Eating My Way Through Montreal (Part 1)
September 15, 2011 § 1 Comment
Hurricane Irene kept me in Montreal a few days longer than my original weekend plans, but laziness kept from blogging about this somewhat unexpected vacation. Now settled into my New York routine, I miss those days of exploring that charming city – rummaging through Boulevard Saint Laurent’s thrift shops, drinking spruce beer for the first time, eating copious amounts of frites. So, I’ll share of my Montreal adventures, day by day, here and we’ll see how long that takes.
The mystery of poutine and late summer, pre-fall restlessness brought my friends and me to Montreal. Since late July, we had been looking for a way to escape New York’s humidity, mosquitoes and hustle, but we didn’t anticipate the torrential rain, the flooding, the evacuations that Hurricane Irene would threaten. That Friday, August 26, some fled the city and others stayed put while my friends and I pat ourselves on the back for our remarkable timing as we weathered the ten hour train ride to Quebec. And, by the time the storm touched down downtown on Sunday, we were enjoying a hearty brunch at Marche de la Villette in Vieux Montreal without a care, convinced Irene could not affect our trip. How wrong we were – but that’s for another post.
After an excruciatingly long train ride, we finally arrived in Montreal around 9pm Friday night. We quickly checked into our hotel, the InterContinental Montreal on Rue Saint Antoine, settled in (meaning jumping on the beds) and set out for Le Plateau for smoked meat sandwiches. Slightly lost but entranced, we walked down Boulevard Saint Laurent. It was punctuated by tents selling wispy, patterned dresses, cheap jewelry and charred sausages (not unlike street fairs in New York) and we wandered alongside young parents pushing their sleepy kids in strollers and friends out on the town.
There, right across the long lines at the famed Schwartz’s Deli, was Main Deli Steak House. An equally good sandwich shop, according to my friend who had traveled to Montreal before, we found an open table under Main Deli’s street-side tent and tucked in our smoked meat sandwiches with a side of our first authentic poutine.
My roast beef was dry compared to the juicy smoked meat sandwiches drizzled with mustard my friends ordered (don’t worry – smoked meat sandwiches make another appearance during our trip), but the poutine was just what we need after the long commute – something greasy with thick, rich gravy and cheese.
Before heading back to the hotel, we stopped by Les 3 Minots, a small music venue with a short and simple drinks menu, for a pitcher of blonde micro de Bromont. I’m still not quite sure what we drank, but it was light, smooth and perfect for relaxing outdoors with friends.