June 16, 2009

O, Canada....

My awesome BF and I took a trip last week to Montréal, Québec City, and Stowe, Vermont. While we were in Montréal, I passed up several opportunities to have poutine, the national dish of French-Canadians. It's basically french fries topped with fresh cheese curds, then doused in piping hot brown gravy (all the better to melt said curds). Quite frankly, the phrase 'cheese curds' just gave me the willies. I mean "Curd?" Really? Could there be a less-appetizing word in the food dictionary? Besides sweetbreads, I mean.

The BF was the brave one in this instance. When we stopped for lunch in Québec City, BF saw it on the menu. I explained to him what poutine was and how the curds kind of skeeved me out, and he gallantly offered to order some and share it with me. He's nice like that. ;) It turns out that poutine is actually quite delicious--between the two of us, we cleaned the plate!

Back in Montréal we hit a 'must-see' spot (recommended by family and guide books) known as Schwartz's deli. We made it about halfway through the 5-mile hike (mostly uphill) from our hotel before surrendering and taking a cab (another excuse for me to speak French!!) It's a small, unimposing place, comprised of collapsible tables and barstools and a scarily no-frills display of the wares. The floors were dirty and a little slippery, and the decor is rustic at best, but it's also covered with photos of celebs and rave write-ups, so I decided the slick floor just added to the character. Their meat is pretty tasty, though, and not expensive at all. I had the smoked meat sandwich (smoked meat is one of the things Montreal is known for) on its own with a black cherry cola (apparently a tradition there). The soda was fan-freaking-tastic, and the sandwich was pretty darn good. Please note the fattiness of the meat I'm holding in my hand (photo below, left). You can order your meat lean or with a 'leetle fat.' I requested the 'leetle' bit. I would normally NEVER eat something that fatty (yeah, I'm one of 'those' people). I usually cut the fat off my steak, won't eat the fatty part of chicken, etc. I can't stand the texture--it triggers my powerful gag reflex. In this instance, however, it was delicious. The seasonings and the flavor were smooth and super-savory--there was nothing rubbery or chewy about it. BF had the mixed platter, which came with about a pound of meat and a pile o' bread for making your own sammiches. The write-ups I read compared the meat to pastrami, but I thought it was less stringy and more seasoned. I wouldn't say AMAZING, but it was very good. I would recommend you visit this place for lunch, though, and not the 10pm dinner we had. I had some serious heartburn when I tried to go to sleep about an hour later!

More Canadian (and Yankee) posts to come! Au revoir!

Schwartz's Montreal Hebrew Delicatessen
3895 Saint-Laurent boulevard
Montreal, H2W 1X9, Canada
(514) 842-4813

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