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#1
Posted May 19th 2005, 8:35pm
Hi, going to be going to NYC and hitting all the good deli's and pizza places - Katz's, Carnegie, Difara's, Grimaldi's Pizza, etc. Has anyone been to Montreal? What places are good for crepes? Anyone been to Schwartz's deli? Good?
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#2
Posted May 19th 2005, 10:41pm
I have been to Schwartz's perhaps a dozen times, mostly when I was a "starving" student and would spend a couple of weeks each summer at one of the Canadian universities.

Schwartz's is located on Boul St. Laurent and is generally a pretty non-descript place. It is a classic "hole in the wall" deli that has become an institution. Their specialty is Montreal smoked meat. They also offer sreaks, sausages and a lot of other meats.

It is generally crowded and it is mostly counter service.

Is it the best deli in Montreal? Who cares. The food is well prepared and copious portions. The meat is smoked daily on premises.

In my younger days, I would get the steak combo plate. This would include an 8oz rib steak, 8oz of smoked meat. half a loaf of rye bread, french fries, and half sour pickles.


Schwartz's Montreal Hebrew Delicatessen
3895 Saint-Laurent Boulevard · Montreal, Quebec · H2W 1X9 · Canada · Tel: (514) 842-4813 · Fax: (514) 842-0800

Hope that helps.
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#3
Posted May 19th 2005, 11:49pm
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Ed Fisher
my chicago food photos

RIP LTH.
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#4
Posted May 21st 2005, 6:18am
brschwartz wrote:What places are good for crepes? Anyone been to Schwartz's deli? Good?

BrSchwartz,

Not good, great.

See thread Gleam posted.
http://lthforum.com/bb/viewtopic.php?t=1600

Enjoy,
Gary
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Sauce on the side, always, implied, axiomatic..........never a doubt, BBQ sauce without.

Low & Slow
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#5
Posted May 21st 2005, 6:41am
Sounds good, as far as getting good crepes in Montreal? Anyone reccomnend anywhere? Can you get by in Montreal without speaking French? Thanks
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#6
Posted May 21st 2005, 9:07am
I will 3rd or 4th or whatever it is at this point, the suggestion to try Schwartz' smoked meat. It's really special. And also, you might want to try Montreal's Chinatown. When I lived in Vermont, whose ethnic food offerings is sad and meager, I used to drive up to Montreal on a regular basis for Chinese lunches.

There's a little place called (I think) Village Mon Non on Rue Clark that serves up some of the best Chinese food in a simple, plastic tablecloth type atmosphere. If you go, try the beef with preserved mustard greens (a little sweet and bitter), the duck noodle soup (superior noodles), and the French Canadian version of egg foo young. Which is to say...a perfect French omelette with loads of fresh seafood folded in, and topped with a light ginger/garlic based sauce and scallions. Really good.

Village Mon Non
1098 Rue Clark
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#7
Posted May 21st 2005, 12:12pm
It is definitely possible to get by in Montreal without speaking french. My friend and I go there every summer in June to see a race; I speak french but he does not, and he has never had any trouble when he was out and about on his own. The key is just to be polite and pleasant, which I'm sure you are naturally anyway.

As far as crepes go, I have always been somewhat disappointed in the selection in Montreal. There are a couple of Breton-style chain restaurants on Boulevard St. Denis on the way up to the Plateau Mont-Royal, and they are fine but nothing to write home about. Although frankly they are better than anything in Chicago, now that I think about it.

Also, IMHO the Plateau is the best place to go in Montreal in terms of eating, drinking, and shopping--not as many tourists, fun shops, cafes, and lots and lots of "terrasses" (outdoor patios at restaurants and bars) which are very pleasant in nice weather and provide for some great people watching. Also St. Denis is just a few blocks away from Boul. St. Laurent and Schwartz's Deli!
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#8
Posted May 22nd 2005, 7:32am
Montreal is a great food town, and I agree that the Plateau is the place to explore and sample, tho downtown and the Old Port need to be wandered thru a bit. As to whether one needs to speak French, the answer is no, tho as with any place, if you make the slight effort to say a few words (hello, goodbye, please and thank you), it often results in better treatment. Show a little consideration and get more in return, if you will.

Poutine, bagels, and smoked meat should be on your list as genuine Montreal specialties to enjoy. And while you are up on the Plateau, be sure to also wander over for a walk on the Mont.

Schwartz's is world class, and a definite must to visit, but Dunn's also combines good smoked meat with a wider deli menu, numerous outlets and late night hours. Not a must-do, but more a great resource when you want a good bite.

My business trip convinced me that I could easily go back for a week and find many things to do. One of these days I will do just that. I think my specific recs have been linked to twice on this thread, so that's all I have to add. Have fun
_______________________________________

d
Feeling (south) loopy
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#9
Posted July 8th 2005, 10:05am
Petit Pois and I recently returned from 5 days in the blistering heat and humidity of Montréal (no sign of the Great White North). About half of our time there was claimed by a family wedding (and associated events), but we did manage a fair amount of time on our own to explore and eat.

Many people come to Montréal to visit all the old churches. Some go to climb the steps of Saint Joseph’s Oratory on their knees. My church is Schwartz's, and if they had 100 steps at the front door, I'd climb them on my knees if there was some smoked meat at the altar.

The Temple of Tasty:
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The smoked meat is excellent (although I find I would rank it behind the pastrami at Katz's or Langer's). It's tender with an impressive spice rub and a mild smoked flavor. I ordered mine "medium" on the lean-medium-fatty scale. I had a few pieces with some dry pockets. Their half-sour pickles are top-notch, skewing slightly too far to the "new pickle" side, but a rare treat. I also really loved the vinegar slaw which was a perfect complement to the meat.

When they put before me a plate of meat, a stack of bread, a half-sour, and some mustard, I got all light-headed and nearly shed a tear.

My lunch (sorry about the flash):
Image

I sat and enjoyed my plate, watching some of the employees walk by and grab a piece of rye, dabbing it into the spiced fat of some whole briskets for a snack.

The view from my seat:
Image

Moving on....

One of the nicest breakfasts we had was at a little place on St. Denis called La Brioche Lyonnaise. The Ms. enjoyed simple brioche French toast with a cafe au lait and I went for the saucisson brioché, three large slices of toasted brioche with a hunk of mild sausage in the middle and some mild dijon mustard. A breakfast I could get used to.

Saucisson brioche:
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The café also doubled as a patisserie, with a beautiful array of sweets:

Pastry at La Brioche Lyonnaise
Image

After we got weary of the standard sightseeing in Montréal, we adopted the tactic of choosing Metro stops at random and checking out the neighborhood. We exited the Lionel-Groulx stop on our way back to our hotel one afternoon to find a lively residential neighborhood. Petit Pois looked down one street and spotted some tents which we made our way towards. She has an excellent instinct because these tents were the outdoor vendors at Marché Atwater, a beautiful permanent market with tons of flowers and produce outdoors and cafes, fromageries, and tons of butchers indoors.

The Marché Atwater building
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The produce was magnificent
Image

Did I mention the sausages?
Image

We had one evening to treat ourselves to a nice dinner by ourselves. My first choice was Au Pied Du Cochon, but, being Monday, it was closed. We did a fair amount of research to find some well-respected French bistros and wound up landing two bar seats at L'Express (sans camera).

L'Express is a comfortable, loud bistro with a clean look that's punctuated by its stainless-steel bar. Every review we read warned us about rude, curt service but we found exactly the opposite. Our bartender/waiter was helpful and made us feel right at ease as soon as we sat down. Petit Pois dined on sorrel soup and a hanger steak while I had a cold octopus and lentil salad and the duck confit. We washed it all down with their recommended beaujolais. Everything was cooked perfectly, seasoned just right, and presented beautifully. I was really blown away by the octopus salad which was tender and flavorful and served at just the right temperature. There was not a single mealy or overcooked lentil on the plate.

With the appetizers, L'Express serves wonderful French bread, a crock of powerful dijon mustard, and a large jar of cornichons (complete with wooden tongs for fishing them out). Between courses, I dined on bread, mustard, cornichons, and wine. They really could have forgotten about my main course and I would have been perfectly happy. I could have sat there all night.

I ended my meal with a nice slice of salty roquefort and a glass of port while Petit Pois had a slice of chocolate tart and a cappuccino.

L'Express has a very impressive menu and will most definitely be someplace that I return to if I ever find myself in Montréal again.

On poutine:

Neither of us felt particularly compelled to get any poutine. It never looked our sounded appealing, especially in the face of so many other things to eat. What was very clear about poutine is that it is ubiquitous. They've got it at McDonalds. They've even got it at the Indian cafés, along side the biryani and samosas:

Image

Schwartz's
3895 Saint-Laurent Boulevard
Montréal, Quebec
(514) 842-4813
http://www.schwartzsdeli.com

Brioche Lyonnaise
1593 Rue Saint-Denis
Montréal, QC
(514) 842-7017

Marché Atwater
134 Avenue Atwater
Montréal, QC

L'Express
3927 Rue Saint-Denis
Montréal, QC
(514) 845-5333

Best,
Michael / EC
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#10
Posted July 8th 2005, 10:30am
Personally, I would not buy poutine at a McDonalds or similar restaurant.

You will be happier to buy it at one of the "Chip Wagons" that are scattered around various parking lots in nearly every small town in Ontario and Quebec.
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#11
Posted July 8th 2005, 10:36am
jlawrence01 wrote:Personally, I would not buy poutine at a McDonalds or similar restaurant.

You will be happier to buy it at one of the "Chip Wagons" that are scattered around various parking lots in nearly every small town in Ontario and Quebec.


I wasn't suggesting that I wanted to get it at McD's or any such place. I simply wanted to point out how it was simply everywhere, at every turn.
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#12
Posted July 8th 2005, 11:41am
In the eastern counties of Ontario and Quebec, I think that it is almost an expectation that places serve poutine. Personally, I don't see a whole lot of it ordered.

I went back to the Rideau Lakes region of Eastern Ontario and the Ottawa/Hull area and was really surprised to see so many "chip trucks" in every small town - about the only change I saw from 20 years ago.
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#13
Posted September 12th 2005, 10:35am
Beth and I are going to be in Montreal this weekend from Friday morning to Monday afternoon. Thanks to this and the other threads we've got some great recommendations for food, so we're now looking for things to keep us occupied between meals.

We're staying in the Hilton Place Bonaventure, so we've got easy access to the Metro and the underground city, etc. We won't have a car.

So what shouldn't be missed? We aren't so into the clubbing/bar scene, so we'll avoid those. Great museums, neighborhoods, galleries? Hipster-ish shopping/hangoug districts?
Last edited by gleam on September 12th 2005, 12:13pm, edited 1 time in total.
_______________________________________

Ed Fisher
my chicago food photos

RIP LTH.
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#14
Posted September 12th 2005, 12:04pm
I seem to make it to Montreal once a decade in years ending in "0". Therefore, I haven't been there is a few.

Personally, Schwartz's on Boul St. Laurent would be the first stop on my trip.

Then, I would stroll down Boul St. Catherine's in the central area as there are always any number of good cafe's and restaurants in the area.

The area around Universite de Montreal has always been a center of Vietnamese and other Asian restaurants.

All restaurants in Montreal post their menus in front of the restaurant. i believe that they are required to. It is a good practice in that noone is surprised.

There are a lot of outdoor eating patios is a lot of neighborhoods. On slow nights, it is not uncommon to see the host/owners out front encouraging you to come in to their establishment.

You are in a central location at the Hilton Bonaventure. Personally, having a car in Toronto or Montreal is more of a liability than an asset. I cannot think of too many places in either city that is more than a five to ten minute walk from public transportation.

One more thing. There is this belief that all Montreal residents speak English. That is absolutely NOT true. Nowhere is that more evident than among Montreal's transit workers. (No, I don't expect everyone to speak English for me.) What this means is that I would print off a transit map or get one upon arrival and plan to do your own trip planning because you may not get as much help as you would from the CTA.
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#15
Posted September 12th 2005, 12:11pm
Thanks for the advice. Any non-food tips?

We're probably going to grab a map this weekend. Beth, wonderfully, is both canadian and well-versed in french, so I'll be able to masquerade as canadian as well, and she can speak to the locals.
_______________________________________

Ed Fisher
my chicago food photos

RIP LTH.
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#16
Posted September 12th 2005, 12:26pm
Generally, my wife and I stay at the college residences at McGill University (we still can't seem to shake free of our budget trips of the past). We look at interesting neighborhoods and take a map and spend hours and hour wondering and seeing what we can see.

Look at all the weekend magazines and visit the local events.

Can't help you on the nightlife. We are generally in bed by 8 pm (g). We generally start walking around before 6 am.
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#17
Posted September 12th 2005, 2:05pm
When we visited this summer, we stayed in the old town, and mostly hung out there. It is touristy, and definitely not hipsterish, but there are a lot of "french" cafes and it is fun to walk around there, and along the old port.
-Will
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#18
Posted September 12th 2005, 3:37pm
Go to one of the markets, I recommend Jean Talon, and just walk around marvelling at the incredible produce, the busyness of it all. It's a wonderful experience.

Get a 3-day bus/metro pass. There's a bus that goes up ( = north) r. St. Laurent, and down the next street west, can't remember the name. That bus trip is worth the price of admission. Just get on and off it whenever you spy someplace neat, of which many there are!

There's a bus that cuts right through the park. Take it, get off and wander. It's a gorgeous park.

as jlawrence suggested, just walk, walk, and then walk some more. Great city.

I'm sad to say we're leaving Whitewater in Jan; but I'm pleased to say that we're moving to Montreal. Quelle surprise!! :)

Geo
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Sooo, you like wine and are looking for something good to read? Maybe *this* will do the trick! :)
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#19
Posted September 13th 2005, 1:51pm
Schwartz's was outstanding. Stopped on the way to skiing at mont tremblant north of city. If anyone is going in that direction, vacation community that surrounds the ski area( similar to lake geneva ) has some great eateries. High end chef-owner places away from the mountain village were all fabulous)
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#20
Posted September 14th 2005, 12:18pm
Definitely walk around on "the Plateau", which is rue St. Denis--lots of cafes and restaurants. One of my favorite bars of all time is le Barouf-great selection of beers, very cool interior, non-touristy and great people watching. If the weather is nice they throw the big front windows open, and you can sit with your elbow hanging out over the sidewalk. Within a block or two is Bieres & Compagnie (abbreviated Bieres et Cie on the sign, maybe), a big bar with a huge beer list that also specializes in belgian style mussels and fries (moules et frites) that are quite delicious. A big ol' bowl of mussels steamed in your choice of many different herbs/spices, etc, and then several different types of sauces for dipping the fries. They have two locations but I prefer the one further up the plateau.

Le Barouf
4171 rue St-Denis, a hop skip and a jump from the metro (mont royal might be the exact stop)

Bieres & Compagnie
4350 rue St-Denis
two blocks north of Barouf
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#21
Posted September 30th 2005, 10:01pm
Beth and I had a fantastic long weekend in Montreal a couple weeks ago. We were originally supposed to be there the 16th to the evening of the 19th. But then United screwed us, so we had a bonus night in Dorval airport. "Bonus". But I digress.

Anyway, Montreal is a fantastic city with some fantastic food. We can't wait to go back.

Meals:

Friday lunch: Schwartz's.

Great value, great smoked meat. My order, "fatty", was, perhaps, a bit too fatty. Two of the pieces were meat-free. Just big quarter inch thick slabs of soft fat. I'm not saying I didn't like it, but it was just a bit much. Beth's lean, on the other hand, was pretty dry. She might stick with lean, but I think I'd be happier with the middle ground.

Friday dinner: Bonaparte.

We chose this somewhat randomly out of the guide book*, but it was an absolutely incredible meal. Post-meal research shows me that it was, or still is, a destination restaurant. I can see why. Beth had a simple salad, an utterly fantastic pork tenderloin, and chocolate mousse. I had phyllo-wrapped goat cheese on a bed of greens and sherry-marinated tomatoes, some great venison, and a "Symphonie de Desserts", little mini portions of all of the desserts. The mango and berry sorbets were standouts, as was the loonie-sized creme brulee.

I cannot say enough good things about this meal. The food, service, and atmosphere were all impeccable, and it blew any French meal I've had in Chicago out of the water.


Saturday breakfast/lunch: La Brioche Lyonnaise, which EC mentions above. Beth quite liked her pain dore, I enjoyed the saucisson brioche. The most notable thing about the meal was that the pain au chocolate I had seemed to have come straight from the oven.



Saturday dinner: l'Etoile de Tunis. Tunisian food near the Marche Jean Talon. This was actually a fairly disappointing meal. Beth's tunisian salad was fine enough, as were my merguez, but the vegetable couscous she ordered and the grilled lamb couscous I ordered both managed to turn into a braised lamb couscous. It was fine, but, eh, nothing special.



Sunday breakfast/lunch: La Brioche Lyonnaise again. Beth's savory crepe was more bland than anything else, and the chunks of chicken were not particularly well trimmed. My goat cheese panini was pretty good, though. The pain au chocolate was not straight out of the oven this time. Kind of blah again.


Sunday dinner: Au Pied De Cochon. A really great meal, although not quite as revelatory to me as Bonaparte. That may be, of course, because I'm not a big fan of the offal in general. We started with a fantastic beet, goat cheese, and arugula salad and a tomato tartlet. The former was much better than the latter, but both were quite nice.

Beth had the day's special, a hunk of wood-oven-roasted veal that had tons of flavor and none of the mushy texture a lot of veal has. I had venison steak frites. Sure, traditional and tame, but still quite nice. Dessert was a poached pear that was unremarkable. Service was great and very friendly.

Here's where I confess something: we had a third appetizer. I had meant to order "oreilles de crisse", deep fried pig skin. Instead I ordered cochonailles, a selection of charcuterie. Here's the problem: I don't like charcuterie selections except for the cured sausages. So while I liked the saucisson sec, it was painful to choke down the three pates and the tarragon-flavored terrine. So painful that the waitress got concerned. Maybe after I try tarragon-flavored-pork-jello 6 more times I'll like it, but on the first, not so much. Live and learn.


Monday brunch: Cafe el Dorado. A lovely cafe up by the plateau, with superb coffee and great other food. Beth had pain dore again, made here with a whole wheat bread instead of brioche, and thus with more flavor if less of that sweetness. The mountain of fresh fruit accompanying it was far superior in freshness and flavor to that at La Brioche Lyonnaise two days earlier. I had a burger topped with some big, thick slabs of gorgonzola, served with some wonderful frites. A great, lazy monday afternoon meal.


Sightseeing:

After hitting Schwartz's on Friday we walked down the main and across Rue Prince-Arthur to Square Saint-Louis. It's an absolutely gorgeous square with lots of college kids smoking pot and a guy constantly circling the square on his bike. The scene hadn't changed on Monday afternoon. The groups of kids smoking pot were different, but the exact same guy was circling the square on his bike.

We made it to the Botanical Gardens on Monday also, although we didn't have nearly enough time, enough painkillers for our feet, or enough patience for the 800 gaudy chinese lanterns around the place to fully enjoy it. I imagine once those damn lanterns are gone it'll be fairly attractive.

On Saturday we hit the museum of fine arts, where we particularly enjoyed the really strong post-1945 collection and a nice pre-columbian collection. Our favorite, though, was a chess set designed by Salvador Dali where the pieces were molded from Dali and his wife Gala's fingers. It showed up in the 1999 Neiman Marcus catalog, for the low low price of $15,000. I wish I could afford it.

Sunday we made it to Marche Jean Talon, which was spectacular. The quantity and quality of local produce in Montreal's old Little Italy was astounding, and there were some brick and mortar places on the fringes with lovely wares also. We got some fantastic sorbets (berry and chai) at a little ice cream store and some indian-spiced carrot fritters.

As for the produce, though, I'll give you these pictures:

Image
Image
Image

Quite a few more pictures available here


Schwartz's Montreal Hebrew Delicatessen
Metro: Sherbrooke
(514) 842-4813
(514) 842-0800 (Fax)
3895 ST LAURENT
MONTREAL, QC H2W 1X9


Restaurant Bonaparte
Metro: Place d'Armes
(514) 844-4368
(514) 844-1448
(514) 844-0272 (Fax)
443 RUE ST-FRANÇOIS XAVIER
MONTRÉAL, QC H2Y 2T1

Brioche Lyonnaise
Metro: Berri-UQAM
(514) 842-7017
1593 RUE SAINT-DENIS
MONTREAL, QC H2X 3K3

Restaurant l'Etoile de Tunis
Metro: Jean Talon
(514) 276-5518
6701 AVENUE DE CHÂTEAUBRIAND
ROSEMONT, QC H2S 2N9

Pied De Cochon (Au)
Metro: Mont Royal
(514) 281-1114
536 AVENUE DULUTH EST
MONTRÉAL, QC H2L 1A9

Cafe El Dorado Inc
Metro: Mont Royal
(514) 598-8282
921 AVENUE DU MONT-ROYAL EST
MONTREAL, QC H2J 1X3


We took the metro everywhere we went. I listed the metro stops for these from memory, but you should consult a map.

As I said, a fantastic trip. I still have dreams about some of the food.

-Ed

* From the "Rough Guides" series. Beth knew it was a winner when Schwartz's was the only restaurant that had a landmark spot on the map. Also nice is that every restaurant, cafe, or other destination has the nearest Metro stop listed.
_______________________________________

Ed Fisher
my chicago food photos

RIP LTH.
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#22
Posted October 2nd 2005, 3:51pm
Hi Ed--

You mention finding some great sorbets in the Jean Talon market. I assume this means you found Havre des Glaces, which I had meant to post about when you made your inquiry. This is a very new shop in the eastern wing of the market that was recently constructed as part of the effort to provide underground parking in the market, which is located in a fairly densely populated residential neighborhood.

We stumbled upon this place during one of my annual visits home earlier this summer and one look at the list of flavors made it clear that everything was homemade. The two that jumped out for me were Cassis and Pomme de Glace.

Black currants grow very well in Quebec, and some excellent Creme de Cassis is made on the Ile d'Orleans, which is in the Fleuve St. Laurent very near Quebec City. The cassis sorbet was intensely fruity. A dollop of it in a glass of champagne would have made a great frozen kir royale.

Pomme de Glace is the name of a kind of ice cider that has recently become quite popular in Quebec. There is a huge apple cultivation zone near Montreal, and with many Quebecois being of Norman or Breton heritage, there have long been many excellent producers of still and sparkling hard apple ciders in the traditional styles. A few years ago someone hit on the idea of leaving the apples to freeze on the trees, as is done with grapes when making ice wine. The frozen apples are then quickly pressed resulting in the extraction of a sweeter, more concentrated juice. After fermentation, the result is a rich drink that is at once sweet and tart. The tartness makes it as appropriate to use as a bracing apperitif as well as in place of a dessert wine. Needless to say, this flavor profile makes for a very memorable sorbet as well.

By the way, many excellent examples of Quebec ciders and pomme de glace are available at Les Saveurs du Quebec, a store on the edge of the Jean Talon market dedicated to artisanal Quebec foodstuffs and beverages.

Havre des Glaces
Inside Marche Jean Talon
Along eastern edge

Au Marché des saveurs du Québec
280 place du Marché du Nord (Marché public Jean-Talon)
Montréal
Tél. : (514) 271-3811
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#23
Posted October 2nd 2005, 4:38pm
I'm sure it was havre des glaces, and it was, indeed, phenomenal.

I'd heard about the other place, but try as we might to find it, we just couldn't. Of course, I didn't have the address, and we were too overwhelmed by everything else to really worry about it.
_______________________________________

Ed Fisher
my chicago food photos

RIP LTH.
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#24
Posted October 7th 2005, 5:33pm
Lovely Dining Companion and I just returned from our first venture ever to Montreal. Sadly, we had but four days. However, we had spectacular weather (bright sunshine, mid-70s, every day) and packed a lot into 3 days there plus one in Mont Tremblant.

Without belaboring each meal, we ate at:

Schwartz's: the obligatory smoked meat. Astonishingly, LDC enjoyed her meat and ate more than I've ever seen her chow down in one sitting before. I, alas, was not quite so taken. Wonderful flavor, nice amount of fat (we both ordered "medium") and precisely the right...ambiance. We went at 2:15 pm and still waited a while before we got lucky and scored two seats. Slaw was great, fries good, but next time I'll try some of the other well-reputed places.

Om: one of THREE Tibetan places in town. Since LDC and I met in Tibet (long story) and spent nearly three weeks there, we feel qualified to review Tibetan places. Had a very long chat with the owner, Sonam, who gave us a history of Tibetan migration to Canada and to Montreal in particular. The three restaurants have ties, which might be expected. What is impressive is that Montreal, a third the size of Chicago, can support three when we couldn't even help one (Tibet Cafe) make it. The food was quite good (his mom's recipes, he said) and I would return without hesitation. On Boul St. Laurent. I can dig up the info if anyone is interested.

Restaurant Jano: a Portuguese place specializing not in a regional cuisine of Portugal but in grilled food. I had quail, LDC had salmon. Wow. A very unprepossessing place but with great food. We had another long chat with the owner, Carlos, trying (unsuccessfully) to lure him here. Oh for a Portuguese restaurant in Chicago again.... (I miss Lisboa Antiga on Wells mightily) Also on Boul St. Laurent, just up from Schwartz's a tiny bit.

Bonaparte, for dessert. We had the great good fortune to stay at the adjoining small hotel. Fabulous hotel, fabulous desserts. Voted one of the best places in Canada (no, I don't know who did the voting, but my recollection places it in the "serious" category, meaning food critics, writers, and so forth) and I can't wait to return for a full meal there. Ain't cheap but a top-flight dessert. (The maitre d' refused to seat us at first, claiming that they serve meals, not dessert. When he learned we were staying at the hotel, he relented and made "an exception." Whether that's true or not--and I didn't appreciate the hoity-toity attitude--once we were seated, we were treated wonderfully.) Around the corner from Notre Dame on Rue Saint Francois-Xavier.

Lunch at Forget (pronounced 'for-ZHAY') Restaurant at the Bon Secours market. I had a meat loaf and LDC a salad. Delightful service and top-notch food at very reasonable prices.

Oh, almost forgot: the single worst Indian meal I have ever had, bar none. LDC wanted Indian, which happens infrequently at best. She decided that Kashmir (on Rue Saint Paul) looked good. It was lunchtime and, but for one other couple (clearly tourists as well), the place was completely deserted. But did we take the hint, no. The menu looked inviting and so we ordered. Once delivered, everything looked the same: yellow. Worse yet, everything tasted the same (except for breads). Turmeric was not the only spice (I don't think), it just seemed that way. It was in everything, to excess. You name it, it was bad. We will not return and, if I lived in Montreal, I would stand outside barring people from entering. People like this should not be in the business of selling food to unsuspecting hungry people. And the sad thing is, people will leave thinking that this is what Indian food is supposed to taste like.

Side trip to Tremblant. Hit the fall colors perfectly and the views and hiking were excellent. But we were completely unprepared for the Disney-fication of the place. Yikes! And the people...a cornucopia of tourists. Tourist, tourists, everywhere and not a spot to think. We stayed outside of town at the Auberge Sauvignon. I will not recommend staying there (for reasons you are welcome to inquire after privately) but I will highly recommend dinner there.

A youngish, highly accomplished, fellow sticks to a largely traditional, French influenced menu. I had the cassoulet: other than one sausage which I felt was a bit...dry...the dish was superb. LDC had fish (the precise one escapes me at the moment; I'll try to edit and name it later); also excellent. We were both greatly pleased with our meals. And the place was packed! Apparently, at least according to Francine, the owner, it is like that every weekend. Wow! Many locals, some tourists and a large place that is simply jammed. But even when full, the sound level is appropriate, the tables aren't too close (yet), and the service is very good.

I could go on and on about how much we enjoyed Montreal. I'll leave off the encomiums and say only that we can't wait to return to this gem of a city!
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Gypsy Boy

"I am not a glutton--I am an explorer of food." (Erma Bombeck)
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#25
Posted November 3rd 2005, 12:05pm
Okay, I am planning a long weekend in Montreal with my husband as an anniversary celebration/first weekend away from the baby. (Okay, the baby is 2, but what can you do?)

Based on this thread and other sources, I am thinking Au Pied du Cochon and Bonaparte for our two dinners. Schwartz's for one lunch and maybe L'Express for another ,unch? What do you all think?

I am also considering staying at either Hotel Nelligan or the Auberge les pasants du sans soucy, if anyone has any knowledge of those places.

Merci beaucoup!
_______________________________________

Good Americans, when they die, go to Paris.
-Oscar Wilde
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#26
Posted November 3rd 2005, 12:14pm
ekpaster wrote:Based on this thread and other sources, I am thinking Au Pied du Cochon and Bonaparte for our two dinners. Schwartz's for one lunch and maybe L'Express for another ,unch? What do you all think?


I think those are all great choices. The only thing I might say is, instead of l'Express, consider having a late breakfast and then wandering around one of the public markets for a little while. There are enough places there grilling sausages, frying squid, selling sorbet, gelati, cheeses, smoothies, etc, that you can make a solid meal out of it.

Or, if you're like me: Have breakfast, lunch, go to the market, and then stuff yourself at dinner.

If you are looking for breakfast spots, I still dream every now and then of the coffee at Cafe el Dorado. Good food and a nice vibe, too.
_______________________________________

Ed Fisher
my chicago food photos

RIP LTH.
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#27
Posted November 3rd 2005, 2:16pm
ekpaster wrote:
I am also considering staying at either Hotel Nelligan or the Auberge les pasants du sans soucy, if anyone has any knowledge of those places.


Good luck with Sans Soucy. We tried far in advance and couldn't get in. Passed it on the street...looks inviting. But I'd be remiss not to plug the Bonaparte. The place isn't cheap but the rooms are truly wonderful, the staff quite helpful, and the location hard (if not impossible) to beat. Plus, it's only a short waddle through the door after dinner! I believe they have rooms overlooking the gardens at Saint Sulpice. That's my plan on our next visit--which can't come soon enough! Have a wonderful time...I imagine it's probably not possible to do otherwise.
_______________________________________

Gypsy Boy

"I am not a glutton--I am an explorer of food." (Erma Bombeck)
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#28
Posted November 3rd 2005, 3:30pm
Some friends of mine just got back from Montreal and they raved about their dinner at Bonaparte. I think maybe they had Caribou--some kind of game, anyway. They thought all the food was delicious and the service was good as well. It's a second-hand opinion, but I trust their taste...when I go to Montreal I'm always with a vegetarian, so Bonaparte is not a possibility for me. :cry:
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#29
Posted November 10th 2005, 6:17pm
Another top eatery in Montreal is Toque... it is a french restaraunt that seems to have a lot of asian inspiration. I dined there, and though it wasn't the "Tru" experience as far as service goes, it was great food.

A lot of the guide books speak very highly of it it, too.. (BTW, if your guide book is dated, make sure to look up the address of Toque before showing up... they moved about a year ago)

BTW, I think one interesting thing that may have contributed to the perception of just "above average" service (as opposed to awesome service) was the language barrier. i don't speak french, though my partner does. we felt like there was an area of seating for those that speak french, and those that spoke english. we weren't asked, but i assume they figured it out... :o ... the wait staff spoke english, but it seemed like it wasn't well enough to really ask everytyhing about everything that we wanted to..
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#30
Posted November 10th 2005, 6:28pm
dddane wrote:BTW, I think one interesting thing that may have contributed to the perception of just "above average" service (as opposed to awesome service) was the language barrier. i don't speak french, though my partner does. we felt like there was an area of seating for those that speak french, and those that spoke english. we weren't asked, but i assume they figured it out... :o ... the wait staff spoke english, but it seemed like it wasn't well enough to really ask everytyhing about everything that we wanted to..


Definitely true, at least at Bonaparte and Au Pied de Cochon, that they seemed to seat english speakers in the same section.

We considered Toque, but it was a little out of our price range, and we didn't feel like dressing up.

For what it's worth, our service was fantastic at APdC and Bonaparte, and most of the other places we visited.
_______________________________________

Ed Fisher
my chicago food photos

RIP LTH.
GNR

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