|My guess is that there is about a pound of smoked meat in Smoke Meat Pete's giant platter.|
From the NOTL school reunion, I travelled to Montreal. Initially, I booked the train from Union Station since I have fond 60's and 70's memories of the Rapido between Toronto and Montreal. However, shortly after making a reservation I received a message from Via Rail telling me there would be track maintenance and resulting delays. So, I flew. Driving in from the airport was a terrifying experience. For one thing, there was incredible congestion due in part to excessive road construction.
Unfortunately, the GPS on my huge Chrysler rental (it's all they had available with GPS) did not know which roads were closed off. Consequently, a 28-minute trip turned into an hour and 28 minutes before I finally made it to my Sherbrooke Street hotel. Since I'm accustomed to driving a smaller Tesla, I could barely manoeuvre the Chrysler into and through the extremely tight parkade.
That evening, I took a taxi up to Schwartz's on The Main for the first of several smoked meat experiences. (I was determined to drive as little as possible in a city that was essentially a major construction site.) As always Schwartz's was packed and I was not disappointed with a bone-in rib steak with a side of smoked meat, followed by a smoked meat sandwich. (If you are not a smoked meat aficionado, at Schwartz's you can order lean, medium, medium fat, or fatty. I order medium fat.)
Saturday, I again left the car in the garage and took a hop-on, hop-off bus tour of the city. While impressed by many of the buildings, I wasn't impressed by the statue of John A Macdonald that was missing John A. Of course I toured old Montreal where I once managed two projects for CMHC and MSUA (now defunct Ministry of State for Urban Affairs) and was reminded that at one time, Montreal was the capital of Canada.
Montreal has become a city of murals, and few more photographed than this one of Leonard Cohen.
|I liked the way the venerable Ritz Carlton has been modified to include some condominium residences|
I stopped at Dunns on Metcalfe for what I hoped would be another smoked meat delight, but when I saw a filthy bathroom covered in graffiti, I decided to leave. But not before asking for the manager and questioning why he would allow this to happen. His answer? They were open 24 hours a day. And what does it matter? (I subsequently learned Dunns restaurants are now franchised, but Metcalfe is the main downtown spot . If I owned Dunns, I would fire that manager.)
Saturday night I experienced a wonderful dinner at a Pois Penche, a French restaurant across from 2000 Peel Street where my friend Jon Wener has his Canderel offices. It was an excellent meal and evening . I sat at the bar and by the end of the evening had new friends.
Since I didn't know whether to have the bouillabaisse or duck confit, (and would be fasting for a day) I had the bouillabaisse followed by the duck confit. No disappointment there. As each glass of wine was consumed, my French improved.
On Sunday I returned for another bus tour around the city but forgot the marathon was on, thus eliminating a few of the stops. This was followed by a late deli lunch at Snowden Deli on Decarie before the start of Yom Kippur https://tastet.ca/en/reviews/snowdon-deli/
I attended the Kol Nidre service at Shaare Zion Beth El where I was warmly greeted by those around me who realized I was a visitor. Everyone had family or friends in Vancouver. Coincidentally, the rabbi had recently arrived from....Richmond. Why? For one thing, Richmond was too expensive a place to raise a family! But Shaare Zion is also one of Canada's most established Conservative synagogues in a very impressive building. The choir and cantor were superb.
Yom Kippur lunch? Well, this was a Yom Kippur lunch.
But I had a fabulous 'breaking the fast' dinner at Jon Wener's home. Jon is one of Canada's great real estate success stories and everyone who knows him speaks about him in superlatives. He is, after all, a bigshot! Here's his story. Watch it. You'll know what I mean. https://www.bigshot.show/jonathan-wener/
Before heading back to Vancouver, I had to explore one more deli. Smoked meat Pete is not a Jewish deli. But it's owned by the family that once owned The Main, across the street on Saint Laurent from Schwartz's. (Sadly, it closed down in May.) But Smoke Meat Pete isn't likely to close in the near future. Although located away from the downtown, it is well worth a trip. As I ordered my smoked meat platter food from Cherie, part of the family, I discovered she once lived in Kitsilano. I asked her why she didn't stay in Vancouver and open up a decent smoked meat restaurant here. She gave me the same answer as the rabbi. "Vancouver's too expensive." What a Pity.
After three days I took the car out of the garage and headed off to the suburbs where I would stay for the Canadian Seniors Golf Association annual tournament. But that's another story for another day.
|I think I know what they meant!|