Montreal, Part II-A: Bagels, Bakeries, Market & Pastrami. All Before Dinner.

Note: Photos in this post were taken by and/or with Don’s camera. The waiter at Au Pied de Cochon accidently knocked mine off the bar during dinner the prior night. The camera did not survive.

Friday night, post Au Pied de Cochon, we slept a dead sleep. The deep sort of sleep only experienced as a coupled result of midnight fat & foie overkill and a ten hour car ride (not complaining though, Don drove both ways ^-^). Beyond stuffed, I’ve never slept so soundly throughout the night. I was also a bit worried because surely there could be absolutely no more tummy space to hold all the food we had on our agenda.

Thank goodness I was wrong.

So very wrong…

We woke up surprisingly refreshed on Saturday morning, still a little stuffed but nonetheless eager, bagels sparkling on the mind. Fairmount and St. Viateur Bagel shops were on the list and we went only with the former, opting to save room for a half-dozen pastries, sausages, ribs, and pastrami to come.

The shop was busy with both bakers and customers moving at rapid speed, the open workspace allowing a glimpse into the kitchen, countless bagels sliding down wooden boards, out of the wood-fired oven and into great big containers already filled with a hundred more. High turnover. We ordered three savouries: onion, garlic and sundried tomato, and a tub Liberté cream cheese, and quickly dashed back to the car, tore open the paper bag for a makeshift table and dug in. The crust on these bagels are marvelous, crisp with a confident shatter, and creamy milky innards, a tad sweet. Just as intense though not as nearly heavy as New York bagels.

Next stop, a drive to Marché Jean-Talon for edible ooglings and a few post-bagel snacks. We would return back to this neighborhood for dinner at Kitchen Galerie later that evening. I didn’t find the produce selection to be as impressive as the Union Square Greenmarket back home, but the wide range of meats, fats, livers and terrines were quite memorable.

Outside we watched those behind the maple syrup stands pour the syrup straight out of large metal containers onto ice lined tables. It was mother-son team work at this one vendor. The mom would pour and let it rest to freeze for a minute before the son came by to press in wooden tongue depressors, turning the syrup into glassy maple lollipops.

Here we devoured spicy sausages with plenty of sauerkraut and dijon mustard tucked into thick buns…

…and a bison rib – tender, though with a glaze too sweet for my liking. We sat on the bench outside, under the sun in the warm weather (how I take this for granted in Hawai’i!), quietly munching away as morning shoppers passed.

We followed into the afternoon with visits to Kouign Amann and Le Fromentier for cakes, croissants, cookies and pies. But I’ll save the bakery visits for the next post and let this post be the savoury memories of the day.

The line in front of Schwatz’s was long when we first passed it in the morning, and even longer at 4pm in the afternoon. I’ve never been a big pastrami eater, or a real meat eater for that matter. That is, until I met Don, and now it seems all I do is crave hot savoury, dripping hunks of meat at every hour of the day.

Despite the crowds, the line moved quickly and it was our turn in but a few minutes. “I don’t want my own sandwich,” I said, still full from our morning adventures. Don asked if I was sure, and yes, I was. I was sure I was sure. Hah.

The sandwich came with us into the car and a short drive back to the hotel. He ripped oven the grease lined bag and I, oops, ended up eating not one bite, but half the sandwich. Heeeee. I couldn’t help myself, and who really would want to? It’s terribly difficult to abandon the succulent fatty slices melting in the warmth of your mouth, so appropriately tucked between thin slices of white bread. Next time we must order two ^-^. Maybe three. Never hurts to save one as a snack…

He placed the order for the sandwich and I thought that was it, so I turned my focus away to the interior of the delicatessen packed to the brims with midday diners and countless pastrami sandwiches, enormous slabs of grilled beef livers and plates of fries, dainty in comparison. But then I heard his voice again – ordering more? “…and a whole pastrami, extra fatty.” He looked over at me, “we can share.” The whole pepper-crusted pastrami made it safely back to the city with us, the savoury fat seeping though a double wrap of butcher paper. Marvelous.

Fairmount Bagels
74 Fairmount West
Montreal, Quebec
(514) 272-0667 H2T 2M2

Marché Jean-Talon
7070, Henri-Julien Street
Montreal, Quebec

3895 Saint-Laurent Blvd
Montreal, Quebec H2W 1X9
(514) 842-4813

  • K & S
    November 30, -0001

    pastrami!!! they only put a measely thin slice here…. :(delicious adventure as always, Kathy!

  • Darien
    April 25, 2008

    looks delicious! i need to visit montreal ;)

  • anonymous
    April 26, 2008

    Bison rib…nice. I am quite jealous of your delicious eateries.

  • KirkK
    April 26, 2008

    Oh my….all before dinner!

  • Punap
    April 26, 2008

    yes, you all should visit montreal! :D and I still have to go to jean-talon before i go, i love market places. hey, have you tried the very quebecoise “delicacy”, puotine? cheese and fries, uh… :D

  • Kathy YL Chan
    April 28, 2008

    Darien!Can’t wait for tea at the end of next month! ^_^Hey Kat!hehehe, they definitely PILE it on high, extra fatty slices! :)Hey Andy!That was the first time I’ve tried bison ribs, hope there will be many more opportunities to come! :)Hey Kirk!Oh man, I don’t know how my poor stomach puts up with me! pat, pat ^_^Hey Punapaa!Hehe “delicacy” would be a very light word for such an indulgent treat!!! I wish there were more place in NYC serving poutine! :)

  • anonymous
    October 30, 2009

    I see that you've been to Schwartz's . . . Is Katz's anywhere close to as awesome as this? Personally, I feel like Schwartz's is the best sandwich I've had in my entire life.

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