Driving East on Notre-Dame, With Odario

Yeah, that’s right, DK… I’m stealing your style. (My favourite posts of yours, as you well know.)

I met my friend France downtown at 6:30 at The Eaton’s Centre for drinks and dinner. The place is under a mega-renovation so we were lucky we found each other!  France’s friend had told her about the new Timeout Market that had opened.  Call it the Bougie (Bourgeois) Food Court, if you will. (Thanks, B, for such a great term). Instead of your usual, Greek, hot dog, Chinese, etc. counters, these are all from some of our fancier restaurants like Le Club Chasse et Pêche or T Burger which is the baby of Toqué or Olive et Gourmando, to name a few.  They have a bar for mixed drinks or beer, a soda bar and a wine bar where you can buy by the glass or the bottle.  The concept is simple.  Get yourself a drink, stand somewhere while you pray for a couple of seats to liberate and, should you be lucky, grab ’em as soon as you find ’em.  Then, you leave your coat on your seat, tell the person(s) sitting across from or beside you that you are just going to choose your meal (not that anyone would consider moving your coat or stealing your spot, so really, it’s just an unnecessary added assurance) and go peruse the possibilities.  There are tables outside of the bar area but you can’t bring your booze there so, needless to say, not an option for us.

Everything is made to order so, once you have chosen what you want, they give you one of those light buzzer doohickeys (mine was no. 40) that let you know your food is ready.  So off you go, back to your now-precious seat, sip your wine and chat while you wait. Or, as was our case, by the time we had our first glass of wine and found a seat, it was close to 8:00 pm so we chose to just wait near the counter for our food as there were no line-ups.  We both ended up getting our eats at “Charles-Antoine Crête and Cheryl Johnson”.  France went for the char tartare served with popcorn and shrimp “croutons” and I went for the Yaki-katsu which is a big bowl of Boston lettuce, fried beef, paper-thin pineapple and kimchi.

Our meals were tasty, and at $17/plate before taxes and tip, we ate every last crumb, and managed to refrain from licking the bowl.  The wine was wonderful – at $20 for a 9 oz glass (tax and tip included), not a drop was left. The place is happening and loud. Way too loud. We were both glad we could say we have been and neither one of us is in any hurry to return. It’s a great concept to give you a taste of a restaurant you would love to go to but that you know you need to sell your first-born to pay for the meal.

Despite the insane noise decibel, we did manage to catch up and promised each other we would not wait another year for our next one.  I had parked a few blocks away to get my steps in, but France went even further so we walked to my car and I drove her the good six blocks (at least) to her car.  Just as we got close to my car, I had to stop and grab a picture of the Cathédrale Marie-Reine du Monde (Mary, Queen of the World Cathedral). She’s a beauty though this nighttime shot of crappy quality barely shows it. What are you gonna do? You do what you can with what you have! However, I am now wanting to return during the day and try again.

Whenever I go downtown, I like to drive back towards the Jacques-Cartier bridge via Notre-Dame Street.  It’s just so pretty with its boutiques and antique dealers.  Odario Williams is the “Afterdark” host on CBC Music from 8 till midnight, Monday to Friday, turning out the music for our “nighttimes feels” as he says. From 8 ’til 10 there is a mix that is groovy and has good beats but come 10 pm, he slows it down.  Just so happens it was close to 11 by the time I got to my car.  My drive home was dreamy, starting with Imogen Heaps’ “Hide and Seek” then the very lovely “The City Holds My Heart” by Ghostly Kisses

A sweet French song “Les animaux” by Klô Pelgag and finally, bringing me to the last leg of my drive, “Stay Going Nowhere” by Jodie Landau & Wild Up, for which, unfortunately, no YouTube exists.  Well, it does, but not the studio recording, but the one I’ve provided is with Valgeir Sigurðsson, a close enough match. All songs I had never heard, some a little more ‘new-agey’ than I normally listen to but felt just perfect to bring things down from the buzz in my head brought on by the noise and loud talking we were obliged to do. Thanks, Odario… you never disappoint!