Sunday, November 14, 2010

deux déjeuners à Montréal, parte une

I know.  After all my talk of turning over a new leaf and posting every day, I completely stopped posting for a long time.  Now I am in Montreal for 2 weeks, followed by Thanksgiving in California, so I won't be back to posting meals I cooked myself until December.  

But, Montreal has excellent food, and though I have not taken pictures of all the meals I have eaten here so far, I did manage to capture my lunches of this weekend. 

Saturday I spent the day wandering around Old Montreal.  According to a guy I work with, Old Montreal is the oldest settlement of non-Native Americans in North America.  I somehow do not think that is true, but the original mission dates to 1642, so that is pretty old. (A quick wikipedia search verifies that Montreal does not even come close to the oldest European settlement in North America.  Veracruz, Mexico was inhabited by Europeans in 1519.  For those of you who don't consider Mexico to be a part of North America - I have heard many Canadians include Mexico as part of South America which just makes no sense - San Juan, Puerto Rico was settled in 1521.  Further, Tadoussac, Quebec was settled in 1599.  So Montreal isn't even the oldest settlement in Quebec.)

I would call my wandering of Old Montreal "controlled wandering"; I did one of my Montreal Lonely Planet's walking tours.  I must say, I love Lonely Planet's walking tours.  I started at the Basilique Notre Dame on the Place d'Armes then walked along Rue St Jacque, what used to be the Wall Street of Canada.  Lots of old buildings.  Then more old buildings, and I started to get hungry.  I stopped in Cafe St. Paul which, embarrassingly, was part of the walking tour.  It is a cute old cafe, and when I saw poutine on the menu, I knew I had to have it.  

Poutine is the quintessential québécois fare.  It is french fries smothered in cheddar curds and gravy.  I already know I love the stuff, as I have often times eaten it at the Potato Champion cart on 11th and Hawthorne in Portland.  But I was really excited to have authentic Quebec poutine.  I was disappointed.  I think the gravy was the problem.  Potato Champion makes real gravy.  This stuff tasted like something out of a can.  My Lonely Planet lists the 5 best places to get poutine, and I will have to go to one of those places and see if they can top Potato Champion.

I am not a snobby eater, though, so I managed to put back the whole plate of poutine pictured below before continuing on my walking tour.

Here's a ridiculously simple poutine recipe that gives basically no more instruction than my description of what poutine is above.  

Prepare french-fries, approximately 2 cups into a serving bowl. Drop 1/2 C of cheddar cheese curds on top of the fries. Ladel 1 cup of sauce (while hot) on top of the fries and cheese. Allow to rest for 3-5 minutes, permitting the sauce and cheese to work together. Grab a fork, and enjoy!

For the sauce, apparently the most common one to use is out of a pouch from the St. Hubert brand.  No wonder the gravy on my poutine at Cafe St. Paul tasted like it was out of a can; it was probably out of a pouch.

I'm already thinking of how good some poutine with fresh Tillamook cheese curds and homemade gravy would be (leftover Thanksgiving gravy?).  Perhaps I'll make some when I'm back in Portland.

Bon appetit.

1 comment:

  1. Oh sure, make poutine now that I'm not around to taste it! I have had delicious poutine many times in Montreal, but I can't remember any of the was usually after a night of drinking. I'm confident you'll find poutine that tops the one from Potato Champion. If not, I can direct you to a good spot in Burlington if you can venture a little south to Vermont!