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Jean-Talon market area - 2008

I thought I'd start up a new thread on changes, developments and old friends at the Jean-Talon market and thereabouts - Petite Italie, nearby Villeray and Petite Patrie. Cycled to JTM yesterday and see work proceeding on Vinizza, which bills itself as an "enoteca - pizzeria" at the northwestern corner of the market - that is at the corner of Casgrain (east side) and Jean-Talon (south side). A series of Italian restos had been located there.

Not much new at the empty Sami Fruit - the containers there had just cleaned out old junk, and the various premises are still for rent.

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  1. I'm visiting Montreal next week, and always visit the JTM. I'm looking to pick up the best coffee beans Montreal has to offer, and in the past I went to Union Cafe down the street from the market. Is it still there? Is there somewhere better to try? I've bought from Cafe Brulee on St. Denis, and wasn't that impressed.

    2 Replies
    1. re: winedude

      Café Union's still there and still selling some of the better locally roasted beans.

      IMHO, the best beans in town are from out of town. My favourites are Zoka's Paladino blend sold at Caffè in Gamba and 49th Parallel's Epic blend sold at Caffè in Gamba and Veritas. Caffè ArtJava also has some tasty blends from Gimme!

      At the end of the day, though, the best store is Caffé in Gamba which has a constantly changing selection of 15 or so blends from leading and up-and-coming roasters in North America and Europe.

      For deets and addresses, see the espresso beans thread: www.chowhound.com/topics/417692

      1. re: carswell

        Carswell is bang on about CIG. And if you buy a pound of coffee, Jean-Francois (or maybe Luc since J-F is currently on vacation) will make you a an espresso, latte or capuccino of your choice. So if you want to buy a lb of their most excellent Zoka or almost as good PT, you can taste what you will be buying.

    2. I was just down at the Jean-Talon today, and it looks like they are starting to set up all of the outdoor stalls. My guess would be that they will take down the large cover and switch over by this weekend.

      1. Is Samy fruit Re-Opening ?
        If not where's the best deal around for fruits.

        I bought some greenhouses tomatoes from inside and it was just tasteless. Why no flavor in a blood red greenhouse tomatoe ? I was so mad at 1$ each. I should have tried one piece before.

        3 Replies
        1. re: maj54us

          Sami Fruit is closed, finished, at the Market. They have a location not terribly far away in St-Michel - on Jarry, I believe. They were always "deuxième choix" but towards the end their quality was getting very, very poor.

          For people who are really looking for bargains, one of the cheapest places is Thai Hour, an east Asian place on St-Denis at the corner of Jean-Talon, southwest corner (same side as the JTM). It is often packed, especially at times when immigrant workers (not only Asian!) are commuting. Another place, a bit farther away but still just a few minutes' walk east of the market is Mondiana, a shop run by an Arab couple (her Moroccan; him Syrian) that seems to want to become a Villeray/Petite Patrie equivalent of Segall with cheap but uneven fruit and veg, as well as organic and natural-type groceries.

          I really avoid greenhouse tomatoes this time of year - I'd tend to trust the fancy greengrocer on the southern edge of the market, Chez Louis, if I really needed some.

          1. re: lagatta

            Sami fruits, love it or hate it, they did serve a purpose... although most of the merchants in the stalls are thrilled to see them go. Sami was the only reason that JT did not become the over priced farce that Atwater has become. Count on higher prices in the stalls this season.

            Not all merchants are glad with their departure, as the higher prices will also mean that the volume of clients may diminish. Although I can not see this happening with the general popularity that this market has developed in recent years.

            Sami was at the end of their lease, and the rent for the space was increased heavily, not by fractions, but my large multiples of their then current base. The economics just were not there to continue doing what they were doing. Not a huge fan of Sami's myself, I do have to credit them with having some of the freshest mint in the city, great prices on lemons and limes, as well as being ever so grateful that they did not chop off the roots from their coriander.

            There are more than one Sami Retail locations one near Pie IX and Jarry behind Kim Phat and another one one Cure Labelle in Ste-Rose. mind you I am curious about an interesting part of their web site that is not linked from the main page...Sami is offering Free Arab dating at . http://maisonsamifruits.com/free-arab...

            What is with this??? I get it!!! Fruits and Dates!!!!!

            1. re: fedelst1

              Yes, I agree about Sami - both the products you mention - although I got some dry lemons and limes there towards the end - and keeping the market from becoming overly gentrified. We need working-class immigrants shopping there, not just people of means.

              I hope at least part of the premises will be rented to another greengrocer's - the boutiquey things are fun, but I can't afford to eat artisanal charcuterie every day - either from a price or cholesterol standpoint. And I'm a longterm resident of the neighbourhood. It does have us worried, though towards the end there was no longer much reason to shop at Sami.

              A fair number of niche shops around the market fail as well, or just don't seem to take off. In particular several of the ones on Casgrain. Salerno Fish closed a while back - there again, a business that had become a shadow of its old self - decades ago that was a top fishmonger's - and there is a new fishmonger's there but it is only open a few days a week - odd in terms of a business where freshness and turnover are key.

        2. Pesca fish restaurant on St-Laurent has gone belly-up. (Sorry!) It is becoming a pizzeria - seems this is a popular business venture now, no doubt because of the success of Bottega. No idea of the owners or probable quality.

          The former Spice Safar at the corner of Casgrain and ... Shamrock? - the little street between Mozart and Jean-Talon west of the market - is being reincarnated as an "Italian bistro". Less of a jumble of stuff. I'll note down the names of both of those places. Vinizza seems almost ready to open.

          As for the market stalls, a lot are already set up outside, but they haven't taken down the central winter hoardings yet. Most likely this weekend, though it seems to be turning cooler than our recent wave of warmth.

          1. Next to Chez Louis now stands a Frite Alors kiosk. I seem to remember that space was occupied for a few years by a kiosk selling crepes.

            6 Replies
            1. re: RhondaB

              Oddly, while I was at the market today, I was only at the north side and didn't see that (since I live very close by often I rush in just to get one or two specific things I need). I presume you mean a little outdoor kiosk like the crêpe people?

              Could get a bit smelly for the neighbours, though if the frites are good it would be nice to be able to take them home, still reasonably hot (in cycling season).

              Pomodoro has opened on St-Laurent where Pesca used to be - a pizza place with brick oven - no idea of quality or prices.

              1. re: lagatta

                I also noticed the Frite Alors stand while I was at the market last week.

                1. re: lagatta

                  Seems like pizza places are popping everywhere around the market these days.As for Frites Alors, as much as I love them, and they'll be good with a William J. Walter dog, the stand doesn't seem to have proper venting and the frying stench can get nauseating after a while.

                  1. re: Campofiorin

                    In concert with L'Olivier, the Tunisian shop towards the east end of the southern row of shops and stalls. They blow smoke all over the place.

                    Just got a shock to see newspaper over the windows of Caffè Italia and "closed for renovations" - but they are just closed for three days, so it looks like just a much-needed paint job. I'd hate to see that place go chichi... I'd wanted an early-morning coffee there - they open at about 5:30 am.

                    On the subject of "cheap", at the corner of Jean-Talon and St-Urbain there is a restaurant-supply type place called Les Aliments Joe. I buy 1kg tubs of goats' milk feta there for what, $12. They also have big tins, big bags of tinned, frozen, staple groceries and actually have some good extra virgin olive oil, though the stock varies.

                    I'm rather disappointed that Pesca never took off; if it had turned out well I'd been planning to take my mother there for a treat as she loves fish. Think the pizza trend is in response to the popularity of Bottega, but the quality remains to be seen.

                    1. re: lagatta

                      We visited Pesca a few months ago, when the snowbanks were 6 feet high. I had heard good things about it, but was severely disappointed. Wonder if the winds of closure were already blowing about?
                      BTW, there's a Sami in Lasalle on Lafleur. They took up the spot left vacant by Morelatos. OK, not 1st run fruits and veggies, but very good prices and quality isn't bad. They also have a large selection of nuts and within the last few weeks, dried candied fruit such as mango, cantaloupe, kiwi, pineapple, ginger, and papaya.

                  2. re: lagatta

                    I ate at Pomodoro recently. It's very pleasant and nicely decorated, but not as posh and inaccessible as the previous incarnations. The food was not too impressive, though. The amuse bouche and salad were good, but the pasta sauces were nothing special and the fish was overcooked. I didn't have any pizza, but that did look and smell very good. Another weak point was wine by the glass - your selection is "red or white"... :(

                2. Just cycled past "Gloria: cuisine fusion latine" at the southeast corner of Bélanger and de Chateaubriand. That used to be a very nondescript snackbar (not the quaint kind). Under renovation.

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: lagatta

                    Local asparagus sighting. Also bought six "oeufs de pintade" (guinea-hen eggs) for $2 chez Le Capitaine. They are about the size of peewee hen eggs and many are spotted.

                    1. re: lagatta

                      Saw - and bought - the first local roquette (rocket - arugula) I've seen this year, from Birri.

                      Ate one of the guinea-hen eggs. Very rich - a lot of yolk and not much white.

                      1. re: lagatta

                        am eating Birri's first asparagus for lunch - divine

                        1. re: lagatta

                          I bought some really lovely micro baby beet greens from Birri (at least that's is what I think they are). $2.50 a packet, and so delicious simply dressed. Birri has such lovely greens.

                    2. Hi,

                      So much things are going on on the west part of the district of Rosemont/Petite Patrie. Wow, it's goods news everywhere. I went to the Jean-Talon market ( Marché Jean-Talon) this afternoon. First, Vinizza is now open. It's very nice ! and they have such a nice terrace !. Sami Fruits is closed. I'M happy about it because it was not very clean anyway. I was thinking to send an application for the Extreme Make-over for that merchant. It's ugly. It was not in the "mood" of the Marché Jean-Talon to be there.

                      I'm very happy with the Frites alors ! Kiosk. Le Marché Jean-Talon is improving for the best. Hope to hear new opening in the few weeks or months. Get improving it's good for Rosemont and for Montreal ! .

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: surfer25

                        The Jean-Talon market isn't in Rosemont. Technically, it is at the very far northwestern end of La Petite Patrie (which is part of the same arrondissement as Rosemont, farther east). A lot of us were annoyed by the arrondissement scheme, as Petite-Patrie/Villeray (just north of the market) seemed a better fit.

                        Like one of the other posters,while I didn't often go to Sami in recent years as the quality of the produce had declined (as for cleanliness I wash ALL produce carefully, at home) I don't quite agree as the market was for all the residents of the area, not just rich gourmands. Like another poster above, confess there were times it was a lifesaver, in hungry winters. I kind of liked the grungy ugliness of that merchant - it reminded me of where I'd lived in Paris - but in the last few years, the quality of the produce was dismal.

                        I do see that Vinizza is popular. The back terrasse is pretty but very small, as there simply isn't anymore room. Hope it proves worthy.

                        Working-class immigrants (without them, you'd have no market) seem to be shopping at Thai Hour (huge queues) and more than a few at Mondiana, at the corner of Christophe-Colomb and Bélanger.

                      2. Friends in Villeray sing high praises of a tiny Spanish restaurant with Basque - and Bolivian - touches, just a bit north and east of the market. It is run by a couple - he is a (Spanish) Basque, she is Bolivian. I haven't eaten there yet, but walking past, the cooking odours were pleasant indeed. Restaurant Rincón español, 767 Villeray (near de Chateaubriand and St-Hubert) 514.759.6377.

                        At the market, yesterday, organic leeks at the organic stand farthest south, in the easternmost row. $3.50 for a nice bunch. They also have vegetable plants to pot or plant in the garden.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: lagatta

                          Is that Mylène and Les jardins Mil'herbes? Oh good she's back!

                          1. re: Venusia

                            Yes, they're back. So far, I've tasted their asparagus, leeks and garlic. Everything is delicious as usual.

                        2. A new hole-in-the-wall BYOW place on rue de Castelnau, one very short block north of Jean-Talon, due north of the market. Maghrebi - couscous, tagines, salades cuites etc. Unlikely name: Les petits secrets/chez Ken et Abby 244, rue de Castelnau (corner Henri-Julien) 514.223.9092

                          This place used to be a Maghrebi butcher's/grocery (before that it was an old-stock Quebec butcher's). At one time it was probably the best such Maghrebi place in the market area. Think the owner might have retired; he had already had a shop in CDN before.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: lagatta

                            sami fruit opened a few stores in lasalle and Montreal (st-Michel) at 8200 19th, avenue cross jarry.

                            same good deals altough gas prices raised them for jean-talon market. but still cheaper than maxi, provigo et co....

                          2. According to their website, Camellia Sinensis Tea House has opened a boutique across from JTM, at 7010 Casgrain.

                            17 Replies
                            1. re: Venusia

                              Yep, in the old Un, deux, trois... chocolats locale. It's smaller than the mother store and doesn't offer tea service or tastings other than the occasional sample of whatever they have steeping. But the tea selection is as wide as downtown and the staff couldn't be friendlier.

                              1. re: Venusia

                                It'S been open for abour a year if not longer.

                                1. re: Campofiorin

                                  LOL, really? Since I started parking indoors or on Henri-Julien, I never make it to that side of the market anymore.

                                  1. re: Venusia

                                    I'm looking forward to my first visit to the Jean-Talon market area this Sunday. I'll be driving up from Vermont. Will parking be a problem? Any suggestions on parking will be appreciated.

                                    1. re: soybreath

                                      There is tonnes of relatively cheap parking in and around the market. Earlier you go, the easier it will be to find parking and to drive around. There is also underground parking on the east edge of the market, off of Henri-Julien (road goes one way south). Note, if you stay for less than 1.5 hours, parking is super cheap, but as you stay for 2-3 hours, the rates shoot up. But it is still not bad for Montreal parking rates.

                                      1. re: moh

                                        Kpzoo, RhondaB and Keramel:

                                        Scary: we were all posting at the same time about the same topic - parking at JTM...

                                        I love the Quebec Board! All of you rock! I'd have to say that this is a very great group of people to hang around with on the Internet. Definitely one of the nicer boards around.

                                        1. re: moh

                                          LOL - Moh, great assessment. Would be nice to know if any Mtl hounds would be interested in meeting up for a JTM "crawl", that could be documented with photos. I'm sure that we've all walked by each other at some point on a Saturday or Sunday without realizing.

                                          1. re: RhondaB

                                            Oh yeah!

                                            "I'm sure that we've all walked by each other at some point on a Saturday or Sunday without realizing."

                                            I had the exact same thought this weekend. I even had a flash that we should all wear a button with a secret symbol on it so we could recognize each other. ;-)

                                            1. re: kpzoo

                                              For the button, I recommend some type of exotic fruit. Perhaps a durian or a mangosteen.

                                              Of course, i am easy to locate, I always have food in my hand and I am usually waving excitedly at hubbie to procure some crazy food item... Sometimes I hop up and down with anticipation.

                                            2. re: RhondaB

                                              RhondaB, that would be a hoot... email me if you feel like doing this!

                                        2. re: soybreath

                                          Hiya, I was just there this weekend - the earlier you get there, the easier parking will be. There is street parking all around the market, but watch out for the resident-only parking zones (red & white signs, resident-only hours will be indicated but they are in French only so be super careful or you'll get a ticket). And if you're in a metered spot, be sure to check the hours - I think on Sundays you only need to pay from 1:00 pm-6:00pm.

                                          And if you prefer super-easy parking - albeit possibly with a lineup to get in depending on your timing - just head straight for the underground lot on the east side of the market. The prices are very reasonable.

                                          1. re: soybreath

                                            There are 2 very inexpensive parking lots attached to JTM - an outdoor lot on Casgain & an underground parking lot on Henri Julien. Here's a link to JTM on google maps: http://maps.google.com/?ie=UTF8&l...

                                            1. re: soybreath

                                              Just use the underground parking lot. Enter on Henri Julien from Jean Talon East. You'll see the entrance to the garage on the right side of the street, mid-way down the block. I'm not sure of the cost.

                                              Have fun!

                                              1. re: Keramel

                                                Thank-you for all the parking advice. One last question please since this is my first trip to Canada - will most merchants take American currency (as battered as it is) or should I go and exchange for Canandian money (and if so where can I do this on a Sunday)??

                                                1. re: soybreath

                                                  Many merchants will take US currency at or near par, though some smaller merchants and farmers might be reluctant to. IMHO, you're best off using Canadian currency. There are plenty of FX counters downtown and some in outlying neighbourhoods; that said, you can always withdraw C$ from an ATM (or ABM as we call them up here).

                                                  1. re: soybreath

                                                    There may be a few that take it, but as a whole I really doubt the merchants accept foreign currency. Your easiest option is to withdraw local currency from an ATM.

                                                    1. re: soybreath

                                                      Soybreath, I don't know that I would risk American currency, there are some producers who might not be willing to take it. The permanent shops will take credit cards no problem, but some of the non-permanent stand will not.

                                                      Sunday is a bit dodgy re: exchanging money. Your best bet would be kiosks aimed at tourists, so the exchange would be unfavourable. Also, it would be harder to find these kiosks close to the market. Your best bet would be to exchange some money at a bank near you before you come, during the week.

                                          2. For those interested, there was (still maybe) some Burrata cheese at Hamel last week-end; it's a kind of a better (yeah) Mozzarella Di Bufala, more creamy, more tender, more more; at $15 a piece, it's double what Mozzarella Di Bufala costs, but much better.

                                            It is divine, on bread with olive oil, salt and black pepper, and with tomatoes and basil.

                                            On another related note, every time I go to JtM, I stop at "Qui Lait Cru" and I can't stand the place, last Saturday, it was pretty much empty, 2 fridges were empty and closed; do they have cheeses or other produces that Hamel does not have ?

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: Maximilien

                                              «do they have cheeses or other produces that Hamel does not have?»

                                              Yes, though not many. They also sometimes source from different producers. And, as far as I know, Hamel doesn't sell Fromentier breads. That said, I don't care much for the store -- the layout, the pushy customers and the often surly service. Still, the wait on weekends is often much shorter than at Hamel; last time I was at Hamel on a Saturday afternoon it was a madhouse and customers, including me, had to wait 20+ very boring minutes to be served.

                                            2. Came back from a trip to the market, hadn't been in a while. Lots of lovely products today. I have noticed that the selection of microgreens is increasing by leaps and bounds! Saw some lovely stuff at Chez Louis, Nino's and Birri. Also nice to snack on the Quebec strawberries again.

                                              Havre aux Glaces had a lovely flavour of ice cream called "argousier", in English, sea buckthorn. This is a small orange berry that grows in a shrub, and it is rich in Vit C and other antioxidants. It has been used as a medicinal fruit for quite some time, and there is now a push to find other commercial uses for this berry. Well it turns out ice cream is one of them! This is a lovely sorbet, bright orange colour with a citrus/apricot flavour, fairly tart. Well worth trying.

                                              1. Made my usual round this past week-end ... lots of stuff as always! I have to eat salads and lettuce today before they go bad !!

                                                Cochon Tout Rond now sell "cornet" and small "sample" on a stick; the cornet ha 4, 5 differents products. it's nice and a good idea.

                                                1. Les gourganes sont arrivées! (Local fresh broad beans). The Jiminez brothers, who sell out of a truck at the far southwestern corner of the stalls, have the best price, and I like buying from them any way as they are a really small-scale farm and claim not to use pesticides etc (they are famous for their "crooked carrots" later in the season). I bought 6 dollars worth and am shelling them. The smaller ones can be eaten raw. I do think I'll parboil them and remove the inner skin though - they are more digestible that way, and prettier in a salad.

                                                  2 Replies
                                                  1. re: lagatta

                                                    Instead of parboiling, try one of Paula Wolfert's two methods.

                                                    Either steam the beans in their pods and then immediately shell and peel them under cold running water. In this case, you'll have to cook the beans immediately or they'll turn slimy.

                                                    Or shell the beans and freeze them for up to 4 months, then skin them, while frozen, just before use. In The Cooking of Southwest France, Paula claims the skins "slip off." I found they took quite a bit more work (two of us about 20-25 minutes to go through the shelled beans from a bushel of pods) and a good set of fingernails. When I queried her about it, she stood by "slip off" and wondered whether different varieties might be to blame. She also says the beans peeled using this method can be wrapped in paper towels and held in the fridge for a couple of hours before cooking; I've not tried that. In any case, the end result is, IMO, superior to parboiling or parsteaming, and it lets you enjoy local favas well into the fall.

                                                    1. re: carswell

                                                      I have seen sweetcorn, but it is still small, and it is always that peaches and cream stuff, which I find too sweet. There is at least one farmer that has yellow corn, but they don't seem to have it yet.

                                                      Great local young garlic now - I bought a bunch at Mille'herbes.

                                                  2. Had some luminous Quebec raspberries yesterday - they looked like gems, and were very sweet and juicy. They are starting to come in! There are plenty of sour cherries there right now for those who were looking.

                                                    For those who do like the peaches and cream corn, the small cobs are marvelous. I've been scraping the cobs to make sauces for hanger steak and corn pudding, and the flavours are great.

                                                    There are some big green figs out, but I was a little disappointed, they aren't that sweet yet. Wait a bit longer.

                                                    Plus a reminder: We are still on for the Chowhound Jean-Talon Market crawl next Saturday July 26 at 9:15 AM. Details on the following sticky post:


                                                    1. Some stands had wild Quebec blueberries today. Quantities are scant, and the prices are not yet attractive; but if you are craving some, it is doable.

                                                      Also Birri and a few other stands had zucchini blossoms.

                                                      1. There is ripe yellow corn at the market now (several vendors; walk about). I made succotash with the corn, gourganes (broad beans), onions, garlic, oregano, parsely etc. The corn is delicious though I find even the yellow variety has become too sweet.

                                                        Lovely green things, but still no TRULY ripe field tomatoes, with all the rain.

                                                        1. Is "Bastilla Royale" available anywhere in JTM? It's a Moroccan pastry with chicken, cinnamon, nuts and icing sugar.

                                                          3 Replies
                                                          1. re: souschef

                                                            Sounds like what I know as pastilla. I don't know if you can get it at JTM, but if you call a day ahead you can get it at Mogador.


                                                            1. re: SnackHappy

                                                              Indeed bastilla and pastilla are the same thing - there is no "P" in the Arabic language, so Arabic-speakers who aren't fluent in French or Spanish might say "Baris" (Paris) and "bastilla".

                                                              Mogador is nearby, due south of JTM on Beaubien - wondering if the Maghrebi sweet and savoury pastry guy INSIDE the market (near the cookbook shop and Wawel) might also make pastilla/bastilla.

                                                              1. re: SnackHappy

                                                                That's it; thanks. I'm surprised that you have to special order it; guess they either don't get much call for it, or they want to serve it super-fresh. Surprising also that they charge only $8.99 for it.

                                                            2. The royal figs are looking better this week, time to start eating figs.

                                                              I've been a bit disappointed by the peaches, they just don't look or smell great at the market. That being said, I bought some white peaches at Chez Nino, crazy expensive, but they taste like real peaches, they are not mealy, but nice and juicy and fleshy. I'll be dropping cash for these again, they were great.

                                                              The poblano season has started, and several producers have them. Chile rellenos season finally here!

                                                              16 Replies
                                                              1. re: moh

                                                                moh, thanks for the royal figs recommendation. I picked up a flat today; they were amazing - incredibly sweet and juicy.

                                                                I stopped at Havre aux Glaces, was thrilled to see chestnut ice cream, and tried some....it was heavenly. Incredibly smooth, and wonderful-tasting. I love chestnuts in all its forms (including, marrons glacées). Just before leaving JTM I went back and had a scoop of cassis sorbet (cassis is another love) and a scoop of mango ice cream. The cassis was nice but not exceptional (a bit grainy); the mango was intensely mangoey. They were nothing compared to the chestnut. The next time I go back it will be wih a LARGE container for the chestnut. I am planning to try and make some myself, but can't decide if I should use puree de marrons or creme de marrons.

                                                                Next to Havre aux Glaces (maybe round the corner) is a chocolate shop called "Privilege", where I picked up some double chocolate bread. I can hardly wait for breakfast tomorrow.....perhaps toasted, with some butter and pureed royal figs !

                                                                I also picked up some chocolate-covered bleberries from one of the vendors. OMG !!!! They are something else.....running out of adjectives here !

                                                                One disappointment - no Premiere Moisson around, so had to settle for baguette from Capital. It was chewy rather than crusty - not something a bagel-hater like myself likes. I did find other interesting stuff at Capital, though.

                                                                1. re: souschef

                                                                  When in need of bread at JTM and cannot go to Premiere Moisson, have a look at the bread at Hamel, they have Retrodor baguette (whatever that really means), but could be better than the ones at Capital.

                                                                  1. re: Maximilien

                                                                    Or Qui Lait Cru for bread from Le Fromentier.

                                                                    1. re: FoodNovice

                                                                      I think someone reported here that they stopped selling Fromentier, but don't quote me. I haven't checked personally.

                                                                      1. re: emerilcantcook

                                                                        Yes. Their bread come from Les Co'pains D'abord now...

                                                                  2. re: souschef

                                                                    I second the chestnut ice cream recommendation. I took a couple friends that came out of town, and they were raving about this flavor.

                                                                    Also, I am puzzled about your bread statement. There is a large Premier Moisson store on the west end of the market. Is this by any chance closed?

                                                                    1. re: emerilcantcook

                                                                      Darn! I missed the Premiere Moisson store; guess I did not go far enough.

                                                                      1. re: souschef

                                                                        I hate to say, I think you did miss the Premiere Moisson. It was up and running when I was there... But I am glad you got the figs! I have been going through a flat (or more) a week. Figs in everything! And figs eaten out of hand. They are so good.

                                                                        I also bought an Israeli "Niya" mango from Chez Nino this week. $3.50 per mango - eek! But it was a huge beautiful perfectly ripe, almost flawless mango, beautifully perfumed, exploding with essence and flavour of mango, beautiful creamy flesh, no fibres. If you like fresh mango, this is worth the cost. It is not as outrageous as the Indian Alphonsos I was gorging on in the spring, they are much more refined and sophisticated mangos, they are not the hedonistic bombs that the Alphonsos are. But I relish in the diversity. The only question in my mind is that are they that much better than the lovely Mexican Ataulfo mangoes that you can purchase for 99 cents each. The Israeli mangoes are much larger, and they are very smooth. I find them a bit more perfumed than the Ataulfos, and perhaps more flavourful as well. And they are just so beautiful to look at, they glow with a beautiful orange flame! But is it worth the extra money? Only you can decide. I walked around the market holding my beautiful gem of a fruit, sniffing its glorious scent and watching the sunlight glint off its golden skin. Well worth the extra money for me! But I am strange that way.

                                                                        Cantalopes are glorious right now - do I smell proscuitto? The man who specializes in melons (in the same row as Birri, but closer to Chez Nino) can pick a mean cantalope for you if you ask! There is no point eating cantalope in the winter.

                                                                        The Lac-St.-Jean wild blueberries are crazy good. I have been making a very simple blueberry sauce with berries, enough water to cover and just a touch of sugar (about a 1/4 cup per 3 cups of berries), boil for 5-10 minutes, keep in fridge. Poured over a bowl of vanilla ice cream, these croon summertime and the living is easy...

                                                                        1. re: moh

                                                                          I meant to buy a couple of those Niyas, but forgot after I picked up the figs. Next time ! And no, you are not strange, walking around admiring and sniffing the mango; I have been known to do the same with bread.

                                                                          Breakfast was a few hours ago. I could not toast the chocolate bread because of the pieces of chocolate in it, but that bread, untoasted, with pureed figs spread all over, was heaven. It was more like a cake. My wife suggested that I make ice cream with the figs (after I buy more, of course :). I think I would have to boil down the puree to concentrate the flavour first. What do you think?

                                                                          Try a touch of fresh lemon juice in your blueberry sauce, as lemon brings out the flavour of berries.

                                                                          Cantalopes with prosciutto ! One of those matches made in foodie heaven!

                                                                          I was pleasantly surprised to see fresh morels this time of year at Nino. Time for some Cornish hens in a white wine morel cream sauce.

                                                                          Sorry, gotta run. All this food talk is making me hungry. Dim sum is waitiing.

                                                                          1. re: souschef

                                                                            Ah, the chocolate bread and fig sounds great! We made some proscuitto, arugula, manchego and fig sandwiches today on baguette, the royal figs squished down into a jammy paste in the sandwich, it was heaven! With regards to the ice cream, if you were using some other variety of fig, you might have to concentrate the puree, but with the Royal figs, I wonder. They are terrifically rich.

                                                                            I'll try that lemon juice trick, thanks!

                                                                            1. re: moh

                                                                              Hey moh, I made the ice cream today; it was awesome freshly churned, but the flavour got a bit dulled after the ice cream spent 30 minutes in the freezer. I did not concentrate the puree. My wife claims it's her new favourite, but I still prefer the chestnut from Havre aux Glaces. Well, chestnut is next on my list of ice cream to make; I found some creme de marrons that contains marrons glacees in thepuree, so that should make it really interesting.

                                                                              1. re: souschef

                                                                                Souschef, it is too bad about the dulling of the flavour. I was hoping the fig flavour would be powerful enough. I was wondering if it might help to add some port or something similar to the puree to add to the flavour? The only thing is I don't know is if you add too much alcohol, might it affect the freezing? Or how about some concentrated balsamic vinegar?? Ohh that might be yummy. Or just pour some really good aged balsamic vinegar on top of your fig ice cream...

                                                                                Re: marrons ice cream: I think chunks of marron would add a very nice textural touch. If you are making these close to Christmas time and find this idea appealing, give me a heads-up and I can let you know where you can find really high quality marron glaces, which might also be a wonderful addition. Chunks of marron glaces would be really awesome! You can buy marron glaces now, but I find the best quality ones come out in the early winter.

                                                                                1. re: moh

                                                                                  moh, I want those high quality marrons glacees to eat, so yes, I do want to know where to get them. Maybe I'll use some for the ice cream. Yes, alcohol will mess up the freezing. BTW balsamico on ice cream sounds great; I will try that. A store here once gave me a very special deal on an aged balsamico they could not sell because of the high price. I got it at 50% off, at $60 for 250 ml. It was fragrant and viscous...and delicious. Wish I had some now.

                                                                                  1. re: souschef

                                                                                    I could drink that stuff out of the bottle straight... it is astounding with vanilla ice cream, and would also be great with a fig ice cream.

                                                                                    There shall be a report on marron glaces, I love those things too! Here is a link to my two favorite sources so far:


                                                                                    This report is from last Christmas. But I always go around and try marron glaces every year, and try to find the tastiest ones, its a Christmas tradition...

                                                                                    1. re: moh

                                                                                      I just tried some good balsamico with the fig ice cream. It does not work as the balsamico overpowers the flavour of the figs.

                                                                                      Time I stopped hijacking this (JTM) thread, I think.

                                                                    2. re: souschef

                                                                      Just thought I should mention this: I bought some foie gras au torchon at Capital. Not worth the money; I have had much better, at Europea and Garcon!

                                                                  3. Heads up: on Saturday friends roasted a leg of lamb they'd simply rubbed with olive oil and fresh herbs, wrapped in plastic wrap and left overnight in the fridge. It was some of the best lamb I've ever eaten: exquisitely textured (fine grained, meltingly tender), little fat (the resting/cutting juices looked like they'd been aggressively degreased) and delicately flavoured with a faint, natural sweetness and no gaminess. What's more, it was organic. Where'd they buy it? Prince Noir, of all places, which has begun carrying organic meats. My friends had thrown out the original wrapper with the price and the leg was smaller than usual (I'd guess around 4 lbs, which might go part of the way to explaining the texture and flavour), so they couldn't say exactly what premium they'd paid for organic but figured it was around 25% -- hefty but significantly less than at Fermes St-Vincent a few doors north.

                                                                    4 Replies
                                                                    1. re: carswell

                                                                      Just curious why you say "of all places" for Prince Noir. I've been really happy with the organic chicken, beef and lamb from there for a while now.

                                                                      1. re: FoodNovice

                                                                        Well, I confess that Prince Noir is not my butcher of first or even second resort. At the market, I tend to go to Fermes St-Vincent, Boucherie du Marché, Porc Meilleur, Veau de Charlevoix and Vollailes et Gibiers du Marché before Prince Noir. Part of the reason is that I prefer not to buy precut, shrink-wrapped meat, which much of theirs seems to be. Also, I've found the raw meats I've bought there -- various birds and horsemeat -- good but not exceptional, and I've not been blown away by their prepared dishes like duck confit. So, not being a frequent customer, I wasn't aware they'd started carrying organic anything. And I was surprised that supremely delicious lamb came from a source I hadn't associated with supremely delicious anything. That's all.

                                                                        1. re: carswell

                                                                          I do go for their red deer mince when they have it though, for chile, burgers etc. I'm not much of a red meat eater, but sure pleases those that are.

                                                                          I have an ancient affection for them as decades ago, when I lived in the northeastern Plateau before it was gentrified, they were about the only source not only of horse another red meats of some distinction, but decent grain-fed chicken. If not, I had to traipse to Zinmans to get it.

                                                                          Boucherie du Marché has bison bavette now, by the way - not much price difference from the beef.

                                                                          1. re: carswell

                                                                            Fermes St-Vincent I can understand, but I wish the products were labelled and prices shown. Prince Noir seems to be increasingly organic, perhaps in response to demand. And they've always been very helpful about any requests, opening up packages for me or preparing cuts in advance. Their non-organic beef is supposedly organic in all but certification too.

                                                                      2. Fresh borlotti (cranberry) beans are abundant. Eggplants are coming in. Prune plums are on almost every stand, and some of them are really fragrant (just munching on some small ones from the eastern aisle).
                                                                        Plant and herb purveyors are downsizing.

                                                                        Louis and Nino had muscat grapes from Italy that looked really amazing, but were kind of boring in taste. There were also some coronation grapes (fragrant seedless grapes that are very similar to Concord grapes). I think they are from Ontario.

                                                                        There is a cupcake stand in front of the coffee shop on the center-east part of the market. A woman was piping frosting while I was there. Unfortunately, neither the cupcakes nor the frosting looked very appetizing. Didn't inquire about the price.

                                                                        6 Replies
                                                                        1. re: emerilcantcook

                                                                          Chez Nino also has green Reine Claude (greengage in English apparently) plums from France. Had them lightly stewed over HaG vanilla ice cream on a sablé cookie and they were delicious. Was also told they make for good eating out of hand.

                                                                          1. re: carswell

                                                                            Thanks for the heads-up, been meaning to try a jam recipe consisting of reine claude plums and vanilla bean.

                                                                          2. re: emerilcantcook

                                                                            my friend and i bought cupcakes there about two weeks ago
                                                                            the frosting had a very faint taste of citrus (mine) & raspberry (hers), but mostly tasted like shortening. the cakes were very moist, but also had this weird taste that made me nauseous after two bites. $2 or $2.50, i can't remember.

                                                                            1. re: emerilcantcook

                                                                              The cranberry beans are so beautiful when shelled, and very tasty as well!

                                                                              Thanks for the warning about the muscat grapes, but I am sad they were boring in taste. Muscat grapes when perfumed are the most wonderful grapes to eat.

                                                                              Re: cupcakes, I saw a sign, I believe they are Petit Gateaux cupcakes. I tasted a tiramisu one last week, nothing special. Odd texture to the cake, the flavour was ho-hum, and the icing was good but slightly pasty.

                                                                              1. re: moh

                                                                                They're not from the Petits Gateaux store. We asked about that. Petits gateaux is just a generic French name for cupcakes. The lady who was at the stand said she makes them herself and that it's a joint venture with the coffee shop. We took a look at them, but since we had just had lunch and they didn't look very tempting, we skipped the cupcakes.

                                                                                1. re: SnackHappy

                                                                                  Thanks for that clarification! I made a wrong assumption that the sign meant the shop. Appreciate the clean up.

                                                                            2. I just tried (ate them all, actually) the fruit jellies I bought yesterday at Privilege. Really enjoyed them, especially the passion fruit; definitely recommended. I have a weakness for fruit jellies; need to go back soon.

                                                                              1. A tiny new Mexican restaurant has opened at the corner of Beaubien and St-Dominique, a few minutes' walk south of JTM. It is very cute; no idea about the quality of the food.

                                                                                59 Beaubien est
                                                                                Montréal H2S 1R1

                                                                                They have a website: www.itacate.ca indicating the items on their menu, and prices.

                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                1. re: lagatta

                                                                                  Thanks for the tip. I tried Itacate out for lunch today. It's a small place with seating for less than 20. Good quality with everything homemade, including chips, a variety of salsas, horchata, desserts. I haven't tried enough of the menu to say I prefer it over Au Coin de Mexique but I'll definitely go back. I'm also looking forward to trying out the weekend brunch menu.

                                                                                2. Just wanted to point out that as well as the green zebra tomatoes, the organic farm Jardins Mill'herbes (at the southeastern corner of the rows of stands) has lovely melons right now, including canteloupes, green-fleshed honey melons, watermelons and Charentais - the latter are more expensive at $7 apiece, but delicious, and sweet enough to be a healthful dessert.

                                                                                  1. I am so jealous of all of you! My wife and I just LOVE the JTL market. We live in NJ and visit Montreal 2-3 times a year just to visit the market. We usually rent an apartment with a kitchen and go to the market everyday and bring stuff back to cook with. I read this blog once a week and salivate at all your descriptions of what is in season. We love the strawberries from Quebec, the wild blueberries, the riopelle (despite having been recalled for listeria), the 36-hour baguettes and confidence cookies from Au Pain Dior, the vietnamese soup from the lady who wears the cool hat, the DARK maple syrup, and best of all, the Quebec lamb and duck products. We'll be back during Christmas week, but until then I will be reading this board and drooling.

                                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                                    1. re: croslan

                                                                                      Croslan, so nice to read that! Not that I've ever taken the Jean-Talon market for granted - I worked all day at home yesterday and hadn't been outside - took a bicycle ride round the market (and other neighbourhood sights) after the merchants had closed, just looking at things. Of course living near there, one does not buy Riopelle cheese, sweets or ready-made soup every day, but even for normal everyday shopping on a caloric and financial budget, it is great to get fresh, local produce.

                                                                                      It's Pain Doré, by the way, but I love Pain Dior! Chic bread...

                                                                                      1. re: croslan

                                                                                        BTW, The Canadian Food Inspection Agency found no listeria in Fromagerie de L'Isle-aux-Grues cheeses. I hope whatever loss of business they might have suffered due to this health scare will only be temporary.


                                                                                      2. Saw a fellow painting and fixing up the shop that became, at the apex of Sami expansion, "Le Petit Sami" (before that, it had been another fruiterie). It is not physically linked to big Sami, and would not logically be redeveloped as the same unit without a lot of expensive infrastructure changes.

                                                                                        An old Italian guy on the south side of the market recalls that those premises once housed a Steinberg which was an important neighbourhood destination.

                                                                                        1. I will never forget the Marche Jean-Talon. On Friday, August 29, sometime between 10 a.m. and 11:30 my bicycle was stolen from the bike racks on the Henri-Julien side. FYI for anyone cycling to the place!

                                                                                          That said, the market is incomparable.

                                                                                          4 Replies
                                                                                          1. re: jkosnett

                                                                                            Join the club, mine was stolen in front of Métro Chèvrefils on Laurier East a couple of years ago at 5:30 when it's most crowder on Laurier. I never lock my bike outside now.

                                                                                            1. re: Campofiorin

                                                                                              What on earth do you do? Take it in the store?

                                                                                              That CAN be done at JTM on quiet days - I could certainly walk around there with it now, on a cloudy Monday - obviously not on weekends when there are huge crowds. But I don't think most supermarkets allow people to take their bicycles inside.

                                                                                              Indeed, it is a huge problem everywhere.

                                                                                              1. re: lagatta

                                                                                                Actually, I only my bike to go from home to work where we have a designated space in the underground garage in front of the security office. That's why. Although it will happen one or twice every summer I'll lock the vike at JTM in which I lock right in front of the store I go to.

                                                                                                1. re: Campofiorin

                                                                                                  Get an old beater bike for errands!

                                                                                          2. Les P'tit Lutins volunteers have started selling their sweet and spicy nuts (peanuts and pecans) in front of Marché des Saveurs. The nuts are fresh and are pretty good, and they are sold for a good cause (providing Christmas gifts for children affected by AIDS).

                                                                                            Les Jardins Sauvages also seem to have more variety of mushrooms since they moved into a secondary stand just left of Cochon tout Ronds. I was impressed by the amount of black trumpets and blue oysters (farmed, they said) they had in hand. Perhaps they had these varieties before, but this was my first sighting of both.

                                                                                            11 Replies
                                                                                            1. re: emerilcantcook

                                                                                              As for the old Sami Fruits, most of it is becoming an expansion of Italmelodie (music store) so nothing foodie there - though it is an old neighbourhood business. The smaller extension of Sami is an "uva da vino" place - grapes for winemaking, by definition a seasonal business - no idea what it will become permanently.

                                                                                              1. re: emerilcantcook

                                                                                                Les Jardins Sauvages has had amazing mushrooms this summer - I'm addicted to their lobster mushrooms - definitely worth trying when they have them for sale. It seems the variety of mushrooms has expanded over the course of the summer, but I would assume that has to do with the availability of many of them growing wild...

                                                                                                1. re: cherylmtl

                                                                                                  Do they have fresh porcini? Cream of wild mushroom soup is not the same without porcini.

                                                                                                  1. re: souschef

                                                                                                    I've never seen them on sale, but their web site lists cèpes as one of the available varieties. I think they are referring to porcini, but my French is really not that dependable:


                                                                                                    1. re: emerilcantcook

                                                                                                      The standard cèpe or cèpe de Bordeaux is the mushroom that the Italians call porcino (porcini is the plural).

                                                                                                      Here's a little article from the soupnancy blog. She's the chef at Jardins Sauvages: http://soupnancy.squarespace.com/on-b...

                                                                                                      1. re: SnackHappy

                                                                                                        I was driving by Tortilleria Maya on Sunday (closed on Sundays), but snuck a peak to my left just in case their hours changed and quickly noticed a sign on their door saying something about them moving to the JTM soon. Again, I was driving so I may have misunderstood although I'm pretty sure that's what it said. When I got to the market I was trying to figure out where they may open. Anyone know when and which location they'll take?

                                                                                                        1. re: ios94

                                                                                                          They are definitely moving, and I believe the date is Sept. 30. At least that was what was posted. But I have no idea where in the market they will be.

                                                                                                          1. re: ios94

                                                                                                            Remember that Popocatépetl is not many blocks due east of the market, and many connoisseurs find their tortillas much better: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/447040 (since that thread I have told some Mexicans I know here about it, and they much prefer Popo's tortillas.

                                                                                                            But in a pinch...

                                                                                                            1. re: lagatta

                                                                                                              Sweet, I never knew about this place, I'll check it out on the weekend.

                                                                                                              1. re: ios94

                                                                                                                When I first went there, a middle-aged man who obviously knew his trade was kneading the masa, and "le jeune" was feeding the uncooked tortillas onto a funnly little contraption that cooks them.

                                                                                                                As for Maya, just by pure chance (had to run a lot of errands today) I cycled past their current location - they are moving to 234 Jean-Talon E. - and then past the front of the market on Jean-Talon - indeed 234 is one of the two former Samy storefronts that will not be taken over by Italmélodie. The other one, temporarily housing an "uva da viono" (wine grapes) guy, remains a mystery.

                                                                                                                1. re: lagatta

                                                                                                                  Tortilleria Maya was open today. They're still not completely set-up and will not have hot food until monday.

                                                                                                2. Wow. I just gotta say, I've never loved living close to JTM more than I do after reading the updates on this thread. It's just getting better and better!

                                                                                                  1. Is JTM open tomorrow - Thanksgiving Day ?

                                                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                                                    1. re: souschef

                                                                                                      According to the Gazette's What's Open and Not on Thanksgiving list, it will be:

                                                                                                      "The Atwater, Jean Talon and Maisonneuve public markets will be open from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m."


                                                                                                    2. Zinman poultry has re-opened in the new building they have erected at their former premises, 7010 St-Dominique H2S 3B7 phone 514.277.4302. The counters are still pretty bare and there is room for a lot more stuff. Bought a smoked turkey thigh - that may not sound like much, but a lot of meat on the bone. I asked about whole smoked chickens, turkeys or ducks, but they must be ordered so far. (Smoker on premises). Having part of the meat with riesling sauerkraut; nice dish for this nasty day.