May 2011 Archives

To Boust or Not to Boust...

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By Ryan HutmanScreen shot 2011-05-30 at 12.25.20 PM.png

As the clock turns to 2:45, the bars and clubs on Crescent Street begin to close their doors to late night party animals. Around the corner, Boustan and Amir, two Lebanese eateries are beginning to turn their ovens on high in anticipation to the exodus of hungry bar hoppers alike. With only about 200 feet separating the two it seems that a decision must be made between which one to dine. While Boustan has great ambiance and superior food quality, the Amir franchises offer consistent food combos with a greater variety of food items to choose from.


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Is Coffee Enjoyable at the Second Cup?

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Linda Kim Hoa DiepScreen shot 2011-05-30 at 12.13.57 PM.pngWhen you walk into a Second Cup to order a coffee, even before you enter it, you can predict everything. First, you expect that the cashier at the counter will not greet you but say "yes?"   Secondly, You have to know what you want to order by the time it is your turn in line or else you will feel very bad to make everybody behind you wait, and then the cashier will make you feel twice as bad by rolling his or her eyes. But wait a minute, why do I have to feel bad? I am a customer in a coffeehouse; I am the one getting money out of my pocket; and I should be treated like a princess!


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By Justine Poirier
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From Monday to Sunday, from opening to closing time, you will not get a table without reservations; but you can squeeze in at the bar, between Martin, the eccentric owner and a likely French couple, and enjoy a delicious appetizer of "cochonailles" along with an expensive but carefully chosen glass of red wine. Surely, it is the beginning of a long night at Le Pied de Cochon, one of Montreal's few traditional restaurants. Indeed, authentic Quebecois restaurants are rare and incredibly expensive in Montreal. Because of the high price of local products, fruits, vegetables, meat and dairy, less and less restaurant owners dare to serve traditional Quebecois meals.


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The Legend of Saint Hubert

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By Yang Bian Screen shot 2011-05-30 at 1.34.18 AM.png

If you ever had the chance to live in Quebec province, you must have heard of the Saint-Hubert restaurant. Saint-Hubert is a French Canadian based franchised restaurant, which was named after the street of st- Hubert in Montréal. After being founded in the 1950s, the first st-Hubert restaurant launched a BBQ rotisserie for customers to enjoy succulent roast chicken, fries, Cole slaw, with a lightly seasoned sauce. Soon, the rotisserie was to become a legend. Ten years later, they've built two more branches. The founder Helene and René Leger   developed the first chain of restaurants in Quebec in the1970s where each chain store offered free delivery of foods. This has made st-Hubert restaurant the first free delivery franchised restaurant in Canada.

 

After sixty years running the business, Saint- Hubert now has become one of the biggest franchising restaurants in Canada. Probably you may want to know what the secret recipe for their maintaining success is; their customers will definitely tell you that it must be their amazing Rotisserie chicken. This lip-smacking rotisserie chicken is always fabulous and the portions are large and tasty. The meat has been well cooked and literally falls off the bone, it tastes juicy, moist and well-seasoned. The skin is crispy and nicely browned; in fact, a lot of people like the tastes of the skin the most. The full plate includes a half bun, gravy, coleslaw and a side dish for you to choose from including, fries, mashed potatoes, baked potato, rice pilaf, salad and steamed vegetables. Although these accompanying sides aren't anything special, collectively they complement the chicken in an unpretentious way. Besides the chicken, you can also get soup and desert or coffee at a reasonable price. In addition to all the items mentioned before, what really makes rotisserie chicken special is that it is covered with honey sauce while being roasted; this is done to make the chicken tastes sweeter and more delicious in order to cater to the typical French taste. If you want to try a real French-style grilled chicken, you definitely shouldn't miss Saint-Hubert.   

 

For tourists, it might be strange to see a little yellow car with the Saint-Hubert logo lit up at night and being driven around Montreal; but indeed it is Saint-Hubert's delivery car which has become one of its symbols. The distinct feature that makes Saint-Hubert a legend franchised restaurant is their free delivery service. Widely known by people from Québec, Saint-Hubert offers the best service of food delivery for almost 40 years. Once you place an order, you will definitely hear the doorbell ring within 40 minutes and the delivery guy will hand you the well-packaged food with a big smile on his face. This has become the most notorious symbol of Saint-Hubert restaurant for so long.

 

Both Saint-Hubert's food and service represents the typical French Canadian styles that are diversified, friendly and honest. Maybe you've never been to st-hubert Street in Montréal, but you should definitely go and try one of the Saint-Hubert restaurants to taste their classic French Canadian BBQ chicken.

Think Poutine!

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By Rita Accari Screen shot 2011-05-30 at 1.30.49 AM.pngWhen classifying each country's specialty, we immediately recognize France for its wine, Italy for its distinctive cuisine in pastas and pizza and Switzerland for its delightful taste in chocolate. We then pause for a second to wonder, what is Quebec's specialty?   My answer to this question is the one and only Poutine. Confused about what this food is? Think of hot French fries, garnished with melted cheese curds and flavored with a warm gravy. It's so marvelously made that when you are standing in the queue waiting for your turn to order it, you can feel your jaw dropping wide open; you start to drool, and your eyes widely stare at the dazzling picture embracing the delicious mind-numbing Poutine. Poutine, now found across all of Canada, is a vital part of Quebec's culture.

 

Poutine is known to be a high caloric and cholesterol-packed meal, but to a great number of people it is still an irresistible heavenly treat. So how were the people of Quebec able to deliver such a unique, tempting and pleasing meal? It started about fifty years ago when a man by the name of Fernard Lachance had to prepare a special request for one of his clients that craved French fries with melted cheese curds. The sauce was later added to keep the fries sizzling warm. Being a relatively cheap meal, on average $7.50, it is packed with enough carbohydrates to keep one energized. I can simply imagine how satisfying it was to have the warm poutine back in the days when heating was minimal during the rough Canadian winters. With its tremendous popularity among Canadians, many people would travel specifically to Quebec to consume this exquisite dish. Poutine is not only served in all national fast food chains but also in high-end restaurants. It is served at anytime of the day with a strong association to people famished after a long night of drinking. There isn't a specific way to make Poutine, hence many varieties are offered. For example, some places use frozen French fries while others use fresh hand cut potatoes. In chic restaurants and bars, you can add chicken, beef, sausage, lobster or caviar. Many cultures are adopting this meal and creating their own varieties; Italian Poutine has Bolognese sauce added, and Greek Poutine has feta cheese added.

 

Canada, specifically Montreal, has become a main source of multiculturalism and international immigration attraction. It is currently the host to a dramatic increase in the number of nationalities that include Lebanese, Syrians, Indians, Chinese and many more. That being said, Poutine is acknowledged by many people in international countries by word of mouth and the media's growth, gaining a wide range of notoriety. This gives many people a sense of urgency to try this mysterious mess-like dish, but Poutine is so extremely attached to the people living in Quebec that you could hardly consume it outside of North America.

 

Every person, nation and country has a symbol that they're proud to show the world. Quebec has been proud to present their magnificently famous and delicious meal, Poutine, for well over 50 years. Poutine is something that everyone should taste, especially on those harsh, cold, snowy days. Some people fall in love with it from the first taste while others have to try it a few times before getting addicted. Whatever your situation is, whether a tourist, an immigrant or a resident, you should be proud to experience real Poutine and most of all be proud of the culture that was creative enough to develop such a meal. 


Image source: Flickr.

 









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