Oh wow, is going on holiday ever a reminder of how miserable my job makes me? Screw that, let’s pretend even if for only one more day that I’m not getting my soul systematically sucked away in a cubicle.
Our last day in Montreal was basically set to be a wrap up day. Were there any spots we had yet to hit? Was there anywhere we needed to give a second glance? What did we have yet to eat? Could we accomplish all of this before our 4pm departure? First off, we didn’t leave the house until just before midday, so the answer to most of the above was a resounding NOPE. We shouldered our bags, packed up the pork leftovers from Friday night’s Liverpool House experience and hit the road.
My girlfriend had hoped to get back to a certain boutique, so we opted to get back to Le Plateau-Mont-Royal one last time. First up though, we stopped off at a heavily recommended patisserie: Pâtisserie Au Kouign Amann. Thing was, a few friends had steered us towards it, but hadn’t mentioned what exactly we were supposed to try. They didn’t offer a ton and their house special (the Kouign Amann for which they’re named) was half an hour from being ready. I’ve never been hugely into buttery pastries, so instead I grabbed a small blueberry cake. It was soft and sweet, with a faint trace of almond paste (like you’d find in an almond croissant) inside. It was… fine I guess? I dunno, I love baked goods, but found myself kind of underwhelmed. Perhaps the place had been built up too much. It was reasonably priced and I’d happily eat something like it again, but wouldn’t go out of my way for it.
We wandered the area seeing if anything would newly catch our eyes. A café, Dispatch Coffee had previously stuck out with its stark, minimalist interior. Very European, seating was a bizarre assortment of tiered concrete steps and flat wooden benches. The staff seemed to really know their shit, calmly measuring out each shot and composing each drink in a way that skewed both mechanical and artful. Using a mocha as my common litmus test, it was decent but not spectacular. Perhaps on the fluffier side than I’m used to for a latte style drink, but the coffee itself was nice.
My girlfriend popped into her boutiques and I walked around a little. I circumnavigated the block, making a point of checking out the alleyway behind. As I’d suspected, there was a ton of awesome street art. My girlfriend disappointingly didn’t have a ton of luck in finding anything new. Liking the clothes, but not loving the fit, she resolved to only get something she fell in love with. Marie Kondo would be proud. She salved the sting by getting a delicious and moist balsamic chocolate brownie and a hot chocolate (that ended up being literal melted chocolate. Holy shit the small size was a self-contained heart attack).
The time had come to transit further out of town and meet our rideshare. We hopped on the metro and arrived at the Harveys parking lot right by the Namur station. Realising time was rapidly dwindling, we bathroomed in that same Harveys, then pulled our leftover pork in the parking lot. There we were, scoffing down the leftovers of a $68 pork dish in a parking lot that seagulls used as a toilet. If a trip needs a signal that the holiday is over, that was ours. We awaited our ride home, hoping that our driver wasn’t a murder enthusiast.
As luck would have it, she turned out to be great. She had a roomy SUV and was fine with us eating our leftovers en route. She’d been in town visiting her long distance boyfriend. Oddly enough, our fellow passenger was visiting his long distance partner too. My girlfriend and I felt so left out of the club. She was a Toronto based teacher and our other passenger was a traffic engineer. More than once I wondered how we’d fare if our car crashed in the wilderness and had to survive through a combination of shared skills and teamwork. The drive back was great. Everyone was friendly and open. We had in depth chats about all manner of subjects: Society and privilege, changing generations, concepts of gender and sexuality, global acculturation, plus a ton more. By the time we’d arrived home in Toronto, it almost seemed like we’d made new friends.
So the holiday may be over, but at least we’ll always have memories of snarfing down expensive leftovers in the parking lot of a strip mall. Montreal, it’s what you make it.