• Wed, Sep 7 2011

Things I Ate In Montreal That I Shouldn’t Have (…Right Before Fashion Week)

In the days leading up to New York Fashion Week, many members of the industry try to shed a bit of vanity weight, if they have any to shed at all. This weekend, while lots of bloggers, models, and designers were on juice fasts, Master Cleanses, or strident egg white dousing regimes, I was shamelessly gorging on the most fattening foods North America has to offer. I had a fantastic time with all the croissants, chicken liver mousse, bone marrow and (of course) poutine, but now that we’re on the eve of Fashion Week, I’m wondering if this pot belly was such a sound decision…? So, in honor of my new friend, here are the most delicious/caloric things I (should?) regret eating in Montreal right before Fashion Week.

Poutine at Le Banquise

Montreal’s culinary endeavors are forever eclipsed by its great contribution to drunk food: poutine. If you’ve never had poutine, it is a caloric explosion of greasy golden french fries smothered in brown gravy and topped with melting cheese curds. It is as horrible for you as it is delicious. I ate the classic version at Le Banquise, but you can get it all customized with everything from guacamole to green peas to chopped hot dogs. It’s great when you’re not plastered, it’s transcendent when you are.

Smoked meat sandwich at Schwartz's

I’m a big fan of the pastrami on rye at Katz’s–tourist hell though it may be–so I was psyched to try its equally beloved distant cousin in Quebec, Shwartz’s. The (apparently) classic Montreal meal is a “medium fat” or “full fat” smoked meat sandwich, a dill pickle, slaw, fries and a cherry soda.

Bagel at St Viateur

New York can make you pretty uppity about bagels but I loved the one I ate at St Viteur, which competes with nearby Fairmount Bagel for the distinction of Montreal’s best. I tried both and preferred the less sweet, more chewy version at Viateur, as well as their cool attitude. Plus, you can watch them chop and hand-pull the dough while you wait, which distracts you from dangerously sensible concerns about empty calories.

Truffles at Chocolats de Chloe

The little handmade chocolates at Le Chocolats de Chloe come in all kinds of good flavors: basil, earl gray, peppercorn and fleur de sel. Every one of them was great.

Duck in a Can at Au Pied de Cochon

I have been wanting to eat at Montreal’s beloved modern classic Au Pied de Cochon for three years, ever since a former co-worker told me about their “duck in a can.” The whole restaurant is a love letter to meat. It is now one of my favorite restaurants in the world and I’d gladly return to Montreal just to eat there again.

French Onion Soup at APDC

Guinea hen liver mousse at APDC

Chocolate pot de creme at APDC

Canale at Gasgone

I asked some people where to find good pastries and everyone kept recommending Pâtisserie de Gascogne. I got this delicious and photogenic little canelé, which you don’t come across too often in the States because they are a complete pain in the ass to make.

Chicken liver mousse with pastachios at L'Express

I couldn’t leave the city without one legit French bistro experience and apparently the city’s institution for such is L’Express. It boasts all kinds of absurdly delicious things like chicken liver mousse with pistachios and bowls of sorrel soup, classics like pot au feu and tartare… plus, they offer a nearly pornographic serving of bone marrow. Every table gets their own jar of cornichons, mustard, and bottomless basket of tasty baguette.

Bone Marrow at L'Express

Fish and chips at Brit and Chips

Last but definitely not least, I wanted to get some of the British influence in Montreal’s makeup and had to stop in for fish and chips at Brit & Chips, where I enjoyed some insanely delicious, shatteringly crisp beer-battered cod and french fries. For good measure, I added an also-delicious chicken and leek hand pie. …And a Scotch egg. And now I’m tired.

Overall, Montreal offers tons of wonderful things to eat. Sadly, this Fashion Week, I will spend whatever time I’m not at Lincoln Center… on an elliptical machine. With a beer helmet full of celery (it can be done). Please excuse the absurd gluttony–I only had three nights and two days to eat all of Montreal’s food.

Photo credit: Jeremy Hunt Schoenherr

Disclosure: Tourisme Montreal treated me to that sandwich at Schwartz’s, which I really, really appreciated.

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  • Baker Girl

    When I saw that pic of the canale I just about cried!!! As a baker 1) they are a pain in the butt to make, 2) they are SOOOOOOOO worth it if you can find them, and 3) they remind me of my favorite chef from school.

    • Ashley Cardiff

      Any recipes that work (after enough trial and error)? I really want to try to make them–because they are delicious–but I’m pretty intimidated.

  • Donna

    ” chicken liver mouse’ you mean mousse right? RIGHT? o___O

    • Ashley Cardiff

      I just had a “KAHHHHHNNNNNNN” moment, but with autocorrect.

      Updated, thank you.

  • Jamie Peck

    As a vegan, I am pretty horrified by most of these dishes, but I nevertheless support the sentiments behind this post. You go with your gluttonous self!

  • Eileen

    Those bagels are about a zillion times better than anything I’ve ever eaten in New York. THERE I SAID IT.

  • Carrie

    I just moved away from Montreal, and this post makes me so nostalgic! Interestingly, you describe the food tour I did in the week before moving.

  • CP

    Well you sure went to some of the best spots in town. It all looks super delicious! :)

    There’s one small restaurant that you might want to try next time you’re in town: Plein Sud. It’s a tiny, super cute French place at 222 Mont-Royal East. The owners (who also run the front-of-house) are amazing and their menu is full of deliciousness. Try it, seriously!

    Cheers,

    CP

  • madhumsr

    I stopped eating poutine ‘cas my weight is under control but not my waist. :)

  • Nora Carman

    What about Tarte au Sucre? A Québec specialty! The BEST pie ever!

    • Michelle

      Yumm you made me hungry for home the brits chips thing was random ; )

      Steamers and Patates fritz at Lafleurs next time. What a great time you had livin

      local for an authentic experience.