Blogging has provided me with the opportunity to connect with hundreds of wonderful people and there are so many of you who I would love to get to know better over a cup of coffee! I'll just have to get to one of those blogging conferences one of these years! Anyway, I recently had the chance to meet a fellow Canadian food blogger who was in Montreal on business: Sue Robbins, or as she is better known, Foodie Suz.
I picked her up at her hotel and whisked her around town to some of my favorite food spots. Sue was courageous to meet up with me, a total stranger, and while she expected a foodie tour, she didn't know that she was signing on for a white-knuckled drive. I can be, ahem, a rather aggressive driver, not to mention sometimes scatterbrained. Poor Sue!
Anyway, I only blew through one red light (our conversation was so engrossing!) and we survived the whirlwind trip. Here's a peek of where we got around to...
Artfully arranged produce at Jean-Talon Market, our biggest open air market. This stop also included a walk through the one-and-only Hamel cheese shop and a lengthy visit to Olives et Epices, which we later exited laden with exotic spices.
Of course we were working up an appetite so a stop at St-Viateur Bagels was not optional - it was mandatory! I love how this place never closes and the river of bagels is always flowing.
We later popped in to my favorite cupcake shop, Cocoa Locale, but much to my dismay, it was closed, so no Chocolate-Chai Cupcakes for us.
We still needed a chocolate fix, so instead we parked in my old neighbourhood, the Plateau, and walked to Les Chocolats de Chloé. A stunning little artisanal chocolate shop, I died and went to heaven with Chloe's Illy Espresso chocolate. I would happily accept treats from this one-of-a-kind shop for any occasion--as long as I live!
After drooling over upscale kitchen items at Arthur Quentin, we were in need of something a bit more substantial than chocolate. As Sue had already experienced the famous Schwartz's Deli on a previous visit, I decided L'Express would be a good option for lunch. The Parisian-like place was in fine form, including a grumpy Maître d', who huffily told me to remove my water bottle from the table. Or what? You won't serve me? Man, my days of snobby restaurant life are over. Lighten up!
I think Sue enjoyed her octopus and lentil salad and I was relieved when she also ordered a side of fries, or else my lunch would have looked mightily unhealthy in comparison. I feasted on what just may be the best sandwich in town, the Croque Monsieur from L'Express. Heaven. Think grilled ham and cheese, but such ham! and such cheese! Cooked to perfection and served with an immense jar of pickles maison (pictured above with Foodie Suz), this is the sandwich of my dreams.
I so enjoyed my time with Sue and we were never lacking for conversation. We swapped book titles, recipes and favorite blogs, yakked about our kids and compared travel stories. It was wonderful to meet her.
Thanks for looking me up, Sue, and for putting up with my driving!
PS: Here is Sue's rundown of our day, including a photo of yours truly on what was a very windy day where the wind was sculpting my hair into something unnatural!