Every city needs a ridiculous roadside attraction, and Montreal’s is the Big Orange of Gibeau Orange Julep. Found on the side of the Décarie highway near the metro station Namur, this three-story orange sphere is impossible to overlook. We decided to stop by and see if its famous julep was any good.
In the future, when we look back on our favorite culinary experiences in Montreal, we’re not going to be thinking about the city’s bistros or pastisseries. We won’t even be remembering poutine all that fondly. No, we’ll be thinking about the restaurants of Chinatown, where we ate constantly and never once had a bad meal.
We figured that Quebec’s food scene would be strongly rooted in the fine culinary traditions of France. And to a point, it is. You can certainly find French-style bistros and boulangeries in Montreal, as well as market stalls offering a selection of pates and cheeses. But the dish for which Quebec is most known definitely does not hail from France. No, this is a New World invention, through-and-through. Ladies and Gentlemen, meet poutine.
This came as a surprise to me, but Montreal is apparently famous for its bagels. It makes sense, given the city’s strong Jewish community, but still: when I think “bagels,” New York is what comes to mind, not Montreal. That unconscious mental association might have changed forever, though, now that I’ve been introduced to the bagels of St-Viateur.
Downtown Montreal’s Rue Crescent extends for just three blocks, from René Levesque in the south to Sherbrooke Avenue in the north, but a lot is packed into its small area. Bars, clubs, restaurants, and a line-up of quaint Victorian houses make Crescent one of the city’s most attractive streets. We took an initial tour on one of the first sunny afternoons of spring, and couldn’t believe the number of other people who’d had the same idea.