May 27, 2014

The Adventures of JennJenn and Kate in Montreal...Day 1

Once I got word that I would be participating in the Cadillac Canada and Klout Perks - #CTSdrive over the Victoria Day long-weekend, I knew a road trip HAD TO HAPPEN! I called up @thatgircartier (Kate) and asked if she would be down for a mini-vacay to Old Montreal, and thankfully she was on board!

Cadillac Canada dropped the CTS off to me on Friday night, and then it was officially vacation time! Well...after I dropped my dog off at my mother's for the weekend, finished packing and figured out what all buttons did in the CTS. THEN...it was vacation time! Before embarking on a road trip, you should most definitely ensure you and your friends want the same thing from the trip, and set some realistic goals and expectations. You can see some more tips for road tripping with friends HERE.

Kate and I hit the road bright and early on Saturday. We wanted to get to Old Montreal as early as possible knowing we had to leave the next evening. As luck would have it, we didn't hit too much traffic on the way and got to Old Montreal by approximately 12:30pm. Which, of course is lunch time, and when you're on vacation...lunch is served with a pitcher of sangria and a side order of poutine, obvs! Oh, and when the sangria runs low...order a pint and add that, as demonstrated by Kate below! 

Looking up from my seat on the patio at Montreal Poutine
We sat on the patio at Montreal Poutine and caught the Montreal Canadiens game with some of the locals, as well as some out of towners who we made friends with! We ordered a poutine and corndog trio that was served with coleslaw, as well. 
Poutine - Corndog - Coleslaw Trio at Montreal Poutine!
The wine for our sangria came from a box, I felt so at home at Montreal Poutine!
After lunch we decided to walk around a bit more. We were so lucky - the weather was perfect all weekend! We had another drink on a different patio and picked up some bubbly for the room. 



We stayed at this adorably quaint hotel, Celebrities. I was really hoping we would get one of the rooms with Marilyn Monroe or Audrey Hepburn poster...but alas, we got flowers on the wall! Womp Womp! The hotel was perfect though, everything and everywhere we had to visit was within walking distance. Parfait, as the french would say! Probably in a much better accent than I...anywho...
I'm a happy camper with 2 bottles of bubbly!
On the door of a Glamour Room at Celebrities
Once we put ourselves together (read: drank a bottle of bubbly), we were on our way to dinner at Auberge St Gabriel. This is more than just your regular restaurant. Upon walking in, my breath was taken away but the sheer beauty of the venue. We were seated and given menus, and promptly visited by our sommelier of the night,  Jean-Michel. He helped us choose the right wine for our dinner and both Kate and I were impressed! I ordered the Maple Syrup Glazed Veal Shank with a Lightly Spiced Jus served with a Seasonal Vegetable Cassolette! Ummm...holy smokes, this may have been the BEST dinner dish I have ever had. I could not stop eating it! Both the veal and the vegetables were served in cast iron dishes, and the waiter poured the maple syrup glaze over the veal at the table. It was fall-off-the-bone, melt-in-your-mouth delicious. The vegetable cassolette had brussel sprouts in it, and their flavour overpowered the other vegetables, but it was still delicious! That coming from a not-very-big fan of brussel sprouts!
Jean-Michel helping with our wine selection at Auberge St. Gabriel
Maple Syrup Glazed Veal Shank with a Vegetable Cassolette
After dinner, we walked over to La Champagnerie. La Champagnerie is a champagne and cocktail bar located in Old Montreal, and OF COURSE we had to stop in! Hello, "blogger | tweeter | champagne drinker". I was so lucky because I got to experience the "sabering" experience first hand, and #MakeItPop! Sabering is a way of opening a bottle of champagne with a saber. Typically it is used for ceremonial occasions, which, in my opinion this totally was! When sabering a bottle, the saber is slid along the body (you can feel with your finger a ridge along the body of the bottle of champagne) of the bottle to break the entire neck away from the bottle. This should leave the bottle open and ready to pour. The sheer force of the blunt side of the blade hitting the lip breaks the glass to separate the collar from the neck of the bottle. I learned that you should most definitely not use the sharp side of the blade. After I sabered the bottle, I was able to climb up a ladder, and make a wish with my cork. Now we play the waiting game to see is said wish comes true! *fingers crossed*



La Champagnerie is yet another beautiful venue. With a long bar in the center of the main room, and tables to each side - there was plenty of seating area. There was also another bar towards the back of the venue, which offered even more seating. Luckily, we had reserved seating at prime bar seats, because we got there around 9:45pm and the place was already getting VERY busy! The DJ was spinning some great beats as we were presented with a tasting plate and a specialty cocktail each, I ordered the "Orange Sanuine et spices".  Yes, JUST what we needed after dinner at Auberge St Gabriel - MORE FOOD! (Hello, please detect my sarcasm!) This tasting plate came with THE BIGGEST prawns I have ever seen in my life! And, the dipping sauce had champagne in it! Heavenly. 

Enjoying the Orange Sanuine et spices at La Champagnerie


We decided to head back to the room for a bit after La Champagnerie (read: we were in a meat coma!). Poor Kate felt a little under the weather, so I had a bit more bubbly in the room and made my way over to Joverse. I got there around 11:30pm-11:45pm, and there was already a lineup to get in! I could hear the music from outside and was quite eager to get in and check it out! Once I waled in I was shocked by the amount of people there already! It was quite busy with a beautiful crowd, hello Old Montreal! I was a little late for the reservation, so I missed out on the tapas that were arranged...but that was ok, seeing as I couldn't eat another bite of food if I had tried! I met with the manager, we grabbed a drink and she showed me around a bit. I knew it was too busy for her to stay with me all night, so I went exploring by myself. Joverse really reminded me of nightclubs/bars in New York and Vancouver. You could go earlier, get some food and then stay as the restaurant/bar turns into a nightclub. Mind you, the main floor didn't have too much dancing space, that I could see, but downstairs - in the Red Room, there was plenty! For someone who doesn't really like big crowds, this room was a hidden gem! It wasn't as busy as upstairs and it was literally red. Red lighting cast over the entire room. I was able to walk up to the bar and easily order another drink. I met a few people at Joverse, most were from out of town who had heard about the club from friends. It's definitely a hot spot in Montreal, and if you visit, you're sure to have a fun time! 

Joverse is has a "New York vibe - European soul - Montreal heart!"





I headed back to the room after Joverse for some much need rest. It had been a long day, and I knew the next day was going to be even longer! 


Stay tuned for The Adventures of JennJenn and Kate in Montreal...Day 2!

Disclaimer: Dinner was comped at L'Auberge, as were some cocktails and the charcuterie plate at L'Champagnie. As per usual, my views are always my own and I thoroughly enjoyed everything. That really was the best veal shank I have ever had!