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Montreal, two questions (tourtiere & Laval)

Esteemed chowhounds. I've been enjoying all your posts while doing my research for my upcoming long weekend in Montreal. And, thanks to the advice I've received so far, I've made dinner reservations at Au Pied de Cochon. Also, I plan to try some smoked meat while in town (and have been reading the Great Best Smoked Meat Debate thread.) And, I'll make sure to try a Montreal-style bagel.

I am very excited!

In an article someone linked about APdC and poutine, they also mentioned tourtiere as being a Christmas specialty in Quebec. I did a search on tourtiere, but didn't come up with much much that was recent. La Binerie came up more than once--is that the place to go?Or, is this something the Quebecois (is that the right term?) only eat in their homes?

Also, I will be in Laval for a couple of nights. I probably will be tired from working and traveling and, sadly, won't have the energy to hop a cab over to Montreal to eat (I know, I'm a sad excuse for a 'hound.) Are there a few places in Laval you recommend that I can just hop in a taxi from my hotel to get to? I'm open to all kinds of cuisines. EDIT: Now that I think about it a bit more, I can't get French food easily at home, so, if there's a casual French restaurant in Laval that's comfortable for dinner for a single diner whose French is very bad, that would be perfect.

Thank you muchly!

~TDQ

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  1. I've never eaten a tourtiere - normal spelling, can have an accent - in a restaurant that impressed me. My wife's family recipe is great. There's great controversy about the origin of the name and the pie. Claims are that it was originally pigeon pie, or cooked in a turtle-shaped baker by an open fire try to account for the name.

    The basic pie is ground/chopped meat, often beef and pork, spiced with cloves, cinnamon, and allspice. That makes it seem like a fairly old recipe. Potatoes and onions can appear.

    So, as with Scots bridies, Cornish pasties, and the like, it's a matter of whether the spicing suits your palate. And I can't recommend any place, sorry.

    My favorite place in Montreal is actually a fondue place called Fonduementale - http://www.fonduementale.com/ It's on St. Denis near the Plateau. I love the Plateau for dinner, in summer (which this isn't) we'll just go up there and wander around until we see something we like. Lots of BYO restaurants there, and an SAQ outlet with lots of good wines.

    3 Replies
    1. re: HenryT

      Thank you Henry T. I've corrected the spelling of tourtiere in my post, although, I still don't know how to make the accent appear. Maybe that's part of the problem I had with searching...I was only dredging up old posts with spelling as poor as mine.

      The fondue place sounds fun! I shall put that on the list. Fondue at least sounds...warm. :)

      ~TDQ

      1. re: The Dairy Queen

        I am not crazy about Fondumentale, but I've only been once so perhaps I caught it on an off night.

        Things I liked about it: It's in an old house on St. Denis so the downstairs has nice ambiance. It's fun if you are in a large group and try a variety of things. They offer a wide selection of wild game and the seafood was good.

        Didn't like: The cheese fondue was just average and the dipping sauces that came with the meat didn't add much. Overall I didn't find it to be a great value. Our service was painfully slow (by the time they remembered to inquire about our dessert course they'd run out of the maple creme fondue).

        http://www.fonduementale.com/

        Alternate suggestions for French food or a Montreal-esqe experience: Les Heritiers, Au Petit Extra....

        1. re: maviris

          I've been to Fondumentale and that other place on Rachel. I think fondue and Raclette can be great fun, but it's never a great culinary experience. I also think that you don't get much for your money at Fondumentale.

          I remember a Burt Wolf show about Quebec where they visited the restaurant at the Loews Le Concorde hotel in Quebec City. The chef there was making some fancy schmancy version of tourtière. It was individualy sized and very vertical.

          If you really want Tourtière you might be able to find a decent ready-to-eat one and have it at your hotel.

          Laval is a desolate wasteland of chain restaurants and gringofied ethnic food. You might also find that it's quicker to go to Montreal from your hotel than to a lot of places in Laval, because the city is so huge and spread out.

    2. A little off the food topic, but - Google has smart accent matching in search, "e" matches accented e. There are at least three different ways for getting accents into web posting content, for example you can use & eacute ; and & egrave ; but with no spaces like this:

      tourtière

      or you can, on a Windows machine, use the charmap tool - copy/paste from it or the numeric keypad, alt-0232 is è and alt-0233 is é

      The entity method is usually the most reliable, as the others can mutate erratically, depending on a bunch of server settings. I have no preview button, so this may be mangled itself... Looks like Chowhound supports the alt- method but not the entities.

      1. Hi, here's what I found on the TOURTIERE.

        http://mainewriter.happyones.com/reci...

        Also I remember a story told to me that tourtiere was made with meat from a bird called tourterelle (turtledove, looks like a smaller pigeon). It can be folklore. You know how stories change with time.

        I know there's the commercial tourtiere (meat pie) that you find at your local dinner or supermarket. But theres the huge and thick one called tourtiere du Lac St-Jean. Wich consists on a different type of meats, potatoes, etc.

        I never saw a tourtiere du Lac in a restaurant's menu.

        As for Laval the city has evolved to more than your local food chains. There's a few Italian restaurants with BYOW (bring your own wine or beer) on St-Martin Boulvard.

        One I tried lately is called OCTAVIO if my memory is wright. My pasta dish all pesto was very good. But the calamary wgere bathing in oil. Over all it was a okay meal. Very nice looking reataurant. And the waitresses reminded me of a seinfeld episode. The one with the big breasts!!!!

        You have also in laval a vast multicultural background.

        I'm thinking of the armenian pizza called AROUCHE (not sure spelling

        )

        The typical Lebanese spot FREIHA (spelling) that only serves falafel. That was an amazing experence for sandwishes at this joint.

        Of course the greek restaurants.

        that's al I'm thinking of for now.

        3 Replies
        1. re: maj54us

          Great ideas! I couldn't find any info on the Octavio, but here's some info on the other two. These sound very appealing! I don't think we have much Lebanese or Ameninian food where I live at home, so, these might be good spots to try. You mention "of course" the Greek restaurants. Does Laval have a big Greek community? Those might be good restaurants for me to try, too, then.

          Falafel Freiha
          3858, boulevard Pérron coin Curé-Labelle
          LAVAL, Québec
          H7V 1P7 Chomedey Tél.: 450.686.2446

          Arouch Lahmajoun: Pizza Armenienne
          3467, Boul. St-Martin Ouest
          Laval, QC H7T 1A2
          (450) 686-1092
          www.arouch.com

          ~TDQ

          1. re: The Dairy Queen

            the greek restos put out a good spread. basic foods like brochettes, rice, gyros, greek salads and spanakopita, but the portions are always big, and tasty. at the least have a Montreal-style souvlaki pita.

            The Lebanese fast food in this city is also better than average. You must have a shish taouk pita or falafel while you're here. BOUSTAN on Crescent street downtown is a fast-foody but excellent Lebanese joint.

            1. re: The Dairy Queen

              Drive-through lahmajoun!

              Wonders will never cease.

          2. I haven't personally been, but I've heard that some of the best french restaurants are now in Laval(not just in Montreal). Anyone with comments on the Phare du Nord restaurant(a seafood grill restaurant)? They do heavy advertising on Montreal television(not many independent restaurants can afford to buy advertising on television). Anyone with comments on the Blakks Steakhouse on St. Martin West in Laval(well known in Laval, & they will soon open a downtown Montreal location)?

            5 Replies
            1. re: BLM

              IMO ALL montreal (and suburbs) restaurants that advertise are not chowhound worthy. They are mostly style over substance.

              Check out the other threads, for restaurants that are packed because of the quality, not the advertising.

              There are some great restaurants in Laval, there are some threads you can look up, just not the ones that advertise. (or or St-Martin for that matter) :)

              1. re: ScoobySnacks20

                When I searched on Laval on this forum I only got 1 or 2 hits on Laval and they were quite old. One linked to a website and the link didn't work. Maybe I'm not searching correctly because I don't know the geography well enough, perhaps?

                In any case, if you have any links to the threads that mention that quality restaurants in Laval, I would appreciate it.

                ~TDQ

              2. re: BLM

                Blakks is actually quite good. I think it is overlooked because it's not on a main street. The prices are comparable to Baton Rouge but the food is a little better and the atmosphere is more sophisticated.

                1. re: hungryann

                  Here's the info I found:
                  Resto Bar Blakks Steakhouse à Laval
                  1695 Boulevard De L'Avenir
                  coin Boul. St. Martin O
                  LAVAL, Québec
                  H7S 2N5 Chomedey

                2. re: BLM

                  Seafood can be interesting! I wonder if anyone has been here yet?

                  Phare du Nord
                  1639, Boul de l'Avenir coin Boul St-Martin
                  LAVAL, Québec
                  H7S 2N5 Vimont

                  ~TDQ

                3. Thanks, everyone. It seems like I've asked a couple of questions with some not-very-easy answers. If there's a microwave or something in my hotel room, maybe I can pick up a tourtiere at a grocery.

                  ~TDQ