In case you haven't heard, Montreal is gaga over food. The city oozes restaurants, unique culinary traditions and foodies spoiled by an enviable selection of local produce. In recent years, TV chefs Gordon Ramsay and Jamie Oliver both chose Montreal to anchor their first Canadian restaurant ventures. But they're not the only ones who've caught onto Montreal's food obsession. Some dishes have grabbed the international spotlight throughout the Americas, Europe, Asia ... even the likes of Paris and New York are trying to replicate flavors and textures hard to come by outside of Canada's foodie capital.
For the record, that's poo-tzin -think Vladimir Putin- NOT poo-teen, a common and entirely forgivable error in pronunciation. Quebec's preeminent fast food staple/disaster area/my favorite hangover remedy is not only taking the international food community by storm, it was recently promoted to the official rank of Canada's National Dish. But was it a national decree? Did the government conduct a survey? No. And no. Actually, it's because the American media -I'm talking to you CNN- had a slow news day and decided it was. Read More More »
It's not pastrami. It's not corned beef. It's Montreal smoked meat, dammit. And though some claim the local fast food delicacy is an overrated, underspiced pastrami wannabe, others salivate faster than Pavlov's dogs at the very mention of a smokey, sweet-meets-salty sandwich stacked with a dozen plus slices, prepared in that distinctively Montreal way. But what is it exactly? And where are the best places in town to eat it? Read More More »
According to the Quebec Federation of Maple Syrup Producers, 77% of the world's maple syrup is produced right here, in the province of Quebec. And a sizeable chunk of Quebec's maple products are gobbled up right here, in Montreal. Statistically, the province of Quebec consumes more maple products per capita than anywhere else in the world. And to anyone who has ever tasted sweet maple sap in its many forms, can you honestly blame us? Read More More »
Apart from Hong Kong, where dragon beard candy stands are not uncommon, there are but a handful of places in the world that sell this rare and ancient confection. Montrealer Johnny Chin says he was the first dragon beard candy master to introduce it to North America, back in November 1991, when he opened his shop in Montreal Chinatown. Since then, the candy maestro never looked back on his decision to revive an art on the verge of extinction. Read More More »
Beavertails, "beaver tails," or queues de castor, as we call them in Quebec, do not originate from Montreal or anywhere in Quebec as some may mistakenly believe. Rather, they're an Ottawa invention that for whatever reason, caught on so much in Quebec that the eponymous pastry chain BeaverTails has a heavier concentration of outlets in the French province than anywhere else in Canada, or in the world for that matter. Read More More »
Sometimes dubbed poor man's food, I pity the fool who snubs this wonderfully delicious and nutritious meal common to Quebec farmers of yesteryear on the basis of some antiquated caste system from days of lordship. In fact, I had no idea anyone would actually mock this joy in a bowl until I heard it with my own ears. Fine. No soup for you! For everyone else, I thought I'd share my personal recipe with you, my modern-day, flatulence-mitigating adaptation on a pioneer's tradition, one that costs only pennies a bowl to make. Read More More »
Think Montreal upscale restaurants are out of reach? Think again. Foodies of all budgets can get their high-end grub -- steaks, lobster pasta, salmon tartare -- at a delightfully accessible price point courtesy of a brigade of the city's top restaurants offering special late-night menus that go into effect by evening's end, usually after 9 p.m. or 10 p.m. Read More More »