Early this year, I briefly introduced those of you unfamiliar with Chuck Hughes to the greatness that is his cooking, which I discovered via the Cooking Channel. I mentioned that Cassie and I have been working through the logistics of taking a trip to Montreal to visit Garde Manger. The process went into high gear when I was challenged by Chuck Hughes himself to come to Montreal.
Well, Cassie and I were in Montreal on August 27 and 28 of 2011, just to eat at Garde Manger.
Every trip starts somewhere, and our trip starts with a gas stop at a small country store miles shy of the NY/Canada border.
When we reached the border, it was time to turn off my phone, since I did not have an international calling or data plan.
The kid who checked our passports at the border never heard of Chuck Hughes or his restaurant.
When we arrived at our hotel, The Hilton Bonaventure in Downtown Montreal, I took in the view, which was very Ancient Roman looking.
The interior of the hotel was very pretty. Oddly enough, the lobby floor was the top floor of the building. Turns out, the hotel is above a convention center. It took us a short time to figure out some of the intricacies of downtown Montreal. But, anyway, the hotel was nice.
After dropping our stuff in our room (also beautiful), we decided to take it to the streets and find something for lunch. Two main factors contributed to our lunch destination being Tim Hortons: (1) I was obsessed with seeing what they had at Tim Hortons, a place I hear much about but have never visited, and (2) within a 3 block walk and the surrounding areas within eyesight, we could not see anywhere else other than McDonalds, and that wasn’t about to happen in Montreal.
It’s ok; I got a surprise box filled with goodies.
We went back up to our room after lunch and started watching CNN coverage of Tropical Storm Irene, which had just hit North Carolina and was making its way up the east coast. I turned my phone on for three seconds to try to connect to WiFi and immediately received a text telling me I was gonna get charged for international data. The phone immediately got turned off.
Once we got tired of being scared that we would be stuck in Montreal for longer than we planned, we decided to ask the concierge how to get around. He indicated there was a whole “underground city.” To my surprise, the hotel was part of this, and we could walk through the whole underground city. Are you kidding me!?!?!
We took to the underground city. On the way, we encountered a bunch of shops that were closed.
Things weren’t looking good; everywhere seemed closed, but we kept walking. Have you ever seen the 1970 movie, Beneath the Planet of the Apes? The one where the apes are living underground and reveal that (**SPOILER ALERT**) the apes are actually humans in disguise worshiping an atomic bomb? Well, the passages to the underground city in Montreal are definitely the destroyed passages featured in this film.
I thought it was funny that I kept seeing signs for Les Halles de la Gare, being from middlegare and all.
It turns out that our walking paid off. We reached an area not unlike Penn Station, kept walking, and encountered a 3 floor mall, underground. I snapped a picture of something I thought was funny in the first store we stopped into, a liquor store,
and then I was told by an attendant in the store who was using her iPhone to take images to put my camera away. This annoyed me, enough for me to not take pictures of anything past this point.
It’s ok though, because once we walked through 2 floors of this mall, we decided it was time to make the moderate walk back to our room because it was almost time to start getting ready for our big dinner at Garde Manger, Chuck Hughes’s world famous restaurant.
Next time: derryX Dines: Garde Manger!