Montreal vs New York–the Great Bagel Controversy

You never heard of it? well, that’s because in New York, we don’t pay attention to these things, but in Montreal, they’re proud of their bagels, and they have reason to be.The Montreal bagel is thrown by hand (ours are not) and it is typically slimmer with less middle and a crispy top and bottom. The big difference, however, is that Montreal bagels are boiled in honey and water–ours just plain This imparts a slightly sweet, oddly pleasant flavor, even when served with a hearty slab of smoked salmon, cream cheese, onions and capers, as we had not once, but twice, at St-Viateur Bagel Cafe. We took the Metro there our very first day and our last day and it was worth it. But you will have to decide for yourselves.

The other big name food in Montreal (and other parts of Quebec) is poutine, a combination of curds and brown sauce over French Fries. We had it twice, once in an underground fast food spot poutineand once in Garde Manger, Chuck Hughes’ chic restaurant in Vieux Montreal. For those who don’t know, Chuck cooks on the Food Network channel making delicious things that we sampled at his place. Contrary to my expectations, he actually showed up to watch over things and had a few kind words for one of his customers.Chuck and Rory(That’s Chuck on the left with Rory). Much as I love Chuck, his celebrated lobster poutine was not much better than the underground fast food place, though his desserts were splendid. Here are his homemade cannoli and a very fine brownie and ice cream sandwich.

garde manger dessert 2Montreal, like it’s big sister, Paris, takes its food very seriously and restaurants in Montreal are expensive, although the dollar’s strength made the prices a bit more palatable (pardon the execrable pun). For example, we ate at a famous Portuguese restaurant, Ferreira, which had an unusual china mural.

ferreira china muralAlthough their grilled octopus and sardines were terrificferreira octopus and sardinesand their roast guinea hen exquisite ferreira henthe prices were high. That’s what made it all the more enjoyable to go to Stash, a charming little Polish restaurant in the old city.stash decorThe soup, stash souproast duck,

stash duckroast boar,

stash boarand peach cobbler

stash dessertwere all great and they didn’t break the bank either.

As in New York, you will find eating a great pleasure there with choices at every price level. Our casual lunches were all excellent, even on the highly touristy Rue St. Paul near the canal.old city streetBy the way, if you want to brush up your French, this is the place. Although most Montrealers are completely bi-lingual, they are happy to oblige if you want to give it a try.







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