Joie de Vivre/Croque Madame

I recently came back from Montreal. I love that city…so very much. I live on an island, which is hard to leave in more ways than one. I love my island but there are times that I crave more culture than what surrounds me, more history, more diversity, more pockets of people. Sometimes even winter! Sometimes.

Montreal truly encompasses a special Joie de Vivre.

When I was little, it was easy to find my Joie de Vivre. Up until I was 16 I found it within the things that I loved to do, that made me feel good, like dance and sports and art…and cooking with my mum, and fixing the 57 Chev with my dad, and telling ghost stories with my siblings and cousins.

Around my teenage years I mistakenly started searching for it within relationships, within the comfort of other people, within wherever I could find safety. For years and years I did this…

But thankfully I now find my Joie de Vivre within myself again, within my own experiences, wherever I am, wherever I go, whatever I’m doing, my life is my life and just to wake up and have myself to look to for happiness is all I need, the other stuff is a bonus! I know a lot of people talk about it these days, but the importance of finding your inner child if you’ve sort of lost him/her is no joke.

Maybe we should develop a Crayola bomb as our next secret weapon. A happiness weapon. A beauty bomb. And every time a crisis developed, we would launch one. It would explode high in the air–explode softly–and send thousands, millions, of little parachutes into the air. Floating down to earth – boxes of Crayolas. And we wouldn’t go cheap, either–not little boxes of eight. Boxes of sixty-four, with the sharpener built right in. With silver and gold and copper, magenta and peach and lime, amber and umber and all the rest. And people would smile and get a little funny look on their faces and cover the world with imagination.” – Robert Fulgham

I had this with the loveliest Quebecois woman in Old Montreal

Croque Madame (Ham and Cheese with Fried Egg)

The croque monsieur, the classic French ham and cheese sandwich covered in cheesy bechamel, becomes a “madame” when a fried egg is placed on top.

Ingredients (makes 6)

3 tbsp. unsalted butter
3 tbsp. flour
2 cups milk
12 oz. Gruyere, grated
½ cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste Freshly grated nutmeg, to taste
12 ¾”-thick slices pain de mie or Pullman bread, toasted
6 tbsp. Dijon mustard
12 thin slices baked ham
2 tbsp. canola oil
6 eggs


1. Heat butter in a 2-qt. saucepan over medium-high heat. Add flour and cook, whisking, until smooth, about 1 minute. Whisk in milk, and bring to a boil; reduce heat to medium-low and let simmer until slightly reduced and thickened, 6-8 minutes. Add ½ cup grated Gruyere and the Parmesan, and whisk until smooth. Season with salt, pepper, and nutmeg.
2. Heat broiler to high. Place 6 slices bread on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet, and spread 1 tbsp. mustard over each. Top with 2 slices ham and remaining Gruyere. Broil until cheese begins to melt, 1-2 minutes. Top with remaining bread slices, then pour a generous amount of bechamel on top of each sandwich. Broil until cheese sauce is bubbling and evenly browned, about 3-4 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, heat oil in a 12″ nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add eggs, season with salt and pepper, and cook until whites are cooked but yolks are still runny, about 3 minutes. Place an egg on top of each sandwich, and serve hot.

This isn’t out quite yet…either is the official trailer, but here’s a clip of what looks like will be a funny film.

The Lobster


It was 30 degrees in Montreal, so I sipped on some refreshing Pinot Gris

Bodega J&F Lurton Pinot Gris 2008 ($10.95) an Argentine winner. Light- to medium-bodied, versatile! 


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