Sat nights at W Montreal and LOVED every second in their uber-funky suites, lounge and “livingroom” (aka lobby). As G and I arrived first, we checked into Blee’s room to ensure everything was perfect for her arrival before heading to our dropdead gorgeous suite overlooking Square Victoria.

1) Blee’s “wonderful” room at W Montreal; 2) G checks things out

3) G framed alla the famous OCAD photo; this time in Montreal

4) our “wonderful” corner suite; 5) with the biggest sofa seat we’ve every seen

6) the soaker tub (scene of much fun on Saturday night after far too much champagne; 7) our room

8) dual sinks … omg, I love dual sinks; 9) the view from our window down onto Square Victoria

10) the “livingroom” (aka lobby); 11) etage 9 elevator lobby; 12) more “livingroom”

With Blee’s arrival around noon, we headed to Ste-Catherine Street to shop and eat, choosing Rueben’s for some famous Montreal smoked meet sandwiches and smoked meet poutine!

13) lunch time!; 14) G looks for his poutine

15) smoked meal miracle poutine; 16) the classic smoked meat sandwich (bib optional)

17) Thursday night we crashed with blackberry addictions (Blee), movie watching (Brent) and reading (G) along with a bottle of; 18) Pommery

Friday we were up late and headed out to the Atwater Market to wander the stalls and shop for some classic French food: cheese! pate! bread! After an obligatory stop at our favourite bakery, Premiere Moison for coffee, bread and omg pain au chocolat, we headed back to W for an in-room lunch. Premiere Moison coins itself l’art de boulanger and they’ve pegged it perfectly. With nods to Celestin and Jewels here in Toronto, you’ll find no better pastries and bread in North America than at this chain in Quebec.

19) Premiere Moison; 20) bakery heaven!

21) the Atwater Market; 22) Blee and I enjoy a late breakfast

Our cheese selection was hit and miss, despite the guidance of the staff at Fromagerie Atwater. A standout melt in the mouth winner was Delice de Bourgone Triple Creme; a so-so Munster Fischer, and an absolutely to be avoided at all costs, Cousin Maison Schmichauscer, which smelled like a teenage boy’s rancid socks and tasted of same. We combined these with a pheasant pate which was delicious and some locally brewed Quebec cider and beer.

23) a winner; 24) a so-so; 25) a loser

26) pheasant pate; 27) our lunch sans the bread

As Blee had to attend to a conference call on Friday afternoon, G and I headed out to the Musee d’art contemporain de Montreal in the late afternoon. Self-billed as Canada’s greatest museum of contemporary art, we wandered through three galleries (the fourth was closed) and
saw works by Émile Borduas, Alfred Pellan, Jean-Paul Riopelle, Guido Molinari. I am not convinced by any stretch of the imagination that this is Canada’s gem of modernity and still think both the AGO and National Gallery have it beat. One quite wonderful piece, however, a box you stepped inside, closed the door and suddenly found yourself transported to Versailles. It was great fun and made art accessible, which is something more artists ought to do.

FYI: the best museum of contemporary art remains, for me, the Musee d’art moderne et d’art contemporain in Nice, France.

28) I’m transported back to Versailles in a box a meter wide

Friday night we headed up on the wildly more efficient Metro to Sherbrooke dinner at the wonderfully crazy restaurant, Au Pied de Cochon. This is not a place for vegetarians and is famous for two things: foie gras poutine (aka heart attack on a plate) and duck in a can. You can see these wonderfully tasty creations below. The poutine is served – like all things served in Quebec with foie gras – with a hunking large medallion of foie gras. The duck in a can, which I ordered, is brought to your table by the waiter, opened before your eyes and plopped with little fanfare on a bed of celery puree and bread. It is a once in a lifetime sort of meal (more than once would kill you, I’m sure). To highlight what comes in that can, see the ingredients below:

  • 1/2 magret (duck);
  • 100g de foie gras;
  • 60ml de glace de viande au  balsamique;
  •  2 thyme branches


29) foie gras poutine: 30) my duck in a can arrives; 31) the final dish is revealed

After gorging ourselves to the point of senselessness on food, beer and wine, we opted to return to Cousin Richard’s hotel, Hotel Gault, and hang out in his room and the lobby to – rightly or wrongly – continue drinking as it was too freaking cold in Montreal to venture outside. Like rats, we made our way back from Sherbrooke using Montreal’s wonderful underground city.

32) le chinois et le oréen go up out of the underground city

33 & 34) a happy Blee and G wander the curvy lines of the underground city

35) Cousin Richard’s room at Gault; 36) gotta love that millwork!

37 & 38) the lobby and bar at Hotel Gault

On Saturday we woke up to snow and thankfully warmer weather and headed north again to the Little Italy area to explore Marche Jean-Talon.

39) snow on Saturday morning!; 40 Marche Jean-Talon

41) the marche inside and; 42) out

43) gorgeous flowers in the market; 44) a very rare shot of asians taking photographs

45 & 46) lunch at Les 3 Brasseurs … good beer; ok food

47) Montreal Metro (puts Toronto’s TTC to utter shame)

48 & 49) Dinner on Saturday was at a bistro in Old Montreal; Bistro Holder … kudos to the Sterling Vintiner’s Reserve Chardonnay and the mussels here

Leaving Holder’s the evening quickly got very fun as Montreal was celebrating Le festival Montreal en Lumiere. We headed with thousands of other Montrealers to the Old City to watch fireworks and party at City Hall before returning to W and spending far too much time in Bartini in the careful hands of hostess, Dani, and (far too) many glasses of champagne. Our error here, I’m sure, was the mini break we took from Bartini to go be supermodels and take photos of ourselves throughout the hotel and in our room while drinking Blue Lagoons. Unfazed we then returned to Bartini around 2:30am for yet more glasses of champagne and a little dancing in Wunderbar before calling it a night.

50) fireworks over Old Montreal; 51) festival goers at City Hall

52 & 53) the toboggan run outside City Hall… now that’s fun!

54) woeeee .. go the tobogganers!


55 & 56) inside City Hall what did we find but disco dancers … of course!


57 & 58) en route back to W we stop to have fun at the Palais des congres de Montreal


59) G approaches the underground entrance to W


60 & 61) G goes UP


62) our favourite spot, the wee bar at W called “Bartini”


63) Blee and G pose as supermodels in W; 64) moi and Cousin Richard do likewise


65) … then we all  get into the act


66) bathtub fun!


67) Cousin Richard feels the warm of the Blue Lagoon; 68) while I end up with a soaker


69 & 70) the W weekend ends in Wunderbar

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11 Responses to “W” upsidedown is “M”

  1. CurryPuffy says:

    What a fun weekend you had! All that food and festive agenda! Very cool colours indeed!In particular, you do have an interesting room number! LOL

  2. kunhuo42 says:

    wow, looks like a lot of fun! mm… duck in a can looks good!

  3. christao408 says:

    Oh, what a fun looking weekend.  The W looks fantastic but the food looks better!  I miss Montreal.

  4. jasonbasin says:

    you gaynadians are so decadent!  The poshest hotels — your W room is divine!  Duck in a can??  Why’s G so camera shy?  Does he work for the gov’t?

  5. seeing all the amazing food reminds me that I have to try harder in finally starting up freelance filmmaking/editing work.  Once I pay my debts this year, I’ll hopefully be able to enjoy eating once again. Until then, I’ll have to mooch off of film festival reception food, lol.  It’s about that time of year.

  6. orchidgrass says:

    wow the photos are stylish…i really like that…

  7. ElusiveWords says:

    I’ve always wanted to check out that hotel. I’ve never heard of the duck in a can before – that’s different! How was it?

  8. Oh wow, it looks you really did have a lot of fun! The place you guys stayed looked sooo amazing, but then again I’m just a smalltown boy trying to pose as a city boy. Haha! And wow! A few pictures of the elusive G! I’ve just never seen a picture of him before, hhahaa :D You guys look so happy (while having so much fun!):D RYC: I know! So many birthdays all around! It’s weird, I never really noticed before (:

  9. Fatcat723 says:

    RYC: I had plumbing problems. That’s when I really do need someone next to me to keep me sane!!!

  10. YNOTswim says:

    Gee, it’s still snowing? It’s spring already here if it’s not called summer. :)

  11. Fatcat723 says:

    The food – the shopping – the rooms. I need to do that. I need to treat myself!!1

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