Browsing "Quebec"
Feb 10, 2011 -

Beer Buying Adventure

Washington is such a civilized state. Like in Quebec, you can buy beer at the grocery or convenience store! And it’s super cheap, too, as low as a dollar a beer for some brands! I went out to get some fresh seafood for dinner tonight and was lured into the ‘beer cave’ (which appears to be Washington parlance).

Mesmerized by the selection and low prices, I barely took notice of someone entering the beer cave hot on my heels. It was a store employee.

“Miss! You need to be 21 to be in here!”

“I’m well over 21!” (I’ll be 32 next month!)

“Let me see some ID, please.” I pulled out my driver’s license and she squinted at it. “This won’t work; I need government issued ID.”

“It’s my Yukon, um Canadian, driver’s license.” (No one here seems to know what the Yukon is. I’ve been describing it as ‘between BC and Alaska’ (‘There’s something between BC and Alaska?’).)

“That’s a driver’s license?!” The Yukon license is a piece of cardboard with your information typewritten on it and a Polaroid of you glued to it, with the whole thing laminated. I could understand the reaction.

“Yes. That’s what five bucks a year will get you!”

Must have been a good answer since she just shook her head and left me to choose my beer in peace. I ended up going with a locally brewed pale ale.

Must have made quite an impression since I wasn’t carded a second time at the cash.

BTW, you can buy a salmon fillet and five prawns for $4 in Washington. I won’t even get into the price of produce!

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Canada, Finances, Funny, Law and Government, Personal, Quebec, Shopping, Travel, USA, Vehicle Registration & License, Washingon    11 Comments
Nov 10, 2010 -

Falafel Heaven

I was out and about with my mother today. We were sitting in the horrible Montreal traffic at 6PM, heading home, and famished when she took a detour. I didn’t think anything of it until we stopped in a near-residential neighbourhood. There, she told me we were picking up falafel and baklava for dinner!

We entered a world I had nearly forgotten existed. A Lebanese bakery with racks piled high with sweets dripping with rose water and honey and a deli counter with all manner of manaeesh. The sandwiches are made to order and authentic; I can always tell that they will be good when their maker bosses me around and makes me take ‘everything’ even though I’m not crazy about the marinated turnips!

Oh, that falafel was like finding the oasis in the desert. Perfectly spiced, coated with sesame seeds, drizzled in tahini, and resting on a bed of parsley and mint then wrapped Lebanese style in a thin pita. I realised then that, for me, the concept of ‘home’ is intimately tied with food.

Everything I ate this week convinced me that the cuisine of western and northern Canada is generally bland. The teeming mass of mixed cultures in the most populated provinces, namely Quebec and Ontario, make for dishes that electrify the taste buds. I went to a restaurant on Saturday where an option was za’atar encrusted halibut. I haven’t seen za’atar on a menu in two years!

Asian dishes, like the sushi I also had this week, are the only thing I find ‘as good’ out west, and that’s because the immigrant population out there is pre-dominantly Asian. I’m not saying there aren’t any good restaurants out there, just that the savory cuisines I took for granted growing up aren’t as readily available.

My week in Montreal has come to an end (!) and it can best be summed up as a gastronomic journey. What did I do all week? I ate! 😀

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Canada, Quebec, Travel    No Comments
Nov 10, 2010 -

Montreal Urban Legend

Jacques Cartier Bridge seen from Montreal

Until this afternoon, I believed like many Quebecers, that the Jacques-Cartier Bridge was designed by Gustav Eiffel, or that the bridge was a gift from France. Not without reason:

The finials are not ‘Eiffel towers’, but sure do resemble them! They measure 13′ and weigh 6 tons!

Bonus picture of the day:

Olympic tower seen from the Jacques Cartier bridge through the suicide prevention barrier

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Canada, Quebec, Travel    2 Comments