It was supposed to rain on Saturday July 26th, but the sun was very much out at 2pm when the participants of Taste Your Neighbourhood met up with the representative from Yellow Pages (the organizers of the event) and the tour guide at the corner of Saint-Laurent and Prince-Arthur.
Discovering various food shops on the Main. Such was the goal of this walk on the Saint-Laurent Boulevard and nobody was scared by a slight chance of rain.
FREAK LUNCHBOX3680 SAINT-LAURENT MONTRÉAL QUÉBEC H2X 2V4The first stop was destined to start the afternoon with a high of energy – and not only because of the abundance of candy, but also thanks to the staff’s enthusiasm and the bright colors of the shop. The employees talked about the story of Freak Lunchbox before quizzing the attendants. Up for grabs: a giant bag of candy that everyone ended up sharing (and not finishing)!
L'ESPANOLA3811 SAINT-LAURENT MONTRÉAL QUÉBEC H2W 1X9The manager of L’Española greeted us with a big smile and the story of the first Spanish library in Quebec. Today, they’re way more than a library: they’re pretty much the center of the Spanish culture in the province. Selling shoes, beverages, meat and cheese, as well as books, they also act as a supplier for many Spanish restaurants in town – including our very own Club Espagnol de Quebec. The group was very pleased to try slices of wine goat cheese with quince jelly on top, which is called Murcia al vino con dulce de membrillo.
LA VIEILLE EUROPE3855 SAINT-LAURENT MONTRÉAL QUÉBEC H2W 1X9Only a few steps away, we arrived at La Vieille Europe, a grocery store importing a large variety of European products, which also happens to look like a small market from inside. People grouped in front of cheese platters, bread slices and different olive oils. After tasting the delights from Europe, people started walking around and many exclaimed their appreciation of the coffee smell (for which La Vieille Europe is very well known).
COCO RICO3907 SAINT-LAURENT MONTRÉAL QUÉBEC H2W 1X9The next stop was also very close – not even one block away! Coco Rico, the first Portuguese grill in Montreal, greets us with a mouth-watering smell. Our guide was Glenn Castanheira, the son of the owner who has worked there for many years. He told us about the story of the store and his family. He then introduced us to one of his former employees who, in return, told us what we’re going to taste: pork, chicken and ribs. Each meat was tastier than the previous one, with a mild and typical Portuguese sauce. Just before we left, the owner offered some natas, a delicious pastry that no one can resist. Needless to say it was a delight!
FRENCOGR-30-3985 SAINT-LAURENT MONTRÉAL QUÉBEC H2W 1Y5As we were promised (but who really knows with the weather?!), it started raining when we got out of Coco Rico. Luckily enough, the next store was very close. But that’s how it works on the Main, everything is close by! The grocery store Frenco sells tons of natural products (about 800!) without packaging – therefore greatly reducing the waste generated. You take a bag and you fill it to your liking. Here, the attendants had to work a bit for their samples. They were asked to find a list of products in the store and the first one to get it right, got a bag of chocolate-coated almonds. Everyone else in the groupe got to taste some scrumptious almonds; we all left happy.
LAIKAR-08-4040 SAINT-LAURENT MONTRÉAL QUÉBEC H2W 1Y8Last but not least was Laïka, an institution mixing restaurant, bar and coffee shop and knowing how to do it well. It’s also the business of the president of the Société de développement du boulevard Saint-Laurent’s board of directors – a business man very implicated in the life of the Main. Laïka is the place where many artists go to get inspired and discover new international DJs. We were seated around a few tables and offered a glass of apple cider (way too rare in Montreal, if you ask us) or ice tea.
The afternoon ended with everyone drinking and talking about their favorite discoveries of the day, saying how much they were looking forward to the next activity like this!
The SDBSL wants to thank Yellow Pages Group for the great management of the event, the business owners for their generosity and the participants for their enthusiasm!