Eat your way around Monkland Village
We buy all our bread from Garde-Manger Pantry. (6132 Monkland) It is a kind of Sicilian sourdough - lovely and chewy and flavourful. It seems other people have cottoned on to this though and we often find they have sold out so go early if you want to try it. When they have sold out of bread we are sometimes tempted by the rice balls (spinach and cheese or tomato and meat) best eaten warm.
Mini pizzas fresh and to die for. They also do a great sausage roll. Nothing like those from Gregg's Bakery in my hometown of Newcastle in England but a pastry with some Italian flair - including olives and cheese nestled in with the meat. Divine. The store is full of tempting Italian delights such as olive oils so good you can drink them on their own. Nice friendly service too.
|Rice balls at Garde-Manger Pantry|
Walk east on the southside of Monkland Avenue for some British treats at Gryphon D'Or. It amuses me that they sell themselves on their Irish and Scottish traditions. Playing up your Englishness in Quebec is not always a good thing. Personally I think they should put a bloody big Union flag outside the store and advertise English Afternoon Tea. I think they'd get a line-up down the street and quite possibly a lot of Quebecois intrigued by the concept.
I've written about the quality of their scones here before. If you don't have time to stay for tea you can buy frozen ones to bake at home (and pretend they're your own) or the homebaked shortbread, available in boxes, is excellent. Their Christmas pudding is quite simply the best of my life. (baked in a flower pot) Order in advance if you want to try it. If you want afternoon tea here they need 24 hours notice. (strange one that because in England we expect it in five minutes flat or else we complain). They've also started doing weekend brunch.
|Scones at Gryphon D'Or|
My absolute favourite store on Monkland is Le Maitre Boucher (5719). Just stepping inside there makes me feel good. Friendly service and the largest numbers of butchers (what is the collective noun?) in one spot you will see around these parts. I buy all my meat for my signature dishes here (Cassoulet with duck confit recently renamed New-cassoulet by a friend after my home town of Newcastle) and Beef and Guinness pie. Huge selection of cheeses and great for oils and vinegars, stock and hard-to-find items like duck fat. (you never know when you might need it). We also love the salmon burgers, organic local bacon and homemade salads.
In Monkland Village central there are pavement cafes aplenty in summer months. It really is a great spot to people-watch but back to the food. If you are around on a Friday or Saturday morning you can get a great brunch in Prohibition. Such a shame it's not every day! Stunning poached eggs with feta sauce and the blueberry pancakes are just about perfect. Particularly good in summer for the urban street feel with a few crooked tables perched on the pavement.
|Smiling butchers at The Maitre Boucher - my favourite|
At the top of the high street is Premiere Moisson -a Quebec bakery chain of quality where if you buy one thing, buy their frozen croissants which you can pop in the oven and bake yourself for an impressive breakfast for guests. Annoyingly long queues and slow service forbids me from doing this more often but I recommend the croissants highly. Nice bread selection too.
If you haven't eaten too many of your purchases on your foodie visit to Monkland you can now treat yourself to lunch at our favourite cheap resto: The Bangkok Express (5645). Nice ambiance, lots of natural light, tables outside in the summer and the freshest tasting Thai curries. (Green with chicken is my regular order) plus sticky rice. They have good Thai beers. It is the perfect - I don't feel like cooking tonight- sort of a place for us. You might see us in there.
I'm going to update this blog soon as there are some new gems on Monkland - including Gia Ba at 5766 Monkland near Wilson, recently reviewed in the Montreal Gazette, a wonderful Chinese where chefs go to eat and Le Fromage - a food truck hole in the wall selling only cheesy dishes - good for post alcoholic evenings.
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