This time last year, Montreal was in the deep-freeze, festooned with flurries, its streets and sidewalks treacherous with ice and snow.

December 24, 2015: It’s A Blue-green Christmas!  Akemi’s Costco Capers!  Montreal Vs. Toronto Style Bagels!  What’s The Difference?

This year, it’s more like this –

December 24, 2015: It’s A Blue-green Christmas!  Akemi’s Costco Capers!  Montreal Vs. Toronto Style Bagels!  What’s The Difference?

Blues skies, green lawns, and oh so warm.

I’ll never complain about global warming again.

Well, last year mom declared it would be the last time she prepped and cooked a big feast for over a dozen people.  I was, of course, dubious because she’d made the same declaration the previous year.  This year, as she preps and cooks a big feast for fourteen, she has declared it the very last year she does this.

Sure sure.

While mom was prepping for tonight’s dinner, Akemi, sis, and I were out running errands.  One of our stops was Costco which, it turns out, is like visiting Disneyland for Akemi.  She could barely contain her excitement as we drove into the lot, then was positively bursting with joy as she scurried from the economy-size bun display to the artichoke hearts tasting booth.

December 24, 2015: It’s A Blue-green Christmas!  Akemi’s Costco Capers!  Montreal Vs. Toronto Style Bagels!  What’s The Difference?

My sister offered to buy her a membership, but Akemi refused reasoning that, if she had easy access to Costco, then her visits would be less special.

“So sad it’s over,”she lamented as we pushed our cart back to the car.  Well, there’s always next year.

December 24, 2015: It’s A Blue-green Christmas!  Akemi’s Costco Capers!  Montreal Vs. Toronto Style Bagels!  What’s The Difference?

Before returning home with all our purchases (including about a thousand olives), we stopped by St. Viateur bagels because I’m partial to eating them with mom’s spicy peppers.  These are, of course, Montreal-style bagels as opposed to their Toronto counterparts.  What’s the difference?


Montreal-style:  “A distinctive variety of handmade and wood-fired baked bagel. In contrast to the New York-style bagel, the Montreal bagel is smaller, thinner, sweeter and denser, with a larger hole, and is always baked in a wood-fired oven. It contains malt, egg, and no salt and is boiled in honey-sweetened water before being baked.” (source: Wikipedia).

Toronto-style: Basically bread baked in the shape of a bagel.


Montreal-style: Slightly sweet, slightly nutty, soft interior with a delightful chewy exterior.

Toronto-style: Bread, slightly stale.


Montreal-style: Fresh and warm out of the oven, they should be eaten immediately or that same day.  They can be popped in the oven or the microwave for a nice next-day snack.

Toronto-style: Eaten fresh or three weeks old, they taste the same – like stale bread.  Make sure to have some water handy because they’re a choking hazard.


Montreal-style: Available at many great bagel institutions throughout the city. Places like St. Viateur, Fairmount, R.E.A.L. Bagels come readily to mind.

Toronto-style: Whether you pick them up at a specialty shop or the remainder bin of your local convenience store, they all taste the same – like stale bread. Seriously.  Just go out and buy yourself a loaf of plastic-sealed three-day-old bread.  It’s basically the same thing.

Off to help mom prepare her last-ever-Christmas-feast-for-more-than-a-dozen-people.  And then work on my tan.

Merry Christmas!  Happy Holidays!

25 thoughts on “December 24, 2015: It’s a blue-green Christmas! Akemi’s Costco capers! Montreal vs. Toronto style bagels! What’s the difference?

  1. Merry Christmas to you, Akemi, MOM, and Andria.
    Have a great “Hawaiian style” Christmas with sun and green.
    Mele Kalikimaka!

  2. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays 👍

    I’m currently watching DM in Madeira, where Three is being a big softie! #Sarah
    I guess we’ll get to know more about Cyrus King in Season 2?

  3. It’s like that here in Virginia Joe I’m mowing the lawn and its 80%!!!! UNREAL!!! and it’s December 24th!!!

  4. Merry Christmas! Here i am in New York in shorts n T-shirt and its 73 degrees! I had an everything bagel this morning which was quite delish i might add. Here’s to friends,family,good food and cheer!

  5. Winter in also broken here in Saskatchewan. I’m a little scared…

    Merry Xmas to everyone!!

  6. Ha! That picture at the top looks vaguely familiar. (And, I think that was actually *2* years ago, believe it or not.) But yeah, what a “Winter” we’re having. I mean, it’s nice that it’s warm and everything, but I do get the sense that something’s very, very wrong.

    Well, your Mom said she wasn’t going to cook for a *dozen* people anymore. Didn’t say anything about fourteen. Just have to change the number for next year! 🙂 Down deep, or maybe not that deeply, I bet she really loves it.

    I love the bagel comparison, and will say that Toronto is not exactly my favourite city in Canada. “Dark Matter” production notwithstanding, it’s not exactly the nexus of fine cultural elements in Canada. It’s big, though!

    May you, Akemi, your Mom and Sis, your friends and all the pups, and all the blog regulars (and irregulars) have the merriest of Christmases and some wonderful and happy holidays!

  7. You’re really not keen on anything Toronto are you, Joe?! 😂 it’s so funny…

    It’s a bit wet n windy in ol’ London ‘town’ and not chilly at all (around 18 degrees). Unfortunately in the north of England (Cumbria) they’ve experienced flooding (three times in less than a month) with more heavy rain on the way! Lets hope the forecasters have got it wrong.

    Anyhoo, I’m meeting up with my Mum for our first Christmas lunch at a restaurant. I’ve finally persuaded her to let someone else do it all! Why not me I hear you ask? For the simple reason that we’d both like to see the new year in, fit and well thank you very much! 😉

    … which is what I wish for you, Joe, Akemi and your family and to my new friends here. Plus all have a spiffingly squiffy 🍷*hic*🍸 Christmas too! 🌠

  8. Montreal bagels sound delicious!

    I can understand Akemi’s Costco delight. It’s hard to leave that store without spending a lot! Did you see that Costco carries that caramel/cheese popcorn?

    Yes, I know exactly what you mean about Moms cooking when they could take it easy. 🙁 However, I love seeing your mom’s food. Everything looks yummy! Recipes would be nice….

    Enjoy the warm weather. Merry Christmas!

  9. Winter has disappeared here in England too. I was at the local farm shop yesterday to pick up a venison haunch that I’ll be roasting sometime before New Years and a butterfly flew past me! I’ve only had to scrape ice off the car once this winter. I’m loving it!

    I make my own bagels. There’s a great bagel shop in Bath where I’ll grab lunch sometimes but if I have the time on the weekend I’ll make a week’s worth of bagels. I assume they’re New York style – slightly sweet and chewy. I don’t put any sweetener in my poaching liquid . . . just water and a teaspoon of sodium bicarbonate.

    Merry Fourth Quarter Holiday everyone!

  10. No winter here in Northern Virginia either (72°/22) with loads of rain. It’s so humid, the icing on my Christmas cookies won’t dry! And I’ve been wiping up muddy doggie footprints (x 3) all day. Note to self: if you live with a small pack of dogs, the pretty white tile for the kitchen floor was really a bonehead choice! Ah well, that’s why we keep a massive pile of old towels in the laundry room, right?

    I hope you and your family have a wonderful Christmas, Joe!

    Wishing everyone here the merriest of holidays and a happy, healthy New Year.

  11. “My sister offered to buy her a membership, but Akemi refused reasoning that, if she had easy access to Costco, then her visits would be less special.”

    No! Not true! I cannot tell you how proud I am of the 20 bars of soap I got at Costco yesterday. Or the pack of lotion which contains 2 (two!) large lotion bottles, 1 a little smaller size, and 1 shea butter scent travel size. Awesome!! Akemi get a membership! It’s like Christmas year round!! All the toilet paper your storage can hold!!

    It was 75 today in Texas. I’m loving it.

    Joe, clean up your mom’s kitchen for her and that will help A LOT.

    Merry Christmas everybody!!!!

  12. Merry Christmas to you and Akemi and your mom and family.

    We have 70 degree weather here, btw. I don’t want your last year’s snow, but dang.. maybe high of 50 would be nice. Doesn’t feel right!

  13. Hi Joe
    Merry Christmas to you and Akemi and your family!
    Merry Christmas to everybody, and Happy New Year!


  14. I think I’ll stick to my New York style bagels either smeared with lox or cream cheese with scallions.

  15. Just finished hosting a traditional Italian Christmas eve dinner for the family. Only 9 this year. Shrimp, calamari, frittata, spaghetti, cookies and oranges. Lots of wine. And the traditional Irish coffee toast! (Hey, I’m half Irish). A good time was had by all.

    Merry Christmas everyone!

  16. @gforce: our 60 degree temps left yesterday. 30’s and 40’s now. Lots of rain, but no snow. And I agree about it not feeling quite right.

  17. It’s 20 degrees C with a freezing wind here in Cape Town today.
    We are used to beach weather in December. Please take your crappy weather back!!!
    Warm Christmas greetings from Denise in South Africa.

  18. Merry Christmas…. You should ask Ivon about Gryfe’s Bagel Bakery in Toronto….

    I’ve only been to Costco once… It was good but I wouldn’t get excited about it… Boxing Day sales tomorrow…can I be bothered? It’s really hot… I might go look at exterior blinds, that’s about it…

    Hope everyone has a lovely Christmas… Mine was.

    Cheers, Chev

  19. Merry Christmas everyone! Here in eastern PA yesterday we had a break in the rain and hubby and I had the windows open. Love the fresh air. Go El Nino!

  20. I’m a NYC bagel girl all the way. It is usually on my “must eat” things when I go up north.

    I love Akemi’s enthusiasm and perspective on the Costco experience. We have a Sam’s membership, but I’m tempted to go into Costco. They recently built one here.

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