Saturday, June 29, 2013

Eating Our Way Through Montreal, So What's New?

It is summer and we are in Montreal, escaping for a few weeks the heat and muggies of St Pete, FL. There are many things we love about Montreal: the weather, the charm of the city's streets, the musicality of the French language, and the walkability of the many diverse neighborhoods. But the thing we love the most about Montreal is its love affair with food.  From the bounty of fresh products at the City's many farmers markets to the incredible diversity of offerings at restaurants, we love to eat in Montreal.  We've been in Montreal for just shy of 3 days now and already we've tried out some of the new food trucks that have hit the street scene in Montreal this summer, perused new fine food boutiques, and revisited some of our favorite markets. Here is a quick review of our far.

We arrived in Montreal on a cool, drizzly night. Hungry, we parked our car, and set off for a light dinner before unloading and settling into our flat. 
A block away is Communion which is set in the corner of a 150-year-old stone building facing onto Rue de La Commune. We had a light dinner of a mesclun salad with candied walnuts and a delicate balsamic vinegarette. Jerry thought it too plain, I thought it just right. We shared a charcuterie plate of slices of chorizo, blood sausage salami, liver pate salami, cornichons, bits of lardon, and a fresh baguette.
There was a pleasant, friendly hum to the place.  Light jazz mingled with happy conversations. The glass of Clockspring Zinfandel was the perfect companion for the evening's meal. 
Happily fed, we walked to our flat hand in hand in a soft rain.  Montreal had once again welcomed us with good food and safe haven.  
Satay Brothers,  Atwater Market, and Rustique Pies
We slept in late after the previous day's long journey.  After a cup of coffee and the Montreal Gazette, we set off for the market.
Marche Atwater is located along the historic Lachine Canal in an art deco building built in 1933 for the market. Open year round, the market is at its most beautiful in the summer.  Plant nurseries set up shop with hundreds of blooming plants for gardens and terrasses.  Quebec berries are at their best and stalls are laden with tiny strawberries, plump raspberries, and firm blueberries, freshly picked and trucked to market.
Under brightly colored tarps, the outdoor food stalls serve up sausages, freshly squeezed juices, nuts, pastries and at Satay Brothers...satay. Our first experience at Satay Brothers was in their "winter" brick and morter shop on Rue St Jacques.  But come fair weather, Satay Brothers move their operation back to Marche Atwater where it all started.
We had 6 skewers of the Satay du Jour (chicken) and their pork bun sandwiches.  Refreshing and tasty.  Good as we had remembered. We'll be back. 
After a walk through the market buying tomatoes and a basket of berries we were off to the St-Henri neighborhood of Montreal to my favorite pie shop, Rustique Pies. For my previous post on Rustique, click here.
We sat in the sun at a small round table set just inside the big storefront window and ate three small round delights: Banana cream, lemon meringue, and peach cobbler pies. As good as I had remembered.  We bought six to-go, with plans to return for more on the weekend.
No, I never lose weight when visiting Montreal.  Its a good thing we walk a lot when we visit.

The Best of Italy in Montreal's Little Italy

Nicola Travaglini opened his fine food boutique last fall hoping to share the delicious bounty of Italy with the food lovers of Montreal. He has succeeded and then some. Travaglini and his business partner Domenico Armeni have created an inviting corner shop located near Marche Jean Talon in Montreal's Little Italy.

Shelves are stocked with the best pastas, sauces, tomatoes, and spices. Delicious breads and pastries are made on the premises. An excellent selection of salumi and speciality cheeses decorate well-lit cases. Two large communal tables in the center of the store hum with the chat of contented lunch-goers as they enjoy pastas, soups, or sandwiches. 
We had the chance to chat with the effervescent Domenico Armeni, born in Calabria Italy but a long-time resident of Montreal. Armeni was chef-owner of Lucca's in Little Italy until he sold it a few years back. He was in his element as he strolled through the shop chatting with customers. He is clearly proud of what they have created at Nicola Travaglini.
I asked him about a delicious looking "something" in the pastry case. Armeni explained it was a Crostata e Noci, a thick crusted Crostata filled with a concoction made of caramel, hazelnuts, almonds, pistaccios and raisins. He leaned forward and almost in a whisper said, "even better than the filling? the crust...I love the crust." crostata to go!
And we'll be back.

The Food Truck Army has landed in Montreal

Dim sum, gourmet hot dogs, pad thai noodles, meatballs, sausages, grilled cheese sandwiches, Vietnamese spring rolls, flaky pastry treats...all this and more will be served via food trucks this summer in Montreal.

After a 50 year ban on street food, the City of Montreal has joined the latest culinary trend. Twenty seven trucks have been approved by the City and will be allowed to serve from 7am to 10pm in nine pre-determined spots around the City. The food trucks will rotate on a selected schedule available at the website listed below if you want to know who is serving what and where.

This year, the food truck "season" will be from June 20th to September 29th.

We arrived in Montreal for a two week visit and made a beeline straight to the small group of trucks located at Mill and Rue de La Commune along the Lachine Canal in the Old Port of Montreal. First up, was Le TukTuk serving delicious Thai fare. We tried the Pad Thai poulet (chicken) and the Green Papaya salad. Both were delicious.

We ate on a picnic table conveniently nestled under a group of trees near the trucks. While eating, we watched hungry eaters line up at the Montreal Dim Sum truck. After polishing off the generous portion of Pahd Thai, I couldn't resist. The "trio" of dim sums were fresh, hot, and scrumptious. 
So, we're two down and only 25 to go. We've got our work cut out for us on this trip.

Jerry's Favorite Treat: Fresh Sausage on a Stick

Whenever we visit Montreal, we always visit Marche Jean Talon within the first day or two of our trip. Why? Because Jerry needs his sausage-on-a-stick fix. 
We also go for the eggs, the berries, fresh asparagus, crepes, coffee, mushrooms, and more. But that is another story. This story is about sausage.

We have two favorite spots in the market that are conveniently within a couple stalls from each other.  
La Volailler du Marche offers 100% natural sausages made from boar, beef, pork, chicken, duck, deer, and lamb. The sausage can be purchased as single 2-inch lengths on a stick or as a "kebab" with 8 different types of sausage on the stick. We opted for the 8-on-a-stick which was a good way to sample all the different types of sausage they sell.

Balkani's serves large "hot dog" sized grilled sausage. They are served either on a bun or on a stick. Varieties vary. Today's offering were "spicy" or "sweet". Jerry opted for spicy. The sausage was juicy and full of flavor. Just the right meal for a cold, rainy day in Montreal.



1 comment:

Dawn Fine said...

You have me drooling all over my keyboard.