On the 2nd, it was time to start the second part of our Canadian vacation.  We said our good-byes at the condo to Mom, Dad, Ed and Meg.  I was sad because it always feels to short but I really had a wonderful time so I tried to focus on that.  We drove Brady and Nicole to the airport in our packed rental car.  After dropping them off, we drove into the city to drop our bags off at the hotel which was a great move.  I definitely over-packed this trip but even if I hadn’t, skiing requires a lot of gear!

We tried to go to L’Express for lunch but without reservations, it was complet.  It was so cold, we decided to go to the first café we saw next.  We had an excellent lunch at Brulerie St Denis.   We didn’t explore the world of coffee to much, but our meals were excellent.  SMS got a sandwich and I got a bagel sandwich topped with multiple toppings including egg, lettuce, tomato, cream cheese and salmon.  Montreal is known for its bagels and it was pretty delicious!  It’s also known for poutine which we didn’t have there but we had an excellent version at Mt. Tremblant.

Hotel and Notre Dame

We dropped off our car and then bought a 3-day public transport pass and took the express bus into the city.  Over the next three days, we definitely got our money’s worth out of the ticket!  Montreal was almost as cold as Mt. Tremblant, which put a damper on our willingness to be outside.  That night, we went a few blocks from the hotel to the delicious Dolcetto & Co café.  It was an Italian restaurant that served tapas portions.  We ordered five dishes and all of them were delicious.  My favorite was the decadent lobster and fennel cannellini, but we also enjoyed the almonds with truffle oil and salt, the antipasti of the day (roasted squash), the Bianca pizza with pancetta/mozerella/squash and the delicious polenta dish.  Everything was terrific and we were really glad we ventured out!  We went to bed really early- this entire trip has been a pretty difficult one regarding jet lag.

The next day, we went to the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts.  The main draw was a special exhibit (curated in part by LACMA, yeah!) called Van Gogh to Kandinsky: Impressionism to Expressionism, 1900-1914.  The history and interplay between culture, politics, and art that the French and Germans experienced during that time was very vibrant and robust.  My favorite part of the exhibit was seeing an almost neo-Impressionist style painting by Kandinsky since I was only familiar with his later abstract work (one of which was included in the exhibit.  There were also some terrific Paul Signac works in the exhibit.  While Expressionism isn’t my favorite art period, it was a great exhibit and I’m so glad we went. 

We took a break for Lebanese food at the Restaurant Boustan.  It was delicious and ridiculously filling.  So much so that we didn’t eat much for the rest of the day, apart from leftover yogurts from the ski trip (thanks Mom!).  We went back to the museum and looked at their contemporary art gallery, Napolean gallery where we saw an actual hat (!), and their early to modern international art collections.  It was a lot of artwork and an excellent museum.  Someday when I live near a museum I can frequent often, I might go more slowly and examine only a few pieces at a time but since this was a likely OTO (one-time-only) visit, I wanted to get my fill.  (Maybe this goal can be filled at the Cantor Arts Center at Stanford….oh my gosh, they have a huge Rodin sculpture exhibit.  I will definitely be there!!!).

Ok, part deux to come!

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