Montreal trip report
I'm from LA, just back from a week in Montreal. After doing my research here, and on http://endlessbanquet.blogspot.com/... we ate amazingly well. I had no idea Montreal was such a food lovers city, and so diverse, I don't know what I thought we were getting into, but we were very happy to have a reason (conference) to visit, and boy did we get into it. Thanks for all your posts. I'll give you a rundown of what we loved:
Romados: The chicken was roasting over hot coals at the back of a small grocery and bakery. It was moist and delicious, and if you ask for spicy, they brush something tasty (although not spicy) on the chicken. They arguably had the best fries we came across, maybe because they seemed to be seasoned with cracked pepper before frying, and then dusted with salt and something else after. The salad was great too, they make a tasty dressing of what seemed like a good olive oil, and mustard. We went twice during the conference. And I have to say, they make a mean cherry strudel as well.
L'Express: This really seemed, as described, classic french, for locals. We loved it. I've never ordered Marrow, it was lovely, but wow, they give you quite a bit --so rich, and so whimsily arranged, like palm trees, with a round of bright green cabbage sitting at the top. We also had the steak tartare, excellent, and ravioli, which were delicious & delicate, with a well seasoned mix of meat for filling.
Au Pied de Cochon: This place blew us away, it was the only place I found that listed itself as Quebequois, and that appealed to us. We had the seared Foie Gras, which was melt in your mouth delish, drizzled with a balsamic reduction. The Duck Breast was the star of the show, meaty and rare, like a good steak, under a mound of amazing sauted/seared mushrooms. We also had the PDC Potee (I think it was called). A lovely crock filled with the most amazing mashed potatoes, with garlic, leeks and cheese curds--topped with an assortment of pork cuts, sausage, boudin noir, roast, smoked... Wow. This place was a highlight of our visit. We also ordered the fryes cooked in duck fat -- they were tasty, but we didn't really see the "duck fat difference". They were just good, as fries were all over Montreal.
Mr. Spicee: We took the Metro out to try this Trinidadian place, and everyone loved it. It's primarily a take out place, but we stood around loving it. The Patties and Doubles -- had no idea what what that meant, but it sounded appealing. At a buck or two a piece, we all got one of each. The beef patty being some tasty ground beef stuffed into a delicious dough I suspect was made from chick pea flour. Delish. And the Doubles, wow! Two rounds of soft delish (roti dough??), filled with various curries, the goat was fantastic.
Schwartz's: Had the smoked meat, which I've never heard of. Loved that you could get it fatty, medium, or lean. I opted for medium. It was very tasty, exactly as described, a cross between corned beef, and pastrami. And I had a very good 1/2 sour as well. Also enjoyed the antics of my somewhat crusty waiter who waited tables like he had a quota, and some kind of get out of jail free card, when it came to being somewhat rude to the customers.
Fairmont Bagels: Who knew (well, I suspect you all knew), that Montreal is the Bagel capitol, and I bow down. Picked up some "whites" (sesame), and they were delicious -- it was like a bagel made by an artesanal bread maker. Wood fired -- why isn't the rest of the bagel eating world catching on? Love that this was open 24 hours, we were there around 10pm, and got 'em hot out of the oven.
Reservoir: We thought this was a nice restaurant, and was surprised to find it a small brew house, but were thrilled to find the menu was what we were expecting. We had the Lamb Samosa, which was some very tasty lamb meat wrapped in phyllo, the Scallops -- sliced and seared and served on a long diagonal cut of baguette --fantastic, on a bed of amazing sauteed mushrooms with some greens. I imagine whatever that chef has on the special board (the bulk of their small menu) is what you should get. I will say that everything was a bit over salted -- but the preperations were top notch.
La Paryse: Great Burger on a homemade (I think) bun. I love that it comes with a lot of stuff on it -- mushrooms, cheese, onions, mayo, mustard... A great package.
Jean Talon Market: Snacked my way around it. Lot's of things to sample, and lots of options in and around the market, a lovely afternoon snacking, and people watching.
Chinatown for Dragon Beard Candy: A little window saw a man making something I've only ever heard of. Dragon Beard Candy. He somehow stretches sugar into the finest hair like strands, breaks off a 3 or 4 inch section, which you think will instantly melt or stick together, and then wraps it around some crushed peanuts and chocolate. It's delicious, like a soft taffy that tastes like powdered sugar, peanuts and chocolate. Worth finding this window on the main (car free) strip of chinatown. There was also, about a block down a place called Jade garden, or something -- they made the best baked cha sui bao -- delish filling, and soft doughy dough.
I think that about covers it. Loved the food, loved the architecture, and the weather -- we were lucky enough to be there to see the city still dusted with snow, but with the sun shining during the day.
Schwartz's Montreal Hebrew Delicatessen
3895 Boulevard Saint-Laurent, Montreal, QC , CA
Fairmount Bagel Bakery
74 Avenue Fairmount Ouest, Montr, Montreal, QC , CA
Au Pied de Cochon
536 Av Duluth E, Montreal, QC H2L1A9, CA
Restaurant La Paryse
302 Rue Ontario E, Montreal, QC H2X1H6, CA
7075 Avenue Casgrain, Montreal, QC H2S, CA
3927 Rue Saint-Denis, Montreal, QC H2W2M4, CA
115 Rue Rachel E, Montreal, QC H2W1C8, CA
6889 Avenue Victoria, Montreal, QC H3W, CA
Thanks. La Banquise was on my list, but I didn't make it -- I ended up trying poutine at a brew pub in the old section of town the 3 somethings. It was good, but not anywhere I'd suggest running to. Montee du Lait, was high on our list but didn't happen for a variety of reasons. And I'm sorry I didn't get a chance to get to St. Viateur in addition to Fairmont, a friend of mine suggested it as well. Next time, I hope!
Gadzooks Debra, what a fabulous report! I'm really glad you found the dragon beard candy, it is a very rare find. Quite the art to make that stuff I think.
And thanks for the report about the doubles! I had some on a trip recently, and I am thrilled there is a place here that makes them. Goat Doubles??? I am all over it!
I'm so jealous of people who come to visit Montreal, because it's an awesome excuse to save up some money and a few days of concentrated deliciousness. While I definitely have some delicious meals here, I would love to have breakfast, lunch and dinner at the cream of the crop for a few days. It sounds like you had an amazing time. A lot of those choices are absolutely spot on for the best Montreal has to offer!
Thanks for the great report! Am visiting Montreal next month for the 1st time - so this was a great report to stumble upon.