Note - This post was inspired by recent conversations with friends who left this great city of Montreal back in the 80s. We spoke of the amazing food we grew up on (all noted below). We started with the golden, delicious, piping hot, Egg Rolls from the Yangtze and there was no heading back from there.
But let's begin at the beginning -
My brother and I would go to school each day with a well balanced lunch in a bag. This would consist of a sandwich such as tuna or my mom's homemade chicken salad on rye or Challah, a Ziploc with 2 Oreo or chocolate chip cookies, a piece of fruit and this really great juice in a plastic bottle that they don't seem to make anymore.
The first thing we would do when the lunch bell rang was to get out there in the school yard and
"SELL, SELL, SELL".
That's right (I hope my mother is not reading this post and if you are Mom - it's completely fictitious) we would sell our lovely lunches for cold hard cash and then we would take that cash to Cantor's Bakery near our school and buy a much more nutritious meal consisting of a bag of chips (Munchos preferred - do those taste just like french fries or what?) and 2 kosher chocolate donuts (we're talking lick the bag).
As we grew older, we became wiser (or stupider - I can't really decide) and we stole my older brothers lunch (he was never much of an eater) and boy then we really made a profit.
I didn't want to eat my mother's lunches because I was a kid growing up in one of the best cities for some serious get down and lick your lips, chomping all out food orgy sessions. I never left Montreal so when I get a "yen" for something Montrealish (I made up that word and it's great) - here are some of the best:
I want a bag of Cantor's Kosher Chocolate Donuts. I want Bar B Barn Ribs. I want a mille feuille from Bifteque (they closed and re-opened and closed and I would like to buy that machine with the candies in it that everyone lined up for because they were free), I want bubble gum ice cream from Elmers Dairy (on Sherbrooke West - sorry folks - gone - the cows heads too),
I want a Pizza Burger from Delly Boys , I want a Squished Knish from Blossom Pool, I want a Pogo from the Cattleman, I want a Poo Poo Platter from Pumpernicks, I want Poutine from Ti-Jean across the highway from Camp B'nai Brith, I want a smoked meat on rye from Schwartz's,
I want one of those dry, hanging Karnotzles, I want a slice of Pendellis Pizza (still there and still with the bun in the middle),
I want cotton candy from Belmont Park, I want a Harvey's Burger and I want it "My Way", I want BBQ Chicken from Cote St. Luc BBQ
and don't forget the roll which is really a hamburger bun that if you are a serious fresser - you dip it in the gravy and it still tastes great, I want the lunch special from "Le Picinic" in Cote St. Luc Shopping Center, I want to know why those women that worked at Laura Secord in the Cavendish Mall dressed in white uniforms like nurses and I want to know why they never smiled, I want to know why the manager at Pumpernicks got so angry at my Grandmother when she felt the best place for the buns from the salad bar was her purse?
I want to wash it all down with a giant piece of Dunn's Strawberry Cheesecake.
I want a tiny grilled deli sandwich from Wilensky's with extra mustard.
I want Lafleur's French fries and an all dressed Michigan (why should you have to choose between a hot dog and a burger when you can have them together at the same time?).
I want a hot Fairmont bagel fresh from the oven that I eat out of a paper bag while driving home at 2 AM knowing I am going to regret everything that happened that evening come sunrise (except the bagel).
But mostly - I want to pull up at that giant Orange on Decarie, order me up an OJ (orange julep - think creamsicle, sugar, cold and it comes out of tubes connected to the giant fake orange) on a hot summer's night surrounded by my fellow Montrealers with great music from the 60s and 70s blasting from the speakers and the same skies above, the same stars as when my parents took me there when I was 5.
There are a few sweet memories we have throughout our lives and food is one of the strongest. The scent, the atmosphere, the times we have been there in the past, the present and the future - first as kids with our parents, then as parents with our kids and our parents suddenly grandparents and then in our later years as comfort as something good and fine that never changed.
And if Montreal was or is your city - those are some pretty damn delicious memories.
Thank you Montreal - You taste great!
Statement of Release of Liability re Life is Your Story - Lisa Audrey Cohen - The author is in no way responsible for the very strong possibility that this Blog post will cause you to run out no matter what time of day or night and gather as much of the aforementioned food and eat it all resulting in a very serious calorie intake and a very blissful food buzz.
And let's not forget Kojak's Souvlaki!