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Posts by Jason Lee

Your 2016 guide to Food Trucks and Street Food in Montréal

Montréal’s food truck scene has been a work in progress. What started off as a modest pilot project by The Quebec Food Truck Association three years ago has now blossomed into one of the most anticipated culinary attractions of the year. In a relatively short period of time, the street food initiative has expanded right across the city. From a handful of food trucks parked in nine different locations in the city centre in 2013, the fleet now boasts over 50 trucks covering 30 designated parking/vending locations spanning 15 boroughs on the island. If you’re out and about taking in the sights and sounds of Montréal in the summer, here’s everything you need to know about street eats and food trucks. Starting April 1 and running until late fall, a variety of food trucks will rotate among 30 predetermined locations in Montréal East, Longue-Pointe, Hochelaga-Maisonneuve, Rosemont-La Petite-Patrie, Little Italy, Mile End, the Village, the Quartier des Spectacles, the Old Port, Côte-des-Neiges, Downtown, Griffintown, Saint-Henri, Verdun, Montréal West and Lasalle. Here is a line-up of the awesome trucks and mobile vendors you can expect this summer: –Air de bœuf –Les Aliments Pyza (Formerly Europolonia) –Alexis Le Gourmand -Atma –Assommoir mobile –Le Bacon… / Read More →

Gourmet institutions: 10 of Montréal’s oldest restaurants

Montréal’s restaurant scene is one of the best in the world. From fine dining restaurants to casual eateries, the sheer variety satiates all palates. Finding enduring success as a restaurant is a combination of many important variables. Here are some of Montréal’s oldest restaurants that have found the keys to longevity and are standing the test of time. L’Auberge Saint-Gabriel – 262 years (1754) – 426 Saint-Gabriel Street Founded in 1754, the Auberge Saint-Gabriel in the heart of Old Montréal is the oldest inn in North America. If the walls could talk, L’Auberge Saint-Gabriel would recount remarkable tales of Québec’s history. Its menu reflects fine French and Québec cuisine that highlights market fresh and regional ingredients for its lunch and dinner service. Montréal Pool Room – 104 years (1912) – 217 Saint-Laurent Boulevard Montréal Pool Room is a local favourite for classic hot dogs and fries. Located in the former seedy red light district of Montréal (now the Quartier des spectacles), this greasy spoon has survived a severe fire and relocation. Nothing will keep us from our beloved “steamies” served at this iconic diner. Schwartz’s Delicatessen – 88 years (1928) 3895 – Saint-Laurent Boulevard Schwartz’s smoked meat is world-renowned and is… / Read More →

Vegetarian poutines to try in Montreal

The poutine is no longer simply French fries, topped with cheese curds and covered in gravy.  Variations of this indulgent dish include toppings that offend traditionalists but delight and tantalize foodies. If you’re going to succumb to temptation and completely derail from your post-holiday diet, then do so on an iconic Montreal food; poutine.  But not with just a regular poutine, put your conscience at ease and squeeze in a serving of good-for-you vegetables with these delectable vegetarian poutines. La Banquise – 993 Rachel street east A foodie landmark for 48 years, this institution is one of the go-to places for our unofficial-official national dish, poutine. Open 24 hours, this place is the ideal stop for the late night crowd to chow down and warm up after a long night enjoying our city after dark. “La Rachel” features a pile of golden hand-cut French fries with a mound of sautéed green peppers, mushrooms and onions. Poutineville – multiple locations Poutineville lets you take charge in deciding what goes into your poutine.  They offer a checklist of ingredients and toppings to create your own personalized poutine. Choose from 20 different kinds of vegetables, like roasted red peppers, marinated eggplant, green peas,… / Read More →

Influential women chefs in Montréal – part 2

The world of gastronomy is ever changing, from modernist techniques that influence the tastes and flavours of food on a molecular level, to the diversity of faces that represent this new school of cuisine. In a male-dominated industry, women chefs are now, more than ever, responsible for taking charge in this fast-paced kitchen environment. Montréal is proud to have some of these talented female chefs in the city’s top-rated restaurants. Graziella Battista – Graziella Restaurant Graziella, headed by Graziella Battista, a veteran of the Montréal food and restaurant scene, has been a fixture of fine dining in Old Montréal for almost a decade. Establishing authenticity is paramount to her restaurant philosophy. Whether it’s her cooking technique or approach to ingredients, Chef Battista’s northern-Italian-inspired menu is a testament to her upbringing and roots. Try the ricotta and pecorino gnocchi, or wild mushroom stew: they are a veritable study in rustic restraint applied to haute cuisine. Ting Liu – Qing Hua Dumplings About six years ago, Ting Liu set up a modest dumpling shop in the “Chinatown 2” area of downtown Montréal. Her humble dumpling eatery garnered local popularity, as it was the first of its kind—a restaurant that focused primarily on… / Read More →

Sugaring off in the city: Great urban sugar shacks in Montréal

The winter thaw is symbolic in many ways. It represents rebirth and renewal, but more importantly, it kicks off sugar shack season! This timely traditional rite often sees hordes of people making the pilgrimage to cabane à sucres located outside of the city to take in outdoor activities, devour copious amounts of pork products and enjoy the magic of watching tree sap being transformed into liquid gold—maple syrup. For those who can’t get out of the city, “urban sugar shacks” have been popping up around Montréal in recent years that offer a more accessible version of this winter tradition. Some of them serve authentic sugar shack fare while others feature reinterpreted versions of classic cabane à sucre menus conceptualized by some of the city’s best culinary talents. Chef à lérable – with Laurent Godbout (March 11 to April 17) Chef Laurent Godbout returns for the third installment of “Chef à l’erable” at the Scena in the heart of the Old Port. Get ready for a sugar shack experience set in a modern space with a rustic chic decor. For $63 plus taxes, you will be treated to a five-course dinner service (or brunch on Sundays) with dishes like cauliflower with… / Read More →

Where to eat authentic Mexican food in Montréal

Montréal winters can be frosty but our Latin roots keep us warm all year long. One of the best ways to stay warm is to add a little spice to the menu. And, happily, Montréal’s close-knit community of Mexican expats gives us lots of great choices when it comes to authentic Mexican flavours. Here are some of my favourite spots. Le Petit Coin du Mexique – 2474 Jean-Talon Street East Off the beaten path, this modest Mexican joint has some of the best authentic Mexican food in the city. Located in the Villeray neighbourhood of Montréal, Le Petite Coin de Mexique – “The little Mexican corner” – is only about a 15-minute metro ride from downtown (to Iberville station, located across the street from the restaurant.) Get out of the cold and warm up with their menu of Mexican classics including their signature tacos “Al Pastor”, “trompo” spit roasted pork wrapped in corn tortillas topped with pineapples. Escondite – 1206 Union Street Located in the heart of downtown, Escondite bills itself as a “cerveceria de barrio” which means “neighbourhood brasserie”. Escondite serves up amazing cocktails like the Cartel de Santa, a hibiscus flower based drink with lime and soda, as… / Read More →

Where to eat a classic Montréal poutine

Montrealers love poutine – we have a weeklong festival that celebrates it. A plate of French fries topped with squeaky cheese curds and brown gravy are mainstays on many local restaurant menus. Renditions and interpretations of this humble dish by some of the city’s favourite restaurants have become synonymous with the poutine scene in the city. If you want a classic Montréal poutine experience, here are some great places to try. Le Garde-Manger – 408 Saint-François-Xavier Street Located in a historical building in picturesque old Montréal, Le Garde-Manger is one of the city’s most happening places where reservations are made often weeks in advance. This hip and trendy eatery (where celebrity chef Chuck Hughes helms the kitchen) is popular amongst locals and visitors alike. One of Le Garde-Manger’s claims to fame is their lobster poutine. Fries, Québec cheese curds and brown gravy topped with large chunks of tender lobster delivered the knockout punch over Chef Bobby Flay when Chuck competed and won on Iron Chef America. Au Pied de Cochon – 536 Duluth Avenue East Chef Martin Picard’s Au Pied de Cochon has been a fixture of French cuisine in Plateau Mont-Royal for years. His affinity for excess and over-the-top… / Read More →

Where to eat healthy in Montréal

Montréal is a city of indulgence. From foie gras poutine and juicy smoked meat sandwiches, to creamy ice cream and melt-in-your-mouth pastries, there are so many ways to give in to taste temptations. But if you’ve gone a bit overboard with the fries and gravy lately and you are looking to cleanse your body – and your conscience – with some healthy fare, Montréal’s got you covered with some of the best vegetarian and vegan restaurants around. Invitation V – 254 Bernard Street West Located in the Mile-End, this vegan bistro sets off to dispel the stigma of vegan cuisine being mundane, bland and taste-less. A world of tastes and flavours are featured on the menu which is inspired by Chef Kelvin’s travels around the globe. Invitation V serves brunch on the weekends as well. La Panthère Verte – Multiple locations The “Green Panther” is a homegrown chain of vegetarian and vegan restaurants scattered around the city of Montréal. Try their famous falafel pita sandwich – falafel balls, cabbage, carrots, pickles, sauekraut, sprouts, and tahini. Lola Rosa – Multiple locations Their slogan is “the vegetarian restaurant preferred by non-vegetarians” – that’s a big claim, but it’s not completely wrong –… / Read More →

What to eat on Chinese New Year’s in Montréal

Growing up in a Chinese family, there were certain customs that were most prevalent around the Chinese and lunar New Year. They involved food and were traditions that I observed the most. The dishes served around the New Year’s dinner table are specific as the have auspicious meanings. The Chinese are very superstitious and our New Year’s menu consists of dishes that are symbolic of health, wealth and happiness. If you’re celebrating the Year of the Monkey, here are some places to eat and party like it’s 4713! Noodles are a very important part of any Chinese celebration whether it be for a birthday or New Year’s because they represent longevity and long life. Chinatown has a couple of my favourite go-to spots for awesome soup noodles. Nouilles Lan Zhou – 1006 Saint-Laurent Boulevard Named after the city of Lanzhou in China where this style of noodle was invented and made popular, they offer a variety of different kinds of noodles to choose from. From round noodles that come in four different diameters and large flat noodles that come in three different widths, they are all hand-made (pulled) to order. All bowls come with their signature braised beef shank as… / Read More →

Where to eat tacos in Montréal

Think of the best taco you’ve ever had in your life. Where was it? In Mexico? In California? In your mom’s kitchen? What if I told you that Montréal’s taco scene rivals any city south of the border? Whether authentic tacos, So-Cal fusion or even Tex-Mex, Montréal has a taqueria to satisfy all of your taco cravings. Taqueria La Matraca – 4607 Saint-Denis Street This no-frills taqueria on the Plateau serves up super authentic tacos. Named after a wooden noisemaker, the atmosphere at La Matraca is often a boisterous one. Check out their tacos al pastor—trompo (vertical spit) roasted, the marinated pork is shaved and served on a warm toasted corn tortilla, topped with onions, cilantro and pineapple. Icehouse – 51 Roy Street East Icehouse isn’t exactly a taqueria, but it is known for b eing Montréal’s go-to spot for everything Tex-Mex. Fried chicken tacos, fish tacos, or even fried shrimp tacos: load up on tacos that will entice enthusiasts and offend purists. El Rey del Taco – 232 Jean-Talon Street East Located right in the Jean-Talon Market, “The King of Tacos” is another destination for authentic street food tacos. From chicken, pork and beef to lamb, chorizo and beef… / Read More →