Monday, February 09, 2009

Le Weekend

Spent the weekend in Montreal with most of my coworkers. We've been looking to do some sort of group gathering for a few years now and it finally came together with box seats to the Leafs-Habs game.

Friday

- Bolt from work a couple hours earlier than usual to catch the flight from Toronto City Centre airport to Montreal. I now firmly love Porter Air for the convenience factor alone. Shuttle next door to work, world's shortest ferry ride to the island, and no-hassle security into the waiting lounge with complimentary snacks and non-alcoholic drinks. They even feed you on a 1-hour flight. If I'm going anywhere they fly, I'll be flying them.

- Land, stroll over to the taxi line, laugh at the number of people, continue to the limo line where nobody but limo drivers are waiting. Easy decision.

- Check-in to the Fairmont. Well, try to check-in. "We don't have a reservation under that name." Oookay then. "Oh, but your colleague here has 2 rooms. Maybe one of them was yours?" So it turns out okay, except the only one they have is a smoking room. I realize it won't matter that much when I come back at 3am.

- Drinks across the road. Beer... Ten martini... Ketel One martini... and off to dinner.

- Queue De Cheval. Gorgeous building, big steaks. Ahi tuna tartare to start. 24-day aged Delmonico cut with a veal and white truffle reduction. Sides split among the table. One gripe - I ordered medium-rare, it was leaning towards the medium side. If a steakhouse where my slab of meat BY ITSELF costs $50 overcooks, it loses some serious points. But hunger, and the fact it wasn't QUITE medium yet won out. A small table full of a California Cabernet Sauvignon bottles was left in our wake. I didn't partake in the 40 year-old port that some did, opting instead for caffeine.

- Off to a bar with what we'll refer to as "good hiring practices" for a couple more martinis before last call... at that bar.

- Then off to Club Wanda's... the worst strip club I've been to in a long time. When you fall asleep during the table dance, you know it's lacking something.

- Find my way back to my hotel and call it a night.

Saturday

- Up at 10:30am. I first woke up fully at 9:45, but fell back asleep. Get ready, and head downstairs to find breakfast with a couple other hungry and hungover coworkers.

- Find a deli with brunch, and decide what I really want is a smoked meat reuben skillet with two eggs on top and homefries on the bottom, with smoked meat, sauerkraut, and swiss cheese in between.

- Fed and ready, I grab me a cab to the Casino Montreal. It's been years since I've been there, and it blew serious chunks back then. Then again, I didn't actually know how to play anything back then. It's still a horrible layout, with multiple floors and gaming split up all over them. They converted an old Expo '67 building I believe. I find the poker room... and it's closed. "Due to circumstances beyond our control, the poker room doesn't open until 3pm daily." Ugh. So I have an hour and a half to kill. I wander, play some blazing 7's and win $275. I take this and find me a craps table. $10 tables, en Fran├žais. I find a spot and start playing... gambling being a universal language, this isn't a problem. Just before 3 I colour up... up $65. So up $340 in about 1.5 hours.

- Get to the poker room and it's... VIDEO POKER TABLES! Ugh. There's a line at the registration desk, and a bigger line at the cashier. Why? Well, to play, you have to get a poker card, sign in at one of the kiosks for your game of choice, and then deposit money on the card. Once you get to the table, you slide in your card and choose how much of your credit you want to play at the table.

- I sat at $1/2 and bought in for the max $200 at the new table. I also neglected to hit the word "english" on the login screen, forcing me to get a French interface with no way to change once you started.

- These video tables work fine, and have their benefits. With the hour I had left, I wouldn't have seen nearly as many hands with a live dealer. That said, they kind of suck. The interface is a bit dodgy (everyone uses the corner of their cards, since some spots have to be touched just right), and the conversation is non-existent (it did start to pick up about 45 min in). The fact sign-up took 30 minutes didn't help either. I ended up giving back $113.50 over my hour of play. Between the horrible players who couldn't find the "abandonner" button (pocket 2's unimproved on a board with an Ace and face? gotta be good!), the video game interface, and the absolute card death, I can't say I had a good time with this one. But they're proudly advertising live dealers starting March 30th. So much for the video game experiment.

- From here, it was back to a cab and off to Crescent for dinner at Wienstein & Gavino's. Big plates of food. Antipasto platters for the table (good calimari and merguez sausage), and more red wine being poured freely. Glad I finished my rum and cokes before that started. I had a pretty solid pizza with more merguez sausage, grilled vegetables, and other stuff.

- And then a stroll to the game. Great seats (a box, so that's a given) just above the lower bowl. Drinks flowing freely again. Great game too, with the Leafs blowing out the Habs 5-2, and leaving a city in tears, except for a bunch of drunken guys heading to the next bar.

- Back to Gravino's for free beer with our ticket stubs. More drinking. The bachelorette party showing up was a nice touch, even if they were as typical as you would expect. A few more drinks, and then off to a place called Dieu du Ciel for artisnal beer. I had a nice Russian Rauchbiere and partook in the privately imported Swiss Absinthe that was already waiting. We all started to hit a wall that was conveniently located at last call. Cab back to the hotel, and another 3:30 am visit to my pillow.

Sunday

- Up, ready, and out to get to the airport. Easy flight back, and home in the afternoon, where a nap awaited. Once again, my house/cat-sitting best friend had somehow turned the mess I left behind into organization and cleanliness. I actually had an entire couch available, and could see the end table! Yah, she rocks.

- Up from nap, grab some food, and take it easy for the rest of the night. Good weekend.

1 comment:

Easycure said...

You could have Twittered that whole post.