Montreal - A Foodie's Paradise
by Fabre SandersLarry and I have been wanting to take a trip to Montreal for a few years now, mostly to allow the kids to utilize their French-immersion speaking skills. Little did I know that Montreal is now the 3rd highest ranked food destination in North America after New York and San Francisco! Kids – pack your bags and we’re on our way!
Montreal has not only a wealth of French and Quebecois cuisine, but also a large amount of world cuisine as well. Many Middle Easterners as well as South Americans and Europeans are now emigrating to Canada. They have brought their luscious foods and cuisines with them – making Montreal a world class eating city.
I’m going to mention a few of our family’s favorites.
One of our first stops was for fondue. Little did I know that we would end up at one of the most romantic restaurants in Montreal. We had a full three course meal of fondue – starting with the traditional cheese (Emmentaler & Swiss blend, served with crusty bread for dipping), moving on to various meats served with vegetable broth for cooking, and finishing, much to our delight, with fruits and sweets served with chocolate as well as maple cream (it is Canada, after all!). For those of you looking to visit, the restaurant is Fonduementale and it is on Rue Saint Denis.
Throughout the week, we enjoyed a large variety of cuisines from around the world, including Persian, Mexican, Vietnamese, Chinese, Belgian, Spanish and Italian. The neighborhoods in Montreal are all loaded with small, ethnic bistros to delight the palate. Ethnic cuisine in Montreal is also among some of the most affordable food in the city, with a family of four feasting for under $100 CAD.
If you enjoy a good, New York style corned beef sandwich, I highly recommend a visit to Schwartz’s Delicatessen for a Smoked Meat sandwich. This joint has no printed menu, just some slightly surly waiters and some of the best slow roasted brisket I have ever tasted. Order your sandwich with “medium” fat, and it will melt in your mouth. Don’t even think of anything other than rye bread, and wash it down with a delicious Cott’s black cherry soda.
Each time I go to a different place, I enjoy visiting a local market or grocery store to see what is being offered. The Marché Jean-Talon was not a disappointment! Nestled in between the heart of Little Italy and the up-and-coming Middle Eastern Neighborhood, the market offered fresh fruits and vegetables from around the globe. Additionally, there were shops specializing in unique spices, kitchenware, and even a Middle Eastern Patisserie!
The kids’ favorite stop in the market was the Creperie, owned by Chef Jerome. As we started conversing in both broken French and broken English, we realized that Chef Jerome’s brother lives not far from us in Grafton, and worked for the famous Maison Robert restaurant in Boston. The world seems so small sometimes. I enjoyed the savory crepes including the ones loaded with brie and ham, as well as fresh asparagus that tasted like it was just picked that morning. The kids, of course, favored the sweet delights with nutella (hazelnut-chocolate spread), banana, strawberries, and cream. Crepe making is an art and it was fun watching and learning from Chef Jerome.
Finally, our special discovery was the local boulangerie and fromagerie (bread & cheese shops) – Le Fromentier. Buried in the basement of a video store, this artisanal bakery is producing breads for some of the best restaurants in Montreal. From delicious baguettes to rustic country loaves, the variety and quality found here is unlike anything we have in the United States. As a chef, I enjoyed the true “slow food” mentality here – everything is made by hand, with love,
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