(james benedict brown) on the road

Hostie, c’était si bon j’ai pleuré…

Posted in Posts by James Benedict Brown on 8 September, 2006

I am back in Montréal. The last trip has ended, and I’m now getting ready to leave Canada for England on Sunday night. This year is almost over, the work permit has almost expired, and the time has come to wind things up here in Québec. I got back from my travels last night; I will do some retrospective blogging today to bring everything up to date, so please scroll down in the next couple of days to see if I have written anything new since my last entry at the Mamou Cajun Festival in Louisiana.

Several months ago, I started work again and endured a difficult couple of weeks while my pay (which was deposited into my bank two weeks in arrears) backed up. However, this meant that while I was away on holiday, I continued to receive pay cheques from my former employer. So I now have (for the first time ever in Montréal) a little bit of cash in my pocket, with which to enjoy the last weekend. So if you speak to me nicely this weekend, the drinks are on me. I walked down to my caisse this morning to close my bank account, and to transfer the remaining cash to my British bank. The bank clerk was delighted to give me $8.11, explaining that $5 I had deposited as a membership fee when I opened the account had matured rather nicely. Yeah, great, but you’re not going to give me back the scandalous $3.95 I had to pay every month since just for the privilege of being allowed twelve (!) transactions a month, are you…. grrr.

Once my business with the inept money grabbing gonks at the Caisse Desjardins was concluded, I walked south on Saint Denis for breakfast at Montréal’s legendary bistro L’Express. If you haven’t been (and this was my first time) I recommend it very highly. I arrived in time for a late breakfast just as the kitchen and serving staff were sitting down at the back of the restaurant for their communal lunch before the midday rush. And wow, was it good… I really did almost cry. Very good coffee, freshly squeezed orange juice and french toast that was fluffier, lighter and more enjoyable than any I’ve tasted elsewhere. I had a second course of stirred yoghurt and chilled fruits that cleaned the palate and made me want to come straight back for lunch.

Not only was the food amazing, the service was perfect. The waiters and waitresses wore pressed white shirts, spotless black aprons and sexy designer spectacles. In many restaurants I hate to find myself interupted shortly after the food is served by an over zealous drone server who wants to know if “everything is ok”… at L’Express I was overjoyed to be just left alone. I knew full well that if there was a problem, the observant and attentive waiter would have been by my side within seconds… they were that good. When I turned down the third cup of coffee, a glass of iced water was automatically delivered instead. Hallelujiah, I have found bistro heaven…

I was honoured to do my bit to dispell the myth that English people don’t tip well by leaving a healthy stack of toonies on top of my $18 bill.

More of that kind of extravagant eating out to follow this weekend. I’m leaving Montréal on a happy note.

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One Response

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  1. Wayne Ordinary American said, on 9 September, 2006 at 14:05

    You’re just rubbing it in for fun, aren’t you?
    I’m glad you enjoyed your breakfast and the more I read your blog the more I’m enjoying it–so it’s kind of like a trade off, isn’t it?
    Hope you have a safe trip back to the UK. I look forward to reading more!

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