Monday, December 10, 2012

Around the Globe: Montreal Musts

In preparation for my trip to Montreal, I had to watch Anthony Bourdain's visit on his show, No Reservations.  (I usually watch his episodes of most cities before I visit to get a preview of what to expect).  I'll admit that I was drooling a bit after the episode and wanted to try out some of the same restaurants on the show.  Montreal is a great eating city and there are several things that you MUST try when visiting.
Maple Syrup:  My first bite of Maple in Montreal was at dinner at Le Filet.  We ordered the Maple Square for dessert and it was to die for.  The buttery crust with dense maple filling was the perfect way to whet my taste buds for more mapley goodness.  Leave room in your luggage for some maple souvenirs.  You'll find everything from syrup, lollipops, cookies and more.
Le Filet on Urbanspoon
Smoked Meat:  What we may think of as pastrami is known to Montrealers as smoked meat.  I got a taste of the best at Schwartz’s Montreal Hebrew Delicatessen. Schwartz’s has been slicing and serving this brisket since 1928, and it’s still in its original location on Saint-Laurent Boulevard.  Get ready to squeeze in for a seat, but it is totally worth itThey serve it lean, medium and fatty.  I was already stuffed from a morning of eating, but I made room for this tender and delicious meat.
Schwartz's Montreal Hebrew Delicatessen on Urbanspoon
Poutine:  Every time I brought up trying Poutine to the locals, they laughed and snickered a bit.  I was still determined to give them a whirl.  How can you go to Montreal without tasting this famous dish? For those of you that are unfamiliar, Poutine is one of Quebec's signature foods featuring a large messy pile of fries topped with cheese curds and smothered in gravy.  I took the plunge at Au Pied du Cochon.  Not sure I'd order them again, but still glad to have tasted them.  The gravy was a bit too salty for me, but I did like the cheese curds.  Probably best eaten at the end of a drunken night.
Au Pied de Cochon on Urbanspoon
Ice Wine and Cider:  I tried the Neige ice cider.  It has a beautiful finish and would be a great dessert wine.  I was wishing I had an empty suitcase to take some back with me.  Quebec also has tons of ice wine.  I fell in love with this product at a firm sponsored dinner at Kincaid's.  We topped off our huge seafood meal with a bottle of ice wine from Canada.  
Lucky for me, I stumbled upon La Fete Des Vins Du Quebec wine festivalI tasted so many lovely wines including Le Chat Botte straw wine.
Macaroons:  I got my first taste of Macaroons at the Jean Talon Market.  I tried the cheese cake flavor and it was pretty good.  The best Macaroon I ever tasted was at Point G.  The Salted Butter Caramel is amazing!  We also got a taste of the apple foie gras.  OMG!  Make it a "point" to stop at Point G for a Macaroon treat. 
Point G on Urbanspoon
Bagels:  The two big-name bagel rivals are St-Viateur Bagel and Fairmount Bagel.  Our guide preferred Fairmount.  The bagels are a bit smaller than NY style and use honey in the dough.  The locals love their bagels and strongly recommend the sesame seed.  I went with the everything bagel.  While I thought it tasted pretty good, the topping was burnt.  On my next trip, I'll check out the other place and see if they're any better.
Fairmount Bagel on Urbanspoon


Mardi said...

Lauren, Nice to meet you in Montreal! What a fun press trip this was - so much good food! You definitely need to get back to try St Viateur bagels and have the sesame seed one next time! And you totally need to get back to Schwarz's for a full sandwich!

Lauren DeSantis said...

Thanks Mardi. It was great meeting you as well. I'm still stuffed from Montreal, but hopefully I'll make some room this summer for more eating. Have fun in Burma!