Canadian Adventures 2: The birth of a food critic

Do you know the smell when you walk in the city and get stuck walking behind a smoker? Makes me feel like I am stuck with Jean d’Arc’s crispy ghost. Vaping people are much more entertaining to encounter. It looks like they put a long lighter in their mouth or some shiny asthma apparatus while trying to recreate a London pea soup with every exhale. Well, a pea soup smelling like peaches or strawberries giving me a sweet reminder I have to find some food.

After leaving some gentle, totally not aggressive, constructive feedback in a cafe about my sunny side up egg which was completely crumbly and desert dry, I had a great idea: I could be a part-time food critic! So many cheap cafes and restaurants here in Montreal for lunch or quick dinner. I can enjoy myself enormously writing about it and it is a good excuse not to cook (which I actually love to do but my kitchen here sucks big time).


My first restaurant I would write about is, of course, Iranian. I just absolutely adore Persian cuisine! I was lured to some small cafe called Byblos with talk about Sunday’s dish: dizzy. I heard so much about this Iranian dish from the lucky bastards in the family who went to Iran, and it was worth the effort of hunting down the cafe on a cold night. A soup, a stew and a sandwich in one (with a side of a single radish and half an onion), what’s not to love? Complete with an entire lake of orange blossom tea and I was done eating for the next 24 hours. A+ because the owner thinks my parents have good taste in naming their eldest.

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A subject for my second food review is not difficult. A Shanghai dumpling house named Sammi & Soupe looked like a good time. Little dumplings filled with soup and meat are one of my favourites when I am in China. So when I saw this dumpling house I immediately jumped inside. Screaming waitresses and cooks, fragrant steam rising from the open kitchen, spilled vinegar and soy sauce on all plastic table cloths, all signs in Chinese and funny Chinglish translations. Good signs of Chinese food. The dumplings were very tasty, cheap and came in great quantities. The first dumpling scalded my mouth and the last one was cold and stubbornly stuck to my chopsticks. Yes, I am a slow eater on good days. I can use chopsticks with my right hand again (hooray) but the angle of my brace makes my right hand tickle my left ear so still not useful for faster eating. I almost felt transported back into China when I was done with the meal. But there was something missing. Outside the restaurant a fat rat ran alongside the building. Groups of students in short Asian skirt uniforms crossed the street. Suddenly a noise like someone cleaning a toilet and an old lady right in front of me spat a big blob on the street. Yes, now I feel like I am in China. An A for the experience.




OK, maybe I should try something some Canadian cuisine. I saw during my first day in Montreal old town a street vendor selling sticks with a bit of caramelised maple syrup attached like a lollipop. I can still imagine my tooth enamel cracking when smelling those pure sugar sweets so I will have to find something else Canadian. I would expect some restaurant offering moose meat and beaver burgers, but I seem to be out of luck. I don’t think they believe in eating your national animal with a bit of salad at the side like the Aussies do. At night, I went with a roomie to Dunns, the place to be for Montreal-style smoked meat. It looked like an American diner and for some inexplicable reason they had a Twister game painted on the table. Could this be dinner entertainment for young parents; letting your babies play and the winner gets free french fries? Too bad we couldn’t test it. The smoked meat was juicy and tasty, but we weren’t able to identify the original animal; to remain in the authentic Canadian experience we decided it was a moose. The meat accompanied by mustard, rye bread and soggy fries was declared a success by Jodie. My opinion? Can’t say because I didn’t order. I just stole half a french fry and a sliver of meat from Jodie. A couple of hours before, somebody said during lunch “mumble mumble mumble chocolate mumble, any interest miss?” I replied “I did not understand a word you just said, but I think you said chocolate, so yes”. It was good chocolate. Now I am not hungry anymore and I do not want to see chocolate for another week. My review of the actual food at Dunns will be for another time.


So after reading what I just have written I think I am better of writing about the restaurant experiences than being an actual food critic. What do you guys think?


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