Last I left you, I was passing out after a long drive with my ace Jason, late night wonton soup and medication for my chest virus but, baby, we were in Montreal on my first visit to Canada! Nothing was going to stop us from having a great time.

Jason’s and my first full day was a Friday. Perfect for seeing the city while most people were working. Post torrential downpour, the weather was not as warm as I would have enjoyed or for which my wardrobe called. Alas, I filled my hip sack with the essentials of the day and we headed out.

Navigator Jason directed us first to Gay Village, a pedestrian-only corridor of Rue Sainte Catherine, just a few blocks from our flat. Adorning this corridor was a canopy of garlands in the colors of the rainbow. Add to that some gorgeous street murals and an outdoor contemporary pop art installation by Toiletpaper magazine. It was quite beautiful and irreverent.

We double-backed beyond the beginning of Gay Village in route to the art center. I was chilly in my shorts so we stopped into a denim shop to see what we could see. Fortuitously, this store was a third generation 75+ year Montreal institution, as proven by the owner asking what color ONLY and pulling Jason’s and my correct sizes on the first try with free custom hemming onsite. We walked out of Pantalons Superieur with two pairs each, one pair on my body. I do love exceptional customer service.

Now appropriately dressed for the weather we continued on Rue St. Catherine to Musée d’Art Contemporain (contemporary art museum, aka MAC). The grounds are so beautifully designed, it reminded me of Lincoln Center. Outside there was an art instillation featuring large sized sculptures of dogs doing what they do. I was missing my boys so I paid tribute with some selfies.

It was now late lunch time and we were “hangry.” The mission was to hoof it over to the Mile End area to dine at @SchwartzsDeli, but leave it to Montreal to have some awesome shops and awe-inspiring murals to take in as we marched along Boulevard Saint-Laurent. Shout-outs to Artgang (@AGCMTL) for my locally made camo bucket hat and to @Station16MTL Gallery for my incredible @LyleOwerko boombox series piece. Dope!

Finally at Schwartz’s Deli, we stepped to the end of the queue to enter the old school shop. While I felt like I was at Katz Deli, my order of pastrami on rye was quickly corrected to a “smoked meat” (brisket) sandwich. Cool. We added poutine (fries topped with cheese curds and beef gravy), Kosher dill pickles and coleslaw. We took it all in, the food and the ambiance, feeling very grateful all the while.

This was day one in Montreal. The next day would bring the beginning of my 49th year on the earth…

Happy eating and thanks for reading!

Kysha Harris is a food writer and editor, culinary producer, consultant and owner of SCHOP!, a personalized food service in NYC for over 15 years. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram, @SCHOPgirl, on Facebook, /SCHOPnyc, and her blog, Questions? Comments? Requests? Feedback? Invitations! Email AmNewsFOOD at Follow us on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook @NYAmNewsFOOD and tag us with #SoAmNewsFOOD with your food finds!