Montreal may have some of the best cuisine on the planet, but it’s also pretty clear that Montreal chefs aren’t afraid of getting weird or, dare I say, a little queer in the kitchen. Chuck Hughes’ lobster poutine and a bacon-stuffed brownie are just the tip of the Queerberg…
In searching for the “Queerest” foods in Montreal, I came across some dishes that would make your taste buds quiver in confusion. These meals prove that two wrongs make a right, two rights make something ultra-right, or maybe just that wrongs can be righted when forced to be friends with each other.
First of all, what exactly is a “Queer” food? A Queer food is fun, unique and always daring. Some people might pre-judge a Queer food instantly, but others are more accepting and discover that through the wacky premise lies something delicious. Just because something about these Montreal eatery flavour-hybrids might seem unfamiliar, don’t be a hater. Take a deep breath and try something a little out of the ordinary…
Lobster Poutine at Garde-Manger (408 Saint-Francois-Xavier) is like having two things that are such polar opposites that they run away from each other. But because we’re on earth, eventually they circle back around and smash into something crazy yummy. At one end of the spectrum we have lobster, one of the finest marine delicacies. At the other end we have Poutine, the “it’s 3AM after the bar I’m hungry” Quebecois delicacy. Two things that have nothing in common and would never even be friends if it weren’t for Chef Bad-boy Chuck Hughes. Hughes won Iron Chef America with this Lobster Poutine. Obviously this is where the best (lobster) and better (poutine) join hands in a civil-union to live happily ever after. Didn’t you know opposites attract?!
Pressed Foie Gras at DNA (355 Marguerite d’Youville) is Gingerbread, pumpkin mostarda and arugula flowers. What? Gingerbread, pumpkin mostarda, and arugula flowers pressed into a foie gras. Probably the tastiest foie gras I’ve had in recent memory. You can really taste the arugula flower… whatever it is. This stuff is incredible. Definitely bizarre enough to quality for one of Montreal’s queerest foods!
Griffintown Burger at Café Griffintown (1387 Notre-Dame O) is where all of my favorite meats crawl onto a plate and snuggle in a bun. The patty on this beast is half beef, a quarter duck and a quarter lamb all rolled in with a few secret spices. Aptly nicknamed the “Barnyard Burger” because, when ordered with bacon and cheese, you can literally devour all the animals mentioned in the “Old MacDonald Had a Farm” song. My best friend broke her five-year-long vegetarianism for this burger. She ate every last bite and loved every minute of it. Ee-i-ee-i-oo-yes it’s that delectable.
Bacon Brownie at Le Boucan (1886 Notre-Dame O) is another breathtaking result from a famous, time-honored formula: Sweet + Salty = Joyous creation. Be it a Hershey’s PayDay bar, kettle corn or chocolate covered pretzels, mixing these two flavors is the juxtapose of the century. Le Boucan takes it to another level with their rich fudge brownie, filled with pieces of bacon. Every bite is a surprise. Will it be chocolate? Or will my palate be thrown a curve ball? You really have to taste this to believe it. I suggest enjoying this dessert with a nice glass of Grand Marnier, to fully get the “what am I tasting” experience.
Canadian Tiramisu at Claremont Cafe (5032 Sherbrooke O) is the Great-North version of the great-Italian cake. But how does one canuck-ify a Tiramisu? Maybe some sweet homemade Ladyfingers made by an adorable Quebecois grandmother, dipped in the finest coffee from Café Myriad. Then smothered with nothing but the most delicate egg yokes from the most Canadian of eggs. All combined with the most luxurious mascarpone made in the most prestigious fromagerie in Quebec. No. This Canadian Tiramisu is crushed Tim Horton’s timbits and maple syrup. Two distinctly Canadian things that are awesome, stuck together to make something magical. Don’t be fooled by its simplicity. This no-frills-all-taste dessert floats on and off the menu so hopefully you’ll be able to grab one when they have it!
Guest Blogger: Alex Dunphy