So what do you plan on doing?
It is the customary question one might receive when discussing future travel plans and, a question to which my uncustomary response, “I’m going to eat,” has earned some curious looks and quit a few giggles. I assume this is because people think that my answer is in jest and, although I am not entirely earnest, I’m not exactly joking either.
Ben and I were headed for Montreal for the weekend and almost everything on our agenda centered on food. In fact, there was so much eating to be done, that each and every meal had to be planned out just right, in order to fit it all in. Planning travel around food is fairly routine business for the both of us, I mean, what else is traveling other than an opportunity to eat different foods?
What did we eat?
Upon arrival we dropped our things off at the hotel and headed straight for Schwartz’s. Schwartz’s is to Montreal what Katz’s is to NYC. The front window display is simple and to the point. No frills, no holiday filler, just a huge pile of roast brisket, one on top of the other like a litter of puppies.
And that is what we eat, a pile of brisket, a stack of rye bread, Cole slaw, and fries.
It was a little bit strange being in a place so familiar, so New York, yet having your waiter speak to you in French; kinda like the juxtaposition of eating Christmas cookies on the beach in Mexico, or watching a snowstorm from a South American hammock hanging in your bedroom in Brooklyn.
Our next big meal was not until dinner the next evening. We had gotten reservations at Au Pied De Cochon at 5pm, the only available, and so we decided not to eat much that day so we would be hungry; after walking around all day in the cold I was ready to gnaw off my arm and probably would have had it not been layered under heaps of cloths due to the cold.
Au Pied De Cochon is famous for their extravagant use of duck fat, Foie Gras, and organs for example, poutine with foie gras in which the fries are cooked in duck fat, Lamb Shank Confit, and Boudin Noir Tart with Foie Gras, and even Tripe Pizza.
It wasn't easy but, with the waiter's help, we managed not to order everything on the menu. We started with a bottle of Vaqueras, two of the Foie Gras Cromesquis, and a blue cheese and apple salad. When the Foie Gras Cromesquis arrived our waiter advised us to let them cool for two minutes, to eat them in one bite, and to close our mouths entirely when doing so.
The reason why, the cube shaped breading happened to be oozing with molton foie gras. It was the closet thing I have ever had to a food orgasm!
For Entrees I ordered the Lamb Shank Confit, and Ben had the Boudin tart.
The Lamb shank was tender, buttery and rich, but not as rich as the Boudin Tart. After two bites of this this heart stopper, I could feel my heart pound as it struggled to force my blood through it's ever thickening arteries. Next to the Tart, my order seemed like the 'lite' choice.
For the rest of the night the two of us were Incapacitated. We did not have desert, we did not go out, we did not pass go etc. We struggled back to the Hotel, each of us secretly wondering if we were in the mist of a heart attack, and passed out, belly up.
Needless to say, the next day, our last, we were out of commission in the food department. We picked up a few last minute mementos - Cuban Rum and cigars, and some Raw Cheeses - and we headed out. Not without picking up some Vietnamese sandwiches for the road.
Caravelle is a Vietnamese food stand in one of the underground malls they have here. It does not look like much but Ben, having frequented the place back in his collage days, assured me that the food was more than memorable. Apparently the owner,
was memorable as well. Ben remembered getting sandwiches from this very gentlemen twelve years ago. Spicy? he asked us when we ordered our sandwiches, Yes, spicy, we responded in unison. The owner gave a little giggle, he clearly approved.
We enjoyed these babies later on that night after crossing the boarder successfully. What a perfect way to close a vacation that felt more like an extended late night food run.