Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Field Notes: Westmount

appetite for books/thirst for wine fig. a: an appetite for books and a thirst for wine

Appetite for Books

Saying Appetite for Books is the city's best source for cookbooks and food writing really isn't saying much because it's one of the only cookbooks and food writing specialists in town, but if you haven't had a chance to pay a visit yet, Appetite for Books really is an excellent bookstore. Not only do they carry all the latest titles from the world of celebrity chefdom, but they have a very thorough selection of back catalogue classics, and they also carry a lot of less obvious, harder-to-find titles, like John Shelton Reed, Dale Volberg Reed, and William McKinney's Holy Smoke: The Big Book of North Carolina Barbecue (it being barbecue season,* Appetite for Books is well-stocked with literature for the barbecue aficionado at the moment), one of our favorite recent reads. They also host a very popular series of cooking classes in their beautiful full-service, on-site kitchen. Give them a call or check out their website for details.

Appetite for Books, 388 Victoria Ave., Westmount, (514) 369-2002


Talk about a fabled history. Dentaro and Yone Miyamoto first came to Montreal in 1945 after having languished in British Columbia's internment camp system during the war years. Dentaro got a job in a brick manufacturing factory; Yone worked in the garment industry. Dentaro retired in 1957 at the age of 65, and when he did the couple decided to embark on a new life as grocery store owners. They opened a shop on St-Hubert and ran it until Dentaro's second retirement in 1981. For those of you who aren't great with numbers, that's another 24 years (!), meaning Dentaro was now 89 years old (!!). That same year, the business moved to its present location on Victoria Ave. (just a couple of doors down from Appetite for Books), and Dentaro and Yone's grandson, Wesley, took over.

Today Miyamoto Foods isn't as cute as it used to be when it was located on St-Hubert,

fig. b: Miyamoto on St-Hubert

but it's still an excellent place to shop for Asian specialty foods and kitchen supplies (especially Japanese), and it's the only place in Montreal that we know of that sells fresh wasabe (Thursdays only, special order in advance).

Miyamoto, 382 Victoria Ave., Westmount, (514) 481-1952


* Isn't it sad to live somewhere where barbecue is relegated to a season?


Sam said...

I don't agree that barbecue is seasonal in Montreal. A friend of mine in Mtl had an Epiphany tradition of bbq in the snow (before she moved away). My FIL allegedly bbqed in Winnipeg in the middle of winter. He definitely does now in Northern Ontario. (The friend was just grilling steaks etc, but the FIL does both grilling and smoking.)

aj kinik said...

hi, Sam,
my point wasn't that you can't--many people brave all types of weather to barbecue--my Uncle Mike was a legendary all-weather barbecuer who was known to barbecue homemade kielbasa in -20 C weather--my point was that the assumption is that you can't/you shouldn't barbecue in the depths of winter, and therefore barbecue equipment and barbecue books suddenly get a push around this time of year, after the thaw

Pinot said...

I bbq all year round ans winter is the perfect time for cold smoking cheese, salmon etc.

lagatta à montréal said...

Huh? Librairie gourmande is a cookbook shop at Marché Jean-Talon, an odd location for a foodie NOT to have seen.

Unfortunately their second-hand branch, l'Occasion gourmande, located just north of the market on Castelnau, has closed, but the main bookshop is definitely operating and frequently has guests and signings.

aj kinik said...

hi pinot,
you're right, winter can be a great time to cold smoke

hi lagatta,
The post says "it's one of the only cookbooks and food writing specialists in town." This implies that there's not much competition in this department--it doesn't imply that there's no competition. We know all about Librairie Gourmande. We only wish that it lived up to the standards of its Parisian namesake.

Kate M. said...

"it's one of the only cookbooks and food writing specialists in town" is not up to your usual standard. "One of the only" is meaningless. Either it's the only one, or it's one of the few, or one of the rare, or something like that. (Think of it as a "unique" trap in another form.)

Leigh said...

awesome picture - as for the bbq comment - try living the the UK. We get maybe four weeks of the year, if lucky, to dust off the old bbq.