Friday, October 23, 2009

Montreal Food Guide -Part Deux

On our third day in Montreal, we were invited to a friend of a friend's Canadian Thanksgiving. Julia and Carlo were so sweet to let us join their family for the festivities. Overall, Canadian Thanksgiving is more of a low-key event compared to the American holiday. We had turkey with a foil bikini - which I unfortunately don't have any pictures of, but found a picture off of the internet below. We also had some delicious butternut squash soup with drizzled avocado oil, as well as mashed potatoes and gravy, and pumpkin pie for dessert. It was really so kind of Julia and her family to have us over - they even spoke English just for us!
Image taken from
Later that night, after we went back to the hotel and took a nap, we took the metro over to Mile End and watched Carlo perform in a play. It was very interesting, because the play was in a loft where the audience could walk into whatever scene they wanted and watch. It felt like a mystery because you were trying to put together pieces of what was going on in each storyline.

Afterwards to celebrate, Carlo and Julia took us to Fairmount Bagel which is open 24 hours.
Over Thanksgiving dinner, there was a debate about who had better bagels - New York or Montreal, so we had to go find out for ourselves. I am not really a bagel connoisseur, and in fact have never even been to H & H Bagel in New York. I have only eaten them whenever a friend has brought one over for me. That said, the bagel debate was something I couldn't really get passionate about, but I was all for just going to get warm bagels at 11 at night. According to my guide book, the main difference between an American bagel and a Canadian bagel is that the Canadian bagel is less doughy and slightly sweeter. Carlo wanted us to get the ultimate Montreal bagel experience so he went and bought bagels from the rival bagel shop St-Viateur Bagel, while Julia took the rest of us to Fairmount.
Photo taken by AWD.
Inside is a small space with a counter and a couple large refrigerators to the right filled with various spreads such as cream cheese and lox. Behind the counter you can see the ovens baking the bagels and the employees cutting and hand rolling the dough. I had to get the sesame bagel and cinnamon raisin (my two favorites) and I also tried the small sweet bagels which were crunchy and slightly sweet but actually a disappointment. Both the sesame and cinnamon raisin bagel were delicious, as we had waited for them to come straight out of the oven.
Photos taken by AWD.
Once Carlo returned, we had a sesame bagel throwdown between Fairmount and St-Viateur. Four out of five preferred Fairmount (I think the odd man out was just trying to be cool).
Winning Fairmount Sesame Bagel on right!Photos taken by AWD.
After our bagel taste-testing was complete, I thought our night was over. I thought wrong! Julia and Carlo decided to take us for some traditional, greasy Canadian food called poutine. Although poutine comes in many varieties, the standard is French fries covered in beef gravy and topped with fresh cheese curds. Needless to say, I did not try it, but I did get just some French fries. We ate at the very crowded La Banqiuse Resto, which is also open 24 hours and to me seems equivalent to going to Perkins after a late night out. You pay at your table before you get your meal, and usually people wash the grease down with a cold beer.
The next day we got up early and rode the train back down to New York - thank goodness I had bought a couple more bagels for the journey home :)

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