Tanks Travels boorish traveller award for 2016 will soon be announced



Ah, December. That time of the year when Tank reflects on the horrid travellers she has encountered during the year. When it comes time to award Tank’s Travels most boorish traveller of the year.

Joy to the world. We’ve got amazing contestants this year.

Now, I’m kinda cheating here because it appeared on my other blog, Tanks View. But who could forget the night Tank travelled several blocks in her own neighbourhood to investigate the out-of-control rooftop party hosting at Bob Rennie’s art gallery? Wherein the so-called Condo King said eff you to residents of the area and city noise bylaws.

Since I’m cheating anyway, what about the lunatic drivers of Montreal who made my life as a tourist hell. Wherein Tank said eff you, she’ll take her travel dollars to another city in 2017.

I’m reposting the contestants stories in the next few weeks so you can get reacquainted with them.

The winner will be announced just before new years.


PS: here’s last year’s (2015) winner. A potty-mouthed scuba diver in Cozumel.

Here’s some of the other contestants.

Barbarians behind the wheel: driving in Montreal

Very close to where the jerk in the Mercedes nearly ran me over.

Very close to where the jerk in the Mercedes nearly ran me over.

So, if I wanted a vacation with dangerous lunatics, I would’ve gone to North Korea or where ever the Mexican drug cartel guys are shooting at each other this week.

I went to Montreal. Where dangerous lunatics lurk behind steering wheels. A phenomenon so pronounced, it merits a Tank’s Travels first. Awarding a Tank’s Travels barbarian behaviour award to a group of people.

This one goes to the drivers of Montreal. The worst of the worst of the worst. I’ve never witnessed such spectacular rudeness behind the wheel. Anywhere.

Where to begin. First of all, they won’t let you in. When Montreal drivers see you try to change lanes they will speed up so you can’t get in. This happened several times to me. Pulling out of a driveway or parking lot? They won’t let you in. There is no such thing as courtesy on the roads of Montreal.

Signalling to change lanes? Forget it. Not in their repertoire.

Roaring through intersections, then putting on their breaks and cutting you off? Routine stuff in Montreal.

There are no painted lines on most streets. So, these barbarians drive on the left or on the right or in the middle of the road. And, if they don’t like where you’ve positioned yourself (in an effort to avoid them) they’ll honk and shake their fist at you.

Then, there was the asshole in a Mercedes who didn’t look like he was going to slow down at the stop sign, when I was already in the intersection. I’d come to expect this high level of motorist douche-baggery by this point of my trip. It was day two.

Ugly stuff.

Folks like to joke about the horribleness of Montreal drivers. As if it’s a badge of honour. Dishonour more like. They’re dangerous – a curse on an otherwise nice city. Bad for tourism.

Oh and BTW. I was born in Montreal. I spent much of my childhood there. I’m not anti-Montreal. Just anti-Montreal drivers. What these drivers are signalling with their bad behaviour is this: we don’t care if we injure or kill you and your passengers – children included –  or whether we destroy your vehicle.


Montreal 2015: Cosmo, Cote St Luc BBQ + Pendellis round two

Street where I grew up in Hampstead, Montreal

Street where I grew up in Hampstead, Montreal.

Off to Montreal this week. Taking my older sister, who hasn’t visited since we moved west in 1976.

We were part of the mass Anglo exodus that left following the 1976 Olympics. Many families parked in Toronto. We didn’t stop until we got to Vancouver.

Montreal is a pretty old city, unlike Vancouver, and the ‘look’ doesn’t seem to change much.

I like that.

The plan is to hang out, see some friends and eat. To visit the same haunts as last year. This time though, not going to do it in one day. That was a idiot move.

Really looking forward to having a Mishmash at Cosmo. More than 1,000 calories and I don’t care. My sister is excited about Cote St Luc BBQ. We have fond childhood memories of the delivery guy pulling up to the house.

My mini Mishmash. YUMMY.

My mini Mishmash. YUMMY.

Huge portions.

Huge portions at Cote St Luc BBQ.

Love this city. Be good to us Air Canada.

Montreal has superb restaurants – I didn’t eat at any of them. Here’s why.

Nick Koulakis making my mini Mishmash.

Nick Koulakis making my mini Mishmash.

The plan: Hit three Montreal restaurants in one day. Patronized two of them as a child with my family in the 1970’s. The third was the focus of a hilarious documentary called, “Man of Grease”. Ensure plenty of time in between meals for digestion and working up an appetite.

The reality: Ate three meals in four hours. One horrid, one good, one delicious.

Stop #1. 10:50 am Cosmo on Sherbrooke and Draper in NDG.

Made famous by the 2000 documentary featuring owner Tony Koulakis. Signature dish: the Mishmash omelet. Calorie count: 1,800. Tony’s kids now run the place. Nick, the son, warned the Mishmash would be too much for me. “I’ll make you a small one,” he said. Fried potatoes, two eggs, bacon, sausage and more.

The verdict: BEST BREAKFAST EVER. Eggs cooked to perfection. Even the coffee was outstanding.

Stop #2. 1:30 pm Pendelis Pizza on Cote St Luc near Decarie.

Ordered a small pepperoni. Might have appealed to my 13 year old self, but the now me was turned off by the (fatty) meat. Crust was like cardboard. Some war flick blaring on the TV. Headache-inducing.

The verdict: Yuck. Some things are best left in the past. Might have been slightly more appealing if I hadn’t had a tummy still full of Mishmash.


Stop #3. 3:15 pm Cote St Luc BBQ on Cote St Luc near Decarie.

Like Swiss Chalet but 10 times better. Ordered chicken breast. Fast service. Chicken was awesome. Not too juicy or dry. Dipping sauce yummy – just as I remembered.

The verdict: I’ll be back. But not after eating at Cosmo.

Not sure how to measure success here. Finished the day bloated, headachy, dehydrated and vowing to never do something this stupid again. But grateful to have secured one of the 11 rickety counter seats at Cosmo.

RIP Tony Koulakis. You were a culinary genius.