Archive for the 'Québécois' Category

Mile End Sandwich – New York City

Mile End Deli - New York City

Before boarding our flight home to Los Angeles, The Astronomer and I lunched at Mile End Sandwich to get a taste of Noah Bernamoff and Rae Cohen’s Montreal-style Jewish comfort food. The couple, he a Montrealer and she a New Yorker, opened the original Mile End Delicatessen in Boerum Hill, Brooklyn in 2010.

Mile End Deli - New York City

This tidy storefront north of Houston serves an abbreviated menu with over a dozen different sandwiches, seasonal salads, and poutine on offer. We placed our order at the counter and the food was delivered to the table as soon as it was ready.

Mile End, by the way, is the name of Montreal’s historically working-class Jewish quarter.

Mile End Deli - New York City

The “Hot Pastrami Sandwich” ($12), hand-cut Montreal smoked meat served on Orwasher’s rye, could not have looked any more enticing.

The adorably portioned sandwich was stacked tall with thick, tender, beautifully seasoned slices of smoked meat. A touch of mustard kept the protein’s richness in check, bringing balance to the entire creation.

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Au Pied de Cochon – Montréal

Au Pied de Cochon - Montreal

As stoked as I was to dig into Montréal’s poutine, smoked meat, and bagels, nothing compared to the excitement and anticipation of sitting down for a meal at Au Pied de Cochon. Chef Martin Picard’s temple of all things meaty, unctuous, and over-the-top came highly recommended to me by my brother, the Kung Food Panda, and every food lover who’s ever traveled to the area. Dining at “the foot of the pig” is a Montréal must-do, especially for those with a penchant for decadence.

Au Pied de Cochon - Montreal

According to the New York Times, Au Pied de Cochon made a splash onto the dining scene back in 2004 when Chef Picard gained notoriety for topping poutine with a fatty lobe of duck liver. Since then, the chef has expanded his unorthodox foie gras preparations to include pizzas, tarts, and hamburgers. In fact, there’s even an entire section of the menu dedicated to engorged duck livers. If it weren’t for my level-headed dining companions, The Astronomer and Nina, I would’ve surely gone overboard with the foie gras offerings.

Au Pied de Cochon - Montreal

To start, we were brought a warm and crusty baguette tucked inside a napkin with softened butter served alongside. Although we didn’t plan on eating much of the bread and butter due to the impending spread, it proved too enticing to resist.

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Schwartz’s Montréal Hebrew Delicatessen – Montréal

Schwartz's Montreal Hebrew Delicatessen -  Montréal

Besides poutine, the thing to eat while in Montréal is smoked meat. There are a handful of purveyors around town, but Schwartz’s Montréal Hebrew Delicatessen is the most well known and highly regarded.

The restaurant was opened in 1928 by a Jewish immigrant from Romania named Reuben Schwartz. The smoked meat is prepared using a secret blend of herbs and spices and marinated for ten days. Schwartz’s has employed the same recipe and techniques for over 80 years and takes great pride in serving a preservative-free product.

Schwartz's Montreal Hebrew Delicatessen -  Montréal

The Astronomer and I, along with our friends Nina, Linda, and Dan, made our way here for lunch on our first full day in the city. Even though we arrived well past lunchtime, there was still quite a lengthy line outside the restaurant. After waiting for about 30 minutes, we were finally ushered in.

Schwartz's Montreal Hebrew Delicatessen -  Montréal

Due to the restaurant’s limited space and immense popularity, smaller parties are usually seated with strangers along the long narrow tables that occupy the room. Our group was large enough this afternoon to merit our own domain.

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Restaurant La Banquise – Montréal

Restaurant La Banquise - Montréal

I intentionally ate very lightly while traveling from Los Angeles to Montréal so that I would be prepared to gorge on poutine the moment I stepped onto Canadian soil. Packed in my bag were two lahmajoun from Old Sasoon Bakery and a container of slightly stale kale chips. I rationed my provisions throughout the long day on the road, and by the time our plane landed a little past midnight, my stomach was growling and begging for a caloric hit.

Restaurant La Banquise - Montréal

After our friend Nina picked us up from the airport, we zoomed to Restaurant La Banquise. Open all day and all night, La Banquise specializes in classic and outlandish varieties of poutine. When we arrived at the restaurant around half past one, a line of hungry revelers was snaking out the door. It turns out that we weren’t the only ones in town in the mood for a Québécois treat.

Restaurant La Banquise - Montréal

The menu at La Banquise features 25 varieties of poutine that build upon the classic. Between the three of use, we decided to order two small plates to share.

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