Not one to shy away from new experiences involving food, I am always up for trying new dishes. Still, there are items that I had for years marked in my mind as off-limits. For some reason, I wasn’t fully ready to experience them, too worried about what I was eating, rather than what it would taste like.
In the past, I have breached my comfort zone in terms of trying new food, but I feel that my Montréal foodie experiences were ones that caused me to really break through to another level.
With Mary Anne of Jetset Extra by my side, no food was off limits, and if she offered it up, you can be sure I was trying it. While she may not share my affinity for deep fried oreos, she did turn me on to a few new food groups while we were together in Canada.
The dish: Foie Gras
I have avoided knowing the details behind what foie gras is for most of my life, but when Mary Anne raved about hers at lunch during our bike ride, I knew I wanted to give it a shot. I told her not to tell me what it was until after I ate it, which turned out to be a great idea.
The verdict: While I feel guilty about eating an animal that’s been force fed corn to fatten up its liver, I have to admit that, to my surprise, it was quite good. The texture was something I would have to get used to, but I would give it another try without a doubt.
The dish: Oysters
Yes, I realize that it is a bit strange that for twenty-eight years I have avoided oysters, especially considering everything else I eat. However, the idea of eating something raw and slippery did not quite appeal to me.
The verdict: Absolutely delicious! I was actually disappointed in myself that it’s taken my this long to try them.
The dish: Duck Confit
The idea of eating something cooked in its own fat was never exactly appealing, but considering I do like most dishes that are full of fat, I’m not sure why it has taken me so long to try duck confit. I honestly don’t think it was a dish I had previously been offered, otherwise, I probably would have tried it already.
The verdict: Fat does usually make everything better and this is very true with duck confit. I loved the bite I had off of Mary Anne’s dish, and would gladly order it if given the option.
The dish: Escargot
I will admit that this was the hardest to wrap my head around. The idea of eating snails was not something I was comfortable with. Even while in France a few years back, I refused to try the dish. Still, after trusting Mary Anne in all the rest of my foodie experiences, I was ready to give it a go. It also helped that Lola didn’t shy away from them, and if they both enjoyed the delicacy, how could I turn it down?
The verdict: Luckily, they didn’t come in their little snail shells and were covered in a delicious sauce, so I barely recognized them for what they were. While they were good, I’m not sure if that was due to the sauce and toast they were served on. Still, I’d be willing to give the dish a second chance.
The dish: Beaver Tail
While not exactly a culinary feat compared to the rest of the items on this list, the beaver tail is a popular Canadian treat. All I knew while searching the city for one was that it was a pastry, and all I had in my mind to compare it to was a lobster tail pastry.
The verdict: Sugar and cinnamon on a flat piece of dough, how could you go wrong? The answer is that you can’t. I have a serious sweet tooth and this was the ideal treat to satisfy my deepest sugar craving.
Sometimes the best way to explore a city is through the dishes that the destination is known for, especially when you get to discover a few new favorites. Without Mary Anne’s help, I may not have ventured to try all of these new dishes in one weekend, but with such a positive end result, I am so glad I did.
I was a guest of Montréal’s Tourism Board on this trip, however, as always, all opinions are my own.