=

APRIL 2004 - Recent Posts
Check out our archives for last month's posts.

Late as usual - 22.04.04
The indomitable casse-croûte - 07.04.04


FEATURES
current feature
· Philadelphia Train Trestle
by r. bradley maule

past features
· 24 Photos of Vancouver
by christopher dewolf
· Calgary
by christopher dewolf
· Chicago in 38 Frames
by matthew loos
· Downtown
by christopher dewolf
· Dusk
by colin kent
· Escape to NY
by matthew loos
· On the Plateau
by christopher dewolf
· Street Fair
by christopher dewolf
· Tokyolife
by michael clarke
· Two Months in Montreal
by christopher dewolf
· Walk to Wrigley
by philip bess
· Winnipeg
by colin kent


DISCUSSION

 
· café l'urbanité

 

WRITINGS
 
· Essays and opinion  

MISCELLANEOUS
 
· About Urbanphoto
· Archives
 


CONTACT US
remove "nospam" from addresses to email us.

 
· Chris DeWolf  
  general site queries, submission info, links, complaints and lonely midnight conversations  
· Chris Szabla  
  sound and fury signifying nothing  
· Colin Kent  
  angst-ridden suburban youth rants  

--

CONTRIBUTE!

We're always looking for contributions. While we do not accept photos or proposals for city galleries, we welcome ideas for features, essays and reviews. If you're a photographer or a writer who wants to add to Urbanphoto, please contact our editor, Chris DeWolf.

ABOUT URBANPHOTO

For information on Urbanphoto's background, media mentions and editors, please visit our About Urbanphoto section.


 

Late as usual
THURSDAY, APRIL 22, 2004 - CHRISTOPHER DEWOLF


MONTREAL, 20.03.04 : ON THE 97 BUS, MONT-ROYAL AVENUE


MONTREAL, 28.03.04 : WOMEN ON ST-VIATEUR STREET


MONTREAL, 28.03.04 : 1AM ON THE MAIN


MONTREAL, 27.03.04 : SUNSET AT CLARK AND FAIRMOUNT


MONTREAL, 29.03.04 : WASHING THE WINDOW, ESPLANADE STREET


MONTREAL, 29.03.04 : EYES ON THE STREET, JEANNE-MANCE STREET


MONTREAL, 29.03.04 : SUMMERY SCENE ON ESPLANADE STREET


MONTREAL, 28.03.04 : ST-LAURENT AND GUILBAULT


MONTREAL, 19.03.04 : SKATEBOARDING ON ESPLANADE


MONTREAL, 26.03.04 : MILE END FRUITERIE, PARC AVENUE


MONTREAL, 29.03.04 : HANGING OUT, ESPLANADE STREET


MONTREAL, 30.03.04 : MAN ON THE ROOF, PARC AVENUE

Spring is always late here. While New York's first flowers poked their timid little heads up several weeks ago, and Vancouver's cherry blossoms have already come and gone, Montreal wallows away in its cruel non-spring. At least the days are now consistently warm, even if the trees ever-so-slowly put on their greenery in an agonizing sort of reverse striptease.

And with the cruel non-spring comes the cruel non-update. This has proven to be an exceptionally busy April, so I can only leave you with a handful of my latest photos, the promise of a new update soon and a lovely new photoessay by Brad Maule, Philadelphia Train Trestle. (Look out for Brad's upcoming Philadelphia neighbourhoods photoessay, too, and Colin Kent's long-awaited Havana feature.) Enjoy and à la prochaine!

Discuss this post on our discussion forum
Head over to the archives for last month's posts

The indomitable casse-croûte
WEDNESDAY, APRIL 7, 2004 - CHRISTOPHER DEWOLF


MONTREAL, 19.03.04 : FIXING WINDOWS ON ST-VIATEUR


MONTREAL, 10.03.04 : CORNER OF COLONIALE AND DULUTH


MONTREAL, 14.03.04 : ON MOUNT-ROYAL IN MID-MARCH


MONTREAL, 19.03.04 : SHOOTING A FILM ON PARC AVENUE


MONTREAL, 15.03.04 : SUNDAY ON ST-LAURENT BOULEVARD


MONTREAL, 16.03.04 : OLD LADIES ON RUE DUFRESNE, CENTRE-SUD


MONTREAL, 16.03.04 : UNDER THE JACQUES-CARTIER BRIDGE


MONTREAL, 19.03.04 : JOGGING AT CLARK AND ST-VIATEUR


MONTREAL, 19.03.04 : READING INSIDE A CAFÉ IN MILE END


MONTREAL, 19.03.04 : READING AT CLUB SOCIAL, ST-VIATEUR ST.


MONTREAL, 19.03.04 : SCHOOLKIDS CROSSING BERNARD STREET

Everybody remembers their first poutine. For me, it was a rather regrettable experience at the tender age of eleven. The setting was a so-called “Montreal-style café” at the far end of a dingy Calgary strip mall. The restaurant was decorated with faux-Victorian streetlights, hanging plants and a florid mural depicting some old townhouses. After a short wait, the poutine arrived in a big bowl and my little eleven year old tummy grumbled in anticipation. I had about five bites before feeling sick.

Poutine is drama with three parts: fries, gravy and cheese curds. As far as anyone knows, it was invented in 1957 by Fernand Lachance, a diner owner in Warwick, Quebec, after a customer asked him to combine french fries with cheese curds. It was a success. Soon, the meal spread across the land like gravy on soggy frites, becoming the closest thing Quebec has to a national dish. Today, it’s available at just about any snack bar across the province in a number of varieties. The most common variation is the voluptuous italienne, which substitutes meat sauce for gravy, but a number of Montreal restaurants have taken sleazy old poutine to new heights by adding things like chicken, smoked meat and hell, even fresh vegetables.

The range of places in which to experience poutine is as heart-stopping as the dish itself. For poutine virgins, what setting makes for a memorable first time? Patiti Patata, a cool, laid-back snack bar on the corner of St-Laurent and Rachel, offers traditional poutine as well as their own “patatine,” which contains mushrooms, onions and peppers in chicken and wine sauce. As far as these things go, it’s a very progressive experience and quite self-empowering… but so damn healthy. It just won’t do.

So how about a more rarified poutine experience? Apparently, upon request, the owner of the swanky five-star restaurant Globe will prepare a bowl of poutine fit for the stars. I'd imagine this would be how Paris Hilton had her first poutine.

At the opposite end of the spectrum is the practically inedible poutine found at fast food chains like McDonald’s and Burger King. A heap of soggy fries, melted cheese and tasteless gravy, it leaves you with a sour taste in your mouth and a bad case of morning-after regrets, like a drunken tryst in a sweaty nightclub. It’s the one-night stand of poutines.

The best of all, then, must be the gastronomic equivalent to the back seat of the car: a first poutine in an old-fashioned Montreal casse-croûte. It’s traditional, maybe even a bit cliché, but nothing beats the crisp fries, the rich, fatty gravy and the perfectly rubbery cheese curds that squeak with satisfaction when you eat them. This was how I had my second poutine. It was good. And now, after all these years, I finally understand the hype.

―――

Poutine, of course, is only one of the things on the menu of a typical casse-croûte. The other standby is the hot dog (chiens chauds, as some still call them), available in two formats: the soft, moist steamé and the more rugged toasté. Both come aldresse, which involves a copious amount of mustard, ketchup, relish and coleslaw being heaped on top of the helpless little dog.

The Montreal snack bar even made an appearance in one of last year's most interesting films. In Sylvain Chomet's Les Triplettes de Belleville, Belleville is the brash, skyscraping, grease-loving foil to the film's lean and grim-looking Paris. Many American filmgoers saw it as little more than a parody of New York, but it's really more of a delirious cross between that city and Montreal. Architecturally speaking, the block in which the triplets live is a virtual copy of a typical Montreal streetscape. Nowhere is the Montreal influence more obvious than in the scene that takes place in a corner greasy spoon whose sign announces chiens chauds and hambourgeois.

Discuss this post on our discussion forum
Head over to the archives for last month's posts


 

© 1999-2004 URBANPHOTO. No text from this page may be reproduced without explicit written permission from the authors of this site. All photos and graphics are the creation and property of URBANPHOTO unless otherwise stated. If you are interested in electronically reproducing one of our photos, please contact the editors. No photographs may be reproduced in print without explicit written permission. Thank you.
" face="Verdana">© 1999-2002 urbanphoto.org. No text from this page may be reproduced without explicit written permission from the authors of this site. All photos and graphics are the creation and property of urbanphoto.org unless otherwise stated. Photographs may be used electronically without permission so long as proper credit is given. No photographs may be reproduced in print without explicit written permission. Thank you.