A Few Days in Montreal

IMG_8396.JPG(Pâtisserie Rhubarbe in the Plateau)

Although I grew up in the suburbs of Montreal, I never quite understood why people seemed to love and revere the city so much. “Montreal is so cosmopolitan! It’s just like Europe! Why would you ever leave?” people would exclaim upon meeting me. If it was, I had never seen it; my entire childhood consisted of soccer fields and attending school across from a nature reserve deep in the far reaches of the West Island. We went downtown once a year to do our Christmas shopping, but with the city all lit up for the holidays, it was difficult to get a sense of what it was really like.

I think I had to leave the city behind in order to learn how to love it. It wasn’t until I moved back to Montreal as an adult to attend university that I finally started to get the hype. I attended Concordia, located squarely in the middle of the downtown core. I worked on Ste-Catherine Street and in the Old Port. Suddenly I could start to see the appeal: everyone was speaking two languages interchangeably, there were cafes on every street corner, and amazing bread and croissants spilled out of every bakery I passed.

While I love living in Toronto now, I sometimes find myself missing Montreal. Luckily for me, I have lots of family living there, including one of my sisters, and it’s easy to buy a last-minute train ticket to pay her a weekend visit when the urge strikes. I finally returned to the city last weekend after nearly two years without a visit and spent my time exploring new (to me) parts of town, eating my own weight in bread along the way. Here are a few of my favourite stops:

Pâtisserie Rhubarbe, 5091 Rue De Lanaudière

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Thank you to my friend Caroline for sending me to Rhubarbe, a wonderful bakery tucked away in the Plateau Mont-Royal neighborhood. I spent an excellent afternoon drinking coffee, eating a cheese scone, and reading Love, Loss, and What We Ate by Padma Lakshmi.

Boulangerie de Froment et de Sève, 2355 Rue Beaubien Est

My sister suggested this bakery in her neighborhood of Rosemont-Petite-Patrie for croissants on my first morning in town and we somehow managed to return three times in as many days. Their bread looked (and tasted) absolutely delicious:

We also relied heavily on their cheese selection to build a charcuterie board for dinner one night:
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The sales clerk helped us select three Quebec cheeses: Riopelle de l’Isle (Fromagerie l’Île-aux-Grues), Pied-De-Vent (Fromagerie du Pied-De-Vent) and Bleu d’Elizabeth (Fromagerie du Presbytère). They paired very well together and I’m hoping I can find them in Toronto as well!

Boulangerie Les Co’Pains d’abord, 1965 Avenue du Mont-Royal E

We stopped at this bakery for a sandwich while Christmas shopping and it was so, so good:

Turkey, cheese, and mayo on a baguette. Is there anything better?

I’ll have to plan another trip to Montreal soon; we missed a few spots I wanted to try, such as Boulangerie Guillaume, and I didn’t get a chance to have my favourite Montreal classic, steamies from Resto Lafleur (judge me all you want, I grew up on hot dogs and I hereby declare that these are the BEST). Until then, I’ll keep hunting for good croissants closer to home!

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