Jean-Talon Market, Montreal, Canada

Day 2- Moving onto Montreal

We left Sherbrooke after grabbing breakfast at the hotel.  We woke up late as we weren’t in a rush to get to Montreal; the weather was continuing to storm from the night before.  The drive from Sherbrooke to Montreal was going to be just under two hours.

Luckily, the storm was heaviest as we left Sherbrooke, and started to fade by the time we got closer to Montreal.  Our first stop was to the Jean-Talon Market, a farmers market, which is situated in the Little Italy neighborhood of Montreal.

If you have been a reader of mine, you may have read me commenting on how much I love to explore marketplaces. Where else do people learn about culture? The markets are the heartbeat of the city. The core of local life, and is a key place to watch people communicate and share. And try some tasty foods!

It’s a palpable energy that energizes my soul.

This market was probably the most organized one I have ever visited.  There was a large underground parking complex at the entrance, and then each aisle was set up according to food types. Closest to the parking area there was an aisle of prepares/raw food stalls. These were either set up as an extension to their butcher or fish shops, or, were stand alones selling cooked foods for take out or eat in (at the central seating area at the end).  The aisles beyond this were fresh fruit and vegetables for sale stalls.  Lots of beautiful colors and sights.  One stall even had a large platter above each fruit with fresh cut samples.. uhm, I liked this stall the best.  🙂 I loved their nectarines, peaches and plums. These aisles shared space with the farmers who were selling maple syrup, honeys, jams and jellies, and even some wine and cider.  Then the aisles beyond that were of flowers, flowering and fruit/vegetable plants, and herbs.  Surrounding the whole market were some low key restaurants that served sandwiches, pastries, breads and crepes.

It was the perfect spot to walk around together.

After exhausting ourselves for a few hours, we saw that there was a Juliette & Chocolat in one of the flanking stores.  It is a place I had looked into going to while in Montreal with the girls (on the days we were going to be on our own), but luckily, there was one right here!  It’s literally a chocolate lovers dream come true.  They are known for serving all types of food that have or are chocolate, chocolate and chocolate! One part of the restaurant is dining and the other is take out.  They serve brownies, crepes, fondue, bonbons, pastries, chocolate bars, cookies, waffles, coffee, They have ‘freak drinks’ that are like a vase of some milkshake served with gargantuan cookies, the size of grapefruits, with marshmallows, sprinkles, candies and chocolate sauce all over them.  I saw items being served to a table of women that were giving me a tummy ache by just the sight!  It kind of reminded me of a way, way, way, WAYYYYY better version of Max Brenner’s on Newbury Street, if you are local to Boston.

We had a pretty great breakfast at the hotel earlier, and, we knew we were going for a big dinner later, so we reigned in our kids with keeping it to crepes- a salted caramel dark chocolate banana crepe and a strawberry white chocolate crepe, while my husband and I shared a dark chocolate crepe.  OUR KIDS LOVE CREPES. Like some crazy obsession.  But they also love cookies, candy, marshmallows, brownies, etc, and if given the chance would forego wholesome food for a sugary chocolate feast!

Also, be warned, we end up eating crepes like almost … twice a day on this trip.  haha  Some of us adults like crepes, too.  Like my husband.

…..and me.

As we were finishing up at Juliette & Chocolat, we saw a major dark cloud racing towards the market in the sky. We were sitting outside, but under the cover of the roofed porch.  Just as we noticed the skies changing, the sun went away, the air became breezier and the rain started.  Then a deluge quickly followed. It was remarkable, the amount of water we saw fall from the sky.  We got to hang out under cover for some time while waiting for our check and cashing out.

Once the rain died down enough for us to run under the cover of the market we made the mad dash. We walked through a few more aisles before we grabbed our car to go to check in at our next hotel.  We stayed in the same one we stayed in on our last trip to Montreal, Hotel Bonaventure Montréal.  The location is just too perfect not to stay there.  We surfaced from the parking garage to find that the rain had stopped, and the sun was trying to break through.  It was fantastic!       

We checked in, took a breather in the room to take a load off our feet and freshen up for the night.  Which means while my family checked their phones, I changed into like four outfits before deciding I would just wear the same one I had on earlier.  True Story.

We made a reservation in Old Port, Montreal, at the Polish restaurant the Stash Cafe.  We had wanted to dine here on our last trip, but no reservations were open.  This time we got in!  Our hotel was about a 20 minute walk away from Old Port, so we took a good walk around Old Port, poking our heads in and out of the stores that were open, before we made our way to the reservations, which were for 8:30PM.

IT-WAS-FANTASTIC!

The whole aesthetic of the place was interesting, but welcoming with an old world home-like feel.  There were red clothed chandeliers at each table. Each table was equipped with church benches for chairs, and most of the tables were sharable between separate parties.  There was a pianist set up at the entrance when we walked in, which was nice.  As we got seated near him, I realized he was softly playing muzak pop hits that seemed odd.  Like he played stuff by TSwift, Katie Perry, Justin Timberlake, Imagine Dragons, and some old hits, too.  He also played ToTo! haha  What an eclectic pianist, great, but quirky.

We are all fans of most simple Polish foods, so we were pretty excited to try this place out.  We ordered potato and beef pierogies, veal shnitzel with an egg on top, Polish sausages with sauerkraut, and beef strogonow with potato pancakes. The veal and beef dishes also came with an insanely good beet salad.  We enjoyed every bite, and wanted a second round if our stomachs could have made that happen.

As I mentioned, we got seated within eye shot of the pianist.  He was a young guy, super blonde and cute. If you like blonde pianists.  The odd thing about this pianist is..well,  once we got seated to our first round of drinks arriving, I noticed he had 2 different glasses that he was drinking out of.  So, I became obsessed.  haha  As we hung out at our table, I glanced over every time a waitress popped over to the pianist.  He ended up downing about 11 beers while we hung out there, each of them finished in one chug!!

Ziggy ZaggyZiggy ZaggyOi Oi Oi!”

And, he didn’t even look shattered when he left for the night!  That’s some tolerance..or a drinking problem!  Did anyone else read that like I sounded like Midge Maisel?  haha I meant it to sound like her, that’s why I am saying this.

We ended our night here. We grabbed two desserts to split, a plum-apple tarte and a German chocolate cake, both really good!  It was pretty late by the time we made our way out of the restaurant. We were dining there for about two and a half hours at this point, so we walked back to our hotel at a leisurely pace through Old Port.

xoxo

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