Traditional Quebecois foods in Montreal: pate chinois, tourtiere, pouding chomeur
I'm headed to Montreal this weekend to cover as many regional/traditional/locavore-type foods as possible for my website, Eat Your World, and I'm finding limited places to try such cuisine familiale as tourtiere, pate chinois, and pouding chomeur. (Please forgive my lack of diacritics.)
So far La Binerie Mont-Royal is definitely on the list (for feves au lard, as well), but I've heard its tourtiere leaves much to be desired. Where else? Just crossed Chez Claudette off after reading about frozen meat pies and "not what it used to be" reports. La Cantine?
This 2009 thread was helpful--http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/6578... I'm not necessarily looking for modern takes on the old stuff, just good, relatively accurate versions of them.
Any advice? Thanks so much!
For pouding chomeur, you could try getting in at "Au Pied de Cochon" for a late dessert (it will probably be full-packed this week-end, but you never know if you go late or early).
At the risk of getting flamed to oblivion, the only good thing about eating Tourtière is the Heinz Ketchup (or if you are lucky, home-made ketchup).
Anyawy, a quick googling foud :
Restaurant Mâche (http://restaurantmache.com, rue st-denis) that serves Paté Chinois (don't know if it's good or not or traditional or not) and Pouding Chaumeur.
APDC sounds like a good idea but I would go early rather than late - the one time I dined there, they had sold out of the pudding chomeur (and numerous other desserts) by the time we wanted to order it
EDITED TO ADD: since you already have a reservation, perhaps pre-order any desserts that you are interested in at the beginning of the night, to make sure you don't miss ou!
Premiere Moisson sell tourtieres that you could reheat if you are staying somewhere with an oven. They also sell their own ketchup maison (tomato or fruit), which is not like American ketchup but is more like chunky though watery chutney (and I agree with Max, you should really try to have them together!)
I'd suggest adding patte de cochon (pig knuckles) and ragout de patte de cochon (pork stew usually with chunks of pig knuckle and pork meat balls) to your list.
For the pig knuckle, I'd suggest Capri: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/809156
For the ragout, I'm not sure...I think the Binerie has it, but don't know the quality.
Cretons is many times offered with bacon&eggs style breakfasts, but the amount is usually so small, it hardly dirties your mouth. You could order more, but for a more substantial taste, pick some up at a grocery as Plateaumaman suggests.
Like pate, I've been known to simply eat it out of the container with a knife or fork, but I also like it as a sandwich, sliced and spread on white bread.
Just a note: there are a few brands and usually a no-name, bulk-type in the grocery stores, some smoother, some coarser, some with fine herbs, some with veal, etc etc. Price isn't necessarily an indication of taste either (more expensive doesn't necessarily mean better). I'd suggest a simple, semi-coarse, traditional pork creton to start.
The Norel "grand-mere cretons" is pretty good
I also like the grocery bulk-type as well. It'll look like this
Ifn you taste cretons and say "oh-ohhh, how are we going to survive in Queens without it? Are we going to make monthly trips to Quebec and smuggle cretons back?"
Maybe pick up a coupla jars of El Ma Mia creton seasonings
It makes a pretty good home version. Let me know if you do; theres some steps that aren't so critical and makes it much easier to do.
I second the vote for the bulk grocery store cretons pictured there by porker. It's better than the Norel brand and tastes more like something we'd get at the butcher in a countryside shop. I've made my own creton, basically pork boiled with onions and salt and the traditional Quebecois tourtiere spices, nutmeg, cloves and cinnamon.
I just visited the Eat Your World website and it is really interesting, lots of great information there! I think it's wonderful to document local food traditions and it is quite amazing to realize how hard they are to find already in Montreal. Perhaps it is easier around Quebec City. Sugar shacks are great places for traditional Quebecois food but the season is over. One place I've experienced a restaurant that really reminds me of how my in-laws cook is in Val-David, called Au Petit Poucet. They smoke their own ham and make tourtiere, feves au lard, cretons, homemade ketchup. It's out of the way though, about an hour north of the city.
The pouding chomeur at St-Hubert Chicken is very authentic and they also serve sugar pie. The paté chinoise at La Binerie is also a good representation. As mentioned cretons are also important, available at any supermarket near the cold cuts, or else from La Binerie or at the market. Another traditional food is a chicken bouilli, not sure if that's easily found anywhere.
I had the sugar pie yesterday at St Hubert, tasty and very sweet, I liked it but preferred the one I had at Chez Leveque on Laurier. Why cover oldstyle quebec foods when that is what is not preferred by restos or clients? Seems to me it would be more accurate to represent the marketdriven bistro foods wtih french flair that have popularity here.
@Mangoannie: We'll have a little bit of that thrown in too. For the website we define "regional" as native, traditional, or locavore, so we get to add some modernity in the latter category (http://eatyourworld.com/about_us). But the old-school foods are really important to us; we try to document them everywhere we go. Trends come and go but the traditions are here forever (or should be), and they're the things that really convey something about a place, past and present.
Thanks for the sugar pie rec! Noted.
You might also want to peruse this thread
Then depending on what your definition of regional/traditional/locavore is, there are also Pig's Knuckles at Briskets on Beaver Hall and La Mere Clavet (open only for lunch) on de la Gauchetiere. Some of the prepared foods at La Maison du Roti would also fit your bill.