Special Dispatch: Cora's, Montreal
3465, Ave. du Parc, Montreal
Excerpt from Leonard Cohen’s Stranger Breakfasts: Selected Writings, edited by Poppy Tartt
Suzanne takes you down to a place by the river; you can’t hear the boats go by because it’s not really near the river, that’s just a rhetorical device; and you know she’s half-crazy, she wants to feed you tea and oranges – among other foods. Suzanne takes your hand and leads you into Cora’s; the sun does not pour down like honey because it’s winter and it’s so cold you don’t feel comfortable outside unless you’re wearing a special suit made of arctic sleeping bags and a fur-lined mask with plastic see-through globes to protect your eyeballs from freezing. You can’t hear the boats go by.
You queue for a while. ‘Come over to the window my little darlings,’ says the waitress. On the walls there are many brightly-coloured bubble drawings of different meals. The menu is like a children’s party invitation. ‘This is funny,’ you tell Suzanne.
She is wearing rags and feathers – or a coat, probably. She says: ‘I told you when we came it would be strange’. Like any eater you are looking for the dish that is so fine and wild you’ll never need to eat another. At least not until later. Pancakes, bacon, sausage and eggs. Comes with fruit. On the same dish. In Montreal, this is standard. We laugh and cry about it all. They arrive, breakfasts deep and warm; eggs on the plate like a sleepy golden storm. Suzanne agrees: ‘But let’s not talk of oranges or melons or things we can’t combine.’
God no. Suzanne, thanks for the fruit you took from my plate; I thought it was there for good, so I never tried. I certainly would never have eaten it, all smeary with egg slime. When you eat like this you don’t know what’s for afters.