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Montreal Food Tour – Day 2

11 Oct

Montreal is a terrific place to visit, with beautiful historic buildings, great shopping, and of course, terrific eating. On day 2 we skipped breakfast and went straight to Schwartz’s (3895 St Laurent Blvd.) a little after 11 am to beat the lines. Stepping into Schwartz’s is like stepping back in time – as if nothing has changed since the restaurant opened in 1928.   The walls at the small deli are decorated with framed newspaper and magazine articles about the restaurant and its famed smoked meat. One article claims that although Schwartz’s recipe was once stolen, but its smoked meat could not be replicated elsewhere – only Schwartz’s has the “Schmutz Factor” – 80 years of grease and flavour build-up in its smoker.

As it was early, we didn’t have to wait for seats at all. Our order of famous smoked meat, (fatty, of course) and dark cherry cola arrived quickly. I thought the cherry cola was too sweet to pair with the smoked meat, but supposedly that is the thing to drink with your sandwich.

Schwartz's sandwich

We didn’t have fries with our sandwiches, because we immediately went to La Banquise afterwards. La Banquise (994 Rue Rachel Est) is open 24 hours, to satisfy post-partying hunger pangs or perhaps to ease your morning-after hangover. They serve over 20 kinds of poutine! We got a small portion of the Elvis (ground beef, onions, green peppers). We were impressed by the amount of toppings over the fries – the plate was about 60% toppings, 40% fries.

the "Elvis"

We walked off some of our morning calories by heading to the base of Mont Royal to people-watch at the regular Sunday drum circle. Further into the park you’ll find people walking on tight-ropes, or participating in superhero sword fights.

We decided to have a lighter dinner, choosing from the many pho restaurants in Chinatown. We chose Pho Cali (1011 St. Laurent Blvd.) based on how many people were already dining there. Pho Cali delivered yummy pho, even if service was lacking. Ask for a larger table or an extra chair to put your shopping bags on, and you’ll get snapped at.

End the evening on a sweeter note with a few pieces of freshly made “dragon’s beard” candy in Chinatown. It’s a rare sight to find someone demonstrating the complex art of pulling, twisting, and stretching dough into fine, cotton candy-like strands.

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If you prefer chocolate, you might want to head to Suite 88 Chocolatier (1225 De Maisonneuve Ouest) for chocolate domes in exquisite flavours like lychee and gingerbread, square-shaped chocolate “mosaïques,” artisanal truffles, or cone-shaped chocolate “shooters” inspired by Absolut Mandarin, apple martinis, and the like. My boyfriend and I enjoyed decadent hot chocolates – he got a classic milk chocolate, and I had a maple flavoured dark chocolate – while inhaling the tantalizing smell of Belgian waffles in the background; you can enjoy one topped with gelato.

After two straight days of epic eating, my boyfriend and I headed home, bellies full and cravings satiated, but sad to say goodbye to such a wonderful city.

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>> Want more Montreal? Read about Day 1.

Montreal Food Tour – Day 1

8 Sep

My boyfriend and I visited my cousin in Montreal for a weekend. We spent some time taking in a few sights, and doing a lot of eating!

buns at Patisserie HarmonieWhen a city’s Chinatown has not one, but four gates, you know they mean business. We kicked off our day with a stop at Patisserie Harmonie in Chinatown to satisfy my craving for Chinese snacks. The BBQ pork buns with their shiny tops were full of pork. Other soft buns were laced with goodies like sweet potato or red bean paste, the latter being French  inspired with its croissant shape. There are more traditional treats too, like egg tarts (both the regular variety and the Portugese version), red bean-filled “pineapple” buns, and moon cakes. This is clearly a popular bakery – we returned the next day to overhear one of the staff say that it wasn’t as busy due to the holiday weekend, but there were still a constant flow of people to the store. Meanwhile, there are at least two other bakeries a stone’s throw from Harmonie, and those did not appear to be nearly as crowded.Patisserie Harmonie

Info: Patisserie Harmonie, 85 Rue De La Gauchetiere Ouest, Montreal, QC, Canada

Harmonie on Urbanspoon

We walked through Vieux Montreal, with its narrow sidewalks and elegant stone buildings. It was like being transported to Europe. We had a light lunch at the rooftop terrace of the boutique hotel, Hotel Nelligan (106 Rue Saint Paul Ouest, Montreal, QC).  Continue reading

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