Week 6 touches 5 cities: Marina dey Rey, Venice, Montreal, Halifax, and Los Angeles… and I joke that it’s the third time La Niña has been in Montreal this year. That’s when it hit me that before the summer is over, I will see Montreal 5 times. Not that any of those times REALLY count… they’re hours spent at the airport.
Food… on the road
Here are some of the week’s rather eclectic food discoveries from the above locations:
Drinkpoint. I saw a reference to this app twice in one day… and realized it is actually a rather brilliant idea. Basically, download the app, you sit on the deck of the pool at your hotel, order drinks from your phone, the order goes to the bar, a waitress brings the drinks to you. The app needs hotel subscriber-ship for it to work… and a bit of backend magic, but damn… ordering drinks from your phone… poolside… this takes the Calafia Cafe model to the next level.
Cafe Gratitude. This is a rather fantastic find in Venice, which *seems* to be the coffee capital of Los Angeles. This particular cafe is completely vegan and focuses on sustainable, health-conscious food. The only milk used in latte type drinks is almond milk. I’ve not had much luck with almond milk lattes because most of the time the milk falls apart, it tastes burnt, or it is too bitter. But I will say, Gratitude has figured out the secret sauce to make almond cappuccinos work.
Groundwork Cafe. Another coffee shop in Venice… they use milk and soy as well as all the typical raw/vegan/blah blah healthy options. This one was a quick stop for us when we were at the laundromat or the grocery store… it’s kinda hidden between trees, cars, and houses so you have to look for it.
Killer Shrimp in Marina del Rey. I’m almost embarrassed to mention this place because of its name, the chain restaurant feel, and terrible service. But, the food is really good and the seafood so fresh that we went back twice. It now has the dubious distinction of having the best Paella I’ve ever eaten.
Irvine’s Big Stop in Halifax. Sigh. This is where everyone goes to eat that comes in from the airport and surrounding area. Welcome to the reality of Nova Scotia: burgers, fries, onion rings, baloney and eggs, squishy white bread, potatoes that come from the frozen food section, fat-filled gravy on dry chicken… food that looks like it came out of a giant vat in a University kitchen… I know… I know… it’s a truck stop and not fine dining.
The laundry thing caught up with us and we found ourselves rolling suitcases into the Venice Coin Laundry on Rose literally hours before leaving the city. Yelp gave this laundry terrible reviews but I have nothing bad to say; it was clean, fuss-free, and quick. And, next door is Whole Foods so you can grab food or coffee while you wait for your clothes.
Interestingly, we packed the newly cleaned clothes into our luggage while it was still hot. And, almost 12-hours later when we arrived at our destination, it was still warm in the middle.
Summer Break: Grampa and Gramma
La Niña is now with the grandparents, running around barefoot in the grassy sand, chasing cats, eating directly from the garden, reading books in the house’s cool spots with her newfound cat friends, and just being a kid in the country. This is a completely new experience for her.
The first thing the kidlet noticed when we flew into Halifax is that at 11pm there were no lights, there were no cars, there were no visible houses, and everything looked eerie and quiet.
Welcome to Nova Scotia, I said. You’ll have difficulty sleeping because it is so quiet… but look on the bright side, there are aren’t a dozen Spidermen and one Spongebob bugging you… it doesn’t take an hour to drive 10 miles… and you won’t be pushing through crowds of people to get to where you need to go.
I find the quiet disturbing. At the end of the first day, I was already clawing at my eyes and pulling at my hair because the pace is 1/4th of what I am used to. Perhaps I need this… to sit in bed and read books… like I did when I was La Niña‘s age. But alas, that’s her path and not mine… because in less than 24-hours I’m back on a plane and heading West.
I feel weird and empty travelling without her.