Jewish Montreal

May 15th, 2013 § 0 comments § permalink

On the way to summer fun (kayaking, sun bathing, swimming, beach walking, cycling, oysters, mussels, lobsters, fresh fish) on Prince Edward Island, HG and BSK will spend a week in Montreal. Have leased an apartment in the colorful Plateau district and will be joined by SJ, Exquisite Maiko and their 2 children. Gifted Daughter Lesley says she will join us for a few days. And, admittedly a long shot, Restaurateur Daughter Vicki and chef/husband Marc say they will try to get away for a brief visit. Guaranteed: Loads of fun and feasting. HG is eager to try the much vaunted Jewish food in Montreal. This means Schwartz’s (smoked meat); Fairmount Bakery (bagels); Wilensky’s (fried salami with mustard on a “pletzel”/onion roll). Will pass on Moisha’s, an expensive steak house, but will dine at Au Pied de Cochon, A Quebecois restaurant that is on the cardiology black list (savory foie gras and snout-to-tail pork specialties). Have heard good reports about Montreal dim sum, Lebanese take-out and cheap, spicy Portuguese chicken. A full report will be forthcoming. While noshing on Jewish specialties in Montreal, HG will ponder why some of his favorite Jewish writers come from that city — Saul Bellow, Mordecai Richler and the New Yorker Magazine’s brilliant Adam Gopnik. Of course, Montreal’s Leonard Cohen is an HG favorite in his roles as poet, song writer and performer.

Montreal: Cardiology Nightmare

August 23rd, 2012 § 0 comments § permalink

HG AND BSK are planning a trip to Montreal this winter (Francophone and a lot cheaper to get to than Paris). As is HG’s custom, HG has been doing some thorough research on Montreal restaurants. Lots of good eating. The question is: Can greedy HG survive the onslaught of all the hearty, unhealthy foods that are Montreal specialties and HG’s heart’s (and mouth’s) desire? For example: A local favorite restaurant, Au Pied de Cochon, lists about 25 foie gras dishes on its menu. Foie gras my be outlawed in California but it thrives in Montreal. Examining Montreal bistro menus, HG has spotted lots of wonderful offal — calf’s liver, kidneys in mustard sauce. sweetbreads. And, an HG favorite, os l’moelle — roasted marrow bones served with a thin spoon for excavating, country bread and coarse salt. Steak frites, steak tartare and racks of lamb on every menu. Sammy’s Steak House on Manhattan’s Lower East Side has a challenger in Montreal’s Moishe’s Steak House. Moishe serves enormous steaks accompanied by potato latkes or varenekes (a type of pierogi). And, Schwartz’s challenges New York’s Carnegie Deli with its huge smoked meat sandwiches. It seems that Montreal’s Jewish community (which produced Saul Bellow, Mordecai Richler and Leonard Cohen) keeps the old, unhealthy traditions of overeating alive and unwell. HG intends to precede his Montreal visit with a few weeks of tofu and sprouts. After that, lead HG to the good, bad stuff.

Maple Leaf Forever.

August 21st, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

HG loves Canada. The cities. The farmlands. The mountains. The waters — the Atlantic and the Pacific and everything in between. Most of all, the people. Sane. Rational. Accepting. Of course, HG is most influenced by the fact that that BSK, the love of HG’s life, is a Canadian.

SJ informed HG today that Canadian food is having “a trendy moment in New York.” (see Robert Sietsema’s fine Article on the Subject HERE)HG is puzzled. Of course, there is wonderful food in Canada and chefs who take advantage of great seafood, beef, lamb, organic vegetables. Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal are world class foodie cities. But, the predominant influence in Vancouver is Asiatic. Toronto is international and eclectic. Montreal is very French, of course, but there are Jewish influences and some restaurants that feature hefty Quebec dishes (a lot of fat and maple syrup as befitting a climate that can get super chilly). The only uniquely Canadian food HG knows is poutine, a mixture of cheese curds and gravy usually served over French fries. It is ubiquitous in Montreal and the entire Francophone region. It is even on the menu at McDonald’s. How does it taste? Vile. Montreal gourmets are proud of Montreal bagels (totally inferior to New York’s H & H product). They also tout Montreal smoked beef, mentioning it as a competitor of New York pastrami.They must be kidding.

HG’s favorite taste of Canada is the huge array of oysters at Rodney’s Oyster Bar (Vancouver and Toronto). Perfectly shucked. Served with freshly grated horseradish. Nicely priced wine list. Canada at its natural, unpretentious best.

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