A pasta salad, an espresso and the lachine canal

Things have been moving along at the same moderate pace on the home-front. We’ve gone back to eating without restrictions, which hasn’t been all that unhealthy. It’s simpler to eat out and I’ve spent less time in the kitchen recently, which is a good thing being that the weather has decided to cooperate in the best of ways recently. Warm, sunny and dry. Never overwhelming. Lovely.

I finished the Pablo Neruda biography by Adam Feinstein and started a university history textbook on Latin America, as well as a Julio Cortazar book entitled “Los Premios”, or, in English, “The winners”. I’m reading it in French though, so I’m actually reading a book called “Les gagnants”!

Julio Cortazar in one of his better looking photographs

The textbook is dense and boring but it’s an accurate, researched and as close to objective as can be resource. My plan is to finish it and follow it up with a book I recently found about the fight for aboriginal rights in South America. Sounds interesting. The Julio Cortazar book is what I get to read before going to bed, and occasionally, during the day, when the dense account of 3 centuries of history becomes unbearable.

Anyways, this post is not about books, or reading, or history: it’s about a nice salad and a wonderful day.

Spinach pasta salad

A quick recipe:
1.Spinach pasta– In our case, store bought but fresh.
– Boil, rinse, and let it cool down with some extra virgin olive oil
– Grate. 🙂
3.Red Cabbage
– Thinly slice
– Grate.
5.Olive oil and seasoning
– sprinkle.

That’s it, and you know what, it was great.

Now on to the wonderful day Carolina and I shared on Sunday, when the sun was shinning, the breeze was gentle and the air refreshing.

We woke up early to explore a neighborhood we rarely set foot in called St-Henri. A new coffee roaster, named after the neighborhood, has opened there and I was excited to discover the coffee and space.

Find out more here: www.sainthenri.ca

The space is simple and elegant; with church pews and cute wooden chairs playing off the charcoal and grey tones of the wall, floor and ceiling. The roaster is one of a new wave of coffee makers popping up around North America. Hip, experimental and passionate, groups of (mostly) younger coffee aficionados are going about producing a mini coffee revolution; establishing an alternative to the large corporate hegemony that developed North America’s love for coffee during the 90s and 2000s. More involved in the roasting and picking of the beans, these artisans are offering exciting new options at small coffee shops around the continent. This is the first one of this kind that I know of in Montreal, and they are slowly developing their coffee. It was better this weekend than when I had tried it some weeks ago at the restaurant I work at. Good to see it improving.

Not my picture

Here are a few that you should look into:

Ritual– from San Francisco

Forty Ninth Parallel – From Burnaby B.C

Metropolis – From Chicago

Stumptown – Brooklyn, NY

There are a great many more, but these are a few you can look into.

So, on to the Lachine canal. Running through Montreal, weaving an imperfectly parallel line with the St-Lawrence, is a canal that was used for a number of different purposes over the last centuries. It’s an inland waterway, on which you can plan water activities such as kayaking, and which inspired the creation of a 15 kilometer bike path that follows its gentle meandering current. What a joy. I’m ashamed to say that I had never followed the bike path before, but oh-so pleased to know that it is there for my enjoyment. On Sunday, I felt liberated. I swooned over Montreal and it’s many treasures and I rejoiced in my discovery. One must absolutely bike down the Lachine canal on a nice day. Bring some food, a book, a sporting good, whatever, but make it a mission for yourself. You won’t regret it. For those of you from out of town, there are bike and boat rental stations, as well as small restaurants and a harbor near the end of the bike ride where you can relax and enjoy life. aha. It’s also very family friendly.

a statue at the parc towards the end of the ride
historical leftovers
happy, happy

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