You know, it used to be a tough call. Whenever I came back to visit, people would invariably ask: Which do you like better, Montreal or Vancouver? Months into my west coast move, I would have answered an emphatic “Montreal!”. But my love for my hometown has diminished over the 10+ years I’ve been away – in no small part due to the bitterly cold weather I must endure every time I come to visit. Maybe if I came back in the summer, I’d be reminded of the things I loved about the city because, truth be told, though I now prefer Vancouver, no place beats Montreal in the summer. It’s – to put it bluntly – sexy. Vancouver on the other hand, while very picturesque, is the furthest thing from. Whereas Montreal is known for its partying and joie de vivre, Vancouver is control central for pseudo-activists, Green nutjobs, and zombies of political correctness who, really, live less in the city itself than they do in the Wonderlands of their own minds. They’ll have you believe most Vancouverites are a casual and laid-back sort but they’re actually quite the opposite. Many a visitor to the city has remarked on the general “unfriendliness” and/or “uptightness” of Vancouverties, and my single male friends are quick to declare Vancouver women as cold as – well – a Montreal winter. Still, it’s a dog-friendly place, the city is home to the best Asian cuisine in North America, and Stargate is still in production there so, for the time being, I’m staying put. A future move back to Montreal seems very unlikely and I’ve never had much love for the sterile T.O. (sorry, Ivon), but a move down south doesn’t exactly appeal either. I’m thinking that, eventually, it’ll either be Tokyo or the moon, whichever proves more affordable when the time comes.
So while in Montreal, I continue to dine out and catch up with friends. The other day, I met up with my long-time friend Cynthia who, like my buddy Lawrence, is also visiting from London. She’s an enigmatic sort, sometimes going months without responding to my emails and then, suddenly, contacting me out of the blue or sending me a package of high-end Rococo Chocolates. Anyway, she informed me that she’d be in town for the holidays and so, at the risk of having her suddenly disappear like a magician’s prop or suspect financial advisor, I acted quickly, picking her up and whisking her downtown for a nice, catch-up lunch. We ended up dining at a restaurant called La Coupole. To be honest, I was a little leery going in given that I’ve had next to no luck with hotel restaurants (La Coupole is located in Montreal’s Hotel Crystal), but lunch turned out to be quite good. The highlights…
Dinner with mom tonight and then homeward-bound tomorrow.
43 thoughts on “January 2, 2010: The Montreal vs. Vancouver Debate Resurfaces! Lunch at La Coupole!”
Oh wow, I’m first today! Woohoo… but seriously, I don’t have too much love for days on end cold. A trip every now and then down south during the winter is fantastically refreshing, but to live in a deep freeze for months on end, not really my thing. *brrrr*
Sounds like you’re having a great time, Joe, and it’s always nice to go back to the place of one’s birth occassionally.
I am reading a great book at the mo’ [i]Under the Dome[/i] by Stephen King. So far it’s very much like [i]The Stand[/i], so if you enjoyed that, this book will suck you in just as successfully.
Is Mom cooking, or are you taking her out? We were going out tonight, but the friend going with us came down with a nasty cold, so we’ve had to postpone. I’m thinking grilled cheese sandwiches.
Uh, Joe, did you get Cynthia’s permission before you posted that picture of the … ahem … grapefruits granite? Mercy!
So, are you trying to send a message to someone in particular with your musings on the virtues of different cities to reside in? I’m a bit suprised at the verdict of unfriendly Vancouverites, but I admit I only spent a few hours roaming the streets and encountering residents. But the rule of thumb has always seemed to be the bigger the city, the unfrienlier the place. And yes, I know Tokyo seems different, but when you measure it against other parts of Japan I wonder if the rule holds true.
Thanks for sharing the food pics. Discovered Ben and Jerry’s creme Brule ice cream. Not bad. alas, with the new year’s resolutions it will be awhile before I can indulge again.
Hope everyone’s New Year’s went well. For my part, job security is assured as people found various reasons for needing transport to the hospital, with nausea and active vomiting leading the way. It’s amazing how one can perform familiar duties while sleep deprived. And for the life threatening emergencies the adreneline rush assures that patients recieve quality care.
Have a safe trip home, and here’s hoping the clearing of security and waiting to board the plane blahs will trigger the epiphany to let you return triumphant to work next week. Oh, speaking of work. Do you ever get ribbed or catch grief for something you’ve posted in the blog? Not bad/angry grief, but the “how silly can you be” type. Just wondering…
You didn’t stumble on the name “Saltimbocca veal scallop with butternut squash capponatta”, but a simple alliteration like “grapefruits granite” trips you up?
I’ve never been to either Vancouver or Montreal, so I cannot weigh in on the topic of preferred place to live. Both places are a bit too far North for me to do anything but visit in Summer. Dallas roads do ice over and it does snow here, but that lasts for a few days at a time at most, not 4 months.
I do think both of your cities win over Dallas for Summer. I was outside rehearsing with my drum corps (hobby of insanity) this past August when it was 114 degrees Fahrenheit in the shade. On the field it was &*$^%( hot. That’s just stupid hot. There’s really no need for that level of hotness; it’s completely unproductive. Nature should stop that.
When I visit Vancouver in the next year or two, I’ll have to drive by and shout a big ‘howdy’ to you, wherever you may be. Perhaps I can even give you my own opinion on the locals.
Safe travels home….
Oh oh oh, I forgot to brag on my drum corps. We won 3rd place in Class A Finals at the World Championships in Rochester, NY in September.
Check out http://www.vigilantescorps.org if anyone desires to.
From yesterday’s comments:
@ deeinsouthafrica – Thanks so much for sharing that. And pretty cool if you flew on Lebombo! The movie didn’t say (as far as I remember) what plane it was, I just found that with my itchy google finger. 😀
Some movie spoilers – don’t read if you don’t wanna know: From the movie, it did seem like it was quite an event for the country – perhaps something everyone – regardless of race – was aching for, even if they didn’t realize it. If the movie is accurate, then I must say that Mandela was a very wise man, with much insight into humanity.
I will say that the movie did not touch on the possible sabotage of the NZ team (the food poisoning, etc). It really didn’t have a place in this particular movie, which focused on the attempt to unify the country through this event. And though it painted a positive picture, it didn’t make it totally rosy, showing how some – both black and white (including the team itself) – weren’t totally sold on the whole unity concept, though they went along with it at the time.
Major D. Davis – Ha! Funny about the cars! 😀 There’s always something that gets overlooked, and I suppose they figured people would be looking at the actors, not the cars. But they forget that someone in the audience might be looking for just those things. It’s like my husband – he’s a locksmith, and he’s ALWAYS identifying what kind of locks are on a door – “That’s a (fill in the blank) lock!”…or better yet, “That’s not how you pick a lock! He’s doing it wrong! I can do it faster!” 🙄
@ Tammy Dixon – Ah, see…I guess that’s why I find the computer annoying. My job involves the computer, so I refuse to do work on it when I’m home. At home, it’s my plaything! 😀
I try to learn how to do everything manually, especially after Katrina. I do NOT want to feel helpless like those people did. I’ve done a bit of camping – I can cook and heat water over a fire and wash dishes in a pan and wear the same clothes for four days…so I’ve had a bit of practice. 😀 I think that if there is ever a major power failure (due to storm, earthquake, tech failure, etc) in a major city, people will go crazy without their electronics and stuff, and I just don’t want to be one of those people. I want to be self-sufficient without electronics.
As far as handwriting goes – yes, I heard about them doing away with cursive in schools. And the funny thing about this is that today – BEFORE reading your post – I was addressing an envelope in cursive, thinking, “I wonder if the machines will be able to read this address since I didn’t print it…”
My handwriting is sucky – it’s never been good unless I really, REALLY try – but I’m not giving it up. Cursive has style…and we are losing all of our concept of artistic style. Everything is boxy and square – our houses, our cars (I miss the REAL muscle cars!), our furniture – there is no elegance or art anymore. It’s sad…the world has become a place of conformity of style, instead of a wealth of individual expression.
@ Joe – Ah, you and your lovely dinner/lunch dates. I know guys exactly like you – always styling, and always out with the girls – but…well…they’re all gay. 😀 Of course…your fascination with the…uh, whatchamacall’em…grapefruits granite (Bad, Joey!!!)…pretty much squelches that idea. 😉
The food looks great, especially the risotto, which is exactly like the one I recently had, sans scallops. I do not like shellfish, and scallops smell like sour milk to me (fresh ones, not bad ones), so I could never eat one. The tall ship I volunteered on was a Delaware Bay oyster schooner, and they taught us all about oysters. When I learned that they have a stomach and intestines…and that all of that is swallowed in one gulp…I decided never to eat an oyster (or clam). Besides, like I like to say – I don’t eat boogers – raw OR steamed! 😀 Even the smell of most seafood nauseates me, though I do like fish – fish that is prepared well and that doesn’t taste…fishy. Shark is the best…then tuna steak…but I prefer it well-done, the very thought of which probably makes you gag!
Nah…I’m a lubber all the way when it comes to meat – gimme chicken, beef, pork, lamb, venison, etc. anyday…and no innards! Though I will eat innards mixed with stuff to make them less innardy-tasting…like liverwurst, which – to me – tastes more like wurst than liver. 😀 And scrapple tastes like sage…so I can handle that, too (especially since I can’t identify any specific organ in that stuff). And I did eat a Slim Jim once…no idea what’s in that, but I doubt it’s meat…
Aaaaand…I’m rambling. Again. 😛
Have a good dinner, a good night, and great trip home! Don’t act nervous and jumpy in the airport, or they just might do a full body cavity search! 😀
Thanks everyone for the lovely welcomes, especially from you, Joe! When I saw myself in the mailbag, I went completely into “fangirl Squee!” mode.
I love seeing pics of all the food you eat. That risotto looks heavenly delicious. I’m a fake Italian. My husband is of Italian descent, so I have an Italian name, but not a drop of Italian blood. But I love Italian food – real Italian food – not what most Americans consider Italian!
We moved from Georgia to Texas 18 months ago, so we always get questions about which place we like better. I do think Georgians are friendlier than Texans. Texans are friendly on the surface. Georgians will adopt you, take you home, and love you with kindness and food.
Hope you have a good time with your Mom.
Hiya Joe! Must be hard for you to leave your mum, no? Have a wonderful dinner with her tonight! Cynthia is gorgeous, just in case you hadn’t noticed 🙂
Nothing on tv tonight (surprise, surprise), so watching a couple of movies and some Daniel Jackson later on to fall asleep by. Hey, has anybody out there heard the CDs done by BIG Finish? I’ve got “The Gift of the Gods” done by Michael Shanks and “Shell Game”, done by Claudia Black and Michael. One of these days I’ll get through a whole one without being interrupted! I’ve had them since the Chicago convention, damn!
lol that’s awesome. Dang I was enjoying our discussion. I posted other stuff but now it won’t get read. Lol
I always look for mismatched action in movies. Oh and on a random not, anyone seen avatar in 3d? Omg it’s groundbreaking!!! I thought I would hate the 3d but it was the best part!!
@das… survival? I go to Burning Man, so I have stuff such as tents and blankets and a generator on hand. And fuel, but in small amounts. And propane and both a campstove and a grill. And solar lights and battery operated things, even a handcrank blender (survival dacquiri?). My Mormon heritage ensures I stockpile the pantry, including water. We always have batteries and toilet paper and and baby wipes duct tape! And a fireplace and plenty of firewood. And a shotgun in case the neighbors get funny ideas. (actually an heirloom, but a working heirloom!)
I’m no survivalist, just prepared in case a party breaks out in the wilderness. Which it has, hence the pictures of the Sun Tunnels as my avatar. We went on the spur of the moment on solstice, but had everything we needed to camp in the West Desert on hand. Especially the blender!
Joe have a safe journey back to Vancouver. I have only been thru Vancouver when the bus took us from the cruise ship to the airport, does that count> but the weather was nice on that day, not raining. I don’t believe I care for winter much anyplace, been there, done that, so I prefer the warm now, even if it will get to 29 tonight, by gosh, it should warm up to a balmy 50 something tomorrow.(and I can stay indoors) Back to the routine and you may come up with that storyline stuff, no problem, right.. and the dogs will help any way they can, inspire you. Thanks for sharing your vacation and family and photos(great food photos again) with us. I have enjoyed them.
@ Major D. – I replied! 😀
@ maggiemayday – “…and baby wipes duct tape.”
THE HELL???! 😯 THAT’S gotta hurt like the dickens!
OK, time for a Texas roll call! Here’s an incentive… if there’s at least 20 of us, I’ll invite Joe to Chimaeracon 2010 or 2011.
Oh, I get it. Grapefruits. Duh.
Hey Joe, usually I just lurk on your blog, guess I just had to stick my head out of the snowbank…..
I got the chance to go to Montreal this past summer as my daughter’s uncle lives there and I have to tell you that I really fell in love with Montreal! The architecture of the buildings was simply beautiful. I loved the history with Old Montreal. The food was great and now I understand how you have developed such a fondness for chocolates. We went up to a park, people walk their dogs there – don’t remember the name. It was suppose to give us a lovely panoramic view of Montreal so we had gotten up really early to take the dog for a walk and to see the view; unfortunately all we got was a scenic view of fog which we were told almost never happens when they are at the dog park. My daughter’s uncle took us to a dinner party with some of his friends and they were so nice and friendly. I loved how they switched from English to French and back to English so easily. They never once made me or my daughter feel out of place, which of course we were.
I’ve only been to Vancouver once and that was a really long time ago, though I am heading there this summer at about the same time frame that I got to see Montreal this past summer so it will be fun to see the differences.
Have a safe trip back! At least Vancouver will be alot warmer for you then Montreal! Me, I get to continue in this deep freeze until it decides to thaw.
I really enjoy reading your blog!
@DENI, what do ya mean there is nothing on, DR. WHO, 2nd part of the movie- And you call yourself a sci-fi geek, you should be ashamed, tisk, tisk, I shake my finger at you!! Keep going, you can do it!!!, love ya, Sheryl.
As I lifetime Vancouverite I feel the need to chime in and vouch for my own friendliness… but can see how we all seem cold from the amount my grandparents (who live on Vancouver Island) complain about the city every time they come visit.
Lol I was talking about another post but thanks for replying!!!! Have you seen avatar yet?
Ok so a couple questions.
1. Now I saw 2 new marines in time, corpral marsden and Lipton. Marsden had a speaking role and Lipton was credited. However since time had to do with time travel and other wacky stuff, is it safe to assume they’re on board the destiny, or were the just on board the destiny in an alternate timeline?
2. Where is corpral rivers(the marine who was with park in life)? I miss that guy!!! He seemed cool? Will he be back?
3. Where is Riley? We saw him alive in a kino video which took place after time, but I didn’t see him in the crowd in justice? Is he alive?
Thanks so much,
Major D. Davis
Well. I see you enjoyed lunch with your “guests”.
I saw on the news today that the Olympic Flame has made it to Canada now. Ontario I believe. Next stop Vancouver. Hurry back Joe. Maybe you can be there when it arrives!
Gilder’s Texas Roll Call:
@ Avabird – Hey, welcome to Texas! Glad you came! Now leave me alone.
Well Joe, I think you deserve a Gibbs slap after that photo, so did you get to sample the grapefruits granite? *smirk* Reminds me of the comment David Hewlett wrote on my autographed photo – “Nice lemons!” …..I’ll explain tomorrow.
Think you need some sun & a new jacket….I did like the blue sweater you had on the other day. Very GQ.
Oh, please tell me this is true! Heck, I’d even learn Japanese to see it!!
‘Twas me favorite of all time! 😀 Would rush home from work to watch it, and my parents would tease me about watching the ‘silly cartoon’. A live action movie would be great! Even a cheesy one! 😀
You actually got real CDs from Big Finish! It’s cost about half the price of the CDs to download from the Big Finish web site and you get it relatively instantaneous. Have never been interested in getting the Big FInish CDs due to expensive shipping cost even from North American vendors.
You only get to watch Doctor Who If have BBC America as part of your cable package in the US.
Just watched Dr.Who: The End of Time Pt 2, David Tennant hit it out of the park! What an episode. I wish he was staying on as the Doctor. Matt Smith has some big shoes to fill.
Hey! It’s been a while since I’ve commented, but I’ve come to shamelessly inform you that tomorrow is my 23rd birthday. Hurrah!
Could you please explain at greater length the connection between grapefruit granites and Cynthia’s cleavage, and why your camera eye can’t seem to decide which to focus on? Call me naive . . . no, didn’t really think you’d buy that. And I’m quite sure Cynthia was very amused by whatever you fiddled with to set up that shot. “No harm, no foul” is often incorrect, but that does seem to be the case here. *smiles and shakes head over guys, just like guys do about chicks* – Vive la différence.
Interesting to hear various opinions about cities. When I think about where I’d most like to live, and do research on this particular city-forums website, I read about hugely varying experiences. – Oh well, have enough to take care of for the present.
I’m knackered. Exactly why my best friend and her guy decided to get married at 10:00 a.m. New Year’s Day is beyond me. Thankfully it was a brief ceremony as such things go; the newly official couple took off for the tropics; and back at my hotel room, I wondered exactly which chromosome determines an insistence on believing that six hours of sleep will be enough to forestall a hangover like a huge subwoofer thump-thumping inside an apparently vacant cranium. Brainless, since I then decided that as long as I was in St. Louis, I might as well go walking through some of the more picturesque areas. For four hours. In cold that would have made even a Newfie think twice before taking that morning swim.
Say, have a good trip back, and thanks for the fun blog entry, and for your insights on various places – plus, er, amusing mental lapses re. globular fruits.
What was that one dish……..Grapefruit Granite Cle’ vage?
Want to say a special hello to:
Das! I recall reading a post entry re: if anyone had tried to trip me over, ( or somthing like that, i can’t find the entry) . As you can see, I survive to tell about it!!! but really no such thing, every one was nice with me.
Hi Airelle! Hi thornyrose! Hi Pg15!
Hi Jenny Robin! nobody tried to frighten me!
Mix_martes86. I’m still can’t understand how I got there twice. My first reaction was ” what am I doing up there” , twice?” . I ‘m flatterred, not crazy about my pictures, I don’t feel I look good on them. I’m wondering if I have lost too much weight!
Waving back at you Sylvia!
Hello Shirt’n tie.
Joe , you look tired on that picture!
Guess who I saw on the Hour the other day? yep! you got it. Haven’t spoken about him in a while. I should be ashamed of myself. Really liked that grey sweater he was wearing. And since he was sitting, it was less distracting then those bleu jeans he had on during the interview on that morning show . The Portuguese speaking was definitely not helping!!!
Now, this might sound like a strange comment at this point, but really hope our next meeting will not be entirely left to chance !!!
“Many a visitor to the city has remarked on the general “unfriendliness” and/or “uptightness” of Vancouverties” …. really?
I was in Vancouver for ~10 days in July a few years back and had a wonderful time. People smiled & were friendly, we chatted up several locals who gave restaurant recommendations &c. And the biggest thing I noticed? The city is CLEAN. If you’ve ever visited Phoenix, you will know what I’m talking about. There’s always litter everywhere, our freeway shoulders look like trash dumps.
One of the things I remember was often, upon hearing I was from Phoenix, people asked if I was cold – keep in mind this was July, and around 19C. I thought it was great since in Phoenix in July, we often have 42C days!!
@Gilder – Phoenix is close enough to Texas, right? Depending on when your con is, I might be able to visit….
This Cynthia… I like her… Photographs well – great tan, a lovely disarming smile, knows how to wield the “plastic”…
Yeah, she’s a keeper. BTW, I *hope* you sent her a really nice “thank you”! [Translation: a hand written one AND flowers and/or some exclusive Montreal dessert…] You know, a little bit of “old school” manners – London Ladies appreciate that sort of thing…
@Major Davis- Seen Avatar in IMAX, Epicor was it amazing. I am still blown away by what I saw, Now im convinced, that its the next direction for movies to take.
@Joe Nice Grapefuit…ah..granite, she took away from the grapefuit…um…granite. She’s truely Blessed. Ladies I’m sorry, were guys, its a visual thing for us, we can’t help it.
Oh and Joe, We in Florida send our warmest appologies for the cold weather.
You alway’s have beautifull ladies around you.
“Many a visitor to the city has remarked on the general “unfriendliness” and/or “uptightness” of Vancouverties, and my single male friends are quick to declare Vancouver women as cold as – well – a Montreal winter.”
I find this hilarious. How many of those people are actually from Vancouver? Most are probably transplants, like yourself. We get that all the time in LA. People come here and complain about everybody else, most of whom are just like them, not from here.
I still live in my hometown in the LA area. Everything has changed, the land, the people, the places I’ve known, even the weather. You can find “unfriendliness”, “uptightness” or worse in any city, or not. It’s a choice. But wherever you end up, follow your heart (not your stomach 🙂 ) because what ultimately matters most is family and friends, especially as you get older
1. My apologies if calling you “Joe” the other day (yesterday) was a bit inappropriate. I only realized it after clicking the submit button. Reading your blog daily has given me the impression of knowing you a bit, so hence my personal form of address. I didn’t stop to consider the fact you might like “Mr. Mallozzi” better since you don’t know me at all. 😉
2. So what are you looking forward to the most for 2010, Stargate and Not-Stargate related?
Do you ever get odd looks from people in restaurants for taking pictures of your food?
Hi Mr M!
Hmm, the old Vancouver vs Montreal debate surfaces eh? I’ve never been to Montreal, but thoroughly enjoyed my 10 days in Vancouver. I (for one) found the place very friendly but then, I just went to the restaurants recommended by you…ie Vij’s, Don Francesco (how is he by the way? You haven’t been there in ages??), Fuel, etc.
I also found the general store people very accomodating and friendly, but then, maybe that’s just me…
I have Montreal on my “to do” list..the airfares are really good from Ireland at the mo., but that will have to wait for at least 1-2 years. The plan is to go back to Vancouver in 2011. (Possibly Creation Con., or another Con….as yet to be determined). I shan’t be budging in 2010.
Safe travel back to Vancouver and if possible, ask your Mom for another recipe!! We need to “meex” some more ingredients! The Friendship Cake is great!!!
Best to all
How were the new travel restrictions?
Well, Jupiter and the victim’s family of the Thanksgiving Day shooting can rest, tho long hard days are head for the family. America’s Most Wanted once again assisted authorities in capturing the suspect. It was an uneasy feeling knowing that they were bringing him back to Jupiter before taking him to the county jail. Holy Hannah! The story is starting to unfold and wow, scary.
@Sheryl – love the Doctor, I caught some shows between running errands and cooking. We were up in Jensen Beach shopping yesterday, thought of our lunch, was gonna call ya to see if you wanted join us, thought you may still be busy with your kids. But let’s do dinner one night.
Me revoila!! Et oui les vacances c’est finit pour moi 🙂 demain je reprend les cours!!
J’espere que votre déménagement pour Tokyo n’est pas prévu au moins pour les 10 prochaines années…car sa annihlerai tout es mes chances de vous voir un jour …O_o inimaginable!!!!
Merci pour ces photos…lol j’aime bien la 4ème, très drôle petit coquin 🙂
Aller, bisou =)
@Ponytail–Where (very generally) in Ft. Worth do you live? I grew up in FW and went to Southwest High School. My entire family still lives there. Ft. Worth folk are measurably more polite and kind that Dallas-ites. The traffic is better over there, the museums are better, and Ft. Worth lays claim to my favorite place to visit: the Japanese Gardens inside the Botanic Gardens complex. Dallas does have better restaurants on the whole, and better shopping and such. And more of a sense of entitlement amongst the residents, of course. Insert snark here.
@Pastrygirl–Phoenix is a day’s drive from Dallas; a very long day, but it can be done. I’ve driven from Dallas to Sierra Vista in 17 hours before, and I think Phoenix would be about the same. I’ve no idea how far it is to San Antonio from Phoenix, but it’s about 7 hours between Dallas and San Antonio
Wow, Vancouver had changed so much, it’s hands down V. Montreal is so quaint and oldschool but those are it’s cons as well