Food & Drinks, Guides

The Russian debutante’s handbook goes to Montreal

Although we’re a travel blog and not in the business of literary stuff, let it be said: Gary Shteyngart is a damn good writer. His Russian Debutante’s Handbook was one of the best books we’ve ever read, and when he does travel writing he’s even better. Some years ago, Shtengart wrote a Montreal travelogue for Slate. His (mostly food-centered, as they should be) highlights:

  • Feve au lard (“Literally beans with lard, a Quebecois masterpiece”)
  • Mordecai Richler (“His irreverent, scorched-earth, painfully precise humor deserves admission into the pantheon of the world’s best satiric literature”)
  • Veal marrow and boudin blanc appetizers from L’Express
  • Boutique Hotel Gault (built to “absorb the influx of American movie crews attracted to the city”)
  • Bagels from La Maison du Bagel (“Two young lesbian women with leather jackets and buzz cuts tote an enermous bag of bagels out of the store, shouting happily to one another, “We’ve got the treasure!”)
  • Moishe’s Steakhouse (“I start out with a New York state-shaped slab of juicy beef, work my way down to Massachusetts, and surrender at about Rhode Island”)
  • The urinal at the Whiskey Cafe (“A waterfall cascading down a zinc wall—a wonderful invitation to urinate on a work of art”)
  • Vintage shopping on Avenue du Mont-Royal (“Cuban guayabera shirts, distressed-looking pants, and all sorts of other crap”)
  • The Canadian Centre for Architecutre (The historic building “could be no better place to light up a Romeo y Julieta (not that the staff would let you)”)