Before I get into it, I must state up front that I’m breaking my promise of posting pictures tonight.  The truth is, I didn’t take any.  Really.

Tonight, we ate at La Queue de Chaval Steakhouse.  I did some research a few months ago looking for really good steak places.  This one was highly recommended.  We had 7:30pm reservations upstairs.  Before going to the restaurant, we went for a short walk up Peel Street to see the Ferraris.  Helen wasn’t enjoying the walk as much, because she was breaking in new shoes.  Ouch.

When we arrived at the Ferrari display, I was a bit shocked.  I know the Ferrari Club of Quebec uses this as a fund raiser by having sponsors pay to have their logo present with the cars, but it seemed to me they went a bit overboard.  There were sponsor logos all over every car.  It looked like corner-store NASCAR.  I’d much prefer some decent signage around the cars and leaving these works of automotive art alone.  It really ruins the pictures, and thus, I decided to not take any.  I spent a few minutes pointing out the differences between the 360 and 430, as well as the Challenge Stradale models.

So, appetite worked up, and off we went to dinner.

We were early, but our table was ready right away.  Awesome!  As we were seated, we met our waiter, who asked us where we were from, and if we were in town for the F1.  We mentioned to him that when we were walking to the restaurant, we passed the Sheraton, and saw a bunch of Honda-clothed folks.  He told us Honda was indeed staying there, and that the team dined here last night (including Button and Barrichello).  Wow!  He then pointed out the large table being set up down from us, and told us it was for the BMW team.  Double Wow!

So, we then reviewed the awesome menu.  They do things LARGE there.  Helen ordered a shrimp cocktail consisting of 2 shrimp.  They weighed about 11 lbs each, so they were filling.  I had the crab claws, which involved effort, but I needed the exercise.  As we finished our appetizer, I saw a familiar face walking towards me with some other guys.  It was my old friend Vitantonio Liuzzi.  He used to drive for Torro Rosso, but lost his seat, and is now testing for Force India.  A few minutes later, Giancarlo Fisichella joined him.  Neato!  Two drivers at the table next to us.  Our main course arrived (filet for Helen, Big Ass Hunk-o-Protein for me) in walks the ever-likeable Rubens Barrichello.  Bingo.  Of course, I’m Twittering this all madly, as Helen makes fun of me.  I point out that this is essentially notetaking for my blog, and she sees suddenly the utility of Twitter.

We’re finishing our main course, and then in comes Kwik Nick (though, not as Kwik as Kubica this year) Heidfeld, Robert Kubica and Christian Klien.  There’s also a group of Formula BMW kids with them and some folks who I assume are there to drive the important people around and pay the tab.

I was curious what these finely tuned 150lb athletes eat and drink.  Well, the Italians seemed to be enjoying some seafood and wine.  I couldn’t tell what Kubica/Heidfeld were eating, but from what I’ve read recently, Kubica doesn’t eat much, and feels hungry all the time.  Pretty crappy place to hang out if you’re hungry if you asked me.

There was one last Celebrity Spot – Justin Trudeau, son of the late Prime Minister.

Anyhow, we finished dinner and dessert and I escorted Helen to the Bar downstairs so I could be a great gentleman and go back to the hotel to pick up the car and meet her at the restaurant.  I wouldn’t last 5 steps in those shoes, but I suspect there’s charity money to be made in orchestrating that spectacle.  As I waited to cross the street, I saw that I was standing next to Christian Klein.  I said hi to him, and we crossed over together.  He was being picked up in a BMW SUV with Kubica inside.  Must be a party somewhere, or else Kubica couldn’t stand looking at my steak when all he eats is celery.

Quicker than you can say “Can I please have the bill for my champagne?” I was back.  Parked outside, looking quite dapper I think.  Helen hopped in, and off we went for a tour of Old Montreal.  I had a list of team hotels I wanted to check out/drive by.  Well, apparently there’s a Hotel St. James in West Montreal and it is NOTHING like the one in Old Montreal where Ferrari stays.  I knew we were in trouble when TomTom had me on 20W heading back to Toronto.  After a U-turn in a dodgy area, I got us back to Old Montreal.  I couldn’t (and more concerning, TomTom couldn’t) find the real St. James (it must be very exclusive).  But I did find the hotel where Red Bull was staying (it was dead, like it looked closed).  And we found the hotel where McLaren are staying.  It was pretty funny because when we turned the corner, I saw about 50 people just standing around across the street from the hotel.  Then I realized, they’re doing the same thing I am, only they’re more dedicated.  I’m willing to drive by and wave at a driver, but I ain’t gonna stand around waiting when there’s fun to be had in Montreal.  To each their own.

I’m all packed for tomorrow.  I have my luggage cart-thingy that will bear the load of my camera equipment this year.  It may rain, it may not.  I don’t care either way.  I have bags for my gear, and I’m not made of sugar.  I am going to try the sweet on-site parking that I scored through a club connection.

I’ll be watching Fisi’s practice times tomorrow with great interest.  If he had the Tiramisu then I’m sure he’s at least 3 tenths slower.

mJm

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