Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Review: Montreal 24

We love Montreal.  Ever since our first visit in 2003 we have found the City inviting, interesting, eclectic, energetic (without being demanding) and delicious.  It didn't take us long to buy a small vacation apartment in Old Montreal (at the time we lived in Pennsylvania and was just a 9 hour drive, or short plane flight away).   We come up in all seasons, even winter. I always say I need at least 2 to 3 weeks of winter now that we live in Florida.  We love to explore Montreal on foot and by car.  We love our old standby places to eat but always want to try something new (new to us).  I've read history books of Quebec and Montreal.  I've tried, with limited, success to gain a bit of mastery over the French language. We've met a few people in our building and through twitter. And after 9 years of visits, we find we still have so much to experience and learn. and yet we feel oddly at home.

Montreal 24 is the most recent book on Montreal that I've read and it is wonderfully thoughtful and informative.  Written by Bill Brownstein a long time columnist for the Montreal Gazette commenting on city and cultural life in MOntreal, the book explores Montreal one hour at a time. Starting at midnight at the Garde-Manger he works around the city an hour at a time visiting such landmarks as Fairmont Bagels, Joe Beef, L'Express, Boustan's, La Banquise, Wilensky's and more.  He talks food: chicken schwarmas, poutine, grilled salami/bologna sandwiches and egg rolls.  He talks entertainment: Grumpy's bastion of bluegrass, Cafe Cleopatra's burlesque/stripjoint complete w/ dragqueens, Toyko's nightclub. But the best part of the the book is when  he talks about people.  Colorful hard-working, serious-eating, talented, off beat, and proud to be Montrealer people. The book is a window into the heart and soul of the City. A must read for anyone who loves Montreal like we do.

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