The re-launch of the Montreal street food scene one year ago has translated into a successful endeavor that is now a fixture of the city. This year more food trucks have been introduced and are scattered around the city for Montrealers to enjoy.
If you can’t track down a truck on your lunch break or on weekends, don’t fret. You can take part in First Fridays, which happens every first Friday of the month at the Esplanade Sun Life Financial at the Olympic Stadium. All the food trucks gather at the pavilion for your convenience and over-indulgence!
Last year the Divas sampled many of the trucks while they were gathered in the Quartier des Spectacles during the Just For Laughs Festival and created a Montreal Food Trucks 2013 Guide. We were looking forward to doing the same this year and trying out different trucks, or new bites at some of our favourite trucks.
Luckily, the Divas had a week off from soccer and were free for a First Friday. We planned to take advantage of it, texted friends to meet us there and ended up being a bigger group than anticipated. This included half the soccer team, Femme Fatale and her Monsieur, the Cousins, P’tit Frère’s friends (without P’tit Frère) and part of the St. Lau crew. Just a small gathering with The Divas
We started with the Phoenix food truck, which offers sandwiches made with naan bread, a traditional Indian staple. Aside from being delicious, it is genius because the bread is pliable and holds all the ingredients without making a mess. We tried two, the tandoori chicken and the braised pork, the second being our favourite of the two. The chicken was smokey with little charred pieces adding flavour, the carrots added crunch and the yogurt sauce was cooling. The braised pork was very tender as was the cabbage and everything just melted together perfectly. And the key? The bread was never soggy!
We tried the Super Truck last year and loved it. So we were more than happy when we were approached to appear on the Food Network’s Eat Street and talk about the truck. On this visit we chose the Dynamic Trio with the Super Sandwich, their famous fried mac & cheese and refreshing Verbena Ice Tea. The Fried Mac & Cheese needed a little salt but the coating was crispy, the pasta cheesy but a little overcooked, but the hint of lemon in the batter came through. It was served with a tangy sauce that was different from last year’s usual eggplant purée. The Super Sandwich sounds plain, after all it’s just chicken. But they cook the chicken sous-vide style which makes all the difference because the chicken remains moist beyond belief. Combined with crisped bacon and spicy mayo, this sandwich is delicious.
We had heard a lot about the pulled pork sandwich being the best at the Pas d’Cochon dans mon Salon truck so we ordered one and quickly realized that the hype was well merited. So much so that we decided to just dig in with our forks and leave the bread behind so it wouldn’t unnecessarily fill us up! First off, the sandwich is huge and if you can finish it on your own and still have room for more food truck delights, then kudos to you. The pork was supremely tender and the onions just melted in between the strands of meat. The sauce wasn’t too sweet or tangy or spicy, it was just right. And we loved it.
Everyone loves grilled cheese sandwiches so a truck specializing in this childhood staple is a must-stop. P.A. & Gargantua lived up to the hype surrounding its grilled cheeses! La Femme Fatale picked up Le Bacon which is made with cheddar de l’Ile-aux-Grues, which is a sharp tasting and delicious cheddar. Couple this cheese with thick cut bacon and confit shallots and you have yourself a divine sandwich. Trust us when we tell you that your basic run-of-the-mill grilled cheese will pale in comparison!
We waited in line for 30 minutes for our favourite truck, Camion Au Pied de Cochon, which usually has a line-up but anyone who has eaten from this truck will tell you that it’s worth the wait. PDC is all about indulgence so we opted for one of their Boite Gourmande with a side of foie gras poutine. Why not?!
Our only complaint was that the brioche sandwich was messy and difficult to eat because it was so packed with ingredients, though a hot dog made of boar meat is worth it. The oreille de criss were a new addition to the truck and came either plain, or with ranch or bbq flavourings. We had it plain and reminded us of the oreilles de criss from our many visits to the PDC sugar shack. The flotteur was good, though a little too sweet for us, especially near the end of the drink. Made with maple soda and vanilla ice cream, it was nonetheless a fun treat. Our favourite is still the classic foie gras poutine, with generous pieces of foie gras covered in a rich gravy that is just warm enough to melt the cheese curds. The fries never had a chance to get soggy because we inhaled it. We will never be proper ladies.
While we waited in line at Camion PDC, La Femme Fatale picked up more treats for us. Lolas has a variety of cupcakes and we sampled three. One of these cupcakes was made up of peanut butter and banana with a nutella filling, truly a kid’s favourite cupcake if there ever was one. Diva #2 is not a fan of icing but this topping wasn’t overly sweet. The maple bacon cupcake was another favourite, it had crisp little pieces of bacon sitting in the icing and it was the perfect combination of salty and sweet. Last but not lease was the light and airy lemon meringue cupcake, which was delightful.
With so many trucks in one place, it’s nice to have options and Fous truck offers a variety of croissant sandwiches. We tried the Printemps croissant sandwich with asparagus and a lemon-tarragon seasoned goat cheese. The croissant was dryer than we were expecting but it was buttery and fluffy. The cheese was lemony and seasoned well, the croissant was a success amongst all. Another croissant option that we wish that we had tried was the ricotta, tomatoes and basil croissant sandwich, which sounds lovely. We will be back to try it!
Towards the end of the night, some trucks run out of items, which is to be expected with so many people. When we got to the front of the long line at Le Cheese, they told us that they had no more mac & cheese. We were a little disappointed, after all we had braved the long line, but figured it was a sign to stop eating since everyone was bursting at the seams. So La Femme Fatale’s Monsieur got the Le Philly Cheese Steak instead. A big sandwich, it was filled to capacity with tender meat and melted cheese sauce. Definitely filling, Monsieur polished it off!
We love mushrooms so it was hard to pass up a poutine boasting four types of mushrooms from the Roux food truck. It had plenty of oyster, Portobello, shiitakes and chanterelles mushrooms. Smothered in gravy that had a hint of sweet chili, just look at the mushroom-filled poutine in the photo. The Divas were just impressed to see that there were not any button mushrooms in the poutine. The cheese curds were nicely melted and the generous amount definitely filled us up.
Last summer, we were also filmed at the St-Viateur Bagel truck for the Food Network’s Eat St., and we were happy to return and add them to this year’s guide. St-Viateur Bagel is a Montreal landmark and boasts baking the best bagels in the city. Their food truck is no exception with each dish that is offered incorporates bagels in some way, including a bagel bites poutine. On this visit we ordered the St-Viateur Bagel with smoked meat and mustard – a true Montreal sandwich if there ever was one. The smoked meat was a little dry but the bagel was perfection, as St-Viateur bagels always are. Unfortunately, the truck does not have a license to operate all season long and the only time you can catch this truck is at the various festivals and events throughout the summer.
Diva #1 headed for dessert at CRémy with one of the St. Lau guys, but she ate the doughnuts before returning to her friends to share. We opted for the Rou d’Truck, a typical swirled sugary and delicious doughnut. Diva #1 had wanted the salted caramel doughnut but they had sadly run out. Diva #1 enjoyed her doughnut with one of the St. Lau guys and went to search for the rest of his crew which were milling around different trucks while trying to figure out what to eat first.
The Montreal food truck scene may be young but it is growing in popularity. First Fridays provide a great opportunity to sample several trucks in one convenient location. And there are plenty of events where the food trucks gather throughout the season. Street food is clearly alive and well in the streets of Montreal!
Our Rating: Always on Thursday
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