I’m in my hotel room with Sue, a hefty glass of red and a properly made bed, done up with crisp white sheets even. We got in at rush hour and to our hotel around 7, then went for a walk around frosty downtown Montréal and found our way to Trinity, a Greek restaurant in the belly of what appeared to be an old museum, or bank or some such (they are all charismatic old buildings in old town Montreal).
It was a tough menu to choose from. In the middle of the restaurant was a huge display of fresh fish on ice, which could be selected and grilled whole. They brought plates of bread, grilled flatbread and olives, then a cold mezza platter for us to choose from (our pick: crab dolmades – just OK) and glasses of Greek red wine (nasty). The heroes of the table were the roasted roma tomatoes and manouri cheese with garlic and oregano, drizzled with olive oil that left a puddle on the bottom of the plate to mop up with our bread, and kalstounakia – pan fried Cretan spinach and feta dumplings, wrapped in thin pastry, fried and served with thick goat milk yogurt and thyme infused honey. (Part of their appeal was that although they were spinach and feta, there was little connection to spanakopita.)
The main event – Frenched rack of lamb chops with essence of fresh oregano (Sue had just mentioned she’d be making this for Christmas dinner #2, having two planned to accomodate assorted relatives and only so much gumption for turkey) set up teepee-style over mashed potatoes and the most amazing gravy (the word does not do it justice, but nor was it jus) I’ve ever had.
Should I feel guilty for not much missing my houseful of boys?
We have a lineup of coffee shops to hit in the morning, before (and after) a visit to the Musée des beaux-arts and a walk (down a street of chocolate shops) to Au Pied de Cochon. I may have died and gone to heaven and no one bothered to tell me. (Please don’t, until Sunday.)
And because it’s FSF, Sue has agreed to help me shop for a nice little French goody bag tomorrow – it will reflect our day in Montreal and likely contain some form of chocolate. I keep meaning to relay who won previous Free Stuff – this week Avery found a swag bag of goodies (minus two sea salt caramels) on her step. (I hope the non-boozy “wine” didn’t freeze.) Question: what’s your must-have Christmas cookie?
And yes, a cookie du jour. I was going to post a recipe for Stroopwafels – crisp, waffle-like Belgian sandwich cookies stuck together with caramel; Mike has taken it upon himself to make these every Christmas – but my computer is melting down. Instead I will direct you to 101 Cookbooks’ Minty Chocolate Christmas Cookies – teeny sandwich cookies that are made with thin chocolate wafers sandwiched with thick peppermint filling. I’ll attempt to track down a suitably French Christmas cookie tomorrow.