The Gallivanting Gourmand
Greg Duncan
Greg Duncan
is a freelance writer based in the Montreal region. He is particularly keen about good food. In his day job, Greg is the executive director of the Quebec Community Newspapers Association.

His previous columns are archived HERE.

Posted 01.08.03


Florida lushness comes to Montreal

Want a reprieve from the grasp of winter? Who knew that you could have a warm and tropical vacation right here at home?

The Holiday Inn Aero port Montreal is alive with soft music and swaying palm trees. It's easy to imagine that you are in some far-away place as you dine in lush surroundings.

As you sit poolside, Don Richards serenades with his one-man performance of classic and contemporary tunes. Order a margarita and lose yourself in the moment. We did not long ago when we visited the hotel's restaurant on a cold and blustery evening.

A huge hot and cold buffet is the first thing that draws your attention as you enter this eatery.

Roast veal, pasta, salads and desserts tempt, as do cheeses and thinly sliced cold cuts. Artichokes and veggies sit in tasty marinades along with a myriad of offerings for the hungry.

The buffet runs all three meals seven days a week and is a very good value as it contains something for everyone and is very reasonably priced. We opted to order a la carte, however, as we noticed rack of lamb on the menu and I had a hankering for shrimps. A half- liter of good red wine allowed us to ogle the menu and we chose dishes that were signature. The chef displayed talent with the lamb and it arrived juicy and pink. Each little chop was licked clean of its goodness and I was lucky enough to be presented one in exchange for a plump garlic shrimp.

My plate assembled ten large shrimp atop a rice pilaf. A buttery garlic sauce allowed for dredging and they disappeared quickly. We chatted with Catherine, who proved that the staff here is very friendly and accommodating. She offered to introduce us to Don Richards (a local musical institution) and we were amazed at how Don can single-handedly play tunes that usually requires many musicians. Big band or soft jazz, it doesn't matter, as Don is a master playing all the horns, strings, guitars, bass and percussion at the same time.

He does this with the help of technology of course, but you'd never know it -- he's that smooth. He is there every evening and a special moonlight serenade is proving very popular on Friday and Saturday nights.

This is a dine-and-dance experience not to be missed. The menu is good, the environment is even better, and all this combines with great music that will see you wishing you knew of it sooner. Obviously some do as the place was packed on the night our visit.

It is a very rare place indeed that can offer all these great elements and I suggest you make your way to this tropical haven soon. A winter evening could not be any better than at this hotel and restaurant.

The Holiday Inn Aero port Montreal is located at 6500 Cote de Liesse. 514-739-3391.