Friday, June 10, 2011

Best of Montreal: Part 1

Montreal has been on my list to visit for over five years now. I know this because I bought the special issue of Gourmet Magazine from March 2006! The opportunity for a long weekend finally presented itself. We didn't have much time to read into Montreal and plan much in advance.

As usual, I turned to my trusty LTHForum for some research, which turned up this thread. On our first day, we decided to hit Marche Jean Talon. I am going to venture out to say that this is probably my favorite market among LexingtonSt. Lawrence, Queen Victoria, Granville Island, Pike Place Market, and Detroit Eastern Market. This market is enormous with indoor and outdoor vendors bursting with bright, colorful produce and a wide variety of ready to eat food vendors.

We started grazing our way through the market with our first stop at Au Pain Dore. We opted for a ham panini and croissant. Eating the bread and croissant from Au Pain Dore was a revelation. Without a doubt, this was the best croissant I have ever sank my teeth into - flaky, light, delicate, buttery with a slightly sweet note. I could eat these on a daily basis. Even the milk in the latte was rich tasting and really tasted like milk. To be completely truthful, I'm so used to getting skim milk in the States that isn't much different than water.

We rounded the market and decided that the crowds surrounding Aqua Mare was a sure sign that it was not to be missed. Not knowing enough French to distinguish their menu offerings, I had to ask the cashier to translate for us. Given that it's smelt season, I opted for the fried smelt and calamari combo with spicy mayo. We like things hot and spicy!
To conclude our visit to Jean Talon, we indulged in two scoops of sorbet: cassis and frambroise. It was the perfect way to round out our meal. The sorbet was light, refreshing and deeply flavored. We definitely preferred the raspberry to the black current, which is a shame since it was the top scoop and less of it.

Later during our trip, we decided to check out Marche Atwater. It was probably only a fourth of Jean Talon in size.

I was excited to have a second opportunity to visit Première Moisson, another reknowned boulangerie. We shared a croque monsieur and a croissant. This croissant didn't live up to my new gold standard from Au Pain Dore's. Since it's lobster season and given Montreal's close proximity to Boston, we ordered a lobster roll and a pomegranate lemonade. The lobster roll had large chunks of lobster tail meat, chopped red onions and celery. Good, but not quite as good as the real thing from James Hook. The pomegranate lemonade was imported from French, provided a little bit of bubbly and plenty of natural flavor.

Even though, Chicago now has the French Market, it pales in comparison to these two markets. I hope the developers behind French Market continue to support its growth to become more like its true French counterparts.

1 comment:

  1. Yum, I love photographing markets like this. Plus love the shout out to Eastern Market. I'll get some photos up eventually of it on my blog plus the markets we saw in Toronto and Cleveland, of all places!