Uncommon Grounds: A day trip to Burlington.

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.

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Le Butterblume: Coffee and Convertibles.

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.

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Café Pista: The Rosemont Revival Part III.

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. 

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Cafellini: The Rosemont Revival Part II.

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.

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Tommy: location, location, location.

Real-Estate brokers, investors and successful business owners will tell you time and time again that location is everything. Whether you want to start your own legal practice or open a “cat friendly” cafe, choosing the right location can mean the difference between feast or famine. One of the most sought after areas in the city of Montreal is the Old Port, which attracts millions of people each year. It is known for its many restaurants, terraces and boutiques. It is also the site of such key architectural structures as Montreal City Hall, the Palais de Justice de Montréal, the Quebec Court of Appeal and the Notre-Dame Basilica. For locals, it’s a great place to go out on a date or  enjoy a casual stroll while soaking up the European inspired architecture. For tourists, it’s an opportunity to take advantage of the many street performances and visit Montreal’s oldest historical sites. 

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Allo Vélo: A caffeine pit stop for cyclists.

Last week, Emma Morano, the oldest person in the world, passed away at the graceful age of 117. She was believed to have been the last surviving person born in the 1800s. Having lived for over a century, she most likely witnessed a drastic change in modern society, specifically with respect to transport. The world has come a long way since the days when our great grand-parents used a horse and cart to get around. With huge advances in science and technology, the average person living in the 21st century now owns a car. That being said, our generation is slowly starting to realize that the automobile doesn’t make a lot of sense in an urban context. It isn’t just the smog or car accidents; in a city, cars aren’t even a convenient way to get around. In fact, a growing number of European cities are banning cars in certain neighborhoods.  With so much traffic, construction and pollution, it’s no wonder so many urbanites have adopted cycling as an alternative way to get around the city. Imagine a place where cyclists can shop or repair their bicycles, all while enjoying a cup of coffee. Enter Allo Vélo. 

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Café Crème Fleury : Like father, like daughter.

In high school we are told to choose a career for the rest of our lives, when most of us can’t even decide what we want for dinner. Through trial and error, we eventually find our calling. Some of us fall into it, while others are thrown into it. This decision can be even more difficult to make when your family owns a business. It would be the understatement of the year to say that running a successful business is hard; especially being in Quebec where we are limited by language laws and higher tax rates. All that risk, hard work, and continual pressure to stay above rising costs isn’t for the faint of heart. You need thick skin to be in business and even thicker skin to be successful at it. Diandra Alzani was born into a family that knows coffee. Through her innovative ideas and modern approach she has succeeded in taking her family business to the next level: Le Café Crème 2.0.

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Ciociaro Sports Bar & Grill: Where everybody knows your name.

Let’s be honest: coffee is cool. Do you know what’s even cooler? Posting pictures of coffee on the internet. With the advent of Facebook, Instagram and other social media platforms, the food scene in general has become a worldwide obsession. Many of us can’t resist taking pictures of our food before we actually taste it (guilty as charged). Just the other day, we were having lunch together and we witnessed a woman shamelessly take various shots of what seemed to be a sliced avocado and three cherry tomatoes. It was strange, to say the least…

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Café Larue & Fils Jarry: Villeray’s business casual

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. Spring was just around the corner but we were still dealing with a winter that refused to die! We had hoped for a mild Saturday morning, but yet again the bitter cold was threatening our existence and testing Joey’s ability to take pictures for our article. Nevertheless, this was definitely not the first time we had visited the quaint neighborhood of Villeray. In fact, over the past few years, Villeray had become a regular meeting place for our bromance sessions. Its proximity to Jarry Park, the Jean-Talon market and Little Italy make it the perfect location for young families and empty nesters seeking a diversified urban lifestyle.  With this change in social demographic, independently owned businesses have been seemingly popping up all over the area.

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We didn’t choose the cafe life, the cafe life chose us.

It might be a combination of factors which led us to the creation of this blog. Aside from our passion for coffee, there is a certain familiarity that we enjoy every time we set foot into a cafe. Our first memories in cafes were forged in our youth with our fathers and grandfathers, both in Italy and in Montreal. In many European countries, stopping by your local cafe for a quick espresso or cappuccino is part of a daily routine. The whole European experience is quite different from the fast-food Americanized coffee chains we’re familiar with in North America. Cafes are meant for social gatherings; a quick pit stop before starting your day, a place to discuss sports, politics or anything else for that matter. After a while, the barista becomes your go-to guy, an underpaid psychologist of sorts.

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