Full disclosure: I'm one of those semi-annoying people who calls themselves a foodie. I don't know who invented the title, and I don't even know how someone becomes a foodie without just randomly starting to call themselves one. But I do know one thing: in order to be a foodie, you have to (wait for it) love food. And I think at this point we can all agree that food is one thing I'm super passionate about.
To my surprise, though, not everyone is as crazy about eating, cooking, and discovering good grub as I am. The first time someone told me they didn't go out to restaurants, I thought they were kidding. I laughed, and not even ironically (yes, it was awkward, but we've both moved on). I just couldn't get how someone would be content without the thrill of discovering a brand new restaurant, or a brand new dish; my friend couldn't get how I was fine spending all my money on food.
I guess it's a "live to eat" VS. "eat to live" type of thing, which is cool. Everyone likes different things in life. But it got me thinking that there are probably some people who have no clue how the foodie half of Montreal lives. And for those of you who have questions... well, I've got answers. Read on for The Struggles Of Loving Food When You Live In Montreal.
1. You're constantly overwhelmed.
Montreal's food scene is literally amazing. There are new places popping up all the time; classic restaurants that you still have to try; hidden gems that you need to discover; and, of course, your old favourites, waiting for you with open arms.
Personally, this is super overwhelming for me. If I don't choose an awesome place to eat tonight, I know I'll feel dissatisfied and upset. I know it's just one meal, but with so many great places to choose from, it's definitely frustrating to think that you dungoofed.
2. People just don't understand you.
Yes, it is a first-world problem that my favourite restaurant closed. No, the place down the street doesn't serve the exact same food, Marie, do you even know who you're dealing with right now? (Sidenote: I don't know who Marie is. Replace that name with whoever is causing your food-related chaos right now, though).
3. Money is a thing of the past.
Sometimes people ask me how I can afford to spend so much money on food. I tell them: great budgeting, sacrifice, proper money managing, and - here's the real trick - holding in your tears when you see your bank statement at the end of the month.
In all seriousness, though, some people like spending their money on clothes, on clubbing, or on vacation. Me? I'll take a food-discovering adventure over anything else, any day, hands down. It's just what I enjoy.
4. You sound legit crazy.
This is a true story: earlier this week, I had a donut at work for breakfast. This donut was so good that I actually started crying. No, like, I was literally tearing up, in front of everyone, with absolutely 0 shame. Although they didn't tell me that I was actually insane, I'm sure they all thought it. Who gets emotional over a donut?
If you're as passionate about food as I am, then you can probably relate. Maybe you've asked if it was legal to marry your favourite dish; maybe you've described your dinner last night as "the best thing that's ever existed in the known universe"; maybe you've done some kind of crazy stunt just to get to a particular restaurant before it closes.
Either way, people think you're nuts. But personally, I wouldn't have it any other way.
5. You can navigate Montreal entirely based on restaurants.
My friends don't even bother telling me streets anymore. They just straight up tell me which restaurant they're next to, and trust that I know exactly where to find them.
6. Dieting's actually really awesome.
Which sounds like some flawed logic, but hear me out. In Montreal, we're honestly super lucky to have so many awesome, healthy restaurants and grocery stores, which really helps when you're trying to uphold your "make healthier choices" New Years Resolution.
Also, it makes cheat day all that sweeter. Personally, my life revolves around eating relatively well during the week (fellow vegan food fans, where you at?) and then losing my shit during the weekend. I'd like to say that there's been some sacrificing going on, but I wouldn't call "spaghetti squash Alfredo" a sacrifice.
7. Chefs become your idols.
Whenever I speak to someone in the restaurant industry, I get a little jittery. Which is kind of bad news for me, since in Montreal, pretty much everyone is in the restaurant industry. (Jokes, maybe?)
But people who love food also tend to love the people who make the food, so it's understandable that basically any chef reaches celeb status in your book. And don't get me started when you become friends with someone who cooks really awesome food. They're now your friend for life. There is no going back.
8. Eating out is great, but staying in is better.
Sure, going out to restaurants is amazing. But the best thing about being a food lover? You can turn even the most basic dish into a culinary experience.
Seriously. A tuna and mayo sandwich? Um, cool, but don't you mean flaked seafood with an olive oil reduction, spread on a slice of moist, warm bread?
9. In a word: it's awesome.
Montreal is, in my opinion, the culinary capital of Canada. Am I wrong? Maybe. But I don't like to think so.
There are so many amazing places to get out there and try; so many different restaurants to call your favourite. And, based on my own personal experience, many of us are super passionate about what we like to eat, and where we like to eat it. Maybe we're not all foodies. Maybe we are. All I know is that I don't think there's any place better for us to be lovers of food.