Phew, yesterday I finished some job applications, and now I can enjoy the rest of summer before school starts up again. I started this blog right after my exams finished back in April, and I do hope to continue blogging in the school year. However, that might also depend on how interesting my life is, so let’s take advantage of summer while I can!
When I wasn’t chilling outside listening to music at Osheaga, I was pretty much eating. I guess that’s what a tourist/my family does. As I mentioned before, we started off the road trip with some snickerdoodles I baked. This was also my submission for Anna Olson’s Bake Off at Food Network Canada. You can see everyone’s submissions here. I love snickerdoodles because they require few ingredients and they get a quirky tang from the cream of tartar, which is used as the leavener instead of baking soda.
For the rest of the trip, we enjoyed a touristy, but delicious Montreal gastronomic experience.
On Saturday we went to La Banquise, a 24-hour restaurant that is famous for their poutine. This must be great food for post-late night revelry, but it is also fantastic for lunch. La Banquise offers other food as well, such as burgers and sandwiches, but of course we all ordered poutine. Poutine is a Quebecois dish of fries covered in gravy and cheese curds. La Banquise also offers non-traditional poutines which range from bacon and smoked meat on poutine to guacamole on poutine.
I’m a little embarrassed to post this photo, but this is what the four of us ordered: four “small” poutines to share. We did take some back to the hotel! But I must admit that we demolished a lot too. The poutine was amazing and well-deserving of its reputation. I am sure this is our poutine quota for the year.
La Classique (b-l): A traditional poutine with fries, cheese curds and gravy. This was the best way to test the quality of La Banquise’s poutine. The cheese curds were squeaky, and the gravy was not too salty and had a thinner consistency, so there was probably not too much flour or corn starch. This allowed the potatoes shine through: slender-cut, slightly sweet and still crispy.
La Petite Vie (t-l): ground beef, corn, and onions. Lovely home-y flavours, which reminded me of shepherd’s pie.
La Rachel (t-r): green peppers, mushrooms, and onions. We had to get our veggies in somehow!
La Taquise (b-r): guacamole, tomatoes and sour cream. This was my favourite of the non-traditional poutines. It was very fresh from the guac and the tomatoes. The guacamole + gravy was actually a good combination. Pure bliss.
Since the gravy was subtly flavoured, all these combinations were delicious.
I had my next dining experience the following morning when we had brunch at Le Cartet in Old Montreal. There was a line, but the time passed relatively quickly because I browsed the chocolate they sold just outside the dining area.
Le Cartet serves different brunch sets as well as some individual dishes. I ordered le brunch sucré which came with French toast with apple butter, nuts and blueberries, crepe with fruit coulis and candied orange peel, and cashew ginger granola with blueberries on natural yogurt, as well as fresh fruit. Whew! The meal also came with coffee and freshly squeezed orange juice. What a delightful brunch. The apple butter was sublime and not too sweet, which was perfect with the French toast. The candied orange peel was a good contrast with the fruit coulis on the crepe, but a bit overpowering for me. I was hoping more of the ginger would come through in the granola. Otherwise, highly recommended.
Finally, on Sunday night, after a rainy and muddy day at the music festival, I met back up with my parents and sister for dessert at Juliette et Chocolat. As the name suggests, the restaurant specializes in desserts mostly with chocolate and drinking chocolate. They also serve savoury foods. However, tonight we just went for the chocolate ;).
I was very curious about the drinking chocolate. The menu described each drinking chocolate much like wine descriptions. I chose the Sao Tome 70%, a dark drinking chocolate, with “hints of fruits and vanilla, bitter cocoa taste.” It came in a brandy glass, perhaps to better smell the aroma.
It was served warm. As you might imagine, it was very rich. There were little flecks of chocolate in the drink. I did taste the bitterness, but to be honest, without the description I would not have picked up on the “hint of fruits and vanilla,” particularly without having tried another drinking chocolate before to compare. Still, it was an interesting experience.
My family also ordered a couple of desserts to try:
Crêpe with three kinds of chocolate (dark, milk and white)
Monday morning before we departed the city, we finished our Montreal experience with Montreal bagels from Fairmount. We bought four dozen! They were for us and for friends though, ha. Montreal bagels are slightly sweeter. According to Wikipedia, they are boiled in honey-sweetened water before being baked in a wood-fired oven.
Our Montreal trip resulted in this lunch for work: whole grain bagel with Montreal smoked meat from Schwartz’s that my parents and sister bought on their own exploration on Montreal.
You can’t get more touristy than this! However, it was an absolutely perfect lunch.
After this weekend of food, I think we were all prepared to have a lighter week. My family discussed how poutine is sometimes referred to lumberjack food. That might not be the origin of the dish, but I wouldn’t be surprised if someone, such as a lumberjack who exerted a lot of energy, would eat poutine for sustenance. It’s similar to how traditional foods during Chinese New Year are often deep-fried or fried in a lot of oil, fatty, or very sweet. Historically, people ate such rich foods once a year. Now, modern lifestyle has changed. While we can still enjoy this food, we probably should only eat these foods in moderation.
La Banquise is located at 994, rue Rachel Est, Montreal, Quebec.
Le Cartet is located at 106, Rue McGill, Montreal.
Juliette et Chocolat has several locations. We went to the one on 1615, rue St-Denis, Montreal.