August 5, 2017: We had an amazing full foodie day today! This was what foodie trips are made of. ^_^
We hopped onto the subway from Plamondon station at 10:30 a.m. towards Mont Royal station again. Our first stop was to St-Viateur Bagel & Café Mont-Royal (1127 Mont-Royal Ave E, Montreal) to have some Montreal bagels for breakfast! 😀 Despite having been to Montreal a number of times, I never had a bagel from Montreal before. Ken had had one the year before when he was in Montreal.
We arrived at St-Viateur Bagel & Café Mont-Royal and lo and behold there was a line-up. From this trip, I’ve come to know that whenever something is good, there is a line-up for it (like last night’s Ma Pouille Mouillee or the rest of the restaurants that we were visiting later too). We were in line for a bit and then because we were purchasing a take-out order instead of dining in, we were ushered right into the bakery and cafe where we were able to place our order for two smoked salmon bagels to-go.
I saw the iconic wood-fired oven where they made over 12,000 bagels each day. I also watched the staff make our smoked salmon bagels.
I’m glad that we decided to order it to-go so we wouldn’t have to wait in line. It was waiting outside however so we couldn’t just stand outside and eat — we’d be drenched! Luckily, there was an empty bus stop that we took shelter in and enjoyed our breakfast of the day.
Mmm, the Traditional Bagel (with smoked salmon, cream cheese, tomato, onion, capers, and lemon) was really good! The cream cheese with the onion and capers and also a characteristic lemon wedge made for a great first meal! 😀
We continued walking down Mont-Royal street and spotted a casual diner for hot dogs. Montreal hot dogs are well-known too so we stopped inside to try the dogs.
I had had a Montreal hot dog previously at Decarie Hot Dog (blogged here) in December 2015. I remember the steamies were very good! At Mont-Royal Hot Dog (1001 Mont-Royal Ave E, Montreal), we ordered one steamie and one Toastie to share. The Toastie was new to me! It was one that was grilled or toasted until crisp in contrast to the steamie which is fresh from a steamer and soft.
Ken asked me which one I liked better and each of them have their redeeming qualities. The steamie one seemed more like comfort food whereas a Toastie was more savory.
After this short stop-in, we continued on our foodie journey. We stopped into a bakery across the street which had gorgeous pastries and baked goods. We also passed by a soup restaurant that we had interest in (but never had a chance to visit after all).
We took the subway to get to the port area. As we emerged from the subway, we were in the financial district area of Montreal which was also close to Old Montreal. We just happened to wander into a building that turned out to be a cafe that a friend of mine had recommended me to visit! It was a cafe that took over the Montreal Stock Exchange office! What were the odds of us randomly going in there?
The cafe is called Crew Collective & Café (360 St Jacques St, Montreal) and so gorgeous inside! You could really tell that it used to be a stock exchange office with all of the trading windows seen at the sides of the cafe. It was open space and so chic.
Ken ordered a coffee and then we took a seat at the bar to soak in the building’s ambience and people-watch — see what the cafe-goers were ordering. We ended up sitting right in front of the cook at the bar who was busy putting together dishes for the customers. At one point when he was making a dish and reaching for a container of crisps in front of us, I said to Ken in Cantonese, “Imagine if he gave us some to try!” and immediately after I said that, the cook serendipitously in one fluid motion actually handed us each some crisps for us to try. We were shocked and amused. I highly doubted that he understood what I had said but it was a sheer coincidence that he did the action that I was thinking of. That was so funny.
After this, we emerged from the dark and historic cafe into the bright and sunny skies outside. It was a beautiful summer day and so hot. We walked along the pier, Old Port.
We saw that there was a Heintz ketchup promotional stand going on! We last saw and participated in this at the BBQ Eats Festival and received a bottle of ketchup with our faces printed on the label. We lined up for one at this venue too. I guess they were doing a cross-country tour
Canada turned 150 years old this year. There was a huge sign to take photos with.
We came across the Ribs Fest and PoutineFest! It was free admittance and we went in to check it out. We played a free game courtesy of Royal Tiger Towels to win prizes.
The grounds of the Ribs Fest and PoutineFest were incredibly muddy (from all the rain that we got this summer). We actually didn’t find much poutine-focused vendors at the stands and the majority seemed to be selling ribs.
We kept walking and encountered a lot of food trucks! There were so many food trucks selling different items. We also saw the running portion of the Montreal Triathlon that was going on too. We cheered on the participants as did the rest of the crowd.
We ended up getting the Smoked Meat Poutine and two pickles from the Deli Vieux-Port Montreal food truck. I was so impressed with this! The Smoked Meat Poutine was very good! I also liked the very big and juicy pickles. 😀
We continued strolling after this and ventured into Old Montreal. As expected, there were a lot of people here during the summer season.
We next saw Crêperie Chez Suzette (3 St Paul St E, Montreal) for crepes and fondues and sat on their patio to try their crepes. Crepes in Montreal is another foodie item to try!
I ordered the La Symphonie, a fresh fruit crepe with vanilla custard sauce or maple syrup. I chose the maple syrup. It’s not often that I order a fruit crepe because I prefer the savory ones but since we were on vacation and we hadn’t had much fruit, this was a good one for me to try. When it arrived, it was literally bursting with fruit! It was a huge portion too!
Ken ordered the savory Argenteil which was stuffed with fresh asparagus with bechamel sauce, pine nuts, topped with cheese, and baked. It was also a huge portion. With the cheese, it became a heavier snack than expected too.
After the crepes, we strolled down Old Montreal and saw a tea shop called Ming Tao Xuan (451 St Sulpice St, Montreal) that had ornate and beautiful tea rooms inside. We wanted to get a table but unfortunately the staff there said they were already closed for the day and only those who were already inside could finish up their teas. I guess we’ll have to return another time!
We continued strolling and ended up at the famous Notre-Dame Basilica (110 Notre-Dame St W, Montreal). There were a lot of people lining up and the Place d’Armes square and Maisonneuve Monument in general was teeming with tourists and people dressed up with an anime convention that was happening that weekend. I remember the last time that I was here with Ai Ling, we took photos in an empty square even though we also visited in the summertime.
We knew we had two places we wanted to check out: pho in Chinatown and duck cuisine. We decided on going for a bowl of pho first so off to Chinatown we went. (Ken actually wanted to go for pho last because he wanted to savour the pho broth as the final item for the night but after checking online, the pho place closed earlier than the duck restaurant so thus our choice was easy. Sorry babe! :PIn the end, it made sense to have pho first because the pho was a quick service in-and-out place whereas the duck restaurant was more fine dining and leisurely-paced. If we had gone for duck beforehand, we may not have made it to the pho restaurant in time. :3) Before that though, we stopped into Presse Café (904 St Urbain St, Montreal) for a tea for Ken. This cafe was so pretty inside!
As we headed towards Chinatown, we saw even more fans dressed up in anime gear. It was because we were close to a subway station and there were so many of them coming in and out of transit (or perhaps the convention centre was there too).
We ventured into Chinatown to find Pho Bang New York (1001 St Laurent Blvd, Montreal). This was recommended by my friend as a great pho place to check out because of their broth. And what do you know? When we got there, there was a line-up out the door! Luckily, the line was really quick and we got a table inside the restaurant within 8 minutes.
We ordered the small bowl of pho to share. The House Special included a little bit of everything — raw beef, tripe, beef balls. It was a decent bowl of pho and the broth indeed was quite good but nothing that I found was crazy outstanding.
We exited the Vietnamese restaurant and then headed towards La Maison du Magret (102 Saint-Antoine St W, Montreal) for some French duck! We were lucky to get a table since it seemed that the restaurant was near capacity.
By this point we weren’t starving of course (we had been eating the whole day! :D), so we ordered one duck dish to share. We were surveying the prix fixe menu too which seemed like an amazing deal but at the same time we knew it would be over the top for us. All around us though, we noticed many customers had ordered that deal. We settled on ordering the “Magret de Canard, Sauce Foie Gras“. It had duck magret with foie gras sauce served with French fries and roasted vegetables. We also ordered a red wine to go with the duck. ^_^
First, we were served some baguette with butter along with a complimentary duck pâté. This duck pâté was really good!! I was so impressed. 😀
Our main dish arrived and it was an amazing dish! The duck magret was delicious! It wasn’t chewy at all and very well cooked. I really enjoyed the foie gras sauce too. It went so well with the crispy French fries!
This dish was perfect for us to share too!
It took a while for us to flag down the server to get our bill and when we did, even she was cognisant of the fact that by leaving at that time, we might just be able to catch the fireworks that were going on that night at Old Montreal. I believe it was part of the Montreal Fireworks Competition show if I remember correctly.
Alas, we were only able to catch the last five minutes or so of the fireworks down the street between buildings. It was gorgeous though.
We took the subway from Place d’Armes station back to the hotel. It was a jam-packed day from morning until night! 😀