Eating poutine for a Montrealer is essentially a rite of passage, just like biking everywhere and spending your summer days on a terrasse. So naturally, you can't help but wonder what this Québécois delicacy tastes like in other parts of the world.
When I took a trip to Austin, locals let me know that, to my surprise, some restaurants serve poutine in Texas too — and I decided I had to try it for myself.
I checked out different places on Google and originally set out to try this greasy dish at a food truck called "Texas poutine" on Austin's ever so popular Rainey street. The name clearly made it seem like the perfect spot to get this meal. Unfortunately, when I showed up, the food truck was non-existent so it seemed like it had closed down.
I know at home we like to put all kinds of strange stuff on poutine, from bacon to general tao, but I'm usually a fan of the classic fries, gravy and squeaky cheese. This one was topped with ham — not my cup of tea, but had to do it for the research, right?
As you can see, it had much less gravy than we're used to in Quebec. Because of that, it didn't taste like a proper poutine from places like La Banquise.
The plan was to introduce my friend from California to Quebec's favourite comfort food, but neither of us were the biggest fans. I made sure to let her know it didn't taste anything like it does back home, though.
Missing indoor dining? Us too. But luckily, a group of chefs and sommeliers found a way for us to be able to live out this experience again while we wait for Montreal restaurants to be allowed to reopen.
Sommeliers Xavier Richard-Paquet and Joris Gutierrez Garcia and chefs Paul Toussaint, of Kamùy and Americas BBQ, and Massimo Piedimonte, the former chef of Le Mousso, created an outdoor pop-up restaurant in Montreal with a heated terrasse to keep us warm and eating well this winter.
Located in the Quartier des Spectacles, outdoor pop-up Cinquième Vague (referring to the pandemic's fifth wave) offers gourmet après-ski comfort food with a mix of Caribbean and Italian flavours.
On the menu, you've got options like cod acras, tortellini in brodo, jerk chicken and a homemade burrata. Plus, a delicious wine list prepared by the two experts.
Although being on a terrasse makes it feel like summer again, you'll be able to warm up with some mulled wine or hot chocolate if you get cold. And to finish your meal, you can indulge in some roasted s'mores.
Once you arrive, you'll have the option of sitting at the picnic tables on the heated terrasse or taking your meal home to enjoy.
Cinquième Vague told Narcity that the pop-up project is creating 20 jobs, which is great news for Montreal's restaurant industry, which has been going through some tough times in recent weeks.
"Our goal is to push the limits according to the law that allows us to continue to do business. [...] Right now, running a restaurant is becoming a seasonal job [...] it's not the winter that's going to stop us, it's us who will stop the winter. That's the goal, to give hope to people who are homebound, to offer a sunny destination. Through the snowbanks, it's a message of hope for the entire industry," said sommelier Xavier Richard-Paquet.
Boucherie Slovenia, a boulevard Saint-Laurent institution for 50 years, will soon serve its last spicy sausage.
The iconic home of enormous Eastern European-style sandwiches — Slovenian sausage and towering cold-cuts were staples — will close its doors forever on January 29, said the owners, Lourdes Rodrigues and Jean Teixeira, in a Facebook post.
"Thank you to all our loyal customers, for the wonderful years," they said.
With a menu overflowing with huge, yet affordable, meat and mustard sandwiches — sauerkraut, pickles and Cherry Cokes were also standard — Boucherie Slovenia is the latest of the Main's iconic old-school institutions to close.
The beloved Moishes steakhouse announced its closure under the strain of the pandemic in the summer of 2020.
The Boucherie Slovenia Facebook post asks readers to share their memories of the restaurant and butcher shop, with many offering childhood stories of visiting for a pepperette sandwich or their "underrated" smoked meat, which is "the best in the city," according to one commenter.
Many apparent long-time customers said they wouldn't know where to go to find dishes comparable to Boucherie Slovenia's treasured menu items.
Others remarked on how yet another classic Montreal restaurant is closing its doors. "Nothing replaces these fantastic old shops," said one person. "It's a loss. The rich character of the boulevard is disappearing."
If you've ever taken stock of Montreal's countless sushi spots (despite that the city is nowhere near an ocean), you might've gotten the hunch that Montrealers love sushi — and, according to a new ranking by Chef's Pencil, you'd be right. Montreal was just named the 11th most "sushi-crazed" city in the world outside of Japan, which means we're officially sushi-obsessed.
Sushi is one of those foods that works well for just about any occasion. Celebrating a birthday? Sushi. Catching up with old friends? Sushi. A random Tuesday night? Sushi. No wonder it's so popular here.
Since simply reading this article has likely brought your perpetual sushi craving up 10 notches, here are some of Montreal's best sushi restaurants. You're going to want to try them because a city that's this into sushi has only the highest of standards.
Why You Need To Go: Chef Antonio Park has made a name for himself — both here in the city and also around the world — thanks to his amazing sushi. One meal at his namesake restaurant in Westmount is enough to see why.
Why You Need To Go: Not one but two locations bring you bright, colourful fusion maki creations — from Bob Marley rolls, made with fish tempura and yogurt sauce, to Marvin Gaye rolls made with fried shrimp, sweet miso and lobster. As it says on the Saint Sushi website, "At Saint, it's good vibes only!"