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Fine Bakery in Cote St-Luc

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FlavoursGal Jan 31, 2007 05:12 AM

Does anyone remember Fine Bakery, located in the Caldwell shopping centre? They had some of the best pastries and cakes available in Montreal, from the 1960's through to their closing sometime in the 1980's (I could be wrong about the date).

The milles-feuilles, eclairs, and Swiss chocolate cake were wonderful. But the ultimate was definitely the German chocolate cake. On our birthdays when we got a little older, we no longer wanted a birthday cake from Steinberg's; we wanted a German chocolate cake from Fine's, and my mother would happily oblige. I have never tasted a German chocolate cake as fine (pun intended) as this since.

Are these cakes and desserts gone forever? Does anyone have the recipes?

  1. l
    lagatta Feb 13, 2008 04:36 PM

    There was also Pam Pam. So many years ago that I confuse Pam Pam and the Coffee Mill. If I recall one was upstairs, the other downstairs. Both had wonderful Central European coffee and cakes.

    Alas Chomedey is still far from the new métro stops, I believe...

    5 Replies
    1. re: lagatta
      bomobob Feb 14, 2008 04:58 AM

      One bus from Henri-Bourassa...

      1. re: bomobob
        l
        lagatta Feb 14, 2008 05:46 AM

        Good to know to treat a certain Central European friend. Last time I was in that part of Laval was in summertime. It is a very doable bicycle ride for someone in northish Montréal, if you know where the bicycle paths go under the autoroutes.

        1. re: lagatta
          bomobob Feb 14, 2008 05:58 AM

          If you're anywhere near the jail, you can take the train bridge across the river on your bike, then head west.

          1. re: lagatta
            m
            moh Feb 14, 2008 06:13 AM

            What a great idea for a bikeride! Thank you Lagatta! I am looking forward to spring even more now. Bike rides are such a greta way to eat guilt-free!

            1. re: moh
              l
              lagatta Feb 14, 2008 06:30 AM

              I taught in Laval in the Sciences complex, and took that railway bridge every day. It was a good way of being able to eat more nice things without putting on weight.

              I'll also tell my friends in Laval about that bakery, although they live near the new Montmorency métro station. We should start up a thread about interesting food venues near the new stations if there are any.

      2. bomobob Feb 13, 2008 06:53 AM

        I seem to recall Fine had another location when I was a kid. Possibly on Victoria in CDN, not far from the old Arena Bakery (best name).

        Anyway, the good news is that the Dirty Bakery in Chomedey is still going stong, and still makes the best poppy seed strudel outside of Hungary.

        21 Replies
        1. re: bomobob
          l
          lagatta Feb 13, 2008 08:43 AM

          Is that its real name?

          1. re: bomobob
            m
            moh Feb 13, 2008 08:56 AM

            Address please? Strudel sound delish... Is it a Hungarian bakery? They don't make the fried bread known as Langosh, do they?

            1. re: moh
              carswell Feb 13, 2008 09:24 AM

              Or ludlab? (Please, please, please say yes.)

              1. re: carswell
                e
                eat2much Feb 13, 2008 09:32 AM

                Ludlab.....swoon!

                1. re: carswell
                  m
                  maisonbistro Feb 13, 2008 09:53 AM

                  Carswell you need to take a deep deep breath. I posted months ago on a few boards here looking for an original ludlab recipe - the likes of the Coffee Mill or what we had in Budapest. Alas, nary a post.

                  If anyone can find me a recipe for the original stuff - shortbready crust, inch or two of chocolatey silkiness studded with sour cherries and crackly chocolate kind of hard ganache layer topping it off, I will make that person one - or two.

                  1. re: maisonbistro
                    carswell Feb 13, 2008 09:59 AM

                    «I posted months ago on a few boards here looking for an original ludlab recipe - the likes of the Coffee Mill or what we had in Budapest. Alas, nary a post.»

                    Yes, I know. But hope springs eternal...

                    «If anyone can find me a recipe for the original stuff - shortbready crust, inch or two of chocolatey silkiness studded with sour cherries and crackly chocolate kind of hard ganache layer topping it off, I will make that person one - or two.»

                    I've looked and found nothing that resembled Coffee Mill's ludlab. I'd walk barefoot to Chomedey for a slice.

                    1. re: carswell
                      m
                      moh Feb 13, 2008 10:02 AM

                      you are both making me weep.

                      :(

                      1. re: carswell
                        m
                        moh Mar 6, 2008 08:07 AM

                        hey you guys, i was lurking on the Ontario board, and someone posted about a "Coffee Mill" in GTA that serves Hungarian palascinta! I have posted asking about ludlab. You never know! We may have to take a trip to TO if this lead works out... I could drive, no need to walk barefoot to TO.

                        1. re: moh
                          m
                          moh Mar 6, 2008 08:09 AM

                          Here is the thread about the Coffee Mill in Toronto: Look for Estragon's post

                          http://www.chowhound.com/topics/495841

                          1. re: moh
                            bomobob Mar 6, 2008 08:39 AM

                            Interesting. Maybe there were branches in both cities. Finally, a reason to go to T-zero.

                            1. re: bomobob
                              m
                              moh Mar 6, 2008 08:46 AM

                              exactly what I am hoping! i've now posted a specific thread asking for ludlab in TO, hopefully someone will be able to help us.

                              And if we are successful, and you go yo T-zero, you gotta check out T & T especially on the weekends where they do a lot of free samples! Lots of fun unusual tofu products and dumplings.

                              1. re: moh
                                bomobob Mar 7, 2008 04:52 AM

                                I have two restos that I always hit in Toronto. One is Mata Hari, a fantastic Indonesian/Malaysian place on Baldwin, and the other is Swatow on Spadina, one of my all-time favourites.

                                1. re: bomobob
                                  m
                                  moh Mar 7, 2008 05:31 AM

                                  Sir I have added them to my itinerary, many thanks!

                                  1. re: moh
                                    bomobob Mar 7, 2008 06:06 AM

                                    If you do go to Mata Hari, order the Laksa Lemak.

                                  2. re: bomobob
                                    l
                                    lagatta Sep 4, 2008 08:58 AM

                                    Swatow is famous. Never been to Mata Hari. Thanks for next trip to Toronto (via Via).

                        2. re: maisonbistro
                          kpzoo Feb 13, 2008 09:59 AM

                          Strangely, Chomedey Best Quality Bakery has the keywords "Dirty Bakery" in its Yellow Pages listing - bomobob, is this the one you mean?

                          http://www.yellowpages.ca/bus/Quebec/Laval/Chomedey-Best-Quality-Bakery-Co-Ltd/2179845.html

                          MB - I assume you've already tried these Googleable recipe finds and found them lacking?

                          http://www.flickr.com/photos/elfrieda/sets/72157601094692691/

                          http://au.answers.yahoo.com/answers2/... (scroll to recipe at bottom)

                          1. re: kpzoo
                            m
                            maisonbistro Feb 13, 2008 10:50 AM

                            Thanks KP - but I did an exhaustive search. Neither of recipes come close. It isn't so much a cake as a... well, it's not a cake. The first recipe lost me at "sponge" cake.

                            Thanks for trying though. As I mentioned in my original posts months ago, I think the real ludlab recipe is a closely guarded Hungarian National Secret. I swear.

                            1. re: kpzoo
                              bomobob Feb 13, 2008 06:20 PM

                              That's the one. It was there, in that very spot, when I was a kid growing up in Chomedey in the 60s. It became known as the dirty bakery because, surprisingly, it was dirty. Imagine. The nickname stuck, and they kind of latched onto it. They had a sign for a while the actually said "The Dirty Bakery", but have since dispensed with that.

                              When I was a kid, they had what Fairmount calls "matzoh boards", but what most Jews just call "those flat crunchy things with seeds on them", because most people don't know the real name. I used to, but that was long ago, and there's limited space upstairs. Anyway, I just call them crunchies, but they made them like nobody else ever has. They put an egg wash on them prior to pouring on the seeds, and that gave them a lovely, shiny finish. They were by far the best matzoh boards ever. Sadly, they don't make them any more, but Fairmount's are still really good.

                              My brother still loads up there before he flies home to Winnipeg, filling his bags with their small danishes. My sister-in-law accused him of having "tramp" tastes when it comes to pastry (the word she actually uses is sl*t, but they might censor those words here), as she prefers French to Danish, but shoot, they do do the best danishes I've ever had.

                              But their poppy seed (mun) strudel is mind blowing. Most places use way too much dough, not to mention the wrong kind, and are pretty skimpy on the poppy seeds. Wawel and Bucharest are cases in point. Good, but not really satisfying. The first time I visited Hungary, I found a bakery that essentially rolled two pounds of sweet, gooey poppy seed mud into some filo. That's a slight oversimplification, but this place was the benchmark for mun strudel. The Dirty Bakery comes close. I bought some last week, not having been through Chomedey in years, and I wanted to die it was so good.

                              Now, why did someone have to go and bring up the Coffee Mill and ludlab? That's just cruel.

                              1. re: bomobob
                                r
                                rikk Sep 2, 2011 06:15 PM

                                I also have fond memories of dirty bakery in Chomedey, way back in time.... when I come up to Montreal to visit (once or twice a year, from NY), I still try to make a visit to Dirty Bakery. My kids, who were both born in the States, also appreciate it immensely......

                                1. re: rikk
                                  f
                                  fredmir Sep 2, 2011 08:11 PM

                                  Dirty Bakery isn`t as good as it was years ago

                        3. re: moh
                          cherylmtl Feb 13, 2008 09:49 AM

                          Poppy seed strudel - pardon me while I drool all over my keyboard...I definitely need the address of this place!

                      2. l
                        lagatta Feb 12, 2008 02:21 PM

                        That sounds lovely. the title "Fine bakery in Côte St-Luc" sounded generic, and Adar came to mind: http://www.montrealfood.com/bourekas.... (I love Mediterranean food).

                        Were Fine German, or at least Central European?

                        1. y
                          yumms Feb 12, 2008 12:49 PM

                          Hi! I remember my mother buying the Fine Bakery German Choc.cake from the Fine bakery in Caldwell as well as the Fine bakery in Cavendish mall(Same Owners).I have never in all my life had a cake as delicious as that cake!The icing was out-of-this-world.And the cake was a light-colored chocolate.I do not recall the pastries,but they also had great cookies -the white cookie had a whitish icing and the chocolate one a chocolate icing-you bought them by the pound and the lady weighed them on a white-old-fashioned scale in a white-painted scoop.Have you ever tasted a similar cake since?

                          1. f
                            FlavoursGal Feb 3, 2007 01:47 PM

                            Thanks, kpzoo. I'll give it a try.

                            1. kpzoo Feb 2, 2007 08:19 PM

                              Hiya, wish I could help cause it all sounds delicious. I asked my mom who grew up in NDG, but she wasn't familiar with Fine. However, your talk of German chocolate cake reminded me of a recipe Cook's Illustrated ran recently - the ultimate German chocolate cake. They also covered it on their America's Test Kitchen cooking show on PBS, so you might want to try it & see how it compares to your memories of Fine's!

                              You can see the recipe here (requires free registration):

                              http://www.americastestkitchen.com/lo...

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