The Shaw clan spent six days in Montreal, where we attended the 67th World Science Fiction Convention. In keeping with He Who Will Not Be Ignored’s ongoing project to eat a hot dog in every new city he visits, we chose to end our walk through the old city with a lunch at McGill Hot Dog. Since food vendor carts are prohibited, storefronts like McGill have cropped up to satisfy the locals’ need for cheap fast food.
Sitting a ta table seemed to defeat the purpose of eating a local dog, but it gave me a chance to scope out the menu, watch some food being ordered, and decode some of the local jargon. Hot dogs are cooked either vapeur (steamed) or rÃ´ti (grilled), and the choice of garnishes is “all-dressed” (mustard, chopped onions, and cabbage slaw) or “Michigan” (topped with meaty tomato sauce). Then there’s the choice of frites (fries) or poutine (fries and cheese curds covered with gravy).
Armed with this quickly-acquired knowledge, I dove in and ordered one vapeur all-dressed avec poutine:
The hot dog was on the small side and didn’t have much spice or snap, and the slaw was very light on the dressing. The ideal poutine would have been crispy fries, melted cheese, and tasty gravy, but that was not to be. I got soggy fries, melted cheese, and canned gravy.
I got exactly what I paid for: a cheap fast meal that also provided me with a baseline experience that I would seek to improve during the the remainder of my stay. And mais oui, did I improve on that lunch.
“And mais oui, did I improve on that lunch.”
I can believe it. I’ve never been to Montreal, but we did spend a few days in Quebec City. Quebec seemed very dull, but the food was good. Everywhere we went, fresh, seasonal ingredients, well prepared. It was like bad food was not allowed inside the city limits. At that time the $Can was worth nothing, so it was cheap, too. I’d guess Montreal was similar, except the exchange rate is probably not as favorable now.
The Canadian dollar is worth about $0.92 US, so things were a little cheaper.
We found lots of good food later, especially in Chinatown, which was all of three blocks from our hotel. I have two more Canadian food posts coming up.
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I guess my palate was unsophisticated back on Thursday – I thought the poutine was pretty tasty.
While it was hot, it was good. But once it hit room temp, the texture – which was carrying the dish – disappeared and all that was left was the taste.