Photo cred - Karyna Evangelista
I've always found the concept of eating flesh a little unsettling - nay - barbaric, regardless of which species it comes from. So about four years ago, during a three hour break between classes at the melting pot of all things West Island, more commonly known as John Abbott College, I made the boredom-induced decision on a whim to cut our furry, scaled and feathered friends out of my diet for good.
Fast forward to 2014, where I'm sitting around doing questionable things with the questionable people I call my friends (the usual), bitching about how hard it is to pass up so many culinary gems. Back yard BBQ in the summertime? Saucy drunken pub wings? One might argue that the slew of veg and vegan places Montreal has to offer can act as a quick fix to any and all of my craving woes, but even through the lens of a vegetarian, I can safely admit that there's no such thing as a veggie burger made equal to a homemade slab of beef between two buns.
Maybe it was the increasingly aggravating tradition of hearing me pine over her fast food purchases every time she would eat them in my presence, or maybe it was a simple light-hearted joke, but on this day in particular as I whined and moaned seemingly to no end, my friend Katie made a suggestion that would hereby change my eating identity for the better. "Why don't you choose one day a year to eat meat, then?" I puzzled over the notion of setting aside my commitment for just one day and whether or not it would compromise my self-respect. "Why not make that day Good Friday?"
Photo cred - B. Gohaki
My eyes widened. My heart jumped. How had I never thought of this before? And just like that, Good Friday had officially been appointed the one appropriate meat-eating day of my year.
For those of you who may not be aware, Good Friday is part of the Christian tradition surrounding Easter (i.e. the highest holiday for every Christ-fearing human being), during which you are forbidden to eat any meat whatsoever. I won't get into the nuances as to why exactly this is the rule, but it'll suffice to say that my Nonna would not be pleased to know that I'm breaking it.
We are now entering the second instalment of the annual meeting between my staunch atheism and my complete disregard for my own vegetarianism, and after much toiling and planning, the spread for the day looks better than the babes who strut down the Victoria's Secret runway. Allow me to take you on a magical journey depicting my ideal Good Friday feast. I dare you not to drool all over your keyboard.
Photo cred - prettygirlfood.com
Morning glory begins with me reluctantly rolling out of bed post-snoozing my alarm for a solid hour and a half. After downing at least two coffees, half-heartedly showering, and throwing on the most presentable of my clean clothes, I hop on the 55 over to the ever-cliché breakfast destination for anyone who knows anything about Montreal eats: Fabergé. Once seated and mentally prepared, I tell the waiter with a look of defiance on my face that I will be indulging the their aptly named Meat Eater dish; a take on the classic bacon and eggs – the only difference being the abundance of every breakfast meat ever also being on the plate.
After conquering my first animal-infused dish of this self-created holiday, I naturally need to go outside and smoke a triumphant end-of-meal-digestif, if you will. That's right folks, the blasphemy never ends! And to make matters worse (or better, depending on your angle), lunch is only hours away where more fattitude is obviously in store.
Afternoon delight – a term which, I presume, has never been used more accurately than right now – takes place at the iconic Schwartz's Deli, where I indulge in one of Montreal's staples. You can call it cured meat, you can call it pastrami, but at the end of the day if you're not calling it smoked meat, you're straight wrong. And I've got to confess to the world at large the reason I chose this meal in particular to grace my Good Friday menu is one that would make any native of this city cringe: I have never tried smoked meat. Ever. Therefore, in order to join the ranks of every other self-respecting Montrealer, I must perform this task with gusto and with style. So I push my way into the perpetually crowded tiny eatery and plop my fine behind down at a table to enjoy what will surely be a building block to my identity as a member of this community.
Photo cred - Robert Lee
Enter dinner, the last supper (until next year) where I can actually name the creatures that were murdered solely for my own oral satisfaction. This is the piece de resistance, the motherload, the meal that I've been envisioning every time I've dreamt for the better part of my adult life. And with the two knockout meals that I ingested but a few hours prior, you probably won't understand why this one in particular is tickling my fancy more so than anything else, so let me fill you in: Ever since I was a kid, my dad has been taking me to this little hole-in-the-wall Chinese place, which has served as my family's exclusive provider of unauthentic Chinese food. The restaurant in question, called Mirama, is located on Somerled in NDG and consists of nothing more than a takeout counter and maybe three square feet of standing room. But that's apparently all you need to make the city's most delectable pineapple chicken. And their egg rolls (dramatic pause), don't even get me started on the egg rolls. They're a fvcking revelation! – and I don't use that term lightly. If there's only one takeaway from this entire article, let it be Mirama's egg rolls.
Thus concludes one blaspheming, now tummy-aching vegetarian's Good Friday escapades. If this sounds like something that a) doesn't offend you and b) is within your criteria for a good time, join my one-man (or girl, in this instance) mission to ridicule a high holiday while having simultaneous foodgasms throughout. Until next year, where I hope to see you all out here suffering alongside me! Oh, and happy Easter ya filthy animals!