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When splurging is worth it

I’m traveling across Western Canada for work this summer – that post is slowly being written. In the meantime, I’m sitting having breakfast in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, and I’m going to chat about splurging!

While all of my summer travels are expensed as work trips, I work for a non profit and I really believe that it’s important to spend my budget reasonably. Also, the less I spend, the more I can travel throughout the year! Since this is summertime and the weather is beautiful, I decided to travel mostly by bus. I flew from Vancouver to Calgary, then bussed from Calgary to Edmonton, and Edmonton to Saskatoon. I’m getting a ride from Saskatoon to Regina, and finally will be bussing from Regina to Winnipeg, before flying from Winnipeg to Vancouver in August.

Everywhere I go, I am taking public transit, staying in hostels or university dorms, and eating at people’s houses or cooking for myself. I did, however, budget for the entire meal allowance that I’m allowed, which gives me a lot of wiggle room, and brings us to the point of this blog post!

Yesterday, I took the bus from Banff to Edmonton, which took about 5 hours. Then, I waited in Edmonton for 6 hours before boarding a 7 hour bus to Saskatoon. I arrived this morning at 6:30, much too early to check in to my university accommodation. I decided to head out and by to find breakfast, but that’s also a bit tricky at 6am. The first place I saw was the Holiday Inn – their breakfast buffet is $15, and includes fruit, yogurt, cereal, bacon, sausage, hash browns, eggs Benedict 3 ways, and a pot of coffee right at the table. The table has its own tv (royal baby news on all the channels this morning), and power outlets.

Who could ask for more? So, while I usually try to spend under $10 when I have to pay for breakfast, often spending just $4 at Tim Hortons, today I decided that I deserve the extra bit of luxury.

I might – might – also go for a massage (12km mountain hike + 12 hour bus ride), but that’ll be with my own money, of course 🙂

When do you decide to splurge, and when do you decide to save?

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Where to eat in Montreal

There are thousands of food options in Montreal, and here is a short list of my faves – this is where I go every time I go to Montreal. Now, try and be good and spread these out over at least a week. Don’t be like me, and try to do it all in one weekend. I’m still recovering.


This place doesn’t have a website or a Facebook page, but they don’t need it. The lineup – and the food – speak for themselves. Get here before 9:30 on Saturdays or Sundays if you don’t want to stand outside for half an hour, but I promise that the wait is worth it. Among other things, this place has ridiculous smoothies, eggs benedict and french toast. Bonus: they drop a full can of maple syrup at your table!


Now, I’d love to recommend more breakfast places, but this is my go-to, every time. I actually went twice last weekend. I used to go to La Grand-Mère Poule, another delicious restaurant, and Bagel St-Viateur is a good place for you to try Montreal bagels (which I don’t actually like!)

Lunch and bites

To be honest, I’m usually so full of breakfast from L’Avenue that I rarely grab lunch in Montreal! Here are a few options… I tried to go to Jarry Smoked Meat after L’Avenue the other day and I just couldn’t handle another bite. I’m still sad.

M4 Burritos
A build your own burrito place, with delicious options like quesadillas, tacos, and salads, with amazing pulled pork and great topping selections. It’s right by Berri-Uqam metro station, so easy to grab a bite on your way to or from anywhere.

Jarry Smoked Meat
A bit out of the way, and tricky to get to by public transit, but oh-so worth it! Montreal is well known for its smoked meat, and this place just can’t be beat. The juiciest, most delicious smoked meat you’ll ever have.


I’m only ever in Montreal for a few days at a time, and by the time I get there, I miss my old favourites, so my plans never vary very much. Unmissables include:

My favourite, favourite, favourite place. When I was in Mali last year, this place is all I could think about. They have the most amazing make your own poutine menu, which includes 8 kinds of cheese, 10 kinds of vegetables, 10 kinds of meat, and four kinds of sauce. They recently won Montreal’s Poutine Week contest, with a mouthwatering General Tao poutine. Don’t miss this place (they have three locations, so no excuses!), but just make sure that you have nothing planned afterwards! You’ll need a long walk, and then you’ll need to lie down.

Chez Chine
Ok, this is a random one. This restaurant is located in the Holiday Inn in Chinatown. I go here every time I come to Montreal, for one reason only – they have crispy duck pancakes. Everything else is over priced, and not necessarily delicious. But the duck… oh the duck pancakes! If ever you’re craving them (or wondering what they are), this is the place to go.

Maria Bonita
This is the place to go for delicious, authentic mexican food in Montreal. The owner has dedicated his life to finding the best product, to create dishes that taste like you’re in Mexico.


Finally, my favourite category!

Do not, do not, do not miss this place. Giant, fluffy cheesecakes in so many flavours (highlights include caramel fudge, oreo, and apple crumble cheesecake), as well as amazing crumbles. I think that I’ve said it all. Go, go now.

Juliette et Chocolat
All chocolate, all delicious.

Dr. Frost
Like Marble Slab or Cold Stone, but cheaper, and more delicious. Plus, the actual shop is super fun.


I hope that this list helps you decide where to go next! I just got back from Montreal, and I’m already looking forward to my next trip there…