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Delmare's Profile

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Curry leaves and fenugreek seeds

Just thought I would give a shout out to the Marché 786 on Jean-Talon, directly underneath Halal 786. Not a bad little shop and the guy was very helpful. Funny thing, though, when he helped me find the asafoetida he asked me what it was for, which I guess would be like an Italian grocer asking you what garlic was for, but who knows. He took a container of it to the back and said something to the other guys which included a word sounding like "Canadiani or Canadiensi."

Decent selection of stuff. It warms my heart to see this stuff again, having lived in the Plateau for several years and finding the grocery situation pretty dire.

All the paranoia on the other thread about moths is something I find a bit alarming. I've been buying sketchy Indian ingredients for ten years and haven't had a problem. Is this a Montreal thing?

No curry leaves, btw.

Halal 786 Restaurant
768 Jean Talon, Montreal, QC H2R1V1, CA

Jukebox Burgers

Some of these burgers look really great, but I'm very specific in my burger needs. Can you tell me if any of the burgers on your menu are topped with mayonnaise, lettuce, tomato, onions and pickles? I would also wonder if any are served between a freshly-baked bun?

Steer me through Mtl -- all of it; winding small passageways; obscure back alleys?

Sigh. Another pair of verbose, star-crossed tourists or students. Unfortunately, a lot of people equate crumbling old buildings with good food and that just isn't the case in this town. Your meals are all going to taste fantastic for about five days, but if you're staying here any longer you better get off the food blogs and websites because they're no help at all. There's one restaurant I recommend you try, the eponymous Belle Province. That's all you need to know about this godforsaken island.

Italian guy making Vietnamese sandwiches (banh mi) in Montreal's Chinatown

In my experience this individual is one of the rudest I've yet encountered in the food service industry. After going there a couple of times I just couldn't handle his attitude anymore. I went in one final time and asked him a question prior to ordering (something fairly innocuous like "do you have hot sauce?") and he scowled, barely raised his head to make eye contact or address me, and just barked NO. I turned and walked out and haven't been back. This guy doesn't deserve your money. Go to the place across the street, the young Vietnamese girls that work in there are friendly and, especially if you're going in there on your lunch break during a hard day at work, it makes all the difference.

La Salle a Manger sucks!

Ha ha typical Montreal. Attitude problems + an undermotivated kitchen staff trying to pull off dishes above their station = hard fail.

Bad experience art Sparrow

Glad to see there are others unafraid to express the opinion that there is a culture of poor service in Montreal restaurants.

Tourist restaurants in Old Montreal, caution

Still, it's not nice to be lied to.

Moti mehal - lunch experience

lol quirky Montreal service. The "not bringing you your bill" game used to drive me nuts too, but it seems to be more prevalent in areas with little tourist contact. I think it's actually polite, e.g. not trying to rush you out of the restaurant. Sometimes I ask if je paye à la caisse before my food has even arrived.

Delivering our daughter to McGill

That's a sweet thing to do. You get top marks for parenting. (In my family the roles are somewhat reversed.)

New poutine spot - Poutini

Ever been to La Banquise?

New poutine spot - Poutini

I was disappointed by Poutini's. It seems that NOBODY in Toronto is able to produce the dark, mellow, nutty sweet fries you get in Montreal. Montreal fries are crispy but they're not crunchy. If you were to form a pile of plain fries from La Banquise, for example, it would just look like a heap of brown corduroy, but a pile of Toronto fries always resembles a golden haystack—sharp, hard, light-coloured fries. (I think this rigidity negatively affects curd and sauce dispersal, but I have further investigations to complete on this matter.)

So Poutini's and everybody else reckon it's "double-frying" that does the trick. Yes, it's true that most if not all places in Montreal double-fry, but at Poutini's double-frying meant the fries tasted bitter and their texture was very hard and dry. Fries in Montreal have a texture somewhere between pasta and tender beef. You could break through them with the side of your fork, for example. This texture is what elevates poutine beyond a mechanical mixture of fries, sauce, and curds into a cohesive, complimentary dish that's actually closer to a casserole than a base with "toppings."

Smoke's is worse, I'd have to say. Pale, salty pub fries, the kind that suck every drop of moisture out of your body and make you gasp for beer, as the trick goes. (Appalling gravy too. Who in their right mind thinks the astringency of rosemary would complement bitter fries?)

I've never heard a single reasonable explanation for this baffling difference. Do Ontario poutine joints assume their clients will not "accept" the unfamiliar Quebec fries? Are Quebec fries made in horse fat or something else that Toronto's meddlesome food authority would not abide?

My suspicion is that Montreal fries are cooked at a lower temperature and so don't become hard like Ontario fries. This low temperature also has a very positive effect on the overall palatability of the dish because it allows the flavour of the sauce to leap out. Extremely high temperature food has no taste, simply because your tastebuds can't really cope with that much heat. More crucially, low temperature keeps the curds from disintegrating completely. Some people (probably Torontonians) claim that they "like it when it gets all melty" but in that case why wouldn't you just have melted cheese on your fries?

If all it takes is simply lowering the temperature of the fryers you'd think at least one or two clever Toronto joints would have caught on. No, there's something else at play here.

I'm out of time so I'm not even really going to get into sauce except to say that beef gravy has a higher tendency to congeal. I don't know much about collagens or elastins or proteins or whatever. Maybe Torontonians choose a beef gravy out of stubbornness, because it reflects the rosbif-eating cultural ancestry of Establishment Toronto and That's How We Do Things Here. Wink wink.

Harvey's free hamburger day

In fact Wendy's food in general...........

Harvey's free hamburger day

I'm thinking of going to Harvey's. I haven't been in ages. But, before I do, are they still doing the crispy-coated things or no? KFC uses about the same formulation and they are abysmal. For some reason Wendy's fries seem like the most "honest" among the big chains these days.

Vietnamese Subs

Just go across the street and brave the smell of daikon. The girls working there are really sweet people and the sandwiches are really every bit as good.

Upscale bar/lounge in Montreal serving innovative cocktails, where people over 35 years of age won't feel out of place?

Le Lab on Rachel has some very, very innovative cocktails and when I've been there's always been groups of 35+ people. Not quite walking distance of Lemeac tho. The staff are welcoming and the environment is classy and not too loud.

La Popessa - opinions?

Very good alternative to fast food! As alluded to by the others, it's not fine dining by any stretch but I've always liked what I've gotten here and the restaurant is nice and comfortable.

Vietnamese Subs

Another visit to Cao Thang today and it will be my last. The man behind the counter is unbelievably rude. I don't give money to people who haven't learned the basics of human interaction.

Stew Stop- Old Montreal

Typical Old Montreal: a sandwich for $11 or a tiny portion of soup.

Vietnamese Subs

I went to Cao Thang yesterday. One thing that annoys me about some Vietnamese sub places is how surly the staff can be if you try to customize your order in any way. You can't have it "your way."

A nice lunch though.

What's the best place for breakfast in Montreal

I think you're starting to hit on something here with the cold eggs. Breakfast is about timing, especially when there's hot items involved. In my opinion, restaurants that cook and serve in what I've come to see as the "Montreal style" (or I should say the "Plateau style") do things a different way.

(And when people are drinking coffee, feel free to bring more thx.)

Buns: The burger joint!

Yeah, the hygiene is not good.

I eavesdropped a bit on a conversation between someone I took to be the owner and one of the employees. Sounds like the owner is a real bottom-line business man and doesn't want to staff his restaurant with more than one employee unless it's absolutely, absolutely necessary. This is where some of the hygiene problems are going to come from, I'm afraid, because the one guy was a bit run off his feet and was finding it difficult to be cashier, cook, and burger assembler (all the while struggling to remember to put on and take off plastic gloves at the appropriate points).

What's the best place for breakfast in Montreal

There's just something ... missing from Montreal breakfast. The food sometimes seems, to me at least, less "clean" than I'm used to (but for diner food this is hard to quantify). Also a certain style of meat— it's often too salty, too artificially-smoked, not trimmed of gristle and bits (in the case of chicken and others). Little touches on presentation, service, atmosphere ... I can't explain it because there's nothing specifically WRONG, just not as good as elsewhere.

Montreal is just not a fried breakfast city. Fried breakfast is too anglo in origin, I think. Montreal seems to do sweet breakfasts, pastries, breads, fruits, and that patisserie sort of thing WAY better than any place else, though, so I think its a trade-off. Me, though, I'm a meat eater.

I have high hopes for The Sparrow.

Vietnamese Subs

Also I'm used to having the option to put a little Sriracha on my sandwich. Pre-made sandwiches and no Sriracha option offend me.

Vietnamese Subs

I actually don't like Hoang Oanh (St-Laurent location). The place smells of farts. It's probably the smell of daikon, I think, but it's really off-putting.

Onion Rings in MTL

Tell me about it. I've had the onion rings at Pitarifique on Rachel and St-Laurent but they were really unremarkable (and cooked in that sludgy, low-fryer-temperature way Montrealers seem to like their fries). That's it, that's all I've seen.

Buns: The burger joint!

Yeah I loved my burger but those potatoes are seriously depressing. So pointless. I'll still go there but never eat potatoes.

Murphy's in Montreal????

That's a shame. I hate Crescent Street.

YEG-The Hat: Formerly known as The Silk Hat Dinner; have you been?

lol ... I had to hold myself from clicking the "Report" button. When I lived in Edmonton Hudsons burgers were the most unremarkable chain pub fare you were liable to find, basically Harvey's, cooked to death, with "themed" barbecue sauce. I thought ... "this guy's crazy."

So just to be sure I downloaded their menu and it looks like they've completely changed things around (the patties were DEFINITELY frozen when I used to eat there ... and BUFFALO? YES PLEASE!) as well as expanding the menu with several options that look like they'd go down well after a couple of pints.

Mar 26, 2009
Delmare in Prairie Provinces

Edmonton - Tropika Barely Mediocre

I really think that back when Tropika made its reputation in Edmonton, most Edmontonians wouldn't have had a jar of Thai curry paste in the fridge.

People are much shrewder now about many more different kinds of food. If anything it's evidence that, perhaps, Tropika never had its s**t together in the way everyone thought.

Mar 26, 2009
Delmare in Prairie Provinces

Saturday Brunch in Edmonton

lol ... I went there about half a dozen times. They ask you EVERY time how you want your eggs and EVERY time they simply disregard the instructions in the kitchen (or the instructions never make it to the kitchen). I can't say I've ever really enjoyed the place, but Mosaics next door can sometimes seem oppressively pretentious and F'n'N is certainly not pretentious.

Mar 26, 2009
Delmare in Prairie Provinces