Montreal

I had mixed feelings about celebrating Halloween in Canada as I always enjoy seeing the costumed children parading through the halls of my NYC apartment building.  So, I was thrilled to arrive back at the Loews Hotel Vogue after a day out exploring Montreal to find a note in my room paired with a decorated Mardi Gras-type mask inviting me to join in Halloween festivities at the Lux Bar adjacent to the lobby.

Montreal Road Trip 101

Francine, Bar Chef at Lux Bar for over twenty years, was greeting regulars when I arrived.  The twenty-or-so folks seated around the bar area all seemed to have a great rapport with Francine and were dressed in the spirit of the holiday with colorful wigs and sparkly attire.  I found an empty seat at the bar and Francine was quick to prepare a Champagne cocktail for me, complete with a hibiscus flower.  I gladly sipped the refined cocktail while taking in the scene and watching Francine work the room to ensure all of her guests were enjoying their evening.

Montreal Road Trip 104

I had a 7 p.m. reservation at Au Pied de Cochon and was running a little late due to the festivities at the Lux Bar at the hotel (It was hard to leave Francine and her delicious cocktails!), but finally I hopped in a cab and showed the driver the name of the restaurant. He wasn’t familiar…uh oh. Fortunately he called a friend to confirm and we were off for a 6-8 minute ride.  It was just out of walking distance, and the steady rain only reinforced that, so the $12 cab was well worth the investment.

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I arrived and instantly knew this was going to be an impressive experience.  The restaurant was packed to the gills and the hostess was lovely.  I was immediately seated at the bar overlooking the chefs’ work station which was the perfect distraction given I was dining solo.  I started with a medium body red wine.  I requested a light red but the server convinced me otherwise with his French-Canadian charm.

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After receiving my wine, I asked the waiter for his  recommendations in regards to the menu and clung to the words that I understood. Although he spoke perfect English, the dishes were very French and he rattled through them quickly and eloquently.  I, not so eloquently, proceeded to order the butternut squash appetizer.  I can’t really describe it as a soup, but it was served in a small Le Creuset pot and contained an amazing array of goodness: pureed butternut squash, very thin apple slices, cheese, chives, and small bacon bits.  Not only was it flavorful and tasty but it countered the cold, rainy fall evening perfectly.

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With my wine and appetizer, I felt cozy and relaxed as I sat at the counter hypnotized by the chefs hard at work behind the scenes.  In between courses I munched on warm crispy bread with butter.  This definitely tops my traditional Halloween evening…  As for my main course, I felt compelled to order a version of foie gras as it seemed to be a specialty, so I opted for the seasonal special which included a warm, baked apple.  The rich dish was so indulgent and scrumptious that it left no room for dessert.  A run will be in order tomorrow morning…

 

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Loews Hotels & Co.