Friday, March 24, 2017

Casse-croûte!

In Quebec, there exists a type of food establishment known in French as a casse-croûte. This literally translates to 'snack break', but the reason you go to such a place is to eat comfort food. I'm talking 'steamies', a style of hot dog where the buns are steamed to make them soft and pliable. A 'steamie all-dressed' (which is precisely how even a Quebecois would order it), is said hot dog dressed with mustard, relish and coleslaw (onions optional). Some people prefer their hot dog 'grillé', where the bun is toasted. Even if you're a steamie fan, if you attended a hockey game in the old Montreal Forum, you only got the grillé variety - and they were so good.

A casse-croûte is also where you would find some of the best prepared, fresh, hand cut french fries. And, as you might imagine, the original, authentic interpretation of poutine.

I know many people living in Quebec, who will drive out of their way at 2am to get to their preferred casse-croûte for a fix. There are some known by all Montrealers because they are institutions, such as the Montreal Pool Room, downtown on Boulevard Saint-Laurent, and Restaurant Lafleur in Lasalle (open until 4am). But pretty much every city neighbourhood and community in Quebec has their own local establishment with names like [insert family name here] Patates, Decarie Hot Dog, and Chez [insert family name here]. The place to go where I grew up was, and still is, Chez Gérard, which has been around since 1958. I recently revisited their menu and you can still get two all dressed steamies, a small fries and a drink for under $8.00 plus tax, which is pretty damned good considering you'll be more than satiated when you're done.

But the reason these places are still open and will probably never close, is because of their poutine. It might be easy to fry up a burger or boil a couple hot dogs at home, but you'd be hard pressed to duplicate the glory that is a casse-croûte quality poutine. So as long as these places continue to set the standard in that regard, they'll never go out of business.

In the photo, the photographer couldn't even wait to take a picture, they had to have a bite of their hot dog first.

1 comment:

Amit Tiwari said...

Great post