Born to Knish.

not that my experience with knish(es?) is boastworthy in breadth or depth, but the $1.25 knish at that bakery (Tara? Taura? Laura? i’ll get back to you on this) that is just shy of kiddie-corner to Wawel (5499 Sherbrooke o.) are gotterdammerung delicious. that which i tasted had presumably been sitting around all day (as of 1pm) but was immensely tender and yielding, and so my eyes narrow involuntarily thinking of that day of days when i get up early enough to try one fresh.

potato, mixed veg, mushroom or spinach. the second last being i think my favourite. also all manner of breads and pastries available for usual prices, including chocolate turnovers seemingly akin (even vegan?) to those of Cheskie’s (359 Bernard o. )fame.

espresso $1.50. reasonably delicious, slight nuttiness. croissants (95¢) also more than satisfactory – very flaky, very chewy – although the subtle sweetness i love so much was a little less subtle than usual. maybe not subtle enough.

or maybe just Not Subtle Enough enough?

markets, miscellany/etymology

As a Past Vegan Self rolls, Mortified, in his Cold and Danced-upon Grave.

hey jokers, it is winter (still, again) and that means another series of gustatory happenings that usually i a) forget about entirely, or b) am too poor to enjoy – however This Year Will Be Different for among other things i am not only not going to not forget entirely about Nuit Blanche (ferris wheel! fireworks! sugar shack late night dance! oyee!), but i am going to drink energy drinks and cider and stay up all night frolicking in the museae (having decided that the preceding is an acceptable, if wrong, pluralization of museum).

for those of you who don’t know, Nuit Blanche (in mtl at least) is a an all-night orgiasboard of art and ice and techno and open public edifices that caps the week of Montreal en Lumiere/High Lights Montreal, which i believe exists solely because of the pact the City made with the abyss that they could stay their inevitable consumption only so long as they have giant confusing festivals every forty five minutes.

also: CHEESE FEST! rather, the Festival of (local) Cheeses, which starts today, is free, and features over 40 different cheeses for your tasting/buying pleasure from over a dozen local and mostly artisanal producers. hells yeah. hours of operation: wed 11-6, thurs & fri 11-8, sat 11-5, Complexe Desjardins across the street from place-des-arts metro.

not free is the fine Quebecois cheese and French wine tasting sesh at Café Fleury in the Hyatt Regency Hotel from 6-8pm on friday. for $25 and the experience of having someone who (presumably) knows what they’re talking about to guide my wine and cheese pairing hand, i’m thinking i just might. anyone game?

N.B. also Marche Jean Talon, which over saturday and sunday will be showcasing a number of Montérégie ‘slow food’ farmers and fooderers who’ll be offering samples and chat about their work, as well as a couple of special lectures, classes, tasting sessions, including ‘slow’ chocolate (sat 1:30-2:30), and cider & cheese pairing (sat 4:00-5:00). more info at

markets, product review

The Plot Chippens…

so i guess Blair’s – creator of the dangerous and much beloved SUDDEN DEATH sauce, also has a snack food line, adorably entitled DEATH RAIN. this i discovered at, of all places, Real Bagels on ste Catherines (4160 Ouest). i went in because i noticed they had a big sign advertising empanadas (accompanied, interestingly enough, by text dismissing the distinctions between patties, pizza pockets, empanadas and calzones, on the grounds that they are all basically the same and delicious and you should buy some right now. also, world peace, i assume), and i was surprised to find that the place appears to be a legitimate bagelry, as well as bakery, selling a wide variety of empanadas, knishes, patties and other (usually stuffed) savoury bready things, and are a purveyor of hot sauces and illy espresso. not bad, since i had heretofore dismissed them as a shitty businessperson/alexis-nihonian snack cafe.

the empanadas are around $2.50, i had the 3 cheese, which was okay, and a broccoli and cheese, which was pretty decent, and had onion slivers baked onto the top. no free sauce though, which was unfortunate.

blair_s_death_rain_habanero_chipsreturning to the point though, i picked up a bag of Blair’s Death Rain Habanero chips, and they’re pretty damn good. the hottest flavour of the chip line (which includes bbq, cheddar, chipotle, buffalo wings, and cajun), they weren’t problematically so, but i guess where chips are concerned you sort of want something that you can actually eat and touch without protective clothing. that said, they were good and salty, sort of like a not-sweet bbq flavour, and undoubtedly the hottest potato chips i’ve ever had. Real sells them for $1.75 for a small (2 oz?) bag, which is a little pricey, but honestly i don’t think i’d want to eat much more than that amount. i had to be a little careful too not to inhale while the chip was in my mouth but before i started chewing or a choking and coughing fit was almost unavoidably. i tried the cajun ones too, which are the next less spicy, but wasn’t really taken with them. a little bland.

enflavourment redefined, dudes.

markets, product review

Porcupines Shouldn’t eat Pad Thai Anyway.

i may just stop listening to those guys at the fancy condiment store, because this is the second time they’ve led me astray, re: hot sauce (i will grant that their balsamic vinegar and truffle oil counsel has been sound, but now they’ve offended in equal measure to their previous aid). the first was with this Montreal Road Kill Sauce, which i was assured was goodly spicy, but not to the point of eclipsing its distinct flavour. what i discovered upon taking this flagrant pretender of a hot sauce home was that i had paid 7 bucks for a bottle of weak ass sweet chili sauce. this prompted, discernible amidst a steady stream of epithet and contempt, three questions:

1. what exactly would one expect a “Montreal” hot sauce to taste like? particularly one with a roadkill theme? the label graphic (forthcoming, sorry for the lack of immediate visual aid) suggested that it was perhaps a sauce the boldness of flavour of which could be relied upon to mask the presumably unfortunate taste of roadkill (as opposed to a sauce tasting like roadkill, or a sauce which in its fiery onslaught one would be reduced to a state of grotesque brokenness and splayed entrails comparable to roadkill, either of which would have been preferable to the tepid and uninspired treacle offered), but unless the roadkill in question was some pad thai that a porcupine was in the process of stealing when it was run down, it hardly lives up to its premise/

so yeah, Montreal hot sauce? pepper? rendered pork fat? maybe something that combines pork fat and maple syrup, in a spicy reinvisioning? that would’ve been nice, unanticipated, even unprecedented. (but no).

2. why are there vultures on it? (there are vultures on it.) do we have vultures?
(in a desert. the vultures are standing in a desert)

3. why is it bottled in Florida or wherever the hell? (actually, i can’t remember where it’s bottled, because i don’t have it right in front of me, but i can vouch for it not being Montreal) in fact, what if anything does this sauce have to do with Montreal other than the name? why is Montreal hot sauce just ersatz thai sweet chili sauce for babies? who did this? why did i pay seven dollars for it?

fie on you.

what was i even talking about?

markets, product review

What the Hell am I Talking About? Empanadas, Eventually.

in Everyday Drinking, Kingsley Amis talks a lot about the “metaphysical hangover,” the often more detrimental to one’s capacity for pleasure and self-worth sibling of the physical hangover – with which i’m sure we’re all familiar, yeah? yeah? yeah, anyway, today was one of those lucky days when you wake up, or wander into shortly after waking, the emotional inversion of such a soul-crushing consequence of Too Fine a Taste for the Excess of Things In Life. anyway, what? feeling good. the sublime hangover, where you still feel like someone poured a bottle of vodka all over your brain and the nerves in your teeth, but you’re surfing, in lieu of sinking in, the void. where the light just seems a little brighter, although not oppressively or aggressively so, and the withered outer veil of the flesh has been torn away, leaving you revelling in the beauty and serenity of the Real World like some skinless, gibbering abomination..

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