Food Crawling Around Montreal

I love our almost yearly trips to Montreal to visit family. That old cliche The Most Beautiful City in North America rings true. Montreal has a certain historic charm crossed with a old French city vibe that both reminds me of Boston meets a small French city meet San Francisco (if it got really cold, that is.) The old Port is old world, then Westmount reminds me of a bit of Boston’s Back Bay, while the streets of Plateau Mount Royal and The Mile End are a mix of hip art, food, and students.

I love too that city always seems to have some kind of festival happening no matter the time of year. We’ve visited in the summer, fall, and even Winter (bring your long underwear, though!) yet there is always something on view like the international fireworks show and jazz fest.

It’s funny when you visit a city often for family though, because you’re not exactly being a tourist the way you would on another kind of trip. But through these occassions I’ve come to know how bike-able and walkable Montreal is no matter our itineraries. I’m familiar more and more with the joys of climbing Mount Royal, the public markets, the amazing street art, strolling alongside St. Lawrence, navigating the underground to fight the cold, as well as the glorious Expo 67 architecture.

This year I decided to add to our trip with a guided food tour day, majorly helped by a pair of in-the-know hip Montrealers. Cousins are great! We decided to primarily focus on the Plateau and Mile End as they’re both full of hip food destinations and very easily walked in a long day of eating and drinking.

Highlights from our food crawl for me were definitely buttery slices of Kouign Amann, fatty delicious smoked meat, and lounging at a local gastropub for beer.

Of course, there is a lot more to eat and see in Montreal than this little jaunt so take it as a starting point for your food crawl and not an exhaustive list. Next time I’d love to venture farther out east as well as explore more of the markets.

Montreal Food Crawl 

in no patricular order 

Atwater Market: This one is nearer to Westmount as well as the canal,  but a classic open market. It’s great for cheese, maple, butchers, and basically everything fresh to eat.
Kem Coba: Interesting flavored ice cream shop just made for instagram but still worth it. I recommend my cherry almond swirl soft serve.
Dieu du Ciel: This is a great Montreal brewpub! They have a terrace, too. I loved the hibiscus infused draft I tried.
Saint Viateur Bagels: Hand-rolled Montreal bagels! Take them to go to just eat freshly baked, dipping into cream cheese tubs.
Cafe Myriade: A great latte is always needed on a food crawl itinerary.
Cheskies: Decadent Jewish chocolate Babka. I could eat this forever.
Pâtisserie Au Kouign Amann: An ethereal buttery cake from Brittany. 
Hof KelstensA hip Jewish boulangerie with great coffee and treats.
Shwartz’s: Smoked meat! This is like what Katz’s is to New York City.

p.s. Well okay I didn’t include this intially but yes, we ate Poutine at Cafe Claudette. I couldn’t help myself. While we tried many versions, I loved the classic. What can I say I love all french fries.

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Inktober Week 4: Why I Love New York

I finished my first Inktober! It was a rush to the finish. I’m very glad I got to think and draw about New York City all month, a place I love to live in, even though it’s not always on my side. Hello, stepping in dog poop on my block.

The main thing I learned from this all month draw-a-thon is that drawing fast, every day, is great in strengthening visual thinking and sketching. Even if every drawing didn’t come out exactly how I wanted it to at first, I felt my ability to get a drawn concept from mind to sketchbook getting easier with the daily practice.I’ve taken inspiration from this element of Inktober then, adding a reminder to my phone to draw every night. Maybe some days I won’t make it, but if I can, I know it will be a creative practice to keep.

Inktober Week 4: Why I Love New York
Corona Park for the World’s Fair Unisphere
Bodega Roses
Times Square (because it’s like turning the lights on in the middle of the night)
The Art Deco Chrysler building
Pigeons! They eat my crumbs even if I am afraid of them sometimes.
My metrocard.
Dim Sum in chinatown in Manhattan, Queens, AND Brooklyn.
Meeting by the clock at Grand Central.
And finally, all the wonderful, interesting, weird, and different people of New York City.

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NYC Pizza I’ve Known: Martina

Martina is a new fast Roman pizza place by the ever expanding Shake Shack crew. I eagerly awaited it’s arrival as both a budget New York dining and pizza aficionado.

To start, they have a fried risotto suppli and a lemony arugula salad. I love simple dressed salads, call me a boring lady, but it’s my favorite side dish to pizza. The pizzas here remind of Rome through and through: zucchini flowers, gooey mozzarella, spicy salami, and a cracker crust. Martina is a good mix of delicious and quick, a spot I can see myself stopping in before a cocktail date or post-movie in the neighorhood. True to the style, you can drink prosecco in plastic cups which is delightful.

Next time I’ve got to try the dessert of flor di latte soft serve gelato because it sounds amazing.

I love the illustration on the paper that lines their metal trays, of course.

198 East 11th Street
East Village, NYC

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Artist Inspiration: Naomi Clark

I took a painting on silk class at Textiles Art Center with Naomi Clark this past summer. Not only was she a great teacher, she has an amazing catalogue of bright and colorful work spanning painting to fibers.

Source: Cooler Gallery in Brooklyn
Source: Naomi Clark with Fort Makers

I’m especially inspired by her work with Fort Makers, combining her abstract color palate with textiles and objects.

Follow Naomi Clark on Instagram, too.

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Inktober Week 1: Why I Love New York

I’m drawing something I love about New York City every day in October for Inktober. Afterwards I think I’ll assemble the drawings, making some kind of interesting poster.

Drawing something until conclusion every day is harder than I thought but a goal I want for myself after this month is over.

Inktober Week 1: Why I Love New York
NYC Buildings
Walking over bridges
Slices of Pizza on the street
The subway
The skyline
Bodega cats

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Wild Bird Fund

A few blocks from my apartment is a peculiar storefront. In the windows are branches arranged in skeletal patterns. If you stop and look close enough at the windows, you’ll notice the common city pigeon and other smaller, migratory birds of unknown origin (to me) perching on branches, hiding in nooks.

At first I assumed this was some kind of exotic bird pet store, which always peeves me out a bit. I’m not a pet store fan. But to my surprise, it’s not a store at all, but a non-profit emergency room for birds!

The Wild Bird Fund rehabilitates the city’s avian wildlife from the city “garbage” pigeon to all the kinds of birds that have migrated to New York City for thousands of years. Our city’s built environment changes the life of birds though, from tall buildings to fly into to toxic trash to eat. That’s where the Wild Bird Fund comes in. People come from all the city bring birds to be rescued here, by a dedicated staff and volunteers. It’s the kind of hidden New York City institution that makes me have faith in the city, it’s people and it’s wildlife.

The Wild Bird Fund is donation run, doing the kind of unseen care that makes an ecosystem work. The Fund treats not only the city’s Pigeons but Owls, Red-Tail Hawks, Robins, Great Egrets, to name a few. I love when I see a large, strange bird ambling inside the storefront.

Wild Bird Fund
565 Columbus Avenue
New York, NY 10024
between 87th and 88th Streets


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Favorite New York City Coffee

I like to pretend I’m on vacation most weekends by treating myself to espressos. During the week it’s mostly french press at home or coffee cart dollar cups. But fancy coffee never tastes so good as when I’m lounging at 3pm in another neighborhood or just down the street on a Saturday afternoon.

Here’s a current list of my favorites for the season of back to school and back indoors. Now, if the New York City heat would finally leave.

My New York City Coffee Geography

Toby’s Third Estate because it’s a tiny spot with a hidden Strand.
Third Rail  for the Washington Square Park vibe.
Sweatshop for Aussie Williamsburg espresso.
Birch because of the cold brew I’d drink all year long.
Joe as a classic from back when I moved to New York.
9th Street Espresso for a real space to work and think with your espresso and milk.
Think because the old NYU undergrad heart only grows fonder!
Blue Bottle in Carroll Gardens since it’s got that South Brooklyn charm. Like, is this neighborhood even real?


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Day Trip: Croteaux Vineyard

Summer is over officially now! I made a list before the real summer started with a few goals. I made it to some of them: beach lounging, trips out of the city, sitting in parks, a baseball game, and so on.

One of the lucky day trips I made this summer was to visit Croteaux Vineyard on Long Island. It’s all the way out in Southold, in the North Fork area which is becoming a little bit of a hip destination, too. I was convinced by a group of wonderful former coworkers and the promise of a bagel breakfast on the longer LIRR train to make the expedition for the day.

Croteaux is a rose-only vineyard which I mean, come on, of course I was into that. We had a great time ambling to the vineyard on foot through the quaint town of Southold. We even came across a very old cemetery en route with pre-revolutionary graves.

Our group of four sat in the lovely vineyard garden, sipping flights of rose. It’s a great location to relax, with the right mix of rustic charm and green vines. I highly recommend the sparkling flight to taste the variety of roses as well as the cheese and bread basket to share.

While the town is walkable, even to the vineyard, we took a car back to the train. Next time I’d love to stay over night in North Fork to explore more of the charming area.

Croteaux Vineyard 
1450 S Harbor Rd,
Southold, NY 11971


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