Saturday 15 February 2014

Chez Nick to the rescue: in pursuit of an all-day breakfast

It has now been exactly five years since Serre Picasso Restaurant on St. Jacques Street West in NDG closed its doors and there has truly been no appropriate successor. The building remains intact, the old restaurant locale empty as can be and Les Amazones gentleman's club clearly still attracting customers. Noted businessman Peter Sergakis owns the facility and when it shut down he assured me it would be brought back to life. That never happened of course.

Picasso had a vast menu and it was open 24 hours a day. What people appreciated most was the fact you could order a breakfast whenever you wanted - and a pretty good one at that. I among those people who actually likes to have some eggs over easy, toast and a few sides on a weekend evening. We have a countless number of  breakfast spots across the island, from Cora and Ben and Florentine to Allô Mon Coco.  But they all close in the afternoon.

So where do you go for an all-day breakfast?  The closest Denny's is at the Flying J Plaza in Lancaster, just past the Quebec-Ontario border. That is not such a distance for people on the West Island.
Rob Callard

I wish to thank owner Rob Callard and his team at the legendary Restaurant Chez Nick on Greene Avenue in Westmount. They do serve breakfast until they close each evening. On Saturdays, for instance, if you are headed downtown and can get there before the kitchen closes at 6:45 p.m. they will make you some eggs, pancakes, French toast, hash browns and whatever else you want. I have come to appreciate this experience before heading to the Cineplex Forum theatres for a movie or anywhere else in the downtown area. We also grabbed breakfast there just over a month ago on our way to a performance at the Place des Arts.

The Famous Delly Boy's in Côte Saint-Luc will also serve you breakfast every night until closing.  I thought Tiffany's on Decarie would be a natural for this, but such is not the case. The same for Dunn's Famous, Nickels Deli and St. Viateur Bagel Café.

How about a Denny's in the old Picasso? So what if they'd have to call it Denis!

Wednesday 12 February 2014

Facing off against Bernard Drainville

Where did the day go?

Wearing my hat as communications and marketing specialist for the English Montreal School Board, I left first thing Wednesday morning for Quebec City where at 5 p.m. we were slated to present our brief on draft Bill 60 - the so-called Charter of Values - to a Parliamentary Committee.

The EMSB has been outspoken from the start about this xenophobic piece of legislation, insisting that we will not force any of our employees who wear a hijab, kippa or large religious symbol to remove it or face whatever unknown consequences the government has in mind. We drafted this brief, which prompted the media and the Minister Responsible for Democratic Institutions Bernard Drainville to accuse us of encouraging civil disobedience. Well that was kind of putting words in our mouth.
Drainville shakes hands with EMSB reps.

In Quebec City our delegation met in advance, held a well attended afternoon press conference and then made our presentation. Drainville was so aggressive in his questioning to our three stellar reps - Chairman Angela Mancini, Vice-Chair Sylvia Lo Bianco and Commissioner Patricia Lattanzio - that Liberal MNA Laurent Lessard had to intervene and tell the Minister that this was not a cross -examination.

While the brief's originality already accuses the government of encouraging bullying, our presentation went one better by emphasizing how Article 37 of the Education Act stipulates schools must respect the freedom of conscience and religion of students. "Which law are we supposed to disobey?" Lattanzio asked rhetorically.

Where this mess is all headed is anyone's guess.  Odds are the PQ will call a snap election in the next two weeks. Thanks to the  the ineffectiveness of Liberal leader in Philippe Couillard, the PQ is poised to win a majority and then what? They won't need opposition party support to pass anything. This includes the charter.

Via this entire charter debate the EMSB has come to represent more than just a school board- but the English community at large. We should all be very proud.