Welcome to Second Ferment! Wine pairs well with life ... and food, travel, people, work and play. Grab a glass and join me as I explore the wine scene in Ottawa, Canada, and beyond. Love hearing from my readers, so please leave a comment. Cheers! - Bethany

Tuesday, April 02, 2013

Family Circus in Montréal

Remember them? Billy, Dolly, Jeffy and PJ? My mum had a Family Circus treasury all about them on vacation. The cover had been torn off and the dog-eared pages were slowly disintegrating from many readings, mostly of my doing. I was too young to get some of the more grown-up humour, but there were a few visual puns that had me giggling because they were oh-so-true. Like this one:

Now that I have two kids of my own, I can *so* relate. Somehow, a simple, two-nights' stay in Montreal over Easter weekend required a massive amount of luggage: stuffies, diapers, all-purpose weather gear, snacks, travel bed, full line-up of kids' movies for the drive, more snacks, sippy cups, bathing suits ... We crammed it all into the car with room to spare for sitting, and off we went!

This was our first hotel-based trip with both girls. I didn't know what to expect, and planned plenty of activities to keep them occupied. In the end, I should have followed their suggestion to spend the entire time in the hotel swimming pool.

We thought it would be FUN to ride the Metro across town to see the Botanical Gardens, Insectarium and Biodome. So we did. And then traipsed about the garden grounds and through the greenhouses to see the butterflies flying free. Then we walked. We stopped at the insectarium to ewww and aaaaaaah over hundreds of pinned-down specimens under glass (I have to admit the terrarium with the stick bugs was pretty cool.) Then we walked some more. Sometime well after the usual lunch hour we arrived at the Biodome, but Dear Daughter #2 was so far gone from hunger/fatigue/boredom/general malaise that we had to do an abridged tour of the ecosystems, screaming child in tow. GOOD TIMES.

And when it was all over, and we were finally sitting down to have lunch around 2:30 in the afternoon, we asked the kids if they'd like to go back to the hotel for a swim.

I swear, I have never seen their energy come back so quickly. Wish ours had as well. Note for next time: all it takes is a hotel pool. Leave the extra gear and sightseeing plans at home.

Drank / bought some good finds over the weekend:

Les Trois Brasseurs La Belle Province Amber Ale - Golden-brown colour, fairly mellow, with a kickback of bitterness balanced by pleasant sweetness from caramel malt and maple syrup. I haven't been to the 3Brewers location on Sparks yet; if it's anything like the one in Montréal, they'll do well for themselves. The poutine, in particular, is delish, as were the flammekeuches, an Alsatian take on flatbread pizza.

After a drawn-out debate over where to go to dinner (and how we were going to get there; "Why don't we just take the car?" says the eldest child) we wound up at Boccocino's. It reminded me quite a bit of Macaroni Grill, both in ambiance and offerings. Not exactly haute cuisine,  here. (When you're travelling with children, 'family-friendly' dictates where you will eat.) But the food was good: generous bowls of piping-hot penne, fettucine and spaghetti hit the spot in a big way.

Before heading home, we stopped in at the SAQ so I could stock up on some 'William' white from Vignoble Rivière du Chêne and other Quebec gems. Sadly, the SAQ seems to have the same mentality as the LCBO about promoting local products. It took 20 minutes and two staffers to track down the William, and they finally realized that the Quebec wines were under the section of "other Canadian and international wines", a mere two-shelved stand bearing a few bottles of Mission Hill and a bunch of cellared-in-Canada crap. Sigh ... 

1 comment:

  1. Oh dear. What is it with liquor stores? Now I know who to call before I go to Quebec next. I know nothing about Quebec wine.


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