Sunday, February 19, 2006

Hot off the presses!

Gourmet, March 2006

Well, last year, "we" (Montreal, that is) were the darlings of the music world, with highly sensationalistic, attention-grabbing dispatches on the "Montreal music scene" showing up everywhere from Spin, to The New York Times, to CBC television's "The National"*. Is this our year to be the darlings of the culinary world? For only the sixth time in their history, Gourmet has devoted an issue to a single city, and that city, dear readers, is Montreal. While last year's music scene stories, by and large, were ridiculous (riddled with mistakes, misrepresentations, and even bald-faced lies), I'm happy to report that Gourmet's special issue is a well-balanced and thorough, if a bit glowing, portrait of Montreal and its food culture ca. 2006.**

What prompted this issue? Well, as Ruth Reichl explains, while devoting issues to Paris, Rome, San Francisco, New York, and London (the past laureates) was a great experience for all involved (how could it not be?), there was a sense of excitement to exploring Montreal that the staff at Gourmet hadn't felt before, much of which had to do with exploring a city on the move that was peripheral to the Grand Tour. "Everybody knows that those other cities are great places to visit," she writes, "you have a good idea what you'll find there. But Montreal... feels like a discovery. You won't be surprised to learn that each of us returned determined to convince our friends they had to go to Montreal."

What can you expect inside? Among other things, you'll find...
• write-ups on Jewish Montreal, Mile End, Old Montreal, Atwater and Jean-Talon Market, the Plateau, and, yes, even Montreal's music scene.
• an overview of the French-ness that underlies so many of the city's finest restaurants
• a nice story on Elena Faita, of Quincaillerie Dante fame
• and a very well-deserved feature on Martin Picard and his truly exceptional Au Pied de Cochon, for (as we've mentioned here before) no other restaurant captures what's exciting and unique about Montreal's contemporary food culture more effortlessly

Anything we would have done differently? Well, you'll just have to compare Gourmet's account of Montreal with ours and draw your own conclusions...


*True to form, the CBC had the nerve to turn on the unconverted to the dynamism and energy of Montreal's Anglo music-making youthquake at the same time that they were busily slashing support for Montreal-based English-language music programming.

**I'm also happy to report that " endless banquet" received a very generous mention.


Melissa said...

Wow, congratulations! You certainly deserve every bit of fame you get, and in Gourmet, no less! I'm thrilled to bits for you both.

Ivonne said...

Oh my goodness!

I used to subscibe to Gourmet, but stopped my subscription as I felt they had too many advertisements and not enough food.

You can bet I will be picking up this issue. I love Montreal and I think it's one of the culinary gems of the world ... it's about time a major food magazine focusses on it.

Thanks for the head's up!

aj kinik said...

Thanks so much, Melissa. Let us know when you're ready for some high-stakes dining in "the Paris of the North" (never really did understand that one, seeing as we're quite a bit further south than Paris).

Hi, Ivonne. If you haven't been to Montreal in a while, this issue will really whet your appetite. Thanks for reading.

Snax in the City said...

Just wanted to say congratulations! We picked up Gourmet and saw you there - #24! You're famous! The whole issue really brought back memories and we are really itching to get back up to Montreal now! One day soon the meantime, we have the recipes. :)

Anonymous said...

Picked up the Gourmet Montreal issue last night. While I have yet to read many of the articles, it has already lead me to your great blogspot, so it was already a worth while purchase.

aj kinik said...

Hi Snax,
Thanks for the congratulations. I don't know if we're "famous" exactly. The closest either of us has gotten to fame recently was when Michelle's photo appeared above an article on chefs and their diets in the Hour, a local weekly newspaper. For about a week afterwards we noticed heads turning in a way we were unaccustomed to when we were out in public. On one occasion we were out brunching and some woman in the restaurant was giving her the eye. Michelle was struggling to figure out if she knew this woman. "Knitting?" Soccer? Yoga?" I said, "She probably just read the Hour article sometime this week." Michelle took a second look and the woman was reading the Hour at that very moment. You should have seen Michelle blush. Anyway, we're ready for you. We've got a new, improved culinary tour of Montreal that were just dying to spring on visitors.

Dear anonymous,
Thanks for checking us out.

wayne said...

Hi AJ and Michelle,

Congratulatons on your worldwide recognition. We're among the legions of those who've newly discovered your blog. And perfect timing, too, as we've just purchased a second home in the Plateau.

I'm curious to learn more about the "new, improved culinary tour" that you mention. Thanks.

aj kinik said...

Hi Wayne,
Thanks for checking us out. About the "new, improved culinary tour"... Well, our friends R & M at Snax in the City have come up from NYC to visit us a couple of times (including one particularly memorable mid-winter visit about 3 years ago now where they decided they wanted to get the full Nordic experience, and, boy, did they ever get it: -30 C when they arrived, -20 most of the weekend, and a balmy -17 on Sunday) and we've shown them a whole bunch of our favorites: Leméac, Au Petit Extra, Byblos, Schwartz's, etc. The "new, improved" tour (I'm thinking in terms of a long weekend) might very well include Au Pied de Cochon (which obviously has been open for a few years now, but which R & M haven't yet had the pleasure of experiencing), La Montée de Lait, Jun-I, Reservoir for brunch, a picnic at Jeanne-Mance Park including a chicken from Rotisserie Portugalia (I'm obviously thinking of a summer visit and, again, they haven't had the pleasure of a Rotisserie Portugalia bird), a visit to Olives et Épices, and a visit to Les Chocolats de Chloé. Of course, we also like to entertain at home, and then there's all the old favorites, too. Conclusion: they'd better come for a week.

Wayne said...


I know in other cities, NYC in particular, there are food tours that cater to the public in small groups. That's what I thought you were doing when I read your post. Do you know of anyone doing such a thing in Montreal? If you and Michelle ever entertain such an idea, I know we'd certainly be interested.


aj kinik said...

Hi Wayne,
Yeah, I know all about some of those tours in NYC and elsewhere. In fact, we seriously contemplated heading on down to NYC about this time last year just to catch a one-off tour of Chinatown and its eating establishments by Mr. Calvin Trillin. I don't know of anyone who's doing food tours in Montreal at the moment, but, given the attention we're getting at the moment, someone ought to seriously start thinking about it. Hmm... Too bad I'm so busy with my Windsor Station project, otherwise...