I'm really sorry for posting absolutely nothing about food in Montreal. Or food in my house. The reasons are complex, but basically: the food scene in Montreal is all covered like twenty coats of Kelly-Moore latex beige. It was not that way when I started out. These days, you can find 50 very fine blogs and websites about every aspect of food and restaurants in Montreal. When I started going to restaurants, taking pictures of my meals and posting reviews of them, the word "blog" was at least five years in the future and I can honestly say that was not one SINGLE dependable website about food in Montreal. Most were of the college-dorm kind: Best Pizza, Best Late-night eats blah blah blah. Some of the sites were just lists of restaurants with their addresses and phone numbers, and dozens of pages labelled "Under Construction" with that atrocious graphic of a man with a shovel that we remember so well.
So that is where I began, when the site wasn't even a site, just a place on a server called "Boulevard Montreal."
That lasted quite a while. The reason was, that no one else was doing anything even as remotely comprehensive. After acquiring talented colleagues, we began going to food events and blogging about them (again, before there was the word) and basically covering all sorts of aspects about food.
The blogging -- that came much later, in 2006. The format had become so popular and easy to use that I just switched to that. And stopped going to restaurants. I had no particular reason to go to restaurants and I still don't; many, far too many restaurants in Montreal are atrociously bad and I'm not about to go around spending my hard-earned cash finding that out.
The truth of the matter is, Montreal is a remarkably food-poor city. Yes, I will stand by that. I thought so fifteen years ago and I think so now. A place like San Francisco and its surroundings just put Montreal to complete shame. I'm not going to bother with New York, but the state of food in Montreal, and I don't just mean restaurants, I mean the availability of food and the quality of it, to use a word my sister uses and I despise but is appropriate here, "sucks."
If you throw a dart at a map of the San Francisco Bay Area and just go to the four or five restaurants closest to the dart, you will be guaranteed to find at least one amazing treat. If you threw a thousand darts at Montreal, you'd have spent a lot of time throwing darts.
The produce in supermarkets suck. The meat sucks, the fish sucks, the "ethnic section" (I can't believe they call it that! No, better yet, "Produits Chinoises!") completely sucks, the vegetable section is a complete and utter joke and the "deli" section, if they even bother to have one, is ATROCIOUS by any stretch of the imagination.
Even the specialty stores, the ones where you're SUPPOSED to find authentic ethnic foods, COMPLETELY SUCK. You find the same goddamn pasta that you find at a dozen common supermarkets, the fish, if it exists, stinks, the delis are full of surly Quebecois fuckfaces who come from halfway houses and the "gourmet" products, such as they are, are DOUBLE the price they should be; try finding decent truffle oil and you'll find out what I mean.
Oh sure, you CAN find what you're looking for, but it's as rare as a fucking snowman in Benghazi.
So . . . maybe I can get a rise out of at least ONE of you apathetic Montrealers who grind through life like this, day after day, listening to the blandishments paid our fair food scene by people who come here once in a lifetime but by now you're so grey, dishevelled and resigned to your fate that I know you won't bother.
All I can tell you is that ANYTHING to do with food in the Bay Area is a pleasure, a wonder, a discovery; cooking a meal is so easy because you don't have to go to fifty different stores to find what you want, any restaurant you eat at is practically guaranteed to be a gem and I'd live there if it weren't so bloody expensive and inconvenient (viz: transportation).
To sum it all up, last night Brigitte and I were at our wits' end of what to eat; neither of us wanted to cook and it was too late anyway, so we decided to order out. Since all the places we regularly (meaning twice a year) order from are so bad, we took a chance and threw a dart on the map, so to speak. An Asian (they make em' all! All except Hmong hill-tribe food!) place in Westmount. How could we go wrong?
Let me count the ways . . . the food wasn't fit for a fish-tank sucker fish: a mishmash of horrifically overdone rice, glutinously sweet muck that billed itself as curry and so on and so on (they forgot the spring rolls and I'm very glad they did) and it ended up costing $40.
Now you know why this blog never says much about food in Montreal any more.