Comment ca va?
Today’s letter is about my search for the elusive perfect coffee shop.
When I say, “coffee shop”, I am referring to the independent, locally owned, one-of-a-kind coffee shop like Chocolate Claim, Baked Café, Dawson City’s River West or any of the other great coffee shops in the Yukon.
Coffee shop chains are all over the place. They are good, too, and I do visit the old Starbucks or Timmy’s when I am in downtown Montréal, but you know it’s nice to support local.
Anyone who knows me knows that I am a connoisseur of the coffee/muffin, coffee/cinnamon bun or the coffee/scone combo.
I love going to coffee shops.
Well, the search has been long, but I think I have closed in on the perfect place. In fact, I am sitting here as I write to you.
You may ask yourselves, “Why in such a big city would it be hard to find a nice coffee shop?” When I first arrived here, I said the same thing. Grant and I have taken many walks in our borough of Verdun – I, more than Grant, because walking is what I also love to do – and, living without a car, certainly necessitates this.
There are hundreds of restaurants in our neighbourhood. Every block has a variety ranging from Chinese, Greek, pizzerias and, of course La Belle Province with the hot dog steamé/poutine combo.
Pick a nationality and there’s bound to be a restaurant to match. I think people in Montréal are connoisseurs of eating. In general, people go to restaurants to eat meals, not just to sip on coffee and linger over a muffin. That would explain the multitude of restaurants filled with people munching away.
Now, back to my coffee shop. I discovered this one by chance as it is quite discrete on the outside. When I first began visiting it, there were only four tables, which made it super cozy on a rainy “coffee shop day”.
They have since expanded into the back area of the shop so there is more room, not too much more room, but it does accommodate more people.
The ambiance it nice, the music is great (right now, Leonard Cohen) and the tasty coffee, or latte, is served in a big orange mug.
The name of this place is Le Bao Bab and it is my favourite, local Verdun coffee shop. Bao Bab is the name of a type of tree. The trunk is massive and the largest one can be found in Madagascar.
I have also changed my coffee combo to coffee and a toasted Montréal bagel with extra butter and Swiss cheese – yum. I have switched to bagels because … well, when in Rome …
Montréal bagels are world famous and delicious.
So now, on weekend mornings, when Grant and I are going out to visit my Mom in Ile Perrot or on any other morning when Grant is procrastinating, you will find us at Le Bao Bab.
I must tell you though, in all of my coffee shop searches I have yet to find the equivalent to the delicious Chocolate Claim cinnamon bun.
Well, I’m off to dance class. You’ll hear more about that in my next letter.
PHOTO: GRANT HARTWICK