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City, Food

Acadie Metro - Explusion Blues

Posted by Cat / January 23, 2007

Acadia metro mural.jpgEmerging from Acadie Metro on a dark, chilly night one feels a bit how the Acadians themselves must have felt when the British packed them up on ships then dumped them down in the Louisiana bayou: lost, uneasy, uncertain about the immediate future, and perhaps a bit peckish. How might Evangeline, heroine of Acadian culture, make the most of a journey to Acadie Metro?

KuteKnit.JPGLiquidation-flash.JPGThere are many curious signs to try to make sense of in the immediate area, not the least of which is the "people in flight" mural in the metro station itself. The perplexity continues along the stretch of Ave. Beaumont adjoining Acadie Metro to the east. But the walk itself is gloomy and it smacks of bludgeoners waiting around darkened corners. If Evangeline was fluent in English she might puzzle at the Kute Knit sign. Sure, it's cute, but not that knute. Nor terribly klever. She would be amazed at the prices at Liquidation Hussein ("$40 for a water cooler? Back in Acadia, those British imperialist bastards charged me twice that!"). Tempted as she might be by the $5 toys, the "Danger" signs at a hulking Hydro Quebec power station would suddenly ZAP out at her! Run, Evangeline! Don't get zapped! And watch out for the bludgeoners.

Danger-zapped.JPGEvangeline should run in the other direction, northwest of Acadie Metro, and seek refuge in the nearby Hungarian church (corner of Acadie Blvd and Jean-Talon), or possibly in the Clinique Rene-Laennec, a noted "attraction" of the Acadie metro environs. [Ed. Note: there is nothing necessarily attractive about this building, nor its contents.]

Duly frightened at the possibility of being bludgeoned to death yet still peckish, Evangeline would have her pick of the cream of the crop when it comes to Indian, Pakistani, Sri Lankan, and possibly even Greek food, once she ended up on Jean-Talon Boulevard. Two absolute musts are Pushap and Bombay Mahal. A friend took me to Bombay Mahal (1001 Jean-Talon Ouest) prior to my move back to Montreal and their chana samosa was simply one of the greatest things I had – and have – ever eaten. There is often a line-up on weekend evenings, with good reason.

Pushap, a couple of doors east from Bombay Mahal (975 Jean-Talon Ouest, to be exact), offers some of the crispiest pakora you could ever hope to sink your teeth into, and the all-vegetarian menu is dirt cheap. Their chana is warming, balanced, and subtly spiced. The okra can sometimes be a bit salty, but their breads are excellent. They are most deft at achieving the whole crispy-on-the-outside-light-as-air-on-the-inside texture. Their sweets are reputed to be some of the best, if you like that sort of thing. A bit of a babe in the woods when it comes to the cuisines of the sub-continent, Evangeline might find the dessert flavours reminiscent of the contents of her bathroom shower caddy. She clearly has lots of exploring to do.
Pushap's window.JPG
Should she make it to the end of Beaumont Ave safely, she would be rewarded with two things including yet another fabulous - and fabulously inexpensive - restaurant in the form of Restaurant Simeon (370 Beaumont Ave). A Sri Lankan joint with a decor in transition from former col-bleu bar to classically over-lit "ethnic" restaurant, Simeon offers up wonderful masala dosa, onion baigg, and samosas, all lovingly prepared by the earnest owner, who seems so eager, nay, happy, to please.

Reward number two would be the discovery of a secret, magical door. At first a seemingly non-descript grey slab door, tucked back from the street in the shadows of crumbling brick and lurking bludgeoners, a second glance reveals a noteworthy sign above the door. In smaller but similar font to a certain bastion of ice-cream wonderfulness located on Bernard Ouest, the words "Le Bilboquet" quickened the pulse (a different quickening from that inspired by the bludgeoners) and set the heart pitter-pattering. Could this be where the decadent, dairy-licious elixirs are mixed? Further investigation is warranted.

So Evangeline might not find the hood so terrible after all and, once she'd outfitted herself with a saree from one of the many shops along Jean-Talon, and had perhaps treated herself to a day of beautification at Mama Africa beauty salon, she might get over her precious Acadian self and build up her palate's tolerance for spice.

My advice: you will be well fed and your wallet will barely feel the pinch in this part of town. Try going in the daylight, however, to see if you can't get the scoop (pun intended) on the secret Bilboquet door and to avoid the bludgeoners, who generally work the night shift.
Simeon feasting.JPG
And, um, I suppose if you didn't have a car but nevertheless wanted to go shopping at Rockland Centre, Acadie Metro would be your closest stop.

Discussion

12 Comments

rrrobyn / January 23, 2007 at 12:28 pm
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i love nu-acadie!
kitty-cat-cat / January 23, 2007 at 01:52 pm
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...and it loves you. Happy day-before-birthday Day! And mad props on the news reporting.
Hannah / January 23, 2007 at 09:26 pm
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Such a sweet round up of the neighbourhood, but is there any chance that you misread the sign over the dark and recessed doorway? Maybe it said 'bludgeoners' not 'bilboquet.'
Cat / January 24, 2007 at 12:36 pm
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Y'know, maybe I did misread the sign. So many confusing signs in the neighbourhood, who knows? Or maybe Bilboquet offers a community-service volunteer rehab program for bludgeoners to trade in their blunt objects for whisks and scoops and trains them to make ice cream!
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