On my recent Memorial Day return visit to Montreal- food was served, and didn't stop coming! It started when I visited Chef Michele Forgione who I met last year at his restaurant, Osteria Venti. Michele took me on a rapid fire trip around Montreal's food centric neighborhoods to try some local establishments.
Fairmont Bagels is a legend in Montreal. Woodfired bagels, slightly softer and sweeter then the New York bagel, which, by the way, is almost extinct! Montreal has heritage and still cherishes its treasures.
After inhaling a sesame crusted bagel, I noticed were were standing in front of a non-descript pre-war building. "Wilensky's," Michele said, "just look around. Nothing has changed since 1932." He was right, from the paint, to the wood stools. It was a time capsule indeed.
Famous for pressed sandwiches, they're also known for the home-made cherry soda and egg creams. And New Yorkers thought these originals were owned by us. Montreal puts the lie to that lazy thinking, with Wilensky's reminding me why I lament my home town has lost it's genuine basic, working Jewish delis – as opposed to nostalgic-laden, overpriced shlock shops.
Ordering a bologna sandwich, I devoured what had been a childhood staple, nursing it with a deliciously satisfying vanilla egg cream.
We still had another destination; Chez Apo, an Armenian woodfired oven lamacjun shop. Michele asked if I'd be okay with eight pieces, or whether I would need more. At that moment,I didn't think it would be possible to even eat one. I ordered two. He quipped, "you sure two is enough?"
Truthfully, these are light as a feather, meat and spiced covered disks that are delightful.The unique character of a wood fired oven and taste was worth a few added pounds.