A Stir The Pots Post

Classic Montreal

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.

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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.

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Ordering a bologna sandwich, I devoured what had been a childhood staple, nursing it with a deliciously satisfying vanilla egg cream.

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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?”

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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.

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