The best end-of-summer eats
I hate to say it, folks, but summer’s almost over. It’s the end of August, and, although we don’t know what kind of weather September will bring, it’s inevitable that jackets will come out, boots will be worn and eating and drinking outdoors will come to an end.
But don’t start layering those sweater sets yet — there’s still time to soak up the sun, BBQ the shit out of some sort of meat product and take a last swim in a public pool.
I definitely know there are three things I’ll be doing to take advantage of the end of summer, and they all include food and possibly booze, which always make for a winning combination.
St-Laurent street sale
Whenever I think of the St-Laurent street sale, I always picture the same things: socks and underwear, drinking in those low plastic space chairs outside Blizzarts and piri-piri grilled chicken sandwiches from La Vieille Europe (3855 St-Laurent).
I’m over the socks and underwear, but I’m sure I’ll stumble down to Blizzarts for a delicious mojito in a mason jar, and I’ll certainly make a point of getting my hands on one of those sandwiches.
Moist, grilled pieces of chicken are piled onto a Portuguese hot dog bun (you can also get a sausage if you like) and then topped with mayo, mustard and spicy, vinegary piri-piri sauce, making for the perfect handheld meal to munch on while perusing the usual street sale crap — unless you’re like me, in which case it’s the perfect handheld meal to accompany drinking in the street.
The St-Laurent Street sale goes until Sunday, Aug. 26, between Sherbrooke and Mont-Royal.
The Orange Julep
Although it sounds like something an insane person dreamed up, the Orange Julep really does exist and is a Montreal food landmark.
This gigantic orange right off the Decarie Expressway (Namur metro) has a delicious casse-croûte inside it where, among many greasy treats, they pump out their signature beverage at an astounding rate. This milky-orange juice mixture is, by the way, the only drink option at the Julep, besides water.
But if the drink’s not enough to entice you, go for the food — the perfectly brown, greasy, sweet paper bag fries, the classic flat griddle burger with a pickle. They even have Nathan’s hot dogs, a staple of New York’s Coney Island, as well as a pretty solid poutine, all to be enjoyed while sitting at the picnic tables surrounding this giant orange.
If you want the true OJ experience, head down on a Wednesday for vintage car night, where people bring out all their old and new whips to talk shop and show off.
Orange Julep, 7700 Decarie Boul., open every day from 8 a.m until around 2 a.m.
Pretty much the sensation of the summer, Alexandraplatz seemed like a rumour too good to be true until I actually stepped into the place.
Was I still in Montreal? Yes. Was it one of the simplest, best ideas for a bar ever? Yes.
Nestled in the semi-industrial area touted as Mile-Ex on Esplanade above St-Zotique W., A-platz is one big space with a long bar, communal picnic tables, a terrasse on the street, the most packed bike rack I have ever seen and a BBQ set up for summer grilling.
Offering a daily rotation of two or three concessions, it’s the perfect place to have a snack with a beer, or even a light meal with a glass of wine. Vegetarian-friendly fare is plentiful, with options including gluten-free pastas, vegan hot dogs and sausages like their black bean and fennel dogs and their Japadogs with wasabi mayo, nori, grilled onions and wafu. They even make vegan donuts.
Is it hard to get a table? Usually. But is it worth the trip? Without a doubt.
Alexandraplatz, 6731 de l’Esplanade, open every day until either midnight or 1 a.m. See website for opening hours. ■