It’s June in Houston, Texas and with the 93 degree Fahrenheit (34 degrees Celsius) heat and humidity, summer is in full swing! So while my sons are off on their own adventures at camp and in Japan (yes, Japan!), my boyfriend and I decided to take a break from the heat and head up to Montreal for a quick trip – fabulous decision! I’ve always wanted to visit “the Paris of North America” and Montreal surpassed my expectations with much of the glamour and architecture of the French capital, but also a little something more – amazing hospitality!
This blog is about rebooting my closet, yes, but attitude and disposition are such a vital part of personal style that I think they’re worth a mention. These people were lovely, simply lovely! Here we were not two hours away from the G7 summit where our leaders were trading barbs, and yet, almost everyone we met went out of their way to make us feel welcome. I’m not going to get political here – that’s not the point. The hospitality far transcended politics right down to the language or more appropriately, languages because everyone we met spoke a minimum of two. I was blown away by how fluidly and graciously the locals switched back and forth between flawless English and French to accommodate whoever they were speaking to – fantastique!
We had not been in the city an hour before this wonderful gentleman named Pasquale
found us on the street peering at a map and obviously looking a little lost. He was just walking by on his way home from work and took it upon himself to show us around the old port area of the city. He helped us book reservations at a few amazing restaurants and generously invited us to share dinner with him, his wife Angela, and two of their dear friends Yaffa and Louis the next evening at Les Pyrenees. It was a fabulous meal and evening from the delectable paella and sea bass to the captivating company and the beautiful evening tour on the pier after dinner. Pasquale, you have a Texas care package heading your way! Also, if you follow me on Instagram, you might recognize the Rent the Runway Unlimited outfit I wore to dinner. My Stuart Weitzman shoes were perfect with it, but maybe not the best choice for the charming cobblestone streets – what we won’t sacrifice for fashion!
Pasquale also sent us to Jardin Nelson for lunch that day which is a place that the locals frequent for their amazing brunch, lunch and dinner menus in addition to delightful jazz music out on the rain catcher shaded patio. The food was amazing! We had crepes which are very popular in Montreal and a delicious pesto fondue, but the show stopper was the dessert our lovely hostess sent us called pouding chomeur which is an old Montreal favorite apparently baked by grandmamas all over the countryside. On another note, as you will see in several of my pictures, that denim jacket Steph talked me into came very much in handy on this trip where temperatures ranged from 74 degrees F (23 degrees C) during the day to the high 50s (15 C) at night!
Pasquale also walked us over to make reservations at Gibby’s where we were told to order steaks and they did not disappoint. What I really enjoyed about Gibby’s besides the food and the adorable hostess who kept fussing over us like a favorite auntie was the history. Gibby’s is located in an old horse stable and garrison that is part of the historic Place d’Youville square in old Montreal. We were fascinated with how low and small the entry was where the horses and carriages used to enter the courtyard near the garrison – humans have definitely gotten bigger in the last century.
We also enjoyed a fabulous late birthday meal at Bistro Modavie where we listened to wonderful live music and watched people walking up and down Saint-Paul on our last evening. Another amazing waitress who was absolutely adorable and really enjoying hosting my late birthday meal. This time I went with my favorite little black dress to help me try to remember not to overeat. With all the delicious food throughout our trip, I was really worried about fitting into the outfits Christiane helped me pick out for this week! Our saving grace was that we did so much walking through the old port area and up Mount Royal in the center of Montreal. Walking to your destination in Houston is not very common given the heat and just the way most of our city is laid out so the experience in Montreal was pretty novel. It also helped explain how these folks can afford to eat so well while staying trim and it worked for us too because my clothes for the week still fit – yay!
This was my “food” post – I’ll follow up with “fun” in part 2 and “fashion” in part 3. In the meantime, you can check out a few videos I took with some of my new friends in Montreal on the Closet Reboot Instagram page.