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Friday, August 24, 2018

Schmeared? Myer's International Bagel Mascot Mystery Solved

Posted By on Fri, Aug 24, 2018 at 12:13 PM

  • Sasha Goldstein; St-Viateur Bagel
  • Who wore it better?
A baffling cross-border bagel mystery turns out to have a simple answer.

Food website Eater Montreal posted a story Thursday with the headline, “A Vermont Bakery Mysteriously Has the Same Logo as St-Viateur Bagel.” St-Viateur Bagel is a famous Montréal shop, opened in 1957 and still running 24 hours a day on Rue Saint Viateur O. The Vermont bakery in question is Myer’s Bagels, the Montréal-style bagel shop that first opened on Burlington’s Pine Street in 1996.

The headline brings up a good point: The two bagel logos do appear to be close to exactly the same. But the rest of the speculative story is filled with holes.

The easy-to-obtain answer involves Lloyd Squires. The Montréal native spent years learning the art of bagel making from Myer Lewkowicz, the St-Viateur founder. When Lewkowicz died, Squires moved to Burlington and opened a shop he named in his mentor’s honor, said Adam Jones, one of Myer’s owners.

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Friday, January 27, 2017

Sampling Montréal's Korean Cuisine at Kantapia

Posted By on Fri, Jan 27, 2017 at 4:37 PM

Kantapia on Rue Sherbrooke Ouest - SUZANNE PODHAIZER
  • Suzanne Podhaizer
  • Kantapia on Rue Sherbrooke Ouest
Usually, upon arriving in Montréal, I head straight for a ramen shop. The thought of soft-cooked eggs and toothsome noodles in rich broth is an irresistible draw. This time, though, as we walked down Rue Sherbrooke Ouest, my friend pointed out a colorful sign reading "kantapia: cuisine coréenne."

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Saturday, November 26, 2016

Dining on a Dime: Boustan

Posted By on Sat, Nov 26, 2016 at 7:30 AM

Shawarma combo platter at Boustan - SUZANNE PODHAIZER
  • Suzanne Podhaizer
  • Shawarma combo platter at Boustan
At 3 a.m. on Sunday, a long line snakes into the Saint Catherine Street location of  Boustan, a Lebanese fast-food mini-chain with five restaurants in Montréal.

Hungry dancers and club hoppers wait, examining the menu or watching sports on a wall-hung TV, until they can reach the counter and place an order. Some grab bottles and cans from the cooler: soda, aloe juice or a strawberry drink dotted with basil seeds.

On the food menu are pita sandwiches, couscous dishes and kebabs, but the most exciting offering is the chicken and beef shawarma platter ($10.75 CAD, or $7.95 U.S., as of November 25). When the guy who whips around putting together takeout orders as he talks asks if you'd like yours "all dressed up," say oui.

If you do, you'll receive a pile of spiced rice, roasted potatoes, coleslaw, hummus, red onions, some sort of reddish pickled vegetable (radish? turnip?), and a generous scoop of aioli. In case you don't have enough starch already, he'll toss a pita on top for good measure. Only a competitive eater or a lumberjack would consider this a single meal.

Shawarma is made from meats that are spiced and spit-roasted. Here, both the chicken and beef are flavorful and moist. Alternating through the side dishes, or combining them, provides a wide variety of tastes and textures, including some serious crunch from the slaw, pickles and onions. Especially late at night, it's perfectly satisfying.

When I travel, I rarely visit the same restaurant twice. But this iteration of Restaurant Boustan, located just a couple doors down from Espace des Arts — which hosts many of the city's Latin and African dance events — calls me back time and time again.

Why? The winning combination of late-night hours (the spot is open until 4 a.m.), flavorful food and value — about $4 per meal in American currency, or $6 if I wash my shawarma down with a sweet, soothing, strawberry-basil-seed drink.

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Friday, February 28, 2014

Grazing at Montréal en Lumière

Posted By on Fri, Feb 28, 2014 at 4:33 PM

Rack of "Appalachian deer" - COURTESY OF CORIN HIRSCH
  • Courtesy of Corin Hirsch
  • Rack of "Appalachian deer"
The program for Montreal en Lumiere, the two-week festival that has been unfolding up north, is disorienting to pick through. Except if you choose to focus only on the food events — and then it's only half as disorienting. Dozens of guest-chefs events and tasting menus abound, so many that I left the decision to the festival organizer who invited Seven Days staffers to come and experience the festival.

Since most of us are ridiculously busy at the moment, I was the only volunteer. Even then, I could only squeeze in a Tuesday night, when the ferris wheel on St. Catherine Street was dark, the Haitian food pavilion and Sphère Provigo de Marché were closed, and the schedule was relatively quiet.

Still, my evening was spectacular, even if I arrived four hours late on a delay-plagued Greyhound bus. I was invited to dine at Europea, the baroque 11-year-old restaurant where legendary chef Jérôme Ferrer pulls tiny culinary tricks on his diners. Yet many restaurants host guest chefs during the festival — and on the night I visited, French chef Jean-Paul Hartmann turned out four classic dishes that elegantly grounded Europea's parade of amuse-bouche and Willy Wonka-like desserts.

Pictured is Hartmann's "Appalachian deer" with seared foie gras in grand veneer sauce and tiny sea buckthorn berries offering sobering doses of sourness.

The meal was arresting, and raised questions I'll write about in an upcoming feature. In the meantime, Montréal en Lumière continues, culminating with Nuit Blanche on Saturday — an all-night party that unfolds all over the city (the Métro stays open all night, too). So if you have a passport, a clear schedule, and are not attending Burlington's Mardi Gras, get thyself to Montréal to check out one of the remaining food events — and mark your calendar for next year.

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