It has been 66 years since Montrealers have been able to eat street food. And the wait is finally over. A pilot project is in full force with over 25 food trucks roaming the streets of Montreal and popping up at festivals. A perfect addition to an already great time in the city.
While the Divas have their standards, there are many food trucks that can rival some of the restaurants we’ve been to. So we set out on three separate days with Sweet Pea, Vegan Vixen and A, to assess Montreal’s food trucks. The trucks were all gathered near the Quartier des Spectacles for Bouffons Montreal / Just for Laughs Festival and on our first visit we were so overwhelmed by the choices that we had to go back another two times before writing this article.
We started with keeping ourselves hydrated so we went straight to the famous Grumman 78 truck for their killer hibiscus tea. If you know of only one food truck in Montreal, chances are it is Grumman 78. Served in a plastic bag with a straw sticking out, this refreshing drink is perfect on a hot day and fun to drink. Last year we had tried an amazing duck taco with orange slices from Grumman 78 but this year we wanted to experiment with new things.
Meanwhile, Vegan Vixen enjoyed a cherry lemonade from Zoe’s, which had cherries floating in it. And since there were obviously no stems on the cherries, Vegan Vixen couldn’t show off her skills. Initially she had tried to cut the line at Grumman 78, Vegan Vixen doesn’t like waiting but after fighting with the Grumman 78 employee, she stormed off and went in search of another refreshing drink while the Divas laughed away. We had tried to get her to seductively cut the line, but instead she chose to bulldoze her way through and insult the Grumman 78 employee….oh Vegan Vixen!
We stopped at Supertruck, with it’s in your face superhero logo, for some deep fried mac and cheese. Served with a smoked eggplant dip, the mac and cheese was melted perfectly and the breading had lemon in it which was a very nice surprise that really livened up each bite.
If a truck is flaunting the fact that they have rabbit, we’re going to try it. Lucky’s truck had rabbit with cilantro and chili. There were 5-6 pieces to the serving and the sauce tasted almost like a sweet chili Thai sauce but without the spice. The meat was cooked well and very tender. We were impressed that something like this came from a truck. When the Divas say that they like the food trucks, it should be noted that we deviate towards the foie gras, lobster, rabbit, duck options… after all, we are Divas.
We could not resist the Pied de Cochon truck. And this is definitely one of our favourites, no question. We ordered the foie gras poutine and the duck leg. The foie gras poutine, which was served in a round wooden container, is a steal for the amount of foie gras that we had. And the gravy, which melted the curds perfectly, did not dominate the dish, instead complimented the ingredients. We wanted to try the duck confit with foie gras sauce at Lucky’s but we didn’t get around to it… hopefully it can compete with Pied de Cochon. Thankfully we had this on our first day because they had run out on both of our other visits. The duck leg was cooked confit style and very big, with a deep, rich meaty flavour, all complimented by their homemade maple BBQ sauce. If you only have time to stop at one truck, Pied de Cochon is the one to visit.
On another visit, Sweet Pea had their famous sandwich with three types of pig meat: smoked meat, ham and pig’s tongue all served in a doughnut with a maple flavoured mustard and onions. The doughnut was not too sweet so the meat stood out and it was almost impossible to finish when paired with the foie gras poutine. There was an ample amount of meat and the mustard was both sweet and tart. Too bad Vegan Vixen didn’t try this sandwich!
Marché 27 Express and restaurant are Diva favourites so it’s no wonder that we ran to the Marché 27 food truck. We tried the tuna taco. The fish was fresh, the mango salsa was just sweet enough and was cut with a spritz of lime. And we washed it all down with a virgin basil mojito. And we didn’t even miss the alcohol! It should be noted that we were very sober on our food truck visits, on our first visit because Diva#1 was deathly hung over and on our second visit we were trying to cut our alcohol intake for the week.
Of course, even on our second visit, we returned to one of our favourites, the Marché 27 truck, to try their beef tartare sliders. The bun was toasted and warm and the beef was cool and dressed in their Italian style tartare with parmesan cheese. It really was just perfect. So perfect that on our third visit, Diva #2 had it again!
Feeling a little full, we decided to cleanse our palettes with oysters from Pas d’ Cochon dans mon Salon. We ordered 3 oysters for the Divas and Sweet Pea and watched them shuck in front of us. There was no question about freshness! They were Glacier Bay, New Brunswick oysters. Sweet and salty, we dressed them simply with a squeeze of lemon before heading on our way to find dessert.
We were very saddened that Lucille’s Oyster Dive did not have any oysters this last year. They were advertising their lobster roll which we have had at their restaurant but we did not get a chance to sample the food truck version. Either way we are sure that it is splendid if it is anything like their restaurant’s lobster roll.
On our first visit dessert was in the form of macarons from Marins et Fanny Macarons. We each chose 2 flavours and enjoyed the light and crispy French treats. The favourites of the day included pistachio, praline, lemon and Ferrero Rocher. You simply cannot get tired of French macarons!
We admit that there may be a couple of fatties trying to claw their way out of us which would explain our second trip to the food truck gathering in the same week. On our way, we spotted The Artist. We’re not quiet and never claimed to be (just ask our Sensei), so we yelled her name from across the street and ran over to hug her. We caught up quickly and then headed to the trucks we had our eye on the first time around.
Diva #1 and Sweet Pea have tasted the amazing waffles at Gaufrabec on St-Denis, and were very happy to see this delicious sweet addition to the food truck group. These warm Belgium waffles came with different toppings but we had to control ourselves and not fill up on dessert. Just look at them cooking on the griddle!
Another important stop is Chaud Dogs to try their homemade corn dog. Diva #1 has an affinity for pogos so we indulged her craving. There’s no way of looking like a lady when eating it but it was worth it. The coating is light and crispy with jalapeno and cheddar mixed in. Dressed with your choice of mustard and/or ketchup, you should definitely try this out. And it also came as a combo with a side of chips, sprinkled with paprika. We opted for the combo and really enjoyed ourselves! On another visit, A enjoyed the shawarma artisanal hot dog which has every component of a Lebanese shawarma in a hot dog. Unfortunately he ate it too quickly and we never even got a picture, let alone a bite!
We wanted to try P.A. Gargantua, the famous grilled cheese but we were eating so much and at so many different places that we sadly never got the chance to try this one. Our buddy A did and, once again, he failed us and never took a picture. Ladies, never expect help from men or you will always be disappointed. The appropriate way to have men around is on a leash and collar
Guru, the Indian cuisine food truck had some delicious looking options but their claim to fame is their mango cut in a flower. Sweet Pea and Diva #1 had had it last year and it was fun to eat, although messy. Many food truck snackers could be seen holding this mango flower on a stick and enjoying this refreshing snack.
Two of our friends also tried the pulled pork poutine from Le Smoking BBQ. A massive serving, it definitely warrants a nap if you can make it through the dish. The pork is uber-tender, the sauce is just right and the fries hold up well to the gravy. Our friend who lived in the Southern US even said that it rivaled some of the pulled pork she had while living there. And the truck itself was the best looking one and if that wasn’t enough, they smoke their meat for 8 hours.
As we were walking, Vegan Vixen spotted her people’s truck in the form of Euro Polonia. Well it wasn’t particularly truck like, more hut like, it even had a terrace! Some of the food trucks cheat. She is a good little Polish girl, so we ordered 3 pierogies filled with cheese and potato. It came with sour cream and we were surprised that a truck could deliver quality pierogies. We devoured them and went in search of new tastes, we were getting full but we would not give up.
One of the trucks that we didn’t get to try on our first visit was the Boîte à Fromages. Intrigued by their combinations, we were undecided as to which to choose. We opted for the apple, pecan and fleur de sel grilled cheese but when they handed us our dish, it was actually the second grilled cheese we had wanted so we bought both. We hate to waste food! But it wasn’t a traditional grilled cheese. Instead the ingredients were layered and topped with raclette cheese, perfectly melted.
The apple/pecan/fleur de sel was strange. It was like apple pie mixed with potatoes and cheese. But it worked well; it was sweet yet salty because of the cheese. The second grilled cheese was mushrooms and shallots in white wine with arugula. Equally delicious, we knew we’d like this one but it didn’t surprise us like the first one. The Boîte à Fromages cheesy delights are fairly filling especially because there are potatoes in there. We also had the gazpacho with berry, mint and balsamic. It tasted more like a smoothie but was a nice cool interlude between the two somewhat heavy dishes. Diva #1 loves gazpacho and found this little cup very refreshing.
On another visit, Diva #2 had also tried two other trucks that did not make an appearance at Bouffons Montreal. The Vieux-Port Deli truck and the Dic Ann’s truck which delivered their classic flat burger with spicy sauce and fries. It tasted exactly like the typical Dic Ann’s burger but no need to go far! You can easily eat a few burgers and not realize it!
The Vieux-Port Deli truck was serving smoked meat and fish n’ chips. The fish n’ chips is classic British fare and Diva #2 had to try it out. The nuggets had a crunchy coating and the fish was moist and flaky inside. This all paired nicely with their tartar sauce and a side of chips aka fries.
On the Divas’ last visit we couldn’t leave without having something sweet so we decided to walk around a bit. The only problem with this was we kept passing trucks we wanted to try! So we left the food truck area and walked around Place des Arts and kept running into people we knew. The Divas even got caught in a conversation straight out of Seinfeld, where the lady implied we were lesbians (not that there is anything wrong with that)…it is a long story that we’re still trying to understand!
Caffeine was a must so we stopped at Dispatch for an affogato. It was perfect. Hot espresso poured over banana caramel rum ice cream hit the spot for the Divas. It was the right balance of sweet and bitter. We should have ordered two! As caffeine addicts we need at least two coffees a day to keep us friendly, or moderately pleasant.
We also had a giant donut from Cremy Patisserie. Diva #1 wanted caramel. Vegan Vixen wanted pistachio. They both turned to Diva #2 for the tie-breaker. Not panicked by their defiant glares, she chose caramel (because she loves Diva #1 more). It was light, moist and pillowy and not sickly sweet, the donut was topped with a caramel glaze and cookie pieces. A sweet way to end our night. Diva #1 really wanted to try their homemade cotton candy but she was pretending to be an adult at the time and controlled herself, NEXT TIME!
On our last visit, Diva #2 indulged in the Death Grill’s sandwiches. And when a truck is an old hearse that has the slogan “Rest in Beef”, it must be good! The Philly cheesesteak was full and dripping with cheese. We had tried it last year and happy to return! Messy and good. The Juteau, an Italian sausage sandwich, was also filling. But after all this, the meat sweats hit! Like a good little Italian girl, Diva #2 can handle Italian meat (both kinds).
After a lot of hard work to get the trucks back on the streets, it is definitely paying off. The food is great, there is plenty of variety and it just adds another element to making Montreal such a great city, especially in the hot summer months. The food trucks will be available from June 2013 until September 2013, but they should be back again next summer.
We were lucky and had all the trucks assembled for Just for Laughs but this is not always the case. To find them you should follow them on Twitter where they will update their locations daily. Another option is to download the Street Food MTL App for a more refined stalking option. So get out there and stalk a truck or two. The Divas certainly will!
Our Rating: Always on Thursday
Tagged: Affogato, Always on Thursday, Basil Mojito, Beef Tartare Sliders, Boite a Fromages, Bouffons Montreal, Camion, Chaud Dogs, Cherry Lemonade, Coffee, Corn Dog, Cremy Patisserie, Death Grill, Dic Ann’s, Dispatch, Donut, Doughnut, Downtown, Duck Leg, Espresso, Euro Polonia, Foie Gras Poutine, Food Trucks, Fried Mac and Cheese, Gargantua, Gaufrabec, Gazpacho, Grumman 78, Hibiscus Tea, Just for Laughs, Juteau, Le Smoking BBQ, Lobster Roll, Lucille’s Oyster Dive, Lucky’s, Macarons, Marché 27, Marins et Fanny Macarons, Montreal, Montreal Food Trucks, Old Montreal, oysters, P.A. & Gargantua, Pas de Cochon dans mon Salon, Philly Cheesesteak, Pied de Cochon, Pierogies, Plateau, Pogo, Polish, Quartier des Spectacles, Rabbit, Raclette, Route 27, Street Food, Street Food Montreal, Supertruck, Tacos, Tuna Tacos, Waffles, Zoe’s