Honestly, I understand the sentiment, but what was the hotel thinking when they put a 20cm sparkler on my birthday cake? At midnight on Friday, my husband almost set the bed on fire, and no, I am not talking dirty on my blog. I mean literally, as in potential flames with smoke. Just back in our hotel room after a lovely bistro dinner, he lit the sparkler and it started spitting out sparks (erm, that’s what it is supposed to do, we realise that). Thankfully, Z quickly moved it to the table, averting a fire. Since we were too busy laughing our arses off, I forgot to make a wish, but the important bit is that we both ate a large chunk of that sludgy, dark chocolate cake with sweet, tart raspberry compote on the side. And that’s how our less-than-48hour-weekend began.
The weekend was full of sugary, airy, custard-rich pastries (mille feuille, a childhood fave of mine and Ami’s) with bowls of creamy café au lait and fragrant jasmine green tea for breakfast; brown butter sautéed chanterelles and fried eggs with wobbly yolks sitting atop toasted soda bread for brunch; crumpets with puddles of butter, slathered with berry jam; and rich, indulgent confit de canard and lamb sirloin with feta mousse at a local bistro for dinner.
Oh, and there was chocolate during tea-time. Lots of chocolate. Molten chocolate in brandy glasses at Juliette et Chocolate.
In between meals there were honey-licked, pillowy bagels at St. Viateur, where the gracious proprietors gifted the ‘Pakistani couple visiting Montreal from Toronto‘, a bag of bagels. The soft texture reminded me of sesame-flecked naans straight off the tandoor back home in Lahore.
All of this was interspersed with walks in the Mile-End; winter boots shopping (best waterproof boots, for those who don’t want to compromise on that sleek look); art gallery and museum hopping- don’t miss the John Currin exhibit -it was delightfully kitsch- or the Québécoise Triennale at the Contemporary Art Museum.
On our last night, we had dinner at a raucous, rustic-chic restaurant in the middle of Old Montreal. The food wasn’t as good as expected- sadly, my foie gras tasted like a slab of unsalted, tasteless butter and my medium-rare steak came out ‘well-done’ the first time, then ‘medium’ the next- (I ate it, nevertheless)- but the service was impeccable and the atmosphere truly unforgettable.
But thank you most of all to my husband, Z, for organising a properly amazing trip to Montreal. After so much gluttony, it is back to egg white omelettess for weekday breakfasts.