Montreal Jazz Festival

Chinatown noodles fortify jazz buffs

Chinatown noodles fortify jazz buffs

Montreal's small but bustling Chinatown sits between the east end of downtown and Old Montreal. It's literally steps from the Place des Festivals where outdoor concerts and performances take place during the Jazz, Circus, and Comedy festivals. The neighborhood is a remnant of the days when Chinese laborers helped build the Canadian railroads, which were headquartered in Montreal. Like most Chinatowns in North America, the community has welcomed immigrants from Southeast Asia. (Montreal is a worldwide magnet for people leaving former French colonies, including Indo-China.) Nonetheless, the neighborhood still maintains a Chinese identity. Pedestrian rue de la Gauchtière is lined with all manner of gift shops, grocers, and restaurants. But at lunchtime (any day but Monday), we like to detour to Restaurant Noodle Factory, a...Read More
Multiculturalism jazzes up the menu on the Plateau

Multiculturalism jazzes up the menu on the Plateau

Like many Montrealers, the new gentry of the Plateau prize authenticity. How else to explain the nostalgic appeal of old-fashioned restaurants from an earlier era? Francophone points of reference like La Binerie and Jewish touchstones like Schwartz's are treasures for the whole city, but they cannot be separated from the Plateau. Here are three spots to get historic tastes of Montreal when you're visiting for the Jazz Festival. Schwartz's Smoked Meat There's nearly always a line out front of this narrow deli that has occupied the same spot on The Main (as Anglophones used to call boulevard Saint-Laurent) since 1928. But it rarely takes more than fifteen minutes before you'll be seated family style at a long table. Then things move pretty quickly. Everyone orders...Read More
Sentimental Journey: Old neighborhood tastes of Mile End

Sentimental Journey: Old neighborhood tastes of Mile End

Sometimes we pine for the old days of Montreal tribalism. Living on Le Plateau meant you spoke French at home and ate feves au lard every Saturday night. Growing up in Mile End meant you spoke English at home (with maybe a little Yiddish) and were by birth an expert on bagels. Mind you, the two neighborhoods are so close that Montreal Tourism lumps them together. Mile End extends east from Parc Mont-Royal to boulevard Saint-Laurent, and north from boulevard Saint-Joseph to the railroad tracks. Through most of the twentieth century, it was home to aspiring immigrants, including many Central and Eastern European Jews immortalized in the novels of native son Mordecai Richler (The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz). Nowadays, it's pretty cosmopolitan, filled with good...Read More