As you may know by now, food trucks are all the rage in Montreal this summer. Not to be left out, Just For Laughs has organized a whole-hog food fair of its own. “Souk” is an arab word for “marketplace”, and the eating scene down in the Quartier des Spectacles is indeed bustling and a bit chaotic, just like a gathering of wild and crazy foodies should be…
Gaelle Cerf, organizer of the Just For Laughs Food Souk, as well as the “First Fridays at the Big O” and other food-truck gatherings around town this summer, describes it as “First Fridays on Ecstasy!” We wouldn’t know anything about that, but we’ll let you take a look at what’s on offer and judge the deliciousness for yourself, on Sainte-Catherine (between St-Urbain and Place des Arts), July 12-29, 12-11pm.
Along with beloved Montreal mobile-food purveyors like Grumman ’78 and Lucky’s truck, here are some of the new-skool food trucks and other roadside attractions:
Cremy: This new patisserie on Mont-Royal Avenue is selling some sweet treats at the Souk, including ¼ brownies (tremendous), cool homemade Revellos on sticks (flavours: lemon tart, white-chocolate raspberry, dark chocolate and fleur de sel, milk chocolate, passionfruit, and orange). Also maple cotton candy, which a 4-year-old in my acquaintance declared the best ever.
Dada Cones: A group of guys from Montreal’s VIP catering industry making the kind of cones you mill around with in the VIP tent, only for everyone. The concoctions change every day, the day I visited it was rabbit rillettes with cucumber and homeydew, tomato salad with watermelon and feta, or braised lamb with carrots and watercress. Pretty sweet.
Crème Molle: “Crème Molle” is the French term for soft ice cream and this old-fashioned ice-cream truck is a delight to finally see on the streets of Montreal. They make ice cream cones and sundaes, including maple.
Flammée: This restaurant operates out of an unassuming brasserie on Rue St-Denis that makes one of the best burgers in town. Here, however, they’re only making their signature dish, a flammekueche, which is an Alsatian pizza-like tart with traditional toppings like cream, onions, muchrooms and lardons (chunks of bacon). Which are creamy and crispy, and pretty good.
Hotbulldog: I had had my eye on this one for a while, but hadn’t gotten around to trying one of their giant dogs yet. But these Mexican fellows declared the “hot” in Hotbulldog to indeed be “caliente”.
Ice-fishing shacks: These out-of-service ice-fishing shacks are lined up in a promising array on the mezzanine above the street-level food-souk – - obviously a great idea that needs a little pizzazz. There was one selling cupcakes and another from Chef Apollo.
Tourtiere Australienne: I’ve passed by their operation on Avenue du Parc and always been curious, so I finally had a butter chicken meat pie on the street here and it was phenomenal. I’ve been thinking about it ever since.
Takoyaki: These crusty, chewy round balls of pancake/dumpling craziness are ubiquitous in Asian night markets, but this is Montreal’s first version of this delicacy. They usually contain octopus (they have a shiitake mushroom version here too) and are covered in tenkasu and bonito flakes. The ones at this booth taste particularly fresh!
Pas d’cochon dans mon salon: These boys have a framed picture of Johnny Cash in the back of their shack, which gives you an idea where they’re coming from – if not that maybe a clue can be provided by the giant black smoldering charcoal grill/smoker in the back. Tangy pulled-pork sandwiches and grilled corn, Mexican style.
Nouveau Palais‘ Winneburger: This diner in the Mile-End finally finished retrofitting ther Winnebago. Now we can finally get those small, perfect hamburgers they make latenight at their resto, all day long. Word to the wise: They also make homemade ice-cream sandwiches and monkeytails (bananas on a stick dipped in chocolate), their homemade lemonade and iced tea aren’t too sweet, plus they make great Arnold Palmers.
La Mangeoire: I really couldn’t decide whether to use a pic of their soon-to-be-famous Lobster Club, which has a fried egg getting all gooey down the middle of it- or this one, of their already-famous Decadent sandwich, which is peanut butter, Nutella and bacon. I picked the bacon one.
Caravane de Biere: It’s a caravan that sells beer. Need we say more?
Panache Salon: A mobile hair salon is a truly great idea, and they even have their own resident drag queen, Phoenix, to keep things real. Even realer is the fact that you can get highlights done for 20 bucks. A great way to expand on their salon in the village.
JFL’s Food souk, July 12-29, 2012, 12-11pm
Sainte-Catherine, between St-Urbain and Place des Arts