Other stuff we did in Montreal

Posted on July 15, 2014

 

Ate bagels:IMG_1131we tried bagels from the two famous Montreal spots-St. Viateur and Fairmount-on our first morning and on our way out of town. They are very good, especially the ones straight out of the wood-fired oven. The first time we went I made the mistake of just ordering the flavor that sounded good to me instead of asking what was freshest and was jealous of Ted’s sesame seed. Don’t be like me.

Notre Dame Basilica:

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It’s really beautiful and nice and cool inside. The square outside is all cobblestones and street performers and when we passed by in the evening, bells were ringing. Ted took some of my favorite pictures of the trip while we were hanging out, listening to a tour guide.

Carried the stroller up and down a whole lot of stairs:

IMG_1112This was mainly done by Ted. Bless him. We didn’t see a single elevator in the metro stations, so good thing our stroller is pretty lightweight.

Farmer’s marketing it up:

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always a crowd pleaser on trips. The Jean-Talon market is a thing of beauty. So much bright-colored, perfectly ripe fruit. We bought a thing of strawberries that were red all the way through, just as they should be. We shared a cup of ice cream and it was definitely the best I’ve had outside of Italy. Pear, burnt-caramel maple, and vanilla, yum. Ted got tacos and I had an order of bhajis with tamarind chutney and we were both good for the rest of the night.

Smiled at everyone on the metro:

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the cutest one of us. He would stare at people until they looked back, then grin like a little baby maniac.

Jardin Biologique:

IMG_1231 IMG_1235 IMG_1241 IMG_1246 IMG_1250 IMG_1256 IMG_1257 IMG_1291We walked around this huge park full of different types of gardens on Sunday afternoon because it’s right next to the church. Thre was a Japanese garden, a Chinese garden, Alpine rock gardens, Rose gardens, gardens full of only plants that can be used as medicines or food. Also a bug exhibit that Ted dragged me to at the end when I was dying from not sleeping and lots of walking in the hot sun. Some friends had posted pictures of these amazing huge shrub sculptures and we were looking for them the whole time we walked around, so it was kind of sad when we asked at the very end and found out that it was just a temporary exhibit. Still worth it.

Almost spoke French:

IMG_1283 Me. Too chicken. But I loved hearing it all around us.

Old Town/Harbor:

IMG_1122super touristy and fancy, lots of people from cruise boats. We still had a really good time walking around one evening right before Julian’s bedtime. We went to a little bakery there called Olive et Gourmando and got some yummy pastries.

Nursing in public:

IMG_1294 IMG_1295we were at a hippie restaurant (Santropol. Killer Tomato sandwich, highly recommend. Ted waited in line at a different place called Schwartz’s to get a smoked meat sandwich that is famous in Montreal and said it was amazing.) that seated us in their beautiful back garden when Julian got hungry. Julian doesn’t do great with a cover, so a really nice waitress helped me find a chair out of the way for a little privacy.

Poutine:

IMG_1128apparently, you are not allowed to go to Montreal and not eat poutine. One night after Julian was asleep and we hadn’t had dinner yet, I left Ted at the apartment watching World Cup on his iPad while I went on a little adventure for pastries and poutine which we then ate on the back patio and watched the neighbor’s laundry blow around in the wind.

Got really worn out and had a lot of fun:

IMG_1135all of us. As far as Julian, we can’t say for sure that he had fun but he sure was a good sport missing naps and napping in the stroller and being in an unfamiliar place.

 

 

World Cup Snacks

Posted on July 13, 2014

IMG_1160Happy World Cup finals, y’all. Go Argentina! We are watching with Ted’s sister Maggie and her husband Al in Richmond, VA where we impulsively decided to come visit them for the weekend. Our poor #1 USA fan was pretty disappointed when we got eliminated but we’ve stuck with it and watched more soccer (more sports in general really) this month than I ever have in my life. A lot of people in Ted’s class have gotten really into it and it’s been fun to watch along with everyone. We had people over for a few of the games and my friend Melissa made the most delicious Brazilian cheesy rolls to honor the host country. We made them twice and tried a different kind of cheese each time, parmesan and cheddar-both were so so good.  I really wish I had some right now. Here’s the recipe via the kitchn.

How to Make Pão de Queijo (Brazilian Cheese Bread)

Makes approximately 2 dozen puffs

What You Need

Ingredients

1 cup whole milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups (10 ounces) tapioca flour or sour cassava flour
2 eggs
1 – 1 1/2 cups Parmesan cheese

Equipment

2-quart saucepan
Long-handled spoon
Standing mixer with paddle attachment (or mixing bowl and elbow grease)

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 450°F. Line a baking pan with parchment and set aside.

1. Boil the Milk and Oil: Combine the milk, oil, and salt in the saucepan, and whisking occasionally, bring it to a gentle boil over medium heat. Remove from heat as soon as you see big bubbles coming through the milk.

2. Add the Tapioca Flour: Add all of the tapioca flour to the saucepan and stir until you see no more dry tapioca flour. The dough will be grainy and gelatinous at this point.

3. Cool the Dough: Transfer the dough to the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. (Alternatively, you can do the next few steps by hand. Be prepared for a work-out.) Beat the dough for a few minutes at medium speed until it smooths out and has cooled enough that you can hold your finger against the dough for several seconds.

4. Beat in the Eggs: Whisk the eggs together in a small bowl. With the mixer on medium, beat the eggs into the dough in two additions. Wait until the first addition has been fully incorporated into the dough before adding the second. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.

5. Beat in the Cheese: With the mixer on medium, beat in the cheese until fully incorporated. The resulting dough will be very sticky, stretchy, and soft with a consistency between cake batter and cooke dough.

6. Portion the Puffs: Using an ice cream scoop, a tablespoon measure, or a dinner spoon, scoop rounded portions of the dough into mounds on the parchment-lined baking sheet. Space the mounds an inch or two apart. Dip your scoop in water to prevent sticking.

7. Bake the Puffs: Transfer the sheet with the puffs to the oven and immediately turn down the heat to 350°F. Bake for 25-30 minutes, until the puffs have puffed, the outsides are dry, and they are just starting to color. Cool briefly and eat. Leftover puffs can be kept in an airtight container for up to a week and re-crisped in a warm oven or toaster oven.

 

So, our Apartment…

Posted on July 2, 2014

Ted booked our accommodations for Montreal through Airbnb-where you can rent a room in someone’s apartment or sometimes whole apartments. It is a really cool system and this one was really cheap, thank goodness, because it was kind of awful.

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My view at 430 in the morning, was admittedly not too shabby, if you can forget the fact that it was 430.

Don’t get me wrong, the hosts were super nice, they had a cool apartment-their kitchen was awesome, both roommates were in publishing and had a really neat funky style, there was a deck we could hang out on with a good view, the neighborhood was hip and we felt safe and everything was clean. But our room had no windows and no air conditioning and a big old skylight. And it was in the high 80′s the whole time we were there. And so our room was basically an oven. Every night we would fall into bed exhausted from our day and fall asleep pretty quickly, then (at least I) would wake up around 3AM completely unable to sleep any more because of the heat. It totally didn’t ruin our trip or anything and I still feel so lucky we got to go. But were we glad to get back to our fluffy bed in our nice cold room? That would be a big fat yes. Julian actually did really well-he is way less picky than us and all around a good sport.

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some “art” in our hosts’ kitchen

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two handsome fellas on our steeeep staircase. I had heart palpitations every time we carried Julian up or down.

Scenes From a Sunday Afternoon

Posted on July 1, 2014

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We were laying in a shady spot on the grass in the park at the foot of Mont Royal for a much needed break, and meanwhile around us there was:

1. An all-day drum circle called the Tam-Tams

2. A girl doing tricks with her hula hoop WHILE talking on her cell phone about getting her credit limit raised

3. Synchronised rollerblading that was actually really impressive

4. An elderly couple doing team stretching

5. Excessive tie-dye, hemp, clouds of pot smoke, bras worn as shirts

6. A group performing “Scarborough Fair”

7. Jealousy of the families splashing in a free pool nearby (we forgot our suits)

8. Lots of people playing soccer

There was a whole lot going on. Moments like these are what I almost always remember best from trips. Like in Rome when we left the Borghese gallery and walked through the gardens and on the subway in New York. I feel like more than anything else, watching people do what they do gives me a feel for the place I’m visiting. Also, Montreal is way more of a hippie city than I was expecting!

 

Elise Gets What Elise Wants*

Posted on July 1, 2014

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The other day, I was talking to Ted, and actually what I was doing was more like whining, about not having anything to look forward to. That sounds way more dramatic than what I meant though. For so long we have almost always had something on the horizon-my mom’s visit, then Julian’s birth, then my mom came back, and then the Rysers and Maggie, then a visit from my dad and newly returned missionary sister (that I haven’t even written about on here but it was so so good and such a blessing to have them here and eat good food and see them fall in love with my baby and vice versa and take baby Julian on his first international trip to Niagara Falls and have quality sister time doing silly stuff like sorting my clothes from the attic and catching her up on tv and go on walks and show her my favorite parts of rochester), then I went to Boise for my mom’s birthday, and finally we hosted Rysers again. We usually only see family once or twice a year, but I have quickly become completely spoiled and now miss the excitement of having an upcoming visit to plan for.

Later that day, Ted let me in on a little secret. He had been planning a surprise trip to Montreal for a few weeks and was going to wait until the last minute to tell me, but because of our earlier conversation he decided to tell me right away so that I could have the enjoyment of researching and planning for the trip. I mean, I can’t even imagine a more considerate guy. Montreal has been on our list of places we want to explore before leaving Rochester for a while now and while researching and hearing multiple sources call it “the Paris of North America.” I got even more excited.

Montreal is such a cool place with lots to see. We fully wore ourselves out and on the drive back, Ted and I talked about how someday we need to learn how to take it easy on trips. We got back last night, and after a blessedly full night of sleep, I can say that I look back on Julian’s first road trip and our first big family vacation with mostly wonderful memories.

*What Ted always says when he’s teasing me. I’m not really that spoiled I swear:)


Ithaca

Posted on June 12, 2014

 

 

We got to explore Ithaca with the Rysers too. It was a beautiful day and we just happened to be there the same day as Cornell graduation, which could have been annoying but actually made things more fun. The farmer’s market there is pretty amazing, and it was really tempting to eat a full lunch from the food stands, but instead I got to experience a dream come true when we ate at the Moosewood Restaurant which was founded by the author of one of my favorite vegetarian cookbooks.  It was fun to hear about how the Rysers had visited Ithaca on their honeymoon. While taking pictures of the amazing Cornell campus, a friendly graduate offered to lend Julian her cap for a photo op. When plenty of waterfalls had been seen, we packed up and took our sleepy boy back home.
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Skinny Atlas

Posted on June 10, 2014

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Over memorial day weekend, Ted had four days off! In a row! That never happens, and also his parents were coming to town. Clearly we needed to take advantage.

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On Friday afternoon, we drove to Skaneateles, NY and checked into the bed and breakfast. Ted’s parents weren’t there yet, but we decided to explore the town while we waited. Oh my goodness, for anyone who ever visits upstate new york, Skaneateles (pronounced “skinny atlas”) is highly recommended by this girl. It is such the charmingest town. Built right up against a beautiful clear lake, everything is impeccable, from the shops to the restaurants to the pier. It’s a pretty tiny downtown area, but enough to see that I already want to go back again. There was a wait at the restaurant (called Garage Eatz, and I totally thought it was going to be greasy and uncomfortable from the name, but it turned out to be just as charming as the rest of the town)(get the fried potato salad) so we got Julian’s stroller and walked to the end of the pier and looked at the boathouses and huge mansions around the lake. By the time we got our table, Ted’s parents had just about made it and I was ready to faceplant into the first edible thing I could find. So, perfect timing!

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It was really nice to see the Rysers at the end of their long trip around the south and east. They started in Nashville to visit Ted’s cousin, then to Alabama where Katy’s brother lives, Richmond to see Maggie and Al, and finally here. Julian has grown up a lot since they last saw him, so that was cool too. He was snoozing at the restaurant, but we woke him up so they could hold the little squisher. He’s at such a fun friendly age right now, and is super generous with his smiles, even when he’s sleepy. We talked for a while back at the B&B, then finally let Julian get to sleep.

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It was really fun to talk to the proprietress at breakfast the next morning. She told us about the rumors surrounding shady business deals made in the mansions around the lake, one particular unfinished mansion where a drug lord was discovered, how the Clintons were fixtures in Skaneateles, and other famous people seen around town and at the ultra luxurious Mirbeau spa. Pretty juicy stuff! We had to grab a freshly fried donut at the local bakery on the way out of town, and went into a couple baby stores that I wanted to buy out of stock. Ah Skaneateles!

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