Monday, July 31, 2017

Ten Year Anniversary Trip: Tandem Coffee Roasters to Montreal, Canada

We rolled into Portland the morning of the 5th of July to calm ourselves with coffee and the best pastries this side of the Mississippi as we waited for our passports to arrive. Tandem Coffee has been our go to hot spot while visiting Ms. Moran. The weather was pure bliss. No humidity. You can see the bike rack circle over E's left shoulder in this picture. Scroll through the photos here of the cafe.

I had the blueberry scone and granola yogurt to fuel up for our long drive to Montreal. Mary and E had egg sandwiches on biscuits. The enameled trays with navy banding, the Carrara marble counter tops, the light fixtures, the coffee, oh the coffee, the picnic tables outside. The tandem bike, bike rack with their adorable logo. All of it makes Tandem one of our top 5 favorite coffee shops in our Coffee Pilgrimage adventures. 

Mary was our Maid of Honor in our wedding 10 years ago. She wanted to give us an anniversary present from LLBean so we swung by Freeport on the way back to Bath. While at the coffee shop we got the notice that our passports were at Mary's at 10 AM, NOT 7PM which was the original stress. We high tailed it to Bean to grab a bag.

Mary is a great model. Embroidery is free and we begged them to let us jump the line so we could be "on time" to get our adventure on the road post haste. This cooler bag was clutch for our driving adventures. Thanks so much Mare!!!

We got back to Mary's, and as we packed up the car, our dear vegetarian friend made us chicken sandwiches to go, put a box of strawberry shortcake together, and a whole can of whipped cream for our hotel room. It was so sweet. We also had TWO salted chocolate chip cookies from Tandem for the road. We were set. We hugged Mary, thanked her for the hospitality, and then "get-on-downed-the-road" to Canada!

stock photo from the internet
The drive through Maine was beautiful two lane highway, up steep grades. We got stuck behind a logging truck which slowed us down. I drove this leg and kept my distance.

stock photo from the internet
Maybe it was the coffee talking, but all I could think of was that one bad turn and our little trip would look like this? I'm not sure where my brain goes so negative so fast, but there it is. So I kept my distance behind the logging truck. Way behind, while E napped.

We didn't get squished by a logging truck, Praise God, and we did arrive in Montreal before the sunset. Our room was fantastic and we stayed at the Hotel Le Saint Sulpice. Eric upgraded us to a suite and it felt so spacious. There was a large room where we could throw open the windows, relax on the sofa and listen to the bustle of the quiet street below us. It felt so European. Susan and Lucy left the day before we got there. I begged people to speak French with me and once we crossed the border earlier in the day we switched the radio to French only speaking radio to get us prepped. 

We freshened up and headed out immediately to find cocktails and dinner. The flower boxes were gorgeous all over Montreal.

The streets were narrow, some cobble with stoned. St. Paul Street was paved in stone in 1672. 300 years before I was born.

We landed on a spot for dinner called L'Original which was charmingly Canadian without being cheesy. Moose carvings and a huge canoe decked out the bar.

We were pretty wrecked from the trek but happy to land at the bar for a nice meal. The guy next to us was eating Poutine, so the smells of Canada greeted us almost immediately upon entering the country.

Gin, Prosecco and Lime Juice.

E. had the halibut special with tomatoes and basil pesto and I had the trout with mussels. The steel head trout was pink like salmon and served with a lentil cream sauce. It was a gorgeous meal.

The hotel was right next door to the Notre-Dame Basilica. Walking back from dinner, the entire path was lit up with the cite memoire. We lucked out and sat in the plaza watching people look up. It felt very safe, clean and the weather was great. No humidity. Looking back we desperately wanted more time in Montreal. 

Cité Mémoire - English version from Montréal en Histoires on Vimeo.

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