Thursday, December 10, 2009

The Duality of Montreal

Walking down a snowy street in numb-your-toes-in-two-seconds cold, my co-worker was qualifying that her hat was inexpensive, but it was warm. In the end, she decided she needed to cover it with her hood. "I wouldn't have pegged you as a concerned fashionista," I said. She responded, "I'm not. But we're in Montreal."

Apparently, Montreal is the European fashion city of Canada, and everyone comes to Montreal to shop for interesting items - shoes, clothes, bags. Upon reflection, I do recall that my two favorite dressy shirts came from Montreal during our summer vacation a few years ago. Adding to the cache of the city is soaking in the French language that serves as the city's backdrop din. Ooh La La!

As I paid more attention to those around me, they were, indeed, more fashion-forward and beautiful. Now that we're back in the warm shelter of the research facility, the Canadian team had ordered a dinner of typical Montreal fare.

Since we're in French Canada, I was expecting all things dainty and gorgeous, the herb garnish placed just so. Instead, I was shockingly looking at a plate of what they call, poutine. Check out the picture. Can you blame me for asking, "Wow, this looks like a fantastic mess of meatiness!" Then someone said, "What meat? You mean the French Fries?" Wait - these are fries?!? Poutine is like comfort food for the people of Montreal. It consists of Fries, smothered in gravy, and then baked with cheese curds. Oh yes, heart attack special. I have to admit, it was pretty tasty, but with each bite, I couldn't get over the fact that it wasn't dainty or gorgeous. And where was the herb garnish? In the end, though, I just didn't think there was enough grease...

The other local must-have was the smoked meat. Take a look at this massive sandwich. The meat is super tender and moist without being wet, which is important for the integrity of the bread. Its flavor is salty and peppery and, obviously, with a touch of smokiness that is actually more subtle that I would have expected. It's probably most reminiscent of corned beef, and with the mustard? Yummy.

Tonight, I'm heading to Tokyo Sushi. It's a place that Eric and I visited during our summer vacation, and it might have been some of the best sushi I had ever had.

But what about the French food, you scream, you're in Montreal?!?! Well, true. But I just had an excellent sampling of the local best, and I need the lighter fare of raw fish.

No comments: