Sunday, September 11, 2011

Travel Cuisine

The best part of my short trip to Montreal was the food. I had heard plenty about the cuisine before I left on the train--there was even a recent episode of Andrew Zimmern's Bizarre Food that featured food I didn't consider bizarre. I didn't dine at the restaurant that serves seal meat, mostly because it was a bit out of my price range.

My first planned destination was recommended by many people--Schwartz's Deli. I was skeptical about eating a pastrami sandwich (known in Quebec as smoked meat) in Montreal--could it really be better than the delis of Manhattan? Based on the people making the recommendations, I decided to give it a try. I figured since it was a tourist destination it'd be rather expensive, and I planned to spend something similar to the prices in Katz's Deli. I didn't realize how small Schwartz's is--I had to stand in line outside for 15 minutes to get a seat at the counter. It still sounds like blasphemy to me, but it was one of the best pastrami sandwiches I've ever had (although I was disappointed that they didn't have spicy mustard)--because it's smoked, it wasn't as wet as the pastrami at Katz's, but it was still amazingly tender with a lot of flavor. With a soda and pickle, my dinner only came to $11. At that price I was almost tempted to order a second sandwich.

On my final day in Montreal, I made a point of trying Restaurant Vallier on Rue McGill. I heard they specialized in duck, which is lacking on most menus in my area. Unfortunately, I visited during a heatwave, and I walked around town a little more than I anticipated (I regret not renting a Bixi bike). When I arrived at the restaurant, I was exhausted and sweating. I drank half a dozen glasses of water before my meal arrived. I was drawn to the shepherd's pie with duck confit, which came with a sweet and tangy mango sauce that mixed beautifully with the mashed potatoes and duck. I was happily stuffed. However, I didn't feel that well walking back to the metro station. I went back to my hotel, showered, and passed out for a couple hours before going out again.

The final meal that I had to try in Montreal was poutine. I heard people describe it to me, but I never made the connection of what it really was. Coming from north Jersey, I can describe it as a variation of disco fries. Instead of loads of melted cheese on top of fries, it had cheese curds that only melted slightly. Also, the poutine that I tried had some rather soggy fries (that should have only been a result of the gravy, but they were just bad fries).


Yingying Xue said...

nice post!

Yingying Xue said...


Mike said...

Nice article, enjoy reading about China!

Peter said...

Mate, have you completely dropped blogging?