Bari is perhaps my only friend who is every bit as food-obsessed as I am. First thing both of us did when we decided to meet in Montreal was start prowling food blogs, reviews, Urban Spoon, Zagat– scoping out out best meals in the city. We started off with a brunch at Le Cartet, heralded as one of the best brunches in the city, a big open space, half restaurant, half shi-shi gourmet market, right in Old Montreal. After an short little wait in line, we sat down and started the excruciating process of ordering. Thankfully, Bari is a sharer, so we get to do the double meal thing. Except… we usually order three meals and somehow fit it all in to our greedy foodie tummies. So we got “Brunch Sante:” yogurt with house made granola and blueberries, fruit, cheese, and thick crusty toast with a little smear of goat cheese, topped with bitter greens and a poached egg. I have no idea how, but that toast-goat-greens-egg combination was totally spectacular. More-than-the-sum-of-its-parts kind of deal.
Then: scrambled eggs with asparagus and cheddar and a side of smoked salmon. Then: French toast made with heaven-on-earth hazelnut bread and topped with what we believe to be extra-tart apple sauce and a big handful of blueberries. Our waiter was trying not to look horrified/impressed with our order. And even more so when he came to clear our plates, and found them totally empty. Later that night we had a massive meal (more on that later) but woke up on Sunday and headed out for another brunch, stomachs growling.
This time at Lawrence, a place we had considered, but was confirmed as a top brunch pick by our Montreal foodie water at dinner. Arriving to a chock-a-block restaurant, we prowled hungrily down the street in search of coffee and a little smackerel to wait our turn, and found ourselves as a deliciously funky café, where we held ourselves over with americanos and lattes and a big peach muffin.
Finally we got the call and rushed back down the block to take our spot at the bar. Not quite hungry enough for three big brunch-sized breakfasts, we ordered just two this time. English breakfast: one perfect sunny-side-up egg, thick toast, a roasted tomato (an idea which I plan to steal and have in my life on a regular basis), house made bacon, sausage, and black pudding. All so good, the rich fattiness of it all crying out for tartness, answered by the tomato. The black pudding…we did our best. But no, not beloved. And our second dish, a sausage and egg roll. Milk bun with a house made (of course) sausage patty, a bit of beautiful cheese, another perfect egg, tomato, and arugula. The McMuffin’s mega posh, very very distant cousin. Also very good.
We contemplated the French toast (topped with pears and cranberries in the Lawrence version) but our extraordinarily full bellies cried out for us to please, for the love of all that is holy, stop. So instead we waddled out and wandered the Plateau for a bit, went for a lovely tour up onto Mount Royal with our excellent local tour guide friends, then… went to the Atwater market for maybe just a tiny little snack. (Here’s Bari, global foodie companion.)