good things to eat in Montreal



We were in Montreal. This is what we ate.




Obviously a fair amount of bagels. I liked Fairmount more than St. Viateur, largely because they do onion bagels – bread with flecks of crispy, slightly caramelised onion is all anybody really wants. And yes, we had it with salmon and cream cheese, but we also had it with prosciutto from a dépanneur. Clearly we’re flexible AF.

Soft serve from Kem Coba. This was chocolate and raspberry swirl. The raspberry was very tart, a good foil for the chocolate.




On the same stretch as Fairmount and Kem Coba we stumbled upon Drogheria Fine. A tiny shop selling hundreds of bottles of the same pasta sauce, made in-house. They also have a tiny counter where you can have some of the sauce along with home-made gnocchi, for just $5. We got on that. It was a blistering hot day, not really gnocchi weather at all, but we still got on that. I would get on it again.




At the Jean Talon market Johannes had a sea urchin. I did not. Maison Christian Faure served us the best canelé we’d ever had. Dieu du Ciel! had air conditioning so we ended up drinking 75% of the beers currently brewed by them. (If it is not yet clear to anyone why I was 2kg heavier when we returned home, now you know.)




We ended up at Rotisserie Romados quite by accident. Their large grill room with Portuguese chicken cooking over charcoal fires has a window that looks onto the street, and we walked by. This is clearly a very popular spot – lots of families, and an enormous amount of chicken being prepared at all times. It made for a fantastic dinner, along with some of their poutine, which was so much that it completely obscures the chicken in this picture.




Finally – we made it to Schwartz’s. It was worth it. I could have skipped the fries, but the smoked meat sandwich and pickles were a joy. So were everyone working there. I guess clichés are clichés for a reason.





Nova Scotia



Tomorrow we’re getting on a train and leaving for Quebec. A year ago we were getting on a plane and leaving for Nova Scotia. It is still strange seeing so much of a country I never gave much thought to before we moved here. Canada was a vague mass, somebody else’s problem field. Over time it is becoming articulate, defined.




The trip to Nova Scotia was in the middle of my Comprehensive Exams process, and I was not in the best shape. In my suitcase I had dresses, as many books as we had days away, a sun hat and our kitchen knife. The plan was to live in a tiny little AirBnB cottage on the sea outside the village of Hubbards, drive around the craggly coastline, and spend an hour a day lying on the bed and reading something that is not Critical Theory. Our cottage consisted of one big room in which there was a bed, two chairs for reading and looking at the sea, a table with two chairs, and a tiny kitchen space.




We ended up cooking lobster every single night. Bought from the lobster pound at prices lower than we’ve ever seen anywhere. We’d eat it with salad and Nigel Slater’s garlic bread, which we’ve been making for so long it’s the only garlic bread we know how to make – lots of garlic, lots of spring onions and chives, lots of Parmesan. One day we found some deliciously cheap oysters at the lobster pound and had those too, another we drive to Digby and through a conversation struck up with a wife of a scallop fisherman, found out where to buy fresh scallops to take home. They were large, fleshy Digby scallops, and of the best things we have ever eaten.