29 August 2012

Montreal Day One!

My brother and I went to Montreal from the 11th to 16th of August, by bus. We managed to squeeze in nearly all of the important events in four days (the 11th and 16th were spent travelling), and to me, the most important events included FOOD - markets, grocery stores, restaurants, cafes, etc. Unfortunately, it didn't go as well as anticipated, as we didn't make it to a few places. Ah well. As Montreal is such a clean, entertaining place, I expect to go back in the future. As I don't feel like detailing the non-food entertainment, here goes the details about all I ate (in 4 consecutive blog posts), in non-paragraph form with final prices! This summer I've also pretty much been eating animals, and this continued in Montreal. I will perhaps revert back to a "mostly-vegetarian" when the semester starts again and I feel more in control of my life.

We spent a lot of money on food, and tacking on 15% tax + 15% tip made meals much pricier than I am used to. However, we're travelling and trying foods, and that's what matters. Point of life is to eat, right?

Day 1: 12th

Lays Fries & Gravy Potato Chips 1.71$
  • These were pretty good!
Café Depot ~8$
  • In my question for une boulangerie at 8-9am on a sleepy Montreal Sunday, we ended up here. Unfortunately, this was a chain store (like Starbucks) and nothing was particularly appealing. If I were travelling alone, I would've walked around more searching for a neat local place, but I think my brother was hungry.
  • My brother got an iced mocha coffee thing that tasted like green bean ice lolly to me. It wasn't that sweet, and I enjoyed it (but I enjoy most mocha things, so that doesn't mean much). I think I ended up with 1/5 of it because it was too much for him. The ice chunks were too coarsely crushed; We had a round of ice the size of a quarter.
  • We shared a slice of blueberry cheesecake that was merely ok. I realised that my standards for restaurant foods have slowly increased since I started learning to cook, particularly regarding desserts. I now look at a lot more food with disdain because I can make a whole batch of [insert dessert] for the same price of a made-weeks-ago-frozen-and-reheated dessert at a restaurant. This isn't true for macarons or baked Alaska yet, though.
Frites Alors! ~40$
  • Well! Our second attempt to order in French was foiled again! Everyone can tell that we are not fluent (to zoom forward in time, though, there were two instances in which I spoke all French - badly - buying Metro tickets, and buying maple syrup at the Atwater Market). The waitress was really nice but forgot to give us our second sauce (but gave it to us when we asked her where it was).
  • Ever since I read the Wikipedia article about poutine, I've wanted to try it. Unfortunately, cheese curds are difficult to find in the Northeast, and now, I had the chance! I could eat poutine for all meals in Montreal! So, of course, I got the smoked cheese poutine. My brother saw that there was cheval tartare, which is horse tartare, which is horse pieces mashed up with spices and served raw. As we've both only tried raw fish before (sashimi), we immediately decided to order that. Finally, for some reason, my brother thought that it was necessary to order a third dish (sure, we were hungry, but not famished?), so we got fried calamari with amazing Frites Alors! sauce.
  • The smoked cheese poutine was a disaster. I didn't like it (although perhaps you would enjoy it). The fries had initially been cooked perfectly, but the cheese curds (or was it the gravy?) were so salty! Over time, the fries became extremely soggy and I felt like I was eating roasted, soggy, semi-mashed potato strips instead of fries, which defeats the purpose of using all that fatty cooking oil. Apart from the excessive peppercorns that added a lingering spiciness, it wasn't flavourful; all the volatile compounds in the gravy were masked by the salt. In retrospect, I probably should've just tried the original poutine.
  • The fried calamari was perfect, and the Frites Alors! sauce was drinkable (although a bit spicy). It is always a plus when a sauce is drinkable.
  • The raw horse mince (cheval tartare) was...interesting. I tried it by itself, and with bread. It was sour (there were chunks of pickle in it), oily (fatty tasting?), and kind of bland and tacky/gluey. Apart from that bizarre oiliness, there was no discernible flavour. I would not want to try it again.

  • Free Wifi.

Moi & Toi Café ~25$
  • I wasn't hungry at all (too much food from Frites Alors!) so I didn't even want to eat dinner. However, my brother wanted to have a meal, so we went, and I got Crème brûlée because I've never had it before. It was fine.
  • My brother got ratatouille with fried goat cheese (ostensibly) and it came in a cuboid with a square of something that tasted like a mild cheese cracker. I don't remember ratatouille as something densely packed, but, sure, it was fine.
  • The meal came with three pieces of baguette.
  • The service was quite nice.

Super C ~17$
  • I enjoyed visiting this supermarket. I like checking out different cultures' supermarkets because they stock interesting items, whether in pairs, or on sale, or even merely the size of the items. For example, there was a whole cheese section (no cheese counter though), with picnic sized artisan and fancy cheeses, while the generic cheddars and stuff were in a different section of the store. There were small tins of tomato sauce (150g?) as opposed to the big tins at our stores. The baguettes were skinny, the beer was easily accessible, and there were a whole bunch of fruits and vegetables that I had never tried before.
  • We got 5 Mars bars, one Dairy Milk Hazelnut bar, one Crunchie bar, 3 Kinder Surprises, 125 g Camembert cheese, one small baguette, and some juice.
  • We tried the Camembert and baguette that night (even though I wasn't hungry, and I didn't really have an appetite either), and it was quite good. The rind was pretty tasteless and a bit chalky, while the cheese was soft, mild, and creamy.

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