Saturday, July 24, 2010

Morning bagels

There is something about life in Montreal that inspires those that have adopted this city to create incredible food.  I'm not just talking about top drawer gourmet cuisine, though there was a recent article in the New York Times about a cohort of NYC top chefs who regularly hop up to Montreal for what can best be described as 'food tourism', or perhaps 'inspiration research', or 'competitive analysis'.

What I am referring to is the phenomenon that St-Lawrence boulevard, Montreal's east-west division street, affectionately known as "the Main", seems to have a devilish way of ferreting out the talented chefs in each new community that calls Montreal home, and inspiring them to offer to all the most delicious fare imaginable.

And I'm not talking about complicated far-fetched recipes.  No.  What I'm talking about is much more remarkable.  Bread for instance.

Depending on where you live, you may be thinking "bread....???... borrring!".  To those among you, I say dare to dream! Come to Montreal! You may be able to tear yourself away and return home, yes I'll grant you that.  But you may find, like countless others, that you will forever after be haunted by BREAD :-)

Let's pick just one example.  Bagels.  You can get bagels everywhere.  But you'll never find a Montreal bagel anywhere else.
Two bakeries are stand-outs.  St-Viateur bagels, and Fairmount bagels.  Both delicious, each slightly different, both with legions of fans, both leaving wistful tourists back home, longing for the unattainable Montreal bagel.

Hand-made, using the same family recipes brought by long-ago Jewish immigrants, baked in generations-old wood-burning ovens, heavenly.
This blog is about commuting on a Vespa LX150 from the burbs.  One of the things you can do commuting on a Vespa scooter? Drop by St-Viateur bagels at 7:15 a.m. on the way into the office and pick up half-a-dozen St-Viateur bagels for your fellow staffers.  A nice little traditional morning pick-me-up, delightfully fresh and hot from the oven. Priceless.

Don't like bagels? What about baguettes from a real French bakery? Simple: Banette in NDG.  Craving the most incredible Portuguese rolls, crunchy thin crust, light billowy interior?  Coco-Rico on the Main.  I could go on for ever.  Every culture.  Every type of bread imaginable.  The only common denominator?  Incredible unforgettable taste.

None or few with ample parking. All within easy reach on a Vespa, and parking? Definitely not an issue.

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The copyright in all text and photographs, except as noted, belongs to David Masse.