Tag Archives: Montreal

Celebrate Canada Day With These Mini Bagels (and Epic BLT Bagel Board!)

When you think of Canadian cuisine, you likely think of poutine, maple syrup, smoked salmon, bannock — and Montreal-style bagels. And with Canada Day quickly approaching, I wanted to share a fun way to get the family involved to create these delicious mini bagels and an epic BLT bagel board. These Baking Therapy mini bagels are covered in white and black sesame seeds and perfectly chewy on the inside. Once you try your hand at homemade bagels, you’ll be making them every single weekend!

Mini Bagels

Prep Time: 40 minutes
Rest Time: 10 hours (or overnight) plus 10 minutes
Bake Time: 13-15 minutes
Total Time: 11 hours
Servings: 15 mini bagels

Ingredients:

Dough
250ml warm water
2 tsp honey
2 tsp active dry yeast
3 cups bread flour
1 Tbsp neutral oil
1 ½ tsp salt
¼ cup white sesame seeds (optional)
¼ cup black sesame seeds (optional)

Boil
1 Tbsp baking soda
2 Tbsp honey

Directions:
1. In a small bowl, mix together the water, honey and yeast. Let sit for 5-10 minutes until foamy.

2. Pour into the bowl of a stand mixer. Add the bread flour, oil and salt. Mix on medium-low for 10 minutes until dough is soft, smooth and elastic. Form the dough into a ball, cover with a bowl and rest for 10 minutes.

Related: 12 Canadian First Nations Recipes to Make for National Indigenous Peoples Month

3. Portion the dough into equal portions (15 x 45-50 gram balls). Roll each piece of dough against a non-floured surface to create smooth, round dough balls. Place the dough balls on a parchment lined cookie sheet, cover with plastic and chill in fridge for at least 10 hours or overnight.

4. Remove the tray from the fridge and let come to room temperature, about 30 minutes.

5. Preheat oven to 400°F. Bring a pot of water to a boil, add the baking soda and honey.

Related: Snack Plates Are the Easy Dinner Option You Need This Week

6. To shape the bagels, grab a piece of dough, slightly flatten. Grab the edge furthest from you and fold the dough over itself and continue to roll the dough over into a log. Roll to about 6 inches long, wrap around your finger as though tying a knot. Pinch the seams together to seal. Give it one last roll to smooth everything out. Place on a parchment-lined sheet.

7. Turn the heat down to medium and keep at a rolling boil. Drop the bagels in (5-6 at a time), boil for 1 minute per side. Transfer to a cooling rack and while the bagels are still hot and sticky, press them into the sesame seeds. Place the bagels back on the parchment lined sheet and bake in the oven for 13-15 minutes until lightly golden brown.

8. Enjoy as a breakfast sandwich, as part of a BLT bagel board or simply with a little cream cheese. Bagel board suggestions include: crispy bacon, boiled eggs, tomatoes, iceberg lettuce, avocado, cucumbers, red onion, cream cheese and dijon mustard.

Like Sabrina’s baking? Check out her easy recipe for soft rolls, along with her gooey overnight cinnamon buns and fudgy gluten-free sweet potato brownies.

Watch out for Sabrina’s baking videos on the Food Network Canada Instagram account.

Best Places to Eat in Montreal: Top Chef Canada’s Darren Rogers

Darren Rogers, a British Columbia native, travelled the country in order to hone his skills in the kitchen before finally settling down in Montreal, where he now works as the chef de cuisine at Antonio Park’s, Park restaurant.

Having experienced food in so many Canadian cities, Darren definitely knows what separates a good restaurant from a great one. That’s why we’re taking note of his top pics of Montreal restaurants, where the Top Chef Canada competitor loves to eat.

Related: Read Darren Rogers’s full bio here.

Restaurant Kazu

This cozy little nook with an open kitchen offers big flavours with dishes that incorporate traditional and modern Japanese flavours. The tofu is made in-house, while modern plates like shrimp burgers and grilled chicken meatballs ensure there’s something for everyone.

“I love this place. It’s tight, quaint, feels like home, and is the least pretentious restaurant in the world,” says Darren. “Chef Kazu himself usually serves the people sitting at the bar, and it’s always fun to watch him and his team work.”

So what is Darren’s favourite dish? “The Kalbi Short Ribs. [They’re] a little sweet, a little salty, [they come with] some creamy potatoes and a little salad. I mean, it’s love in every bite!”

nice pork bowl!

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Maison Publique

This quaint but spacious gastropub has been a Montreal staple ever since it opened its doors in 2012; chef and owner Derek Dammann has been happily changing the menu to his Canadian-inspired whims ever since. While they don’t take reservations for brunch, dinner service tends to book up fast so be sure to call for a spot.

“[It’s] a Canadian take on famous pub dishes. Every meal is just a ton of fun to eat if nothing else,” explains Darren. “The menu is always changing, so it’s hard to pick a favourite, but it’s great to be able to try something different every time.”

BBQ moose heart, chanterelles and pickled Saskatoon berries eh.

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Ichigo Ichie

The name of this ramen house roughly translates into “one time, one meeting,” a Japanese concept that means to treasure each moment and encounter in life because it will never recur. The same can’t be said for the success of these noodles—they’re so consistently popular that the ramen section of the restaurant is on a first-come, first-serve basis.

“It’s easily my favourite ramen house in the city (and there are a lot). It’s always consistent, there’s great energy in the building, and of course it’s a great bowl of noodles,” Darren says. “Obviously the tonkotsu ramen is my favourite… rich, fatty, and filling. It’s the thickest broth in the west, and it never gets old!”

Burger Royal

Whether it’s a chicken, beef or vegan patty you’re seeking, this burger joint does them all. Add a wide variety of creative toppings like mac and cheese, fried eggs or maple smoked bacon—all stacked sky-high—and this is an establishment you definitely want to visit while hungry.

“[They have] dangerously sloppy burgers and the chilliest milkshakes,” Darren raves. “It’s the perfect hangover cure, and to top it off there’s a cheeky ‘Tarantino’ theme in the whole place.”

Pretty much the fastest way to kickstart your weekend into third gear, trust us.

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Liverpool House

This restaurant is rich with seaside cottage charm and features an old-school, clubhouse vibe. The menu is equally indulgent thanks to a wide selection of fresh game, an oyster counter and market-inspired comfort foods to ease the soul.

“[There’s] a ‘house-like’ atmosphere surrounded by knick-knacks and weird paintings [that] makes every meal feel like a dinner party with friends,” Darren says. “[The] best dish is the quail and foie gras sauce. [It comes with] two quails and foie gras… I mean, come on. I love game bird, and this dish was no exception.”

Pintade au chou

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Get Chef JP Miron’s Top 5 Montreal Eats

Find out Chef Ross Larkin’s Top 5 Eats in St. John’s, Newfoundland

Best Places to Eat in Montreal: Top Chef Canada’s JP Miron

JP Miron is certainly a larger-than-life presence in the kitchen, but part of that comes from his drive for excellence when it comes to putting out the perfect plate. The Montreal chef hails from an Italian background and has worked at some of the city’s top eateries, and is now the chef de cuisine at Bocata Restaurant.

Part of why JP is so intent on winning Top Chef Canada is to showcase his city in all its culinary glory—something he says is due. So when this chef dishes on his favourite Montreal restaurants, we’re all ears and hungry tastebuds.

Related: Read JP Miron’s full bio here.

Le Chien Fumant

The locally sourced cuisine is infused with a variety of worldly flavours on the ever-evolving menu at this establishment. Chef Maksim Morin is known for incorporating multiple textures into each dish, giving diners an elevated sensory experience.

“[It’s the] best for late night food,” says JP. “Go in for the donairs and make sure you’re hungry enough for a rib steak.”

Le Bremner

Executive chef Chuck Hughes and chef du cuisine Danny Smiles (of Top Chef Canada season three fame) have transported the dinner service at this Old Montreal restaurant to an intimate eating experience for special occasions and great meals alike.

“[It’s] good for a date night. Make sure to get the lamb heart with remoulade,” JP says.

Cavatelli • Lamb neck • Pecorino Romano • Mint •

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Foiegwa/Atwater Cocktail Club

The best part about eating at this self-described “Americanized French diner”—aside from the classic dishes of garlic snails, onion soup or entrecote frites—is that it’s a part of a club. That means lots of delicious late night eats and interesting cocktails also grace the menu.

“[They serve] food until 2 a.m., the owners are my business partners. They serve a simple take on bistro/diner food. And after having a great burger or some frog legs you cross over to Atwater Cocktail Club and get the best drinks in town,” JP promises.

Fiorellino Snack Bar

There’s pizza, and then there are the handcrafted pizza pies from this casual ristorante and snack bar that feature fresh, Italian ingredients and flavours. Whether you’re in the mood for a bianco or rosso style ‘za, this spot has you covered.

“It’s probably one of the best pizzas in town; I used to work with the head chef back in the day,” JP says. “You go for the pizza, any, they’re all good. Make sure to order some octopus and gnocchi as well.”

You wanna pizza me?????????| ????: @tayund #fiorellinomtl #delagauchetiere #pizzaislove

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Joe Beef

Steaks and seafood are the norm at this Old Montreal restaurant. The name is an homage to Charles “Joe-Beef” McKiernan, the 19th-century Irish innkeeper and working-class hero. But, since its opening, the spot has earned its own reputation—in 2016 it was ranked the 81st best restaurant in the world by 50 World’s Best Restaurants group.

“You get a bunch of friends and sit on the patio in the summer, then you ask them to make you a menu and take care of the wine,” JP says. “And that’s how you spend an amazing evening.”

A plate by @ostrica_boy , all the things .

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Get Chef Darren Rogers’s Top 5 Eats in Montreal

Find out Ross Larkin’s Top 5 Eats in St. John’s, Newfoundland

Schwartzs Deli-Smoked-Meat-montreal

The Delicious History of Montreal Smoked Meat

What better way to get a taste of Canadian history than by sinking your teeth into a Montreal-style smoked meat sandwich?

In case you’re a first-timer, Montreal smoked meat — or viande fumée — is a cross between corned beef and pastrami, and typically served on rye bread smothered in zesty mustard. Developed by Jewish delis in Montreal and influenced by New York City’s pastrami, this succulent sandwich is traditionally made by salting and curing beef brisket with spices. Smoky and savoury with a peppery zing, it’s no wonder this meaty delicacy has been popular since the early 1900s.

Montreal Smoked Meat

But like any legendary dish, the origins of Montreal smoked meat are fuzzy and hotly debated among food historians. Some credit Benjamin Kravitz, founder of the famed Bens De Luxe Delicatessen and Restaurant that opened in 1908 (and closed in 2006), for introducing smoked meat to Montreal. After fleeing Lithuania in 1899, Kravitz and his wife, Fanny Schwartz, started serving smoked-meat sandwiches from their fruit and candy shop, using an old family brisket-curing recipe. By the early 1960s, the deli was open 22 hours a day and serving almost 8,000 peckish patrons a day, including big names like Leonard Cohen, Pierre Elliott Trudeau, Bette Midler, and René Lévesque.

Others say that Reuben Schwartz put Montreal-style smoked meat on the map. A Jewish immigrant from Romania, he was the original founder of the iconic Schwartz’s Hebrew Delicatessen. Considered the oldest deli in Canada, this legendary hot spot has been serving preservative-free brisket braised in fine herbs and spices since 1928 and is practically a city landmark.

However, Eiran Harris, the Archivist Emeritus of the Jewish Public Library in Montreal, believes neither can claim credit for introducing Montreal-style smoked meat to the city. According to this sandwich sleuth, the origins are much more complex.

“The actual genesis was the arrival in 1884 of Aaron Sanft from Yassi, Romania,” Harris said in a 2009 interview. “He became Montreal’s first kosher butcher. Although I don’t know the exact year he introduced [the dish], I do know that he was the first to advertise it.”

In 1894, a full-page advert in a Jewish newspaper proclaimed: “A. Sanft Kosher Meat — 560 Craig Street, Montreal’s largest butcher shop, clean and fresh meat daily. Manufacturer of salami, smoked meat, corned beef, smoked beef and sausages. Same quality as New York. Guaranteed not to spoil.”

By the turn of the 20th century, it wasn’t the only delicatessen in town selling smoked meat. Competition was fierce, with numerous purveyors advertising the “kosherest” smoked meat in the Jewish newspaper. From his research, Harris believes it was a New Yorker, Hyman Rees, who opened Montreal’s first “real, sit-down delicatessen restaurant.”

Montreal Smoked Meat

“On May 9th, 1908, he opened the British-American Delicatessen Store on St. Lawrence Boulevard,” says Harris. “The 5 cent smoked meat sandwich caused long lineups around the corner to Ontario Street. Customers were encouraged to vacate their seats as soon as they consumed their meals in order to make room for hungry patrons waiting in line.”

Ultimately, no one knows for sure who “officially” introduced Montreal smoked meat, but the experts can agree on one thing: the dish is likely Romanian and Jewish in origin. It takes a little time-travel across the pond to trace the recipe’s roots.

“Historians believe that modern day smoked meat originated in Turkey and was brought to Romania by invading Turkish armies,” says Harris. “Romanian Jewish butchers improved the curing process, resulting in an exquisitely tender delicacy.”

But what makes Montreal-style smoked meat so special? Pastrami was first popularized in New York City’s Jewish delis in the early 1900s, and this type of kosher-style deli meat eventually made its way to the Great White North with waves of immigration. However, smoked meat in Montreal eventually developed its own flavour, and according to Harris, it all boils down to how the meat is cooked.

“Traditionally, the dry curing process commenced with salt and spices being rubbed on the surfaces of briskets,” says Harris. “They were then piled into wooden barrels, where they remained marinating in their own juices for a period of 12 to 20 days, depending on the thicknesses, and being turned over a couple of times.”

Afterwards, the cured briskets were hung up on racks inside a smokehouse and cooked for six to nine hours depending on brisket size. As Harris says, this dry cooking technique “resulted in the unique quality and flavour of Montreal-style smoked meat.”

In contrast, Harris believes the “need for speed” influenced the American-style cooking tradition. Some purveyors used the “wet cure,” whereby briskets were rubbed with spices and soaked for only four days in a brine-filled barrel of nitrate and water. Another technique involved “heated smoked meat” — cooked briskets that were steamed for just three hours prior to being sliced and served to order.

Schwartz's Deli

Schwartz’s Hebrew Delicatessen in Montreal.

Since New York City’s cuts were considered superior in the early to mid-1900s, it took a bit for patrons to work up an appetite for the Montreal-style smoked meat. In the 1930s, Schwartz’s played a big role in popularizing the dish with their succulent 13 cent sandwiches, attracting hungry hordes and leading other delis to pop up across the city after the 1950s.

Today, the feeding frenzy continues in countless delis across Montreal. Aside from the legendary Schwartz’s, get your fix at Lester’s Deli, a family-run “smoked meat institution” for deli lovers, or mosey over to Reuben’s Deli and Steakhouse for a Famous Super Sandwich — a 10-ounce sandwich piled sky high on rye bread with mustard. But make sure to pull up a stool at Wilensky’s, a hole in the wall hangout since 1932. Rumour has it that Anthony Bourdain loves this joint, and a must try is their “Wilensky Special” — a grilled beef salami and beef bologna sandwich with “compulsory” mustard.

If you’re overwhelmed by the endless delis in Montreal, take a food tour with Fitz and Fowell Co. Over a half day, you’ll get a crash course in the history of Montreal-style smoked meat sandwiches, as well as get to sample the best of the bunch. If you still have stomach space, take away some Montreal smoked meat from a local deli and build your own sandwich at home with this recipe from Christine Cushing. Or for something different, try making this tangy Montreal Smoked Meat Pizza or Smoked Meat Poutine!

Where to Find Chuck and Danny’s Favourite Canadian Ingredients

When it comes to shopping for ingredients, chefs are often looking for the same things as their customers: freshness, value (hey, restaurants have food costs, too), and local and sustainable products. Chefs Chuck Hughes and Danny Smiles spill their sourcing secrets, from their best spot for vegetables to some must-have Canadian libations.

  1. Organic Ocean Seafood

BC-Spot-Prawns
When Chuck and Danny aren’t able to catch spot prawns off the coast of Salt Spring Island, B.C., they get them from Organic Ocean Seafood. 

Sustainable seafood has been a hot topic among chefs for years now, and Chuck and Danny take this issue very seriously. At their Montreal hot spot Le Bremner, the chefs use West Coast seafood sourced from independent fishermen at Vancouver’s Organic Ocean Seafood. “They’re dope guys,” says Chuck. “They’re amazing and they have great product. We get mostly halibut, but also tuna and British Columbia spot prawns when they’re in season.”

Try using Canadian seafood in this Pan-seared B.C. Halibut and Spot Prawns with Morel, English Pea and Chorizo Ragoût.

2. Birri at Jean Talon Market

Jean Talon Marche
Jean Talon Market photo credit: Creative Commons/@mouses_motor

Jean Talon Market has been a Montreal institution since 1933, and local shoppers and chefs can be found prowling its aisles looking for the best local produce, baked goods, meats and other amazing eats. Chuck and Danny’s favourite place to stop is the Birri brothers’ family-run produce stall. “We have a lot of great markets in Montreal, but my favourite is Jean Talon, and Birri has some of the best vegetables there,” says Chuck. “I love to get cherry tomatoes, and tomatoes in general — we don’t use them all the time, but in the summer, when they’re good, we get them from Birri. They have a selection of fresh herbs, and their zucchini is phenomenal. A lot of our stuff in the restaurants come from them.”

Try this sweet and savoury recipe for Colourful Cherry Tomatoes, glazed with apple cider vinegar and maple syrup.

3.  Norman Hardie Winery 

Chuck-Hughes-Danny-Smiles-at-Norman-Hardie-Winery
Norman Hardie, centre, with Chuck and Danny

A former sommelier at the Four Seasons and a well-known champion of local product, winemaker Norman Hardie is no stranger to Canadian chefs from coast to coast. Chuck and Danny made a point to stop at his winery during their tour through Prince Edward County to snag some freshly made pizza from the wood-fired oven, and sip some of Norm’s chardonnay. “We’ve got to be proud of what he’s doing right now,” says Danny.

Watch Chuck and Danny scarf down some of Norm’s pizza, made with locally-produced water buffalo mozzarella, on the first episode of Chuck and Danny’s Road Trip.

4.  Walter Craft Caesar

the perfect caesar

Although the origin of the Caesar can be a hotly-contested issue, it’s safe to say that Canadians have claimed this cocktail for their own, spiking it with everything from chicken wings to grilled cheese. Chuck likes the all-natural Caesar mix from Walter Craft Caesar, a locally produced, small-batch, ready-made mix that’s even on the Ocean Wise partner list for approved suppliers. “Their Caesar mix is good stuff,” says Chuck.

Try this recipe for a classic version of the Caesar, perfect your mixing technique with this infographic, or take a cue from Chuck and top your libation with a snow crab claw for an ultra-luxe finish.

Discover Chuck and Danny’s Must-Visit Canadian Destinations.

How to Make a Montreal-Style Muffulette Sandwich

This epic Montreal-style sandwich is a riff on the Italian classic known as the Muffuletta. Layers of savoury Montreal smoked meat, turkey, cheese, spicy mustard, briny pickles and crunchy veggies come together to create a flavour combination that will quickly become your go-to for weekday lunches and game day gatherings. Look for a flavourful white cheese made in Québec (like Chèvre Noir) for the most authentic Montreal experience!

montreal-muffulette-sandwich

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Serves: 4 to 6

Ingredients:
1/3 cup chopped dill pickles
1/3 cup chopped pickled pepperoncini peppers
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 large sourdough boule (600 g)
1 Tbsp spicy deli-style mustard
4 slices semi soft cheese
400g thinly sliced Montreal-style smoked meat
200g thinly sliced deli smoked turkey breast
2/3 cup thinly sliced red onion
3 whole pickles, sliced in half
250 mg cream cheese
2 Tbsp chopped fresh dill

montreal-muffulette-sandwich2

Directions:

For the Spicy Pickle Sauce:
1. Whirl together pickles, peppers and oil in food processor until almost smooth.

For the Sandwich:
1. Cut top 1/3 off boule horizontally. Hollow out the bottom of the bread, leaving generous 1/2-inch (1 cm) border to form large bread bowl and lid.
2. Spread bottom of bread bowl with spicy mustard; top with pickle mixture.
3. Layer in cheese, Montreal smoked meat and smoked turkey. Top meat with, onions and halved pickles.
4. Spread inside of top of bread with cream cheese; sprinkle with dill.
5. Top with the hollowed out bread top, cream cheese side down. (Tip: Wrap sandwich tightly with plastic wrap. Press sandwich between two large plates; weight top plate down with can. Refrigerate for up to 2 hours.)
6. Cut into wedges to serve.

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Introducing Canada’s Own Rainbow Bagel

Colourful, carb loaded, psychedelic, delicious… these are not words you would typically see strung together, but the rainbow bagel encompass all of these and more.

rainbow-bagel-cream-cheese-2

Courtesy of Dizz’s Bagel

The Bagel Store in NYC has been making the popular Rainbow Bagel for 20 years, but only until recently did it receive the praise it deserved. With lineups out the door and selling hundreds of these labour-intensive treats on a daily basis, there’s no doubt this trend is worth a try.

But you don’t need to take a trip to NYC to try this trend. Montreal has created its own psychedelic take on the traditional breakfast food at Dizz’s Bagel. These colourful, looped wonders are putting our sesame bagels to shame with their vibrant, chewy exterior, only to be heightened by big slab of sweet, birthday cake cream cheese.

rainbow-bagel-cream-cheese-6

Courtesy of Dizz’s Bagel

The creation process is no doubt time-consuming due to the multiple layers of neon coloured dough that are piled one on top of another. They’re then cut and rolled so each individual rainbow bagel is slightly different than the next.

rainbow-bagel-cream-cheese-5

Courtesy of Dizz’s Bagel

People have said it’s like eating cake for breakfast, which isn’t the worst way you could start your day. So watch out Skittles, with this bagel you really can “taste the rainbow.”