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Five Things to Eat in Montreal, Canada

I would never put eating on a list of things to do before I die. (Before 90 minutes passes is a more likely timeframe for that.)

Carré aux pommes from Première Moisson on Avenue Mont-RoyalYet foodbloggers around the world are doing this very thing: enumerating memorable morsels for all to see. I got passed a meme that invited me to do the same. Before I even knew it I was biting...

1. Carré aux pommes from Première Moisson on Avenue Mont-Royal Wait till fall starts and you'll get local Montérégie apples sliced in a perfect pastry made with 100% real butter. Or don't wait. These squares are excellent year-round and are made on the premises seven days a week. They are $1.95 each. I think two bucks is amazing deal for something that will give your entire afternoon a lift.

2. Chocolat noir (84-99%) French dark chocolate, sometimes in its darkest forms referred to as noirisme, is easy to locate in Montreal, especially chocolate in the top 15 percentile (in terms of pure cocoa content). I wrote about Poulain's dark tasting chocolate in the past, under the guise of things to pair with robust red wines. Bottom line: take a taste of this, vino or no. Buy the Poulain Noir Ultime 86% from the pharmacy in the train station and pay just $2.99 for 100 grams, which is definitely more than one serving.

3. Caffè ArtJava's Macchiato Caffè Art Java cafe Macchiato coffee cafe artjava caféA feast for the eyes and without a doubt the best espresso in the city. This item, which achieves a perfect balance between bitterness, consistency and richness, should certainly be at the top of any bean lover's list. Only $2 and change. I'd pay twice that for the sense of anticipation you get as your server brings you your latte or allongé -- the awesome foam designs that are melded into the crema run the gamut from flowers to hearts to the intricate kitty-cat shown here. You never know what you're gonna get. Find Caffè ArtJava in the Plateau Mont-Royal district or downtown adjacent to the McGill métro and university campus at a soon-to-be-opened location.

4. Alati-Caserta lemon ice I know so very little about Pasticceria Alati-Caserta. It is a frilly Italian pastry shop that faces one of Little Italy's most ornate churches. But the no-frills homemade lemon ice they serve up in the summer is a simple shot to the heart. It was the first thing that entered my mind of when I thought of Montreal tastes that transport you. Alati-Caserta is definitely a subject for further research on these pages. Until then, rush up to Danté Street before summer ends. Take a twoonie with you -- this treat cost me $2 even.

5. Tim Hortons Snack Pack of 10 Sour Cream Glazed TimbitsTim Hortons Snack Pack of 10 Sour Cream Glazed Timbits Doughnut holes are not for foodies. And Tim Hortons is definitely no place for foodies. The service staff is routinely shocked when someone like me walks in. I ask for some Sour Cream Glazed, and when they announce they are all out, walk right back out the door. "Don't you want a coffee? An old fashioned timbit at least?" they shout out, startled that I would come in and leave empty-handed. Tim Hortons locations are strewn across the land, and it's true that my behaviour is considered quite odd at any of them, but take it from me, for best results (and handfuls of timbits), take a trip to Tim Hortons de l'Église in Verdun. Share the $1.50 price tag on the Snack Pack with a friend. After all, ten of these suckers is overkill. Three or four does the trick.

Wow! Montreal's best gastronomy for $10! Picking $2 treats was not exactly my aim. While it is a bit of a coincidence, I did have a bit of a method to my madness that encouraged bargain bites.

HOW I DETERMINED MY FIVE THINGS

In my mind, the goal of this online project is to encourage people not only to explore the world, but a world of flavours. Previous listings of "things to eat" operated more like polls or surveys. This one started by The Traveller's Lunchbox wants to act a bit more like a gourmand's guide to travel. So indeed, I considered it an offer to do my part for my city: to give readers a few good arguments for tasting what I'm tasting in Montreal, Canada.

I selected small delicacies -- finite and chartable tastes that hit your tastebuds and then leave you longing for more. But perhaps more important than being small, these picks are also pretty much constant and unchanging items, unlike a chef's dish, let's say, which may change from night to night or season to season. My treats, even with repeat business, have yet to disappoint.

By the way, The Foodblogger's Guide to the Globe does not actually require an invitation to participate. As a result, I'm not re-enacting the unfortunate chain mail aspect of the project by sending this to five other people. Chain mail is wretched. Read this and instantly consider yourself worthy!

Create your own list or add a comment below to record an idea on what needs to be eaten, in Montreal or beyond.

6 comments:

g58 said...

Lamb merguez from Marche Akhavan (N.D.G.) is out of this world (grab the Bulgarian Feta they sell there while you're at it -- it'll bowl you over too)

Why is everything on this list so far brown or white??

Steve said...

Hi Marcus,

The brown and white comment was apt but I was wondering why you left out any savory dishes. My overall impression that these are all foods that you would dream of having when faced with inferior versions of the same in a Starbucks. A serious snack pack attack.

My desert island dishes are pretty homely. In fact, they're all made at home:

1. Succotash made with fresh corn and green beans (instead of lima beans)
2. My mom's potato salad
3. Bouillabaisse ala rustic (broth with all the veggies not strained out)
4. Tsatsiki heavy on the cucumber with fluffy pitas
5. Giant smoked ham
6. Hungarian Goulash Szeged style – recipe in Staff Meals by David Waltuck
7. perfect baguettes with a serious cheese plate

Did you ever make it to Eisenberg's or the Oyster Bar when you were in NYC?

Eric said...

My Montreal top 5:

Kouign amann from Les Copains d'abord bakery.

Trastevere pizza from Pizzeria Napoletana on Dante.

The vegetarian plate at Basha downtown.

Crême brulée au foie gras, first from Petits plats de Christophe, now just from Christophe.

The little cocktail sausage rolls where the sausage is replaced with veggie pâté at Commensal.

semi.superlative said...

My 5:

- Poutine from Frites Alors. It's not exotic or unpronounceable, but it's classic waxy curds and extra-fried Belgian fries... definitely worth the year it just took off your life, and good for winter insulation. The chèvre and bacon burger there is good, too... and the waitresses are kinda cute in an offhand, who-do-you-think-you-are? kind of way. Now I'm kinda peckish, actually...

- Steak tartare at Newtown. I kinda just wanted to throw out that I went to Newtown... but the steak tartare really was good, albeit overpriced for what was essentially a diced cow under glass.

- Steak at L'Entrecôte. The clientele is a weird mix of those who look like they might be executives of something and... well, those who look like me. But their steak is really simple and really good. They overcook it, though, so it has to be *extra* sanglant... and their wine is terrible, so don't bother... but what they lack in amenities they make up for in bistro attitude. Dammit, I'm hungry...

- Nanaimo bars at Tim Hortons. *Far* better than any of those commonplace sour-cream timbits, and the only place I've regularly seen Nanaimo bars in Montreal.

- The little egg muffin things they make at the Arts Building cafe before 11:00. My god, they're great, especially after you've been awake for 43 hours. Speaking of which, I'm exhausted and completely famished... What on earth is open on Long Island at this hour?

g58 said...

Thanks for adding your savory ideas here guys. It's definitely no longer a brown and white roundup.

Steve, sir: I have a strident palate to uphold so let's not call my selections sweetish. Two are bittersweet (coffee & cocoa), one is sweet-and-sour (lemon ice), and the other two, well, they're sweet and super-sweet. Thanks for achieving some balance here with your dessert, er... I mean desert island selections. Eisenberg's?

Eric: Of course I should've included Les Copains and Pizzeria Napoletana! So happy you wrote to include them and those veggie delights. And your crème brûlée is a savory selection so I say well done!

Semi: Bravo! Your list is bringing everything back to brown and white (not that there's anything wrong with that) while still forging on in new directions for this desert island/Montreal island question. Hey isn't Nanaimo an island?

steve said...

Hi Marcus,
or should I say hi g58? (what the hell's going on here -- I say!)

Anyway, we asked my 3 year old boy Leo what his favorite color is . He chose none of the colors in the rainbow book we were looking at. Instead, he declared brown his favorite color. It may be a trend with the youth of today.