Cars and coffee is a global movement where automotive enthusiasts get together to show off their prized machines and shoot the breeze over a cup of coffee. They’re the kind of open-to-anybody events that bring car lovers together, whether they’re driving million-dollar exotics or just a beloved old beater. With that being said, there seems to be a strong correlation between caffeine and petrol. BMW Laval, one of Canada’s largest BMW retailers, was quick to capitalize on this by introducing the Autogrill; an integrated coffee bar where customers can enjoy a quality cup of coffee while they visit the dealership.
Nostalgia can be defined as a sentimental yearning for the happiness of a former place or time. Our parents often tell us stories about the “good old days” when the kids of the neighbourhood would gather in the streets to play stick ball or bathe in an open fire hydrant. We ourselves think back to a time when we would freely roam the streets on our bicycles and stop by our local convenience store (depanneur for our Montreal readers) for a jumbo Mr. Freeze or a Slush Puppy. Some of us reminisce over our college and university days. Each generation closely associates with its social experiences and the period or place where such experiences occurred. We are reminded of a time in our lives when things were much simpler. A few days ago we caught up with some old friends and visited a small neighbourhood cafe that evoked those exact feelings of nostalgia.
If you are on Instagram as often as we are you may have come across pictures of a quaint coffee shop located in the heart of Plateau Mont-Royal. Measuring no more than a few hundred square feet, what this small neighborhood cafe lacks in size is quickly made up by its strong sense of community. Its customers are comprised of people of all ages, ranging from older couples to young families to university students. They are often depicted sitting on the outdoor terrace sipping their cold brew coffees under bright sunny skies. Everyone seems so happy, even the dogs! We couldn’t quite put our finger on what made this place so special. Could it be the coffee? Maybe it’s the desserts… we thought to ourselves. Whatever it was, we needed to find out so we headed over to Noble Café to investigate.
It all started with a phone call. We could hear the despair in each other’s voices. It had been a long week and an even longer month. With no vacation days in sight, we were both in desperate need of a break – something that could allow us a quick escape from our mundane daily routines. But where could we go for just a day? Where could two bros find temporary solace from the ever growing pressures of life? And then it hit us…Burlington! Located less than two hours from Montreal we thought we could easily escape for the day and be back before anybody noticed. Our minds were set and our fate was sealed. We quickly gathered the bare necessities for a one day adventure…passports, credit cards, water and two packs of beef jerky.
We were frustrated but we remained hopeful. David had just received a bright red Fiat 124 spider on allowance from work and we were dying to take it for a spin with the top down. However, yet again it was a cloudy Saturday morning and the likelihood of us getting to drive it while feeling the breeze in our hair was quickly diminishing. Nevertheless we got into David’s new car and drove down to Le Butterblume in the Mile-End.
If you have been following our most recent adventures, you may have noticed that we have grown quite fond of the Rosemont La-Petite-Patrie area. In fact, after our authentic Portuguese experience at Cafe Chiado 28, followed by our random yet memorable discovery of Caffelini, it had become quite apparent to us that Rosemont’s coffee scene was bursting at the seams. Within just a few city blocks was an untapped wealth of cafes waiting for us to discover. In an effort to milk this neighborhood one last time, we headed over to Café Pista, a trendy cafe with a warm atmosphere.
Summer is finally here, which means we can now enjoy our basil plants, go for long bromantic walks and stop for a refreshing cold coffee. Yes, summer is by far our favourite season but it does come with its disadvantages. For one, many of us will need to prepare for a never ending onslaught of social events, such as children’s birthday parties, baptisms, engagement ceremonies and weddings. Our wallets will be depleted come November, only to be destroyed again by the Holiday Season. Luckily, coffee is a cheap habit. This might be the reason why so many Montrealers can’t seem to shake their addiction to caffeine. Costing an average of 4$ or less, a cup of coffee is cheaper than a pack of cigarettes and provides its beneficiary with an immediate feeling of euphoria. Just a few days ago, we were frantically searching for a coffee watering hole, when we accidentally stumbled into Cafellini. Call it what you will, but this discovery was clearly not a coincidence – it was a message from the caffeine Gods.
The last two weeks have been quite hectic – we’ve been working late, travelling, attending networking events and sleeping when we can. It’s gotten to the point where we need to plan a few weeks in advance just to grab a coffee together (sad, we know). Nonetheless, after a short hiatus, things have finally calmed down and we are back to business as usual. Seeing as we were both in desperate need of bromance, we decided to meet up in the middle of the week at Café Chiado 28, a Portuguese cafe-bistro.
“It’s moments like this where I wish I had a pancake lens.”, Joey said.
“If you don’t hurry up you’re going to look like a pancake. I can see a car coming.”, David replied.
We were back in Villeray and Joey was sitting in the middle of the street, trying take a picture of Paroisse Saint-Cecile, while David nervously watched for oncoming traffic.
Joey: “Ok, got it!”
David: “Was it really worth almost dying over a picture?”
Joey: “Bro, have a little faith.”
David: “Can we go get coffee now? I’m dying here.”
David was right. It was almost 11AM and we hadn’t had our caffeine fix yet. There was just something about this neighborhood that grabbed our attention. Between its vibrant art murals, tucked-away alleys and quaint shops; Villeray is much like a small village within a big city. We slowly made our way down De Castelneau Street, until we reached Cafe Ferlucci, a small neighborhood cafe with a growing reputation.
We were well dressed and our hair was perfectly coiffed. Armed with our Ray Ban sunglasses and our sense of adventure, we decided to explore a place we had often heard about but never visited. Little did we know that this excursion would open our eyes to a whole new world. As Google Maps lead us through the Atwater Market, past Griffintown and across the Lachine Canal, we had finally reached our destination. David carefully parked his rust colored Fiat 500 on Centre Street. We both got out of the bromance mobile and observed our surroundings. This was the place. This was Pointe-Saint-Charles.