This deserves its own post for one reason: Première Moisson Bakery. Première Moisson means “First Harvest,” which I assume refers to the wheat in their flour, or possibly the fact that everything is so fresh looking in the morning. I’d read about it before coming to Montreal and was delighted to find out how close one of their shops was: about a five minute walk and then down into the underground Main Train Station.
You’ve already seen some of this place in the post on Montreal. I went along the entire case that morning, snapping photos, like any dumb and besotted tourist in love. So here’s selection of what I saw that morning.
Baked goods. The special for the first day was a Apricot-Almond-Coconut loaf. We didn’t get that one, but we did buy the next day’s special of Raspberry Bread. It was like a large folded over half-circle, with a layer of fresh raspberries inserted in the folded-over space before baking. The result (which we bought and took with us on the airplane and ate mid-flight) was like a slightly tart raspberry jam inside of a lightly sweetened soft dough. It was divine. They actually have a book on baking, but it’s all in French and Metric measurements–a little difficult for us American bakers.
This was the next section over and some had shiny chocolate ganache as a frosting.
This is the sandwich section. We bought the pear-cheese on hazelnut-golden raisin bread and the roast beef on an herbed roll for our “airplane food” on Wednesday morning. I don’t see them here.
This was a close-up of the lentil salad from their salads section (we took a small container for our travel lunch).
You’ve seen this case already but it’s worth a second look.
Première Moisson has figured out how to do what I wish the French would have done: combine an almond croissant with a pain du chocolat. I had a chocolate-almond croissant both mornings; it was heavenly.
We ate this little treat right after our lunch of Vietnamese Spring Rolls which we’d picked up in the underground.
Backing up, this was Dave’s Croque Monsieur (grilled cheese and ham sandwich) that he had at L’Express on Sunday. The french fries had such a unique and wonderful flavor that the waiter offered to find out for me which kind of potatoes were used. He came back with the answer “The Chef says it’s a secret.” I do know that Canadians pride themselves on their new potatoes that were appearing in all the stores and on menus, but this didn’t remind me of a new potato. The little sauce was fresh mayonaise. Dave said when he was in France it took some getting used to, but now if feels normal (although he still uses catsup when we’re at home).
A little luncheon quiche, with green salad.
That night we went to L’Academie (check map on Canada page for restaurant info) and we both had the same thing (it was a special): gazpacho, which was very good–cool and a bit piquante.
Then nothing-to-write-home-about ziti in sauce.
Monday’s lunch was at Cafe des Arts in the Marche Bonsecours. Grilled panini, two drinks, a cool place to sit for a while and a most unusual biscotti that was studded with nuts and chocolate chips. We bought another for the road.
We dined that night in Old Town, where we nabbed (by 10 minutes) the early-bird dinner. This was Modavie and that table is not set because they had a jazz singer and guitarist in for entertainment. As we were eating we saw a group of six older customers come in and sit at the bar. They enthusiastically applauded the duo and after a couple of drinks, they left, but not without one woman coming up and kissing the singer. Her grandmother?
Sometimes you can tell a lot about a place by their breadbasket. These all tasted like store-bought breads. The long roll was especially grocery-store like.
Mine was a raspberry sauce over salmon. That’s a bottled raspberry sauce dripped on top of over-cooked salmon.
Dave’s was chicken something-or-other, which even he didn’t finish. The potatoes and vegetables were good, though.
But on the other hand, I can’t say enough good things about Olive et Gourmando, an extrememly busy, but efficient place in Old Town.
Several walls (and surfaces) are coated with blackboard paint. This one says something to the effect of “eat your vegetables. No, brownies don’t count.”
This was our salad–so refreshing on a day where the weather was about 104 degrees in feeling, when the temperature and humidity were combined (in their “humidex”). I’ve posted the recipe over on Elizabeth Cooks.
We also had this panini, and I’m pretty sure it was The Cubain: ham, braised pork, homemade mayonnaise (chipotle peppers, pickles, lime, and coriander), with gruyère cheese. I didn’t write it down, but took it from their website later on.
On Sunday, we passed by this young man handing out pizza samples–they looked great. Notice the heart-shaped trash can below.
This is the famous St. Viatueur bagel shop.
Fresh bagels are in a mound to the right of the wood-burning oven. Watching the fellow in black was poetry in motion. (I should have watched the man in white shape the bagels.) After they were shaped, he threw them in a “honeyed water” (from Frommer’s guidebook) and the fellow in black scooped them out with a strainer and coated both sides with sesame seeds.
He lined them up on the long narrow boards, then put them on the left side of the oven (below).
And those on the very far right, were removed by sliding that thinner, spare board underneath them, then flipping them out into the sloping channel, where they’d tumble down into the mound. The nearby fellow would bag them up. We shared one. It was really good.
Last eating adventure for that day was a Schwartz’ viande fumee–smoked brisket, stacked really high. We knew to order the garlicky dill pickle. To eat it, I would cut a bite of sandwich, add some mustard and a pickle slice and pop it in my mouth. They charge you an extra dollar-fifty to share the sandwich, but I don’t know how I could ever eat one by myself. The fellow waiting on us had the answer: “Skip lunch.”
I forgot to take a photo of Suite 88, the chocolate shop we went to in Mont Royal, but this one from their website will do. I liked their chocolate bars (favorite was the”Gingembre”–ginger in dark chocolate, and “Cinq Epices” with had five different spices in the milk chocolate). A fitting end to eating in Montreal.