Tag Archives: montreal

Oh hey, Brooklyn…

Oh, my. Figuring out where to begin is like staring at this wide expanse of ocean — infinite, overwhelming, and totally abstract. Let’s just start with the facts and dive right in. I haven’t written here in over two months. Fact. After almost three gorgeous years, I left Montreal. Fact! Now I live in Brooklyn. Crazy fact.

In July, I departed my beloved Lawrence, home to the finest food and folks in all of Montreal, for Williamsburg’s Marlow + Sons and Diner…. yeah. Kind of a big deal if you are into food. For me, it’s totally amazing and inspiring. My learning curve has been a little extreme.

Let me just get right into it. My move to Brooklyn was completely unplanned. My Montreal buddies were shocked but not surprised. You know when something feels really right? This was like that.

Lawrence closes for two weeks every summer, so I took the opportunity to accept a pastry stagiere at Marlow + Sons. It was so mindblowing, inspiring, and cool, but I never thought for a second that it would lead to anything else besides a great week or two away from Montreal.

But they were looking for a pastry cook, and even though I initially felt so reticent, the refrain from my friends went thusly: “This is a no brainer. Take it. Do it. Go!” 24 agonizing hours later, I accepted the job. The next day, I put in my notice at Lawrence. And two weeks after that, I moved to Brooklyn and began my new job. It happened so fast, I didn’t even have time to consider if it was the right decision for me or not. My head spins just thinking about how quickly I pulled it all together.

I swore I’d never move to New York, but now that I’m here it feels so simple. It was somehow harder in Montreal, the ache of displacement lingered for months.  This transition feels less tricky and also like the most meaningful gesture of independence. I’m here, it was my choice, I’m pursuing my love of pastry, and it all feels really right.

So anyway, if you had asked me ten years ago where I thought I would be as a late 20-whatever, I would not have said Brooklyn. I definitely would not have guessed working in restaurants. Nothing about where I have ended up today has been predictable or easy, but my last two months in New York has been an inspiring part of my journey.

I can’t promise that I’ll write more, but I really think that I will. Being in New York has filled me with an entirely new kind of enthusiasm for writing. Working at Marlow + Sons is the coolest thing I’ve done all year and I’m filled with gratitude and righteousness for my new surroundings. I love it here.

Weirdly, I haven’t pulled out my camera once since I moved here! I did, however, finally buy an iPhone, my first ever. Here’s a little peek at what my summer has been like. (I’m kind of obsessed with Instagram now!!?) As for what it is like living in Brooklyn?! That’s for future posts. I’ll be around. I have so much to say. XOXOX

ICE PALACE

[All photos by Vincenzo D'Alto]

I’m obsessed with Vince’s beautiful shots of the completely ridiculous yet somehow amazing Snow Village, which I included in my Burlington Free Press piece about Montreal winter activities. The compound is surprisingly beautiful — I think fantasy and fairy tale-loving 8-year-old me would have thought this was totally magical and cool. Would you eat dinner in a restaurant like this? (Which has an ambient temperature of 23 degrees F?) I would love to know.

FULL FATTY

Can you believe that in the last year I’ve only been to Schwartz‘s twice? Totally unacceptable, because the place is so freaking good. When James came to visit, it was at the top of our to-do list. We split a half-sour pickle, french fries and a smoked meat sandwich (ordered the “fatty,” of course), and I saved a few pieces of meat for our pizza party later that night. Though I may have blatantly copied the awesome smoked meat pie at Jane, I was still proud of my pizza draped with smoked meat, mustard, cornichons, and cheddar. Sounds weird, tastes unbelievable.

TWO TAKES

My indispensible hetero life mate Alison (of Black and Bleu and Leibrary) is a whiz at Polyvore. I’ve long admired her super chic collages, and she awesomely obliged to make me an inspiration board for my impending move to Montreal. I gave her two keywords – “Russian Spy” – and this is what she came up with. Rachel Comey, Donna Karan, See by Chloe, Ann Demeulemeester – she nailed it. So sick.

HOT WIRE MY HEART

Everyone deserves to discover the glorious magic that is the Montreal-style bagel. I feel sad knowing I have gone 25 years of my life without incorporating it into my daily existence, while generally expressing disdain and contempt for its bloated counterpart, the American-style bagel. (Note: I had my first Montreal-style bagel in Portland, from Tastebud, at their Farmer’s Market stall).

First of all, Montreal bagels are much smaller and firmer. I always hated American-style bagels because they taste so starchy and blah and bready and mealy and just too much. I avoided them until college, when my friend Leigh taught me to scoop out its tasteless insides, thus providing a small, crispy cradle for the (infinitely more delicious) fillings. But these! Have the perfect fluffy-insides-to-seed-speckled-crust ratio, and is just the right amount of bread for a very sturdy breakfast. They toast very well but I had the pleasure of eating one straight from the bakery, warm and fluffy and soft, and it was a revelation at 6pm.

We bought a dozen bagels (everything, poppy seed, sesame) with locally made smoked trout and gifted cream cheese and I’ve been eating them every morning in a manner of combinations: Trout and cream cheese and basil; or capers and shallots and tomatoes; or cucumbers and lemon juice and avocado and scallions. Lots of cracked black pepper either way. Have I become a breakfast person?!?!

ROCK BOTTOM RISER

Breakfast in bed. (Never gets old.) Yum. Bedsheet fruits really help ease the transition into the real world.

I’m off to investigate the Montreal retail world — hah, I know — so if you have any killer Montreal shopping spots, please share!! Staying in the Mile End so will hit up all these spots this afternoon, particularly stoked for Renata Morales.

XO