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Layover Montreal

My comments are probably 95% positive when it comes to anything from the Bourdain empire but I was very disappointed in the Montreal episode. Having recently traveled to Montreal I was looking forward to this episode but I thought he could have put a lot more enthusiasm into this stop. He seemed to have contempt for everything he came across.

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  1. Hmm. That's not the impression I had at all. I mean, he pissed all over the touristy place with people in costume, but he liked most of the food he had.

    I thought he mostly came across worried for his health, given his chef friends there and their penchant to try and stuff him like a xmas goose.

    It makes me want to go back when it's not November, and I have grown a few extra stomachs :-D

    5 Replies
    1. re: linguafood

      It seemed to me he dismissed the entire Old Montreal part of the city as nothing more than a tourist trap and although there is a lot of catering to people who visit the city I thought it had more value than that. I was a lot more enthusiastic about Marché Jean-Talon as well. I thought it was pretty cool and his attitude seemed to be: an open produce market, whatever, at least there's cheese.
      I also thought he seemed very dismissive of the women's rowing team. If you hate something so much why are you doing a feature on it? Same for knights battling in the park. Most of what I got out of it was that Tony doesn't like tourists, produce, athletes or geeks.

      1. re: californiabeerandpizza

        Even tho he is one of the producers, I don't know if he gets full reign over what will be included in the show.

        Other shows (pre-Layover) had many scenes where he was visibly uninterested / bored / dismayed to be there and doing something he'd obviously prefer not to (Iceland, Rumania & the Greek Isles come to mind).

        1. re: californiabeerandpizza

          If you watch his shows you know he doesn't really care for veggies or tourists! That's been a consistent theme in his No Reservations shows.

          1. re: californiabeerandpizza

            Even the locals on the show were dismissing the tourist traps. The "Underground City" does sound much more interesting until you actually go there. They are right...it's just a big vertical mall connected by a bunch of subway commuter tunnels..

            As for the produce market, if you are a fan of his shows, you know he's been to one of those in almost every city he has visited. Not to say that Jean Talon would not be impressive on its own, but in that context, he has been there...done that.

            1. re: Philly Ray

              I'm well versed in No Res and the books, it just seems pointless to feature aspects of a city you don't like. I guess when he's being dismissive of places I haven't been to I don't care but it seems he passed on a lot of good possibilities in Montreal. It's not like there aren't other options besides rowing and making fun of human statues. I remember his No Res in Montreal being much better. In fact it inspired me to go to Au Pied du Cochon.

        2. I didn't really get from the show that he didn't favour Montreal - I've always thought he had a soft spot for us/it, actually. He even comments at one point that Montreal is the only reason Canada is a worthwhile country, and that without it, Canada would be "hopeless." Ha ha. *gets back up*

          And they *must* decide the itinerary for him, no? Because otherwise, there would have been no reason for him to hang out in Old Montreal, which he did seem to hate. The restaurant he ate at - Club Chasse et Peche, gets a lot of love on the Montreal section of this board, although I myself have never eaten there.

          I have been to Marven's a few times and that dude they interviewed was my server each time! He is extremely helpful and flirtatious if one is female and under 80, but he was borderline rude to my British Dad and uncle. And the calamari wasn't THAT good. I didn't even finish it.

          Hmm. What else? I do kind of feel like anyone watching might think Montreal only has Joe Beef and Au Pied de Cochon. But that's probably something I'm getting mostly from No Reservations eps in Montreal - I actually prefer the more practical side of The Layover (if not here, try here, if not here, how about here etc.). The two things I want to do after watching the ep are: 1. Go to that traditional pub in the Sud Ouest area (where he had pig knuckle) and also to try that grilled cheese sandwich from L'Emporte Piece. I think I will do the latter tomorrow, actually.

          Funny to see some local faces - Screaming Guy at the Sunday drumming session is someone I have seen a lot. He is always...like that. Heh.

          15 Replies
          1. re: montrealeater

            I really liked the drumming thing and overall it did make me want to visit there. The sort of divey place where they had the boiled trotters is the type of place we would like and I know where I live those places are getting fewer and farther between, so I thought that was a good highlight. I totally think the itin is already decided for him and he shows up and has no clue what he's going to do most places. That's why the horrid rowing trip was an unpleasant surprise (for him, his pals and the viewers. WTF were they thinking?) and the colonial thing, it sounds like the fixer that he met picked that joint.

            1. re: rockandroller1

              Yeah, that little rowing session DID seem decidedly incongruous. I definitely wouldn't want to be dragged off my course of pigging out and drinking to ... indulge in some strenuous exercise.

              Also, the colonial thing had nothing to do with the restaurant (Club Chasse et Peche) - I think they are located next to a museum, and in Old Montreal, so those colonially dressed types are around, but have no connection to the restaurant itself.

              The drumming takes place every Sunday when the weather is warm enough, the LARPing takes place there as well. it's basically a big chill out/get high session. Bring your sword. :)

              1. re: montrealeater

                Ok since you obviously live there, how ridiculous would the notion be for americans who are unwilling and undesirous of the cost and hassle (and fear) of flying to France to instead plan a trip to Montreal? Not that it's a subsitute for France in any way, but I had always thought it would be a good "close second" for those who don't wish to fly to Europe. But then Tony discounted that right up front, and said how it's really nothing like France. Except the signs are all in French. And the whole city is bilingual. And there's French food, but also other food. We have basically NO french food where I live, and there's no way I'm paying or flying to France at this point for our family, but a long road trip to Montreal seems way more possible. Would you say it's "an interesting city to visit but zero of the "france" experience" or "some France, some North American, and a good blend?"

                1. re: rockandroller1

                  How do you know ME has been to France?

                  I've only visited once, and thought that the city had a decidedly European flair, but not necessarily French. If you're looking for good French food you can't get in Cleveland I'd say it's well worth a road trip!

                  1. re: rockandroller1

                    Absolutely it's worth a visit!

                    I've been to France and I live in Montreal. The two are very different places, but if you're looking to visit the city in North America that feels the *least* anglo-North American, Montreal's probably the right place. And there's tons of good French/bistro/French-influenced food here. Do come over to the Quebec boards and have a peek at what we have to offer. :-)

                    1. re: rockandroller1

                      Montreal is Canadian, it's British and it's Quebecois, but it's not in any way French. Of course the French have recently colonised the Plateau neighbourhood, and you'll find lots of patisseries and bistros everywhere, but the character of the city is nothing like any French city I've been to. Quebecois are also nothing like the French even though we are separated by a common language. Montreal is its own thing. It's not even like other Quebec cities. If you want some sort of exotic European-like cachet, you'd be better off going to Quebec City, which resembles more a French provincial town.

                      It's very much noticeable in the architecture, in our institutions and the way that life is organized here that Montreal is a British colonial city, as are all major Canadian cities. The fact that half the population speaks French does not make us Frenchmen. Montreal is not Little Paris. Yes, we do like our French food here and the city is overrun with bistros but that's pretty much where the French experience in Montreal stops. It's a much better idea to come to Montreal to experience Montreal than to expect some sort of French outpost. Although, if that's what you really want, you can always drive your car to St-Pierre et Miquelon.

                      http://www.st-pierre-et-miquelon.com/

                      1. re: SnackHappy

                        I would second Quebec City as a "France substitute" rather than Montreal, although both are worth visiting in and of themselves.

                        1. re: lisaonthecape

                          Rockandroller1 - basically, what everyone else has said, especially Kpzoo. Montreal DOES have a huge French influence, but it has many others and really is it's own thing. You can get very good French food here, tho, that much is true. I hear you on flights to Europe, too, I HATE flying and dread it.

                          1. re: lisaonthecape

                            lisaonthecape.....totally agree with you on Quebec City,esp. when you
                            go inside the walled city to Le Vieux Carre' !!

                          2. re: SnackHappy

                            I'll second St Pierre et. Had some of the best Cuisine Francais I've ever had. And the experience is terriffic and unusual, a real French community on a couple of rocks off Newfie. And with French groceries, fromageries, boulangeries, etc. Want to go back.

                          3. re: rockandroller1

                            Thx everyone. appreciate the insight. A 10 hour drive is quite long enough, asking my toddler to do a 13 hour drive, I just dunno.

                            1. re: rockandroller1

                              Heck, 13 hours? Not bad at all! ha! I've done that many times when the kids were little. Sometimes, we'd drive a couple of hours, starting in the early evening, late afternoon. Then stop for dinner, put the kids in pj's, then tuck them into their carseats for "bed" and drive the rest of the night with them sleeping.

                              1. re: wyogal

                                I did an 11 hour trip with the little one in 2011 and it was really, really tough. He just really doesn't like to be in the car for such long stretches. But the more we stopped to break it up, the more he threw tantrums and screamed about getting back in. Maybe when he's a little older he will be better about it. He's 2. Well, he'll be 3 this year now that it's officially 2012!

                      2. re: montrealeater

                        That grilled cheese sounded fantastic.

                        1. re: linguafood

                          I tried to pick one up yesterday but they are closed until after new year. I plan to try the one shown and the few others on their menu, including a sharp cheddar and apple variety. Mmm.

                      3. I put together a little list of most of the food-related places Bourdain hit up. Lots of talk about most of these over on the Quebec board if you're planning a trip and want to research further, too.

                        Beautys
                        http://www.beautys.ca/ - http://g.co/maps/bgv6u

                        St-Viateur Bagel
                        http://www.stviateurbagel.com/

                        Appetite for Books
                        http://www.appetitebooks.ca/

                        Jean-Talon Market
                        http://www.marchespublics-mtl.com/Eng... - http://g.co/maps/v3m95

                        Épices de Cru
                        http://www.epicesdecru.com/

                        Atwater Market
                        http://www.marchespublics-mtl.com/Eng... - http://g.co/maps/8g7t7

                        La Fromagerie Atwater
                        http://www.fromagerieatwater.ca/

                        Big in Japan
                        http://biginjapan.ca/ - https://www.facebook.com/pages/Big-In...

                        Le Club Chasse et Peche
                        http://www.leclubchasseetpeche.com/

                        Marven's
                        http://g.co/maps/6zgve

                        Brasserie Capri
                        http://g.co/maps/wbs96

                        Dominion Square Tavern
                        http://www.dominiontavern.com/

                        Orange Julep
                        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gibeau_O... - http://g.co/maps/s7uwm

                        Joe Beef
                        http://www.joebeef.ca/

                        L'Express
                        http://g.co/maps/gyhb2

                        Rotisserie Romados
                        http://g.co/maps/dxmdq

                        Brasserie T
                        http://brasserie-t.com/

                        Grumman 78
                        http://grumman78.com

                        Nouveau Palais
                        http://www.nouveaupalais.com/

                        L’Emporte Piece
                        http://www.lemportepiece.com/

                        Schwartz's
                        http://www.schwartzsdeli.com/

                        Edit: just noticed they're listed here as well - whoops!
                        http://www.travelchannel.com/tv-shows...

                        6 Replies
                        1. re: kpzoo

                          Adding Chevrerie du Buckland, I'm glad Bourdain made a pit stop to try their award winning tomme . Their website is under construction, www.chevreriedubuckland.com.

                          1. re: ios94

                            Was this the guy at Jean Talon selling the one kind of cheese? That looked good...

                            1. re: montrealeater

                              Yes, that was him. They raise their own goats for their cheese. They make a few other varieties but the Tomme IMO is the winner. He was still there just last Friday but they told me that they were almost done with their stock so they probably won't be there come the new year until spring time.

                          2. re: kpzoo

                            I may be way off, but in watching the series so far have wondered if there are paid advertisements running in there.
                            ie, some places he actually visits, some he mentions as a 'you might want to try this place', followed by someone from the mentioned restaurant/cafe' talking up their menu or food style.
                            Enjoyed NR more.
                            T88

                            1. re: Treadmill88

                              I would be very surprised if that was paid advertising and it isn't specifically labeled as such. I think The Layover is meant to be more of a practical-travel-and-eating-tips show than NR and the whole "if not this place then how about this one" is just about offering another option to a potential visitor (i.e. someone not familiar with the city). I actually really like the other options given - if I was going to travel to one of these cities, it would be really useful info, because I respect Bourdain's opinions, mostly.

                              1. re: montrealeater

                                How many of those secondary picks are really his personal opinion, though? My guess is that many, maybe most, of the segments in which he does not personally appear are producer/researcher picks. For example, do you really think he visited, enjoyed and personally endorses the Orange Julep (a fairly ordinary greasy spoon, signature drink aside)?

                          3. +1 for absolutely worth the visit and despite Tony dismissing the rest of the country I enjoyed my time in Quebec City more than Montreal (which I liked a lot).

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: californiabeerandpizza

                              for many people - young professionals especially, the quebec city culinary scene is too stuffy

                            2. I thought it was very vulgar. Was going to recommend it to friends that will soon be visiting Montreal, glad I viewed it first! Very disappointing.

                              9 Replies
                              1. re: eatwell

                                Was this your first ever experience of anything Bourdain? Cuz "vulgar" is kind of his thang...

                                1. re: linguafood

                                  That's exactly what I was thinking, linguafood. ;-)

                                  1. re: linguafood

                                    Oh for sure I know he is "vulgar" , I was just disappointed that it kind of(parts of it) cast Montreal in a bad light. The chefs came off looking not so much "vulgar" as just plain stupid. I guess in its defense, it wasn't meant as a tourist information video.

                                    1. re: eatwell

                                      are you really so easily offended? bourdain's fame comes from his tell-all on bad behaviour. you'd have to be living in a bubble to be surprised by the debauchery in this episode. i suppose that if you've learned anything from this episode it is that the montreal restaurant scene is run by drunks --- you should go see what the staff at your favorite restaurants are up to come closing time ;)

                                      1. re: BarackHObama

                                        I don't think it cast Mtl in bad light at all, quite the opposite actually. AB portrayed the city as cutting edge, hip, vibrant (choose your adjective) IMO.

                                        1. re: ios94

                                          Yeah, I am still not seeing how Montreal was cast in a bad light. Tony and his friends may have come off as drunken gluttons (not necessarily a bad thing!) but I didn't think he portrayed the city badly at all. He made it sound like a real foodie's place, somewhere to have a good time and eat great food. Which is sort of what it is. :)

                                          1. re: montrealeater

                                            "He made it sound like a real foodie's place, somewhere to have a good time and eat great food"

                                            I didn't get that at all and I wish I had because that's how I felt visiting Montreal. I don't think he necessarily cast it in a bad light but it could have been much better. Do you think that because of watching that episode people would be inspired to go to Montreal and eat oysters off a radio?

                                            1. re: californiabeerandpizza

                                              I think I can safely say that I won't go to Montreal to eat oysters off a radio, but I'd go visit for the food. Especially the bagels and that smoked meat. Yum.

                                              1. re: californiabeerandpizza

                                                bourdain likes to portray his culinary idols as eclectic mad men. the inclusion of oysters on the radio plays to the eccentricities of the owners. the radio bit also speaks to the eccentricities and youthfulness of the montreal food and arts scene.I think the episode did a good job of highlighting aspects that set montreal apart from other cities. you may not have had an experience like bourdain's when you visited but as a life long montrealer involved in the arts and culinary world, i assure you that bourdain's drunken extravaganza is quite typical.

                                  2. As a native Montrealer, I thoroughly enjoyed the whole segment. Found a few things a little far-fetched, like riding in the back of the pickup truck and throwing out your food/beer/drink - a very rare sight in Montreal and a sure-fire way to attract the local constabulary.

                                    And no way were all those segments shot in one 28-hour period! Spread over a few days to say the least. And who was that lovely and charming blonde with all those perspectives on the social niceties of Montreal? Cheek-kissing is the BEST!!

                                    And when you come up to visit, please do remember to "do" the mountain sights! A wonderful way to give you perspective on the city....

                                    Do enjoy my city!

                                    2 Replies
                                    1. re: JohnnyGe

                                      I think she has a show on Evasion or something where she eats at 3 restaurants with a celebrity guest every episode and the rates them.

                                    2. I'm torn over this episode. At the risk of sounding prudish and judgemental, I think it's time for Tony to grow up a tad. Riding around in the back of a pick up truck getting shitfaced is for amateurs. I don't know, maybe I could use a drink and loosen up ;-) but those days, at some point, should be in your rear view mirror.
                                      At some point, the excess of booze and food gets nauseating.
                                      I loved the rather large chef who kept saying that eating a Volkswagon-sized mound of protein boosts your metabolism and works for weight loss.
                                      Yeah, how's that working for 'ya?

                                      9 Replies
                                      1. re: monavano

                                        I can see both sides. Part of me does watch him in the back of the pickup (and as someone else mentioned, yeah, that's not a pastime here, and the cops would have put a stop to it if they'd seen it!), drunk and loud and just thinks "damn, this guy is old enough to be my Dad, how embarassing". But, as others have said, this is just Bourdain. Another part of me appreciates that he's the same person now.

                                        One of my friends was speculating that since marrying the younger woman, having a baby and moving to the posh nieghbourhood, he's feeling the pressure now to still be the 'cool, edgy' guy. Ha ha. Speaking of his having had a baby, he DOES seem waaay more poop obsessed than he used to. He seems to mention it in every episode, almost.

                                        1. re: montrealeater

                                          I think you're on to something with the poop obsession! When Bourdain was first married and in particular, when his girl was born, I thought I saw him grow up a bit. The booze consumption was conspicuously diminished and I think he quit smoking. He even gained a bit of weight!

                                          1. re: monavano

                                            Yes! He totally grew what I like to call a Happy Man Belly. The little pudge that some men get when they marry/settle down/procreate. It was actually kind of sweet, although he seems to have lost it now. And yeah, he did quit smoking when his kid was born.

                                            I felt a bit bad for Martin Picard - first he appears to blow a gasket over Tony suggesting sex with Celine Dion, and then he passes out in the back of the pickup. Funny,

                                            1. re: monavano

                                              I recently read his latest book, which is a series of essays. He does write about fatherhood and the first thing he says is, (paraphrased) "once you're a father, you're no longer cool, and I'm okay with that."

                                              I think he was kinda hoping not too drink too much (but he knew they were going to be "putting the hurt" on him nonetheless)

                                              1. re: TheSnowpea

                                                It really is a hell of a reputation to uphold. Hey, Bourdain's coming to town! We're gonna get shitfaced!
                                                I don't know if he uses stunt vodka when he travels with Zamir, but dear lawd, I don't get how he can get up the next day and function.

                                                1. re: monavano

                                                  A friend of mine knows one of the dragon boat rowers, who reports that the rowing demo actually happened AFTER the nighttime drunken adventures.

                                                  So he was indeed hungover and understandably unenthusiastic.

                                                  EDIT: this makes me suspect that the show is NOT shot over 24 hours only.

                                                  1. re: TheSnowpea

                                                    I thought at the time it was an odd activity in the flow of things. They're wandering along & suddenly they're out rowing. Not sure why & I think he was of the same thought.
                                                    Why?

                                                    Then there was the visit to that Vegetarian island place where I think he ended up begrudgingly settling for a ham & cheese sandwich. (or was that Amsterdam?, the memory is not what it was or the scene was not that memorable,) but he came across as decidedly p-d with where he was.
                                                    One can't help but feel sorry for the poor local 'escort' who has to accompany him to somewhere he patently does not want to be.
                                                    TM88

                                                    1. re: Treadmill88

                                                      > 24 hours

                                                      He's eating way too much food, even if you don't go to bed.

                                            2. re: montrealeater

                                              he referred to his bodily functions a great deal in his first show cook's tour

                                          2. Bourdain is a bit of a wipe. I think he wants to be the foodie Howard Stern.

                                            8 Replies
                                            1. re: Scary Bill

                                              you mean he wants to be someone who gives his real opinion rather than be everything to everyone like most television fluff? I don't think bourdain is trying to be like anyone and that's why he is a breath of fresh air. if he comes off as a surly, complaining, hard to please new york jew it is because that's what he is.

                                              1. re: BarackHObama

                                                I’ve been a Bourdain fan since Kitchen Confidential and I definitely appreciate his gonzo-style food journalism. My issue with this episode was that I consider Montreal’s food culture worthy of being fully embraced in the same way he gets psyched for his favorite food destinations (Japan, Vietnam, Provence, etc.). But in my opinion his passion for Montreal was lukewarm at best. That feature could have basically been any big city in North America. Even when Tony goes off the food path in places he likes (hanging out with the Japanese baseball fans for example) he tends to embrace the spirit of the situation. In the Montreal layover it just didn’t seem to me like he wanted to be there.

                                                1. re: californiabeerandpizza

                                                  I think he explains it himself in the first minutes of the episode when he describes his experience has that of a visiting chef and not as a normal traveller. His vision of Montreal is that of someone getting spoiled by his industry "friends" and has nothing to do with an everyday Montreal experience. He doesn't come to Montreal to visit the city. He comes here to get drunk and eat a lot of over-the-top food.

                                                  1. re: californiabeerandpizza

                                                    you should watch the montreal no reservations. it's much less hyper-active and posi.

                                                  2. re: BarackHObama

                                                    Surly, fine, complaining, fine, hard to please, fine (but repetitive), but peurile, self-rightious, disinterested, all not fine.
                                                    He should do a food review on "Two Girls and a Cup", it would seem to fit his interests.

                                                    1. re: BarackHObama

                                                      BTW, Bourdain is not Jewish and he's from New Jersey.

                                                      1. re: SnackHappy

                                                        he's half jewish
                                                        and he's lived most of his life in new york

                                                  3. The Bourdain Montreal layover was the first time I had ever seen Mr Bourdain and I must say I was not impressed. Even though I was brought up in Montreal and my first memories of over 60 years ago are of being in a stroller at the Jean Talon market, I cannot help but have sympathy for Mr Bourdain and his Steinfeldesque view of the world.
                                                    When I saw this layover episode I cannot help think back to a ferry ride to Goat Island Idaho from Waterton National Park in Alberta. I looked around at some of the most awe inspiring scenery on this planet and all of a suden I heard a gentleman berating his wife for taking him out of New York City to a place where there was nothing but Rocks and trees and water. I cannot understand why anyone would want to watch Mr Bourdain as my idea of hell would be to be in a place where all one encountered was Mr Bourdain.
                                                    I love food but the day the food becomes more important than the company is the day I will no longer enjoy life. I love the Jean Talon and Atwater Markets but the people and the ambience make the whole larger than the sum of its parts.

                                                    17 Replies
                                                    1. re: Moedelestrie

                                                      "my first memories of over 60 years ago are of being in a stroller at the Jean Talon market..."

                                                      That's so cool, Moedelestrie. I would love to see what it was like back then. As for Bourdain, he's definitely polarizing. Sometimes I think one of the keys to liking or not liking him is whether or not you take him, or whether or not you believe he *takes himself* - seriously. I don't think he does. I can be a bit like him in real life - opinionated and chatty about it to the point where I have had a few people thinking I'm a judgey a-hole. But I don't take it seriously. It's my opinion on a metter of taste. To anyone other than myself it's worth practically nothing, I get that and don't expect anyone to think otherwise. I feel like maybe Bourdain is sort of the same way. In the recent Miami ep of the Layover he got a tattoo that symbolized some kind of non-judgemental principle (does anyone remember specifics? I was interested...) - which is a principle I would think many don't feel Bourdain is associated with.

                                                      Anyway, I'm not even making excuses for him. I get why he's someone a lot of people wouldn't want to hang out with. :)

                                                      1. re: montrealeater

                                                        What I remember most vividly was loud live chickens, live rabbits and Rose or La Rose brand fresh cheese curds.I grew up with fresh salads every day and it was wonderful returning to Montreal and tasting fresh vegetables that were as good as I remembered. Long before poutine people would walk around the market eating fresh cheese curds which I still think is the only way to eat them.

                                                        1. re: Moedelestrie

                                                          Moedelestrie, I am going to start a thread on the Quebec board, hope this is OK.

                                                      2. re: Moedelestrie

                                                        the jean talon and atwater markets are fine places for residents to spend an afternoon but it isn't all that exciting for tourists. Most visitors aren't going to buy a side of organic pork or a basket of 12 tomatoes. Hell, the USDA will steal your chacuterie or raw milk cheese if you aren't lucky.

                                                        these markets don't exactly have the bustling energy of other public markets either. lexington market in baltimore for example is way more energetic and wonderful. The food stalls at jean talon and atwater for the most part suck. Of course bourdain isn't going to throw down his pants at the site of a creperie or $6 per cup of juice stand.

                                                        i mean cmon

                                                        my one complaint with the episode is the gushing over tacos at nouveau palais. the guy has eaten tacos all over the world - the NP tacos are nothing special.

                                                        1. re: BarackHObama

                                                          You know, I kind of agree with this. I've dragged a number of visitors to the market and ended up kind of standing around pointing out veggies and cheese etc., while they stand there looking slightly baffled. Ha ha. I am from a small town in BC, so JTM and Atwater maintain the ability to blow my tiny mind, but a lot of people who come to stay are coming from big cities in foreign countries. I did have one English aunt who walked to JTM first thing every morning of her 2 week visit - she couldn't get over how cheap stuff was (esp. fruit and fresh herbs) and by the time she left my fridge was STUFFED with such massive amounts of herbs and, oddly, ground cherries, that I ended up having to chuck because there was no way I could get through it all. I also remember there being about 8 big bunches of fresh mint! Crazy lady.

                                                          1. re: BarackHObama

                                                            I have lived all over North America and have entertained visitors from many locales. I guess a lot has to do with you you are entertaining. I have never lived in a suburb except for a brief interlude 50 years ago outside Toronto. Our visitors not only enjoyed visiting Jean Talon Market but a number of them insisted on going again and again. Maybe it is just the fact that my wife and I are just such interesting and dynamic people but people from NY, Chicago, Calgary, San Francisco and Paris find the JTM a very special and pleasant place to spend a day. Or maybe it is just such an urbane place for urban people. I cannot fathom taking someone from the west island to JTM but I did live in the other Barack H Obama State constituency for 10 years and can assure you that our friends and neighbours from Hyde Park and Woodlawn all loved JTM and insist on a trip to JTM every visit.

                                                            1. re: Moedelestrie

                                                              it's great that you have such down to earth friends who are easily impressed. just realize that people can enjoy food and not feel how you do about the Jean Talon market. I for one find it to be a yuppy haven and feel much more at home a few blocks away at the asian markets. bourdain is a seasoned traveler --- his other shows have taken him to bizarre and unique places all over the world. he has written glowingly about certain markets across the world. I definitely can see why the JTM elicited a meh quality. we are lucky to have it . HOWEVER, most of the permanent shops are over-priced and rather exclusive, the produce is not always so inspiring, the seafood is way too expensive, the food stalls are rather souless...there's lots to criticize - so there really is not reason to be so dumbfounded by one person's reaction...

                                                              1. re: BarackHObama

                                                                If one is to use a moniker like BHO you should at least familiarize yourself with his background. The Hyde Park-Kenwood-Woodlawn area is one of the least consumer driven area anywhere in the USA. Nothing you would recognize as a mall a population that prides itself in owning very few televisions. Many bookstores, wonderful parks ethnic supermarkets and a population focused on quality education. Our friends are not shoppers they relish conversion and a urban ambience where people communicate. When I talk JTM I mean all of little Italy and even a large section of Park Extension. I agree the Asian markets to the east are wonderful for shopping but for the unique flavour of a unique city JTM is wonderful. If you think JTM is expensive don't go to Atwater. I lived in the US for many years and I find the prices for most items at JTM very much in line with similar establishments.

                                                                1. re: Moedelestrie

                                                                  well i suppose we may have to just agree that places mean different things to different people. It's great that you have many reference points and experiences to draw on. I have my own and so does Bourdain. As for prices at JTM, many of the permanent stores charge a premium - you can't really argue with that. I don't know understand what you mean by consumer driven area - it is a gentifying neighbourhood - is that demand not consumer driven? these are pointless arguments. Fortunately no one is forcing you to agree with bourdain. I bow out.

                                                                2. re: BarackHObama

                                                                  I enjoyed visiting JTM as well and would be happy to go back if I return in the future. There was also a pizza I wanted to try nearby and I considered it all time well spent. I don't have a quarrel with Tony not enjoying his time there, I realize it's not the kind of thing everyone will like, but then why do it? I could understand if there was nothing else to do but I'm sure he could have found something to get enthusiastic about. What's the point of featuring a city if 75% of the episode is going to be focused on places you don't like? Again, it's not like Romania where he had no choice but to deal with what was immediately at hand (although I recall some Romanians being upset about that episode).

                                                                  1. re: californiabeerandpizza

                                                                    what i liked about the episode is that it featured all of the must-go destinations to which he gave his opinion. then he featured what he liked. it is the anti-travel show.
                                                                    go watch travel travel if you want fluff

                                                                    1. re: BarackHObama

                                                                      I don't want fluff but when he goes to Japan I don't want see features about why he hates Hello Kitty. What makes Bourdain good is that he shows what's great about places that you're not going to read about in travel guides, digging deeper and looking for the sharper edge. Bored Bourdain is boring television.

                                                                      1. re: californiabeerandpizza

                                                                        there's no sense on harping on this any further but montreal is not a big modern city like tokyo and it isn't exactly culturally exotic. i think he did a good job of highlighting the unique culinary flavour. that's it.

                                                                        1. re: BarackHObama

                                                                          Montreal is what it is. I don't know what you mean by exotic by it is unique in the world. It is for good reason chosen as one of the three best cities in the world in which to be in the summer. Montreal is far from perfect but the food is good, the people are friendly and the dynamics of the inner city neighbourhoods are among the best anywhere. It is above all else a very safe, comfortable city and that alone makes it exotic.

                                                                  2. re: BarackHObama

                                                                    JTM has plenty of stalls that aren't operated by farmers -- you have to be careful what you buy and where, even in high season -- and there are also a number of upscale stores whose main or only virtue is being clustered in a small area.

                                                                    Even so, it still kicks the stuffing out of any supermarket, and you can't underestimate the number of visitors who usually get almost everything from supermarkets, i.e. most North Americans. IMO that makes it a legitimate attraction for many visitors at least from May through October. It may be a little ho-hum for those who've visited the great markets of Europe or Asia, but my guess is that isn't the audience for a show like this.

                                                                    From November through April it wouldn't have as much appeal for visitors, but even in the middle of winter, the market has much more local produce than any supermarket or neighbourhood store I know of. Right now, you can find local apples, root vegetables, cabbage, garlic, honey, meat, cheese, and a few other things. Not a huge selection, but still head and shoulders above supermarket offerings, and it's easy enough to fill in the gaps at nearby stores.

                                                                    As for Bourdain's reaction, I didn't really read it as a "meh." More like a quick matter-of-fact take on one of 20+ things mentioned in a 42-minute show. I know nothing about the actual production details, but my guess is that he dropped in to do the cheese segment, and everything else is second-unit footage and a voiceover written by someone else.

                                                                1. re: rockandroller1

                                                                  That's what i was thinking.... maybe it's a German cynic with weird friends.

                                                              2. For anyone who is interested, here is the No Reservations Quebec episode: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wjFzX9... (follow the link to subsequent parts) - the most fascinating aspect of this ep wasn't even anything to do with Montreal, it was the seal hunt and the consumption of the seal with the family while he was up north.

                                                                1. Who was the old hippie in the glasses who opened the show with Montreal commentary and appeared every now and then with more commentary? Was he just a random dude or someone else?

                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                  1. re: Kat

                                                                    "Was he just a random dude or someone else?"

                                                                    Someone else. His name is Andy Nulman and he's president of Just For Laughs.

                                                                    http://www.andynulman.com/

                                                                    1. re: SnackHappy

                                                                      Ahhhh. They should really identify those folks on the show, otherwise it looks like they just stopped people on the street.

                                                                  2. The show was a bit of a snooze. I like Montreal, have visited many times, but walked away with the impression that cast/crew had little energy for this episode. Singapore, Hong Kong, New York, hell, even Rome had more energy. The Montreal show lacked a pulse.

                                                                    1. Grumman78 for great tacos? Really? Hasn't he been to Mexico ?
                                                                      and Big in Japan really? cmon, I would rather go to Imadake.

                                                                      1. Any other Torontonians watch this show with an incredible sense of childish envy? I guess the only, possible trade-off is that we at least have street meat carts while Montreal is in more of a bureaucratic mess than us when it comes to street food.

                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                        1. re: gomes

                                                                          toronto food is way better for the everyday
                                                                          most of what is featured in the episode should only be consumed on occasion

                                                                          1. re: BarackHObama

                                                                            Moved from TO to Mtl this year - and I know what you mean, gomes. But there is lots of great unsung food in TO, of all kinds, perhaps especially asian food (and while I love street food, you can't say Toronto's *not* a mess in that department, either: the "ethnic" food cart debacle??).

                                                                            What Montreal seems to understand is that you don't need to be part of some "elite" to access good food. Food isn't good because you paid a lot for it, it's good because it's well-prepared and high quality. Something Toronto (on the whole) hasn't figured out yet. Food seems to be a bigger part of the culture in Montreal (catholic) whereas, Toronto's far more wasp-y about it all.

                                                                            As for Bourdain - I thought it was a loving portrayal of the city, for AB. Some of the other eps were a snooze. Miami? The only good thing about that ep was the hot dog + whipped cream (I think he made another lipitor crack there, too).

                                                                        2. I know I saw them tearing up Laurant from Viger in the back of the pickup truck... last time I was in Montreal I ate every night in Chinatown.

                                                                          Not fond of the three-way split screen. I'm always looking at the wrong frame, and then it disappears and I realize I should have looked at one of the other frames, so I rewind.

                                                                          I understand the show's concept, but I can't think of a situation where the airline would lay me over in Montreal.

                                                                          Yikes. Two foam dishes in a row at Club Chasse et Peche.

                                                                          Surfing on the St Lawrence looked fun.

                                                                          2 Replies
                                                                          1. re: GraydonCarter

                                                                            For those who haven't seen it on online or on The Travel Channel in the US back in December it will be airing tonight on Travel & Escape in Canada.

                                                                            http://www.montrealgazette.com/Bourda...

                                                                            1. re: ios94

                                                                              I know it's been months:

                                                                              The problem I had with the episode, as a friend pointed out, was that it was too "hip"(ster), too Montreal Plateau-Mile End. I mean, there are great restaurants all over Montreal but he doesn't seem to note them: DNA (now closed), Garde Manger to name two. His episode should have been titled "My friends in Montreal show me pieces of it." Montreal, like every big city, runs from high-end corporate restaurants to gritty Montreal hot dog joints. But none of that is ever detailed. And frankly, it gives people the impression that Montreal's food scene is disjointed.

                                                                              I felt that too much was missing and he blithely dismissed areas of the city where tourists would go: Old MTL and Underground City. Guess what? They generate a lot of revenue for a city that thrives on toruism. Sure, show people T! or Au Pied de Cochon, but they're played-out. It's the same food in another form.

                                                                              Too much was missed. Too much ignored. It wasn't up to Bourdain's standards.