We're back from our 3 day Montreal get-a-way. It was a blast! So much to do - so much going on...festivals, parades, performances, and of course, lots of great restaurants to try! A quick note - I was hoping this blog would be full of our pictures, but our camera lost it's charge on day 1...and neither of us thought to bring the charger! What a pain...
Before heading out, I googled GF restaurants and was pleased to find tons! Also, I packed up some fruit, veggies, and coconut-berry muffins for snacks and breakfasts.
Thursday: We arrived at our beautiful hotel located in the heart of everything, the Hyatt Regency. It has a great balcony with seating so that you can watch all the frenzy go by on the street below. We relaxed for a while, then headed out to walk around. After a less than appetizing meal at a place called La Femme (they thoroughly understood gluten free, but we didn't know that lobster could be ruined like that!), we stopped at Frites Alors for a late night snack. They specialize in - get this - FRENCH FRIES! YUM! They only fry french fries, so they were safe for me...YIPPEE! They have lots of GF sauces to choose from. I was in heaven!
Friday: We went to the open-air Jean Talon Market to marvel at all the produce, meats, cheeses, etc. I spotted some GF pasta that I had never seen before. We picked up some fresh fruits, veggies, some artisanal tortilla chips, and other treats for our picnic, then hiked up Mont Royal. Definitely a must! The views of the city were beautiful. We had our picnic at the park while fending off the fattest, most sly and scary squirrels we've ever seen. Afterwards, we drove around the sections of the city we hadn't seen before (this was my 2nd trip and my husband's 4th). At night, we headed out to Au Pied de Cochon, a unique place we read about in Gourmet Magazine. They understood GF and were able to meet my needs. We shared the beet and goat cheese salad and the sausage for appetizers, and I had the Happy Pork Chop for my dinner - and it was to die for!
Saturday: We road our bikes all around Old Montreal and popped into some cool art galleries. Lunch was our leftovers from Friday's picnic. For a snack, we stopped at the smoothie place on Place Jacques-Cartier (diagonally across from Ben & Jerry's in center of the street). It didn't seem to have a name, but they did make yummy smoothies using coconut milk and alternative sweeteners (honey and maple syrup, if you want). We took the metro out to Parc Jean-Drapeau, were there was another festival happening. We checked out the Biosphere and the casino. We thought we'd get a snack at the casino (the ones near us in CT have gourmet fare), but the food not only did not look appetizing, there wasn't much that would be safe. At one of the bars that served food, I was told that a burger couldn't be trusted to come without the bun. No thanks. Instead, we headed out to see the street performers and enjoyed a delicious meal at a microbrewery (the name is escaping me right now). Not sure that I want to mention this place anyway, as the waitress never had anyone order a burger without the bun before. Later, we bought some cider (there are 3 different kinds of ciders made in Canada - the hard stuff is on tap everywhere! We didn't have a chance to go to a cidrerie this time, but I highly recommend it) and sat out on our hotel's balcony.
Sunday: Before we left, we did a little shopping at Complexe Dejardins. They have a Franx Supreme in their food court, where you can get GF poutine (If you can do cheese, this stuff rocks! I did have a little taste)! We also hit Rotisserie Romado’s on Rue Rachel, a Portuguese rotisserie chicken place recommended by Gourmet Mag. We wished we had discovered this place earlier in our trip! Outstanding!
If you decide to check out Montreal, remember to double check on any foods or restaurants mentioned here - things change fast! Something that is safe now might not be safe next week. Overall, I found that this city is quite educated about food allergies and intolerance. Wait staff in general had a lot of knowledge, and there were many signs in both French and English about food allergies and contamination risks.