June 11th, 2010
Our mother always taught us that to be a true lady, we had to have impeccable table manners.
On a recent trip to Le Boucan we ignored her advice completely. We started by inhaling a plate of chicken nachos with a smoky tomato salsa ($10), and then licked our fingers clean after a plate of succulent BBQed ribs ($18). We didn’t even offer to share a single bite of our salty-sweet bacon brownies ($6) with our dining companions.
Sorry, mom. We’re still a lady. But we’re also a bit of a tramp.
Le Boucan, 1886 Notre-Dame St. W., Montreal, 514-439-4555, www.leboucan.com
May 6th, 2010
Sometimes a night under the big top can be as much of a trip as a week on the beach.
Directed by Quebec arts guru Robert Lepage, Cirque du Soleil’s new show blends the director’s trademark light projections with edge-of-your seat choreography. Totem took us to a magical fantasy land where flying lovers skim rippling waves, glow in the dark acrobats perform skin-tingling flips and a chiselled beach bum has abs that give new meaning to the term ‘circus freak.’
Grand Chapiteau at Quays of the Old Port, 1-800-450-1480, tickets from $55, www.cirquedusoleil.com
March 30th, 2010
Not into slushy treks through the woods? Neither are we.
Finally, la cabane à sucre has arrived downtown. Set in the glass-and-steel Jacques-Cartier Pavilion, La Cabane is a stylish sugar shack melding traditional décor (long wooden tables, moose head, and log-cabin wall) with modern touches like white leather banquettes and faux fur blankets. Enjoy live fiddle music and river views while feasting on creton with pork rinds, meaty cassoulet cooked in iron pots, and maple taffy served on-ice right at your table ($50/per person).
Now that’s sweet.
By reservation until April 11, Jacques-Cartier Pavilion, 514-914-9661, www.lacabane.ca
September 21st, 2009
We’ll go boldly barefaced during the summer months, but autumn begs for a smidge more coverage.
Valmont’s L’Elixir des Glaciers ($295) is giving us the perfect amount of teint, without the heavy feeling of foundation. With anti-aging ingredients like fish roe, each limited-edition bottle must be used within three months, which isn’t that hard when you see the results. Choose among four shades, smooth on with clean fingers, then head out with your tiniest clutch purse (no compact touch-ups needed) and your best face forward.
Still au naturel, only better.
L’Elixir des Glaciers Teint Précieux, at Valmont Beauty Lounge, 446 Ste-Hélène St., Montreal, 514-510-6850, www.evalmont.ch
August 27th, 2009
Your best pals are coming to town and the guest room is a blow-up mattress. Be a charming hostess and book them into Old Montreal’s newest bijou, Le Petit Hôtel.
Out-of-towners will feel right at home at this 24-room gem on cobbled St-Paul Street. The décor is simple but stylish, with splashes of orange and exposed brick and stone walls. But the biggest draws are the little touches, like massaging shower jets, professional-quality Elchim hair dryers, and Wii Fit consoles (with lime green yoga mats) in every room.
On second thought, let your friends have your bed and check yourself into the loft suite.
Rooms from $195. Le Petit Hôtel, 168 St-Paul W., Montreal, 514-940-0360, www.petithotelmontreal.com
August 14th, 2009
If a cosmopolitan is still your go-to cocktail, it’s time for new starts. We’re officially declaring absinthe the It-drink of 2010.
Develop a taste for this mysterious green elixir at Sarah B., an intimate new bar at the InterContinental hotel. Named after tragic actress Sarah Bernhardt (whose ghost is rumoured to wander the building), the green silk and velvet booths are soundproof (perfect for smoldering tête-à-têtes) and the cocktail menu (from $6) is sublime. We love the Jacques Cartier Collins, blended with Absolut Pear and limoncello, while the Absinthe Frappe made from Angostura bitter and basil leaves will leave you begging for more.
After all, absinthe makes the heart grow fonder.
Sarah B., InterContinental Montreal, 360 St-Antoine St .W., Montreal, 514-847-8532, www.barsarahb.com
July 31st, 2009
We don’t encourage regular twelve-o-clock cocktails, but some Friday lunches beg for a bevvie.
For these we head to Gazette, the Le Westin’s natty new eatery in Old Montreal. The name pays homage to the newspaper’s printing presses that once stood here, while the sublime cuisine honors this city’s love of market fare.
The lunch menu includes a marvelous mesclun salad with Benedictine blue cheese ($10), and a to-die-for smoked salmon and egg sandwich ($16). Choose a table overlooking Place Jean-Paul-Riopelle, and order the Urban Spice ($9.50) bloody caesar with fresh horseradish, marinated string bean and a hint of LBV port.
Finally, head upstairs to the Reporter lounge for a bespoke martini ($12.50)—your recipe is put on file for future visits—and call in sick for the rest of the day.
Gazette, 270 St. Antoine W., Montreal, 514-380-3333, ext. 5444, www.westin.com/montreal
July 17th, 2009
When nursing a broken heart, mindless distraction is key (thank you, Ugly Betty), as are cheese and carbs.
You’ll find all the homestyle classics at mod new eatery Résident. When in pain, devour a decadent plate of Lamb Shepherd’s Pie ($15), followed by an order of Sloppy Joseph served with homemade coleslaw ($13). The hammered tin ceiling and polished woodwork adds that extra bit of love. So as you bite into a chewy brownie (made by the chef’s mom), feel confident that your heart will go on.
Résident, 400 Notre-Dame St. E., Montreal, 514-844-1466, www.residentrestaurant.com
July 9th, 2009
With the recent opening of lobster shack Müvbox, there’s no need to make that six hour slog to Maine for claw fish cravings.
This funky red cantina on the waterfront serves authentic clam chowder (from $3.95), lobster rolls ($8.95) and even lobster pizza ($10.25). We gladly lined up for the lunch time special: small bowl of chowder, lobster roll and bag of chips ($14.95). Live jazz and fresh lobster tails all in one day? Montreal is officially the most perfect city in the world.
Quai des Éclusiers, Old Port, corner of McGill St. and de la Commune, www.muvboxconcept.com
May 26th, 2009
Now that our heavy coats have gone into storage we’re looking for some buzz-worthy baubles.
We’re making great impressions with fanciful pieces from designer Anne-Marie Chagnon. Her new TRA collection is filled with sculptural bracelets, rings and pendants (from $23) made from pewter, wood and resin. We especially love the colourful glass and metal necklaces that can be reconfigured as bracelets.
See, we’re blooming faster than the spring flowers.
At Espace Pepin, 350 St-Paul W., Montreal, 514-844-0114, www.annemariechagnon.com