A typical Saturday in Montreal may go a little something like this: wake up painfully, rub the dust out of your eyes as you glance sideways at the clock beside your bed, realize — Mon Dieu — it’s almost 1pm and you feel like you may still be tipsy. But alas, there is a cure! It comes in the form of food: two eggs topped with Hollandaise sauce, delicately placed atop a bed of caramelized onions and cheddar on gently toasted English muffins, alongside a cafe au lait big enough to stop traffic. And where may one procure such decadent offerings? At L’Avenue on Mont-Royal. Amid the retro motorcycles, chaotic checkered floor and blaring dance music, there is solace here that you can eat with a fork and knife.
In the culinary oasis that awaits you, anything that you may crave for breakfast is probably available — so long as you can make it before 4pm.
After a wander through the dappled sunshine in nearby Parc LaFontaine, you grab a BIXI bike and head to Plus Que Parfait for some breakfast dessert. You carefully scrutinize the deliciously sculpted piles of gelato and creme-glacée (ice cream) and, after drooling over the handmade waffle-cone-making process, decide on a small waffle cone filled with an ample scoop of creamy noisette. As the hipster ice cream girl is scooping it into the cone, she says to you with a grin: Noisette – c’est la meilleure! Translation: Noisette is the best. You dish out $3.50, dash outside to find a sliver of emanating sunshine, and after one lick determine that even if noisette is not the best, its melt-in-your-mouth creamy texture and delicate blend of bitter and sweet make it a most memorable flavor sensation.
It is such a nice day you decide to take a long walk by Mont-Royal before sunset. Amongst the hippies and Rastafarians beating on their drums, there is a congregation of hipsters sitting on brightly-colored blankets sipping wine from the bottle and Grolsch from tall cans. You clamber upward through the trees until you reach the top of the mountain, the urban skyline glistening under the gentle haze of dusk. You head down the hill after, racing against time as the sky turns from a cool blue to midnight black, chasing the shadows as they fall, realizing, yet again, that your tummy is rumbling for a little something.
After all of that decadence, you crave something healthy, exotic, and delicious. Aha! Isakaya is the answer. A cozy, delicious, authentic Japanese restaurant that serves more than just sushi and tempura. You immediately order some hot sake and eye the specials menu. Pan-seared sea scallops atop a bed of spinach in special sauce. Edamame. Deep fried oyster motoyaki. Grilled Octopus. As your first plate arrives and you slowly grasp your smooth white sake cup in the palm of your hand, you think to yourself how this may just have been a perfect day, and the night hasn’t even started yet.