When sitting at a table in an impressively designed and well lit and restaurant, it is easy to take for granted all those working behind the scenes to make our dining experience possible. While we are necessitated to interact with wait staff, we tend to forget about all the busy, toiling hands that slice, chop, bake and fry up the mouth-watering foods we love; we forget that it takes the diligent efforts of an actual flesh-and-blood person - usually working under immense pressure - to prepare the foods that miraculously arrive at our table only moments after they are ordered. It is, after all, only natural to spend more time contemplating that second slice of brownie cake than it is to wonder about what kind of day the person who cooked your dinner is having. What most people don't realize, however, is that behind the restaurant industry's thinly veiled façade of professional courtesy is a seedy underworld of substance abuse and despair.
Where to find the best Wonton soup in Ville Saint-Laurent
Wonton soup is a veritable staple in Chinese cuisine. Every restaurant in Montreal seems to have its own unique take on it, with some achieving better results than others. When it's made properly, it's salty and savory, meaty and satisfying, with a delightful contrast of textures. When it's not made properly, it's watery, starchy, chewy and thoroughly disappointing, if not entirely inedible.
When is a bean not a bean? When it's a soybean, of course!
William a.k.a. "Billy" Gogas, co-owner of Lafayette Hot Dog
1870 St-Catherine East, Montreal (514) 522-5028
William a.k.a. "Billy" Gogas is a trilingual Greco-Canadian from Shawinigan with a degree in Political Science and a shrewd business sense who dishes out some of the best poutine smoked meat in Montreal. Sounds unlikely? We're just getting warmed up.
Montreal is a veritable beacon in fine dining in North America, featuring such stars as Europea on de la Montagne with its mouth watering discovery and tasting menus, le Filet on Mount‑Royal E. with its succulent seafood plates, and Chez Queux on St-Paul E. with its exquisitely prepared game dishes. However, Montreal is also home to a different class of eateries altogether, the praises of which often go unsung. Places that don't have glossy business cards or a trendy website. Places that rely almost exclusively on word of mouth and customer loyalty to stay in business. Places where poutine is served without pretention and that feel like a home away from home.
Coffee has become a popular fix in Montreal over the last decade. Tim Hortons has always been a good and cheap cup of brew which many enjoyed, but places like Starbucks gained much popularity in this booming city. Although the cup is pricier, it hasn't stopped business men and women, as well as hundreds of students from rushing in to get a cup, for that early morning meeting or class. However, just like Tim Hortons and Starbucks, both fast food coffee houses, many people are leading faster paced lives, leaving them to chug down that cup of deliciousness, and depriving them of the taste, and the experiences, better and more affordable coffee houses are offering the people of Montreal.
I decided to travel around the city and visit a few of the small and undiscovered coffee shops. Drinking the rich coffees opened my eyes to the appreciation of the java bean the coffee house gems of Montreal, which I am more than happy to share with other coffee lovers out there.
Most of what I know to be Montreal institutions are found within close proximity of each other. What we're known for, the bagels, the smoked meat, and the Quebecois chefs are all located more or less relatively in a small confine of the city. Outside of the plateau, old port and downtown, there is little talk about restaurants. However, there is one place, Decarie Hot Dog, incidentally, that breaks the mold.
If you're unfamiliar with its location, located in Ville Saint-Laurent, Decarie Hot Dog is extremely easy to pass by. But having students, residents of this city, and workers from the area walking up and down Cote Vertu, it's a landmark people tend to always find themselves eating at and enjoying.
Though eating locally sounds like a trendy term adopted by foodie's, purchasing local produce is actually beneficial to your health, as well as the environment. Even with a bounty of information available on the web, questions remain; questions that make local eating sound extreme, out of reach and expensive.
Montreal is home to a variety of fresh food markets that offer Quebec grown produce. The Jean Talon Market, the most popular, has a long history with Montrealers. Providing locals with food that has been grown in their province is one value you can't buy in the grocery store. When the vendor is the same person who grew your food, you know you've reached a community of locals who believe in supporting Quebec while also living healthier lifestyles.
Is eating local really all it's cracked up to me? Here are 5 common myths debunked about local eating that will challenge you to see how a trip to one of Montreal's many markets will change the way you think about fresh food.
Top 5 Myths: