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CHRISTMAS SHOPPING IN MONTREAL: 5 GIFT IDEAS FOR YOUR FOODIE FRIENDS

Planning to come to Montreal before Christmas? Friends and family back home are into food and restaurants? You’re in luck: this city is a veritable treasure trove of gifts for the seen-it-all-tasted-it-all foodie.  Champagne? T.V. chef cookbooks? So déja vu! Here are a few presents that would make any food-lover happy:

COME-AS-YOU-ARE BAR AND NIGHTCLUB

I love that when I go out in Montreal I can get Mad Men fancy and dress up to the nines (look for my earlier post “Get dolled up at Bleu Blow Dry and Rouge Nail Bar”) – or just tie my hair up in a ponytail, dress down, and nevertheless go out and have a good time. When I feel like doing the latter, which is most of the time, there are two new spots on my radar.

GET DOLLED UP AT BLEU BLOW DRY AND ROUGE NAIL BAR

I’ve raved more than once about my favourite little beauty bars where I love to treat myself and get my nails done. Vanity is a curse; I know. So, when mini-Montreal chain Rouge Nail Bar opened up a “sister concept” – Bleu Blow Dry Bar – right next door to their Fairmount location, my first thought was, This is a match made in heaven. Or was it, Thank heaven!

CHRISTMAS CONCERTS IN MONTREAL

Though your uncle’s eggnog-fueled Bing Crosby impression has its place, one of the most magical parts of the holiday season can be found in the music that defines it. Here are some of highlights of Montreal’s Christmas Concert lineup…

GET DOWN AND SHOP IN THE UNDERGROUND CITY

My parents were born on a sunny island in the Pacific, so I like to believe that I’m genetically opposed to winter. Thank goodness then for Montreal’s Underground City, a massive web of tunnels that connects a major area of downtown office buildings, hotels, museums, banks, condominiums, great deals on smoked meat, shopping malls, metro stations, and even the Bell Centre.

SHOPPING AT MONTREAL MUSEUM OF FINE ARTS

Whether you are in town for a meeting or with your family, friends or loved one, you will find many great holiday gifts ideas at the boutiques of the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts. There are two shops: M Boutique offers more traditional fares, and Design Space offers the cleanly contemporary.

GREY CUP PARADE 2010: MONTREAL’S ALS WIN AGAIN

Montrealers came down to the streets to celebrate the Alouettes Grey Cup Victory, laset wednesday. The team spirit was high up despite the bad weather, as proven in this video. Go Alls Go !

MONTREAL IN THE MOVIES: BARNEY’S VERSION

Mordecai Richler, author of St. Urbain’s Horsemen and The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz, is probably Montreal’s most famous writer. When Barney’s Version, the film adaptation of his most famous and last novel, opens in theatres on December 24, the world will have a chance to revel in the life and locations of Barney Panofsky, Richler’s autobiographical anti-hero.

TEA FOR THREE AT BIRKS CAFÉ

Birks has been a Montreal institution for fine jewellery since 1894. Last September, the chichi store opened an equally chichi resto-boutique on the mezzanine level called Birks Café par Europea. Ladies who lunch can now “take tea,” as they say, overlooking a dazzling array of jewels and designer watches. I was happy to hear that heading this gastronomic endeavour was none other than Montreal top chef Jérôme Ferrer whom many locals know from his chain of restaurants, including the haute cuisine Europea, as well as Andiamo, Beaver Hall, and Espace Europea.