Travelogue: Montreal Part Trois (Sept 2015)

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It was a rainy day. And quite chilly too. We passed by the Olympic Stadium on the way to the Botanical Garden. I adore the inclined tower and the structure of this stadium. The concept was based off the structure of animal vertebrae and sinews. It cost so much money to build that it was actually not finished by the time the Olympics came around.

The Botanical Garden is mostly outdoors, with a small greenhouse area which we explored. Then we found this “Chinese garden”…

Montreal (Sept 2015)

Wait there’s more.

Montreal (Sept 2015)

Pretty normal so far… and then

Montreal (Sept 2015)

Montreal (Sept 2015)

…it was quite strange. There were all these paper mache people and lanterns, kind of like the ones people burn at funerals to send to their relatives beyond the grave.

Montreal (Sept 2015)

Montreal (Sept 2015)

Montreal (Sept 2015)

I love the art that’s all around the city.

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We went to Au Pied de Cochon for dinner.

Montreal (Sept 2015)

I made a reservation ahead of time, of course. The couple who gave me a taste of their cake last night was also there. They told us the tuna tartare was good.

Montreal (Sept 2015)

It was. And so was the foie gras poutine:

Montreal (Sept 2015)

Then came “duck in a can”; the most famous dish here:

Montreal (Sept 2015)

Montreal (Sept 2015)

After eating duck and foie gras for 3 nights, I found this underwhelming. It was a small portion of duck (Joe Beef wins on portion size), and the winner in terms of taste would go to Le Quartier Général.

Montreal (Sept 2015)

Maple creme brulee.

Dinner again, took 2 hours. We accepted this fact already.

The next morning, I jogged around Old Montreal towards Lachine Canal and it was perfect weather for it. I love running in other cities and getting to know the neighborhood that way. By foot, I can see so much more.

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Perfect morning jog.

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Lachine canal.

After that, I met up with my mom and we went to see Notre Dame Basilica.

Montreal (Sept 2015)

Entrance fee $5. Free tours (check their schedule). I’m glad we went on the short 20 minute tour. I learned more about this church; it has quite an interesting history.

Montreal (Sept 2015)

Montreal (Sept 2015)

Elegant stairs.

Montreal (Sept 2015)

Montreal (Sept 2015)

Maison Christian Faure: our last lunch in Montreal! Love the lighting here.

It’s close to Notre Dame Basilica and there are tons of souvenir shops along the way for some last minute shopping.

Montreal (Sept 2015)

Delicious salmon sandwich.

Montreal (Sept 2015)

Ok lobster sandwich.

Montreal (Sept 2015)

Pistachio.

Montreal (Sept 2015)

This passionfruit tart was good. I also bought macarons to go as souvenirs.

At the airport, I had to get one last fix of poutine… from Burger King…

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Au revoir, dear Montreal! I loved your French-speaking, courteous and friendly people and all that art!

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Cherry Blossoms at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden (2015)

Tomorrow is “Sakura Matsuri” at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. I probably would go this weekend if I wasn’t working! But I had a day off today, so I avoided the crowds and the higher admission fee (and also the live events set for the highly anticipated annual festival).

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Admission:

Adults $12
Seniors (65 and over) $6
Students with a valid ID $6
Children under 12 Free
Special pricing for Sakura Matsuri

Parking:

Time Weekday Rate
1st hour $5
each additional hour $2
maximum to closing $15

 

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Most trees were still pre-bloom. It’s been a cold Spring so far, so that’s to be expected.

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I love the contrast of the different trees in different stages of life.

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A lot of kids were here on school field trips.

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They do have a small cafe that serves sandwiches, salads, soups and coffee. It definitely pales in comparison to the New York Botanical Garden. 

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Look at all these signs!

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The gift shop was small; they sold plants, apparel, books, trinkets, etc.

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When I visited last year in May, the cherry blossoms were at peak bloom — the splendor of the pink rows of cherry blossoms is still etched in my mind. They will probably bloom next week but for now, enjoy the magnolias and tulips as they are blooming quite beautifully.

Travelogue: San Francisco (Day 3 of 4)

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One of the best breakfasts I’ve ever had — Taylor Street Coffee Shop! Highly recommended. I can’t rave enough about their Sailor’s Hash: Hash browns topped with an omelette with shrimp, crab, bacon, jalapeno peppers, and a heaping portion of smoked salmon on top. My mom had the french toast and she liked it, which is rare (she’s more critical than I am)!

We took 2 buses to get to the Japanese Tea Garden. Mom is very much into tea, Japanese anything, and flowers. This was perfect. It was free admission because we got there before 10am (every Monday, Wednesdays and Fridays 9-10am!)

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You can reserve a tea ceremony for $25 on Wednesdays and Fridays. I tried to do that but nobody picked up when I called… so instead, I sat near them and sort of experienced it…

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We got our own mochi and tea. They offer other food items as well. Check out the gift shop before you leave!

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Right next door was the SF Botanical Garden. How convenient.

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Next up on our itinerary was Japan Town — we took 2 buses again to get there.

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Japan town had 4 main buildings that house a whole bunch of restaurants, stores, supermarkets. The streets adjacent to them were lined with residential apartments that had a Japanese flair.

It was time to go. We walked to the cable car station and took the least popular one — California-Van Ness line.

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It was a short ride, we didn’t really have to take it but hey, why not?

After we rested up at the hotel, I asked mom what she wanted for our last dinner in SF. She said “seafood”, so I Yelped a restaurant nearby with great reviews — Kim Thanh (Vietnamese), it was AMAZING.

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Sugar cane shrimp — first, you place the shrimp in the middle of the rice paper, then vermicelli noodles and veggies, and then you roll it up yourself. Shrimp was perfectly fried and full of flavor!

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What they were known for was their salt baked crab, which lived up to the hype! Seasoned with salt and pepper, fresh and meaty!

This was a day of good food.