Thursday, August 19, 2010


When you work downtown, whether you commute by car, train, bus, metro, or even walk, you tend to stay more less put and eat lunch pretty close to where you work.  Certainly that was my case until recently.

Last summer BIXI bikes opened a whole other range of possible lunch venues.  The Old Port, the Plateau, the Atwater Market, Greene Avenue, all became what you might call 'luncheable'.

This riding season, my Vespa has opened all kinds of additional possibilities: enjoying a sandwich on the lookout on Camilien Houde, or a delicious grilled lamb sandwich at the Jean-Talon market, for instance.

This map says it all, the black lines more or less tell the story of the respective lunchtime roaming capacity of BIXI bikes, and Vespa LX150's.
On Tuesday I really needed a change of scenery and a change of pace.  So I hopped on my scooter and headed to a place that is one of Montreal's legendary hangouts: the Orange Julep on Décarie boulevard.  This place doesn't need a website of its own, because it has a Wikipedia page.  Wow!
The food, other than the signature orange beverage which is akin to the nectar of the gods, is unexceptional drive-in fare: hot dogs, burgers, fries, ubiquitous Quebec 'poutine', etc.  The ambiance is all retro fifties and sixties drive-in, with the backdrop of the over-the-top, huge, orange, citrus-shaped, building that houses this unmistakable landmark.

60's pop music, heavily laced with Motown classics, suffuses the air in the huge parking lot and instantly takes me back to my earliest experiences here when waitresses on roller skates responded to flashing headlights to take orders and deliver the food on a drive-in tray cantilevered on my Dad's driver's door window.  With the exception of the skating waitresses who are doubtlessly mostly grandmothers now, the place hasn't changed at all.

Read all about it on Wikipedia.

From my picnic table, I had a decent view of two other unmistakable Montreal landmarks.

St-Joseph's Oratory...
and the main art-deco tower of the Université de Montréal designed by famed architect Ernest Cormier.
Lunch doesn't get any better, or cheaper, than this!!

Come to Montreal and check it out.

If you live in Montreal, buy a scooter!  Dare to live!


Anonymous said...

Your posts bring back some great memories. Back in 1967, I was a college student living with my uncle in Dorval and working at the Armstrong plant on Decarie. Not only did I eat at Orange Julep, but I twice ate at Ruby Foo's nearby and after my shift would walk across the street to Blue Bonnet and catch the last two races. This was during Expo '67 and it was a great summer! Now 43 three years later, I have bought a scooter and your site has reconnected me to those good times. Thanks!

PS: I enjoy all of your posts, but have not commented before.

Bainbridge Island,

David Masse said...

Hi Bill,

I am pleased that you are enjoying my posts.

I blog to return the benefit that I got from others' blogs when I was debating whether to embark on this excellent adventure.

The copyright in all text and photographs, except as noted, belongs to David Masse.