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A Foodie’s Taste of Montréal

Submitted by on June 9, 2010 – 3:41 pmNo Comment

St.-Viateur Bagels / Photo by Susan McKee By SUSAN McKEE
The Road Trips Foodie

Headed to Montréal this weekend for the Formula 1 Canadian Grand Prix? You won’t run out of great places to eat! With a multitude of nationalities calling this city home, the foodie scene is thriving.

On a trip to Québec last month, I found the city’s bagels a special treat. Smaller and lighter than their New York counterparts, they’re boiled in honey water before being baked in a wood-burning oven. Buy yours at St.-Viateur Bagel (pictured, at left), 268 St.-Viateur Ouest, Montréal (the first shop opened in 1957). Montréal’s ice cream also draws raves; one to try: Le Glacier Bilboquet, 1311 Avenue Bernard, Montréal.

My dinner at Europea 1227 de la Montagne Street, Montréal, was one of my all time favorites: each of the courses on the tasting menu (plus some “chef’s surprises) was superb, from the “lollipop” of goat cheese through the “sip” of eggnog served in an egg shell to the fois gras in espresso emulsion, veal cheeks and lobster ravioli. Finally, there was a trio of desserts alongside a cloud of pink cotton candy (made on site, of course).

Lunch at Laurie Raphaël in Hôtel Le Germain Montréal, 2050 Mansfield Street, Montréal, was a surprise. Instead of the usual burger-and-fries, their mid-day menu was a gourmand’s delight. I started with a lobster bisque, added a risotto of spring vegetables and finished with a trio of sorbets. Of course, the menu changes so often, you’ll find something totally different when you arrive!

Aix Cuisine du Terroir, the fine-dining restaurant in the Place-d’Armes Hôtel and Suites, 55 Saint-Jacques Street, Montréal, designs its menu not only according to the region, but the season. When I was there, my choices included crunchy fiddlehead ferns and fall-off-the-bone-tender wild boar ribs.

Montréal’s city markets are a great place to pick up a quick lunch or a Canadian-specific foodie souvenir. Atwater, 138 Avenue Atwater, Montréal, has all sorts of sandwiches (that’s tuna, at right) and patés — assemble a picnic lunch and head for one of the city’s parks! At Jean-Talon, 280 du Marché -du-Nord, Montréal, there’s a shop called Marché du Vieux St.-Paul that features all sorts of regional specialties including a blend of sea salt, peppercorns and granulated maple syrup that’s magic on grilled salmon.

And, if you’d like an historic look at the traditional foods of Québec, be sure to see the “Let’s eat!” exhibit at the Château Ramezay Museum, 280 Notre-Dame Street East, Montréal. It explores the province’s culinary culture from the arrival of the first colonists in the 17th century to the present day.

(Photos by Susan McKee)

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