Sunday, February 16, 2014

Wandering around Montreal

Today I decided to wander around Montreal in the freezing cold. Because the idiot in my mind thought that the best way to see the city is to wander around for about 5 miles if not more through the slush and ice storm.

At least I set some goals to see all of the major food places. My first stop:

Apparently St. Viateur Bagels is the place to go for bagels.  Canadian bagels are more condensed in flavor than american bagels, and slightly chewier. I was probably very hungry by the time I got my 2 warm bagels, one sesame and one cinnamon raisin. But thinking back, I think I like Canadian bagels more even factoring out the hunger.

I continued on my journey ripping and eating at the bagels with gloveless hands.

Montreal is named after Mount Royal, which is a hill? mountain? in the middle of the city.

I walked along the edge of the mountain where the snow was piled a few feet high until I found an entrance into the woods. People had been snowshoeing and created semi-compact meandering paths into the trees.

I put away my nearly frost-bitten bagel hands and enjoyed the snowy solace. There was nothing but the crunching of the snow beneath my feet for about an hour.

I eventually needed to refuel and I didn't want to recycle fluids back into the Earth, so I followed the sound of traffic and children sledding back to civilization.

Oh lord. I was on a snowy hill in tennis shoes, and I has hopelessly lost. Why did I have such a long shadow at 1pm,  I don't know, but the sun's position does not lie.

After some dangerous slipping and sliding, I decided that refuel at La Banquise, which I heard has some of the best and most famous poutine in the city.

I got Le Jaco, and La Taquise. I preferred Le Jaco. The fries were perfectly cooked on both, but I loved the minced meat with onions and mushrooms, and the peppery gravy. It was lip smacking good.

Even though I got regular sizes for both, the food was much too heavy. I tried my best, packed it and moved on.

The other place I had to try was Schwartz's. I arrived at 2pm, and the line was out the door.

Schwartz's is Montreal's Katz's or Carnegie deli, and I am a great lover of pastrami, so it didn't take much to sell me on smoked meat.

When I ordered the smoked meat sandwich, the server asked "fatty or lean?" Fatty of course! I didn't come all this way to eat the dregs. If only the woman at the airport didn't assume that I wanted an egg sandwich with no eggs (yolks).

The chefs at Schwartz's seem to subscribe to the notion that a good deli sandwich should not be served in a way that can be eaten cleanly. I agree.

It was glorious. Even though I was still full from the poutine, I ate half a sandwich, and really wished that I could shove down more. I am actually trying to eat the other half while I am writing this post, but it's starting to hurt!

I assume that I will have at least some of the delicious food for a late night snack later! I will need it especially if I decide go to out again when the sun's gone. Can someone please remind me why I decided to go to a colder climate in the middle of the winter? At least the food is worth it!

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Au Pied de Cochon, Montreal, Canada

My favorite part of the restaurant is its logo of a fat chef riding an obviously distraught (and morbidly obese) pig.

Au Pied de Cochon, or pig's foot is known for cooking a pig from snout to tail. I've eaten every part of the pig already and I don't have an stomach that can fit the pictured swine, so I had to pick and choose.

Raspberry mojito to start. It's nothing too spectacular, but these guys must have been some of the busiest bartenders I've ever seen. It was amazing watching them produce drink after drink at crazy speeds.

Bison tongue: 7/10 Finally a tongue that's cooked properly! I don't mind not having the char, but the meat is perfectly tender. The sauce of mustard, gravy, and maple is a little bit heavy. But I've learned by now that the food here is a little heavy, maybe because of the really cold weather.

Foie gras poutine: 8/10 The poutine itself is good but nothing too special. But the foie gras is so so good. It's been so long since I've had proper foie gras because it's not duck-tarian. (duck equivalent of humanitarian, not duck equivalent of vegetarian)

I have to say though that this dish is once again very heavy. I only had a half portion and I was starting to feel full!

Home-made boudin: 7/10 Apparently the portions at this restaurant are all massive, so I got a half portion of the boudin, or blood sausage, as well. This is only the second time that I've actually enjoyed eating blood sausage. My waitress took a crazy risk recommending it even though I mentioned that I haven't liked it in the past.

It's perfectly seasoned, and the texture is nice and smooth. I absolutely cannot eat blood sausage that tastes remotely grainy or has a bitter blood-clot aftertaste. This one has no after taste, and the sweet apples on the side, did help as a palate cleanser.

Sugar pie: 7/10 Since I'm missing out on the sugar shack, I had to get something with maple syrup! So I got the sugar pie for 2 to go.. makes sense right because it was 10pm and I was traveling alone. Anyway, I took a big bite after I got back to the hotel, and it was delicious! It's nice and soft. Only crazy people would eat this... it's like pecan pie without the pecans! But better.

The restaurant wasn't amazing, but it was endearing. It was a fun place to eat lots of a pork and a nice rustic meal. The atmosphere was loud and fun, and how can you not like a restaurant with that logo?

Honestly I liked the raclette I had at a vineyard for lunch better. What is not to love about melting your own cheese and searing your own meat, and then scraping the cheese off the griddle with a piece of bread! That and the 10 glasses of ice wine probably spoiled my palette.