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Food

St. Henri: Transcendence Through Trans-Fat

Posted by Stefan / May 12, 2008

Shrunken Edit.jpg Photo by Chase Moser

It would be dishonest of me to suggest that I do not derive some abstract pleasure from name-dropping St. Henri. Passing conversations usually take on a thoughtful air whenever the neighborhood comes up. Everyone has an opinion on gentrification, something to add about poverty. I've even caught myself recycling stories of (ultimately not-so)-close calls with seedy characters and subtly (albeit ludicrously) suggesting that I have greater insights into The Wire for having lived at Lionel-Groulx. Despite all that, I'd like to think that my affinity for the place has more than a mere selfish component to it.

St. Henri is a complicated place. This is not the Montreal which draws tourists or students, the typical entry points which open up previously unfamiliar neighborhoods to newcomers. But it's also not some snow-globe reality, to be seen but not felt, unchanging, and impenetrable until it's destroyed. Like any of the city's great neighborhoods, this one deserves to be explored, even as it remains elusive to many. I’ll be starting a new series of diner reviews in order to open a window on one humble aspect of St Henri, not to define it. To attempt the latter would require a grasp of the overlapping and often conflicting narratives which set the contours of this neighborhood of shifting demographics (no small task). At this point, I'm more interested in fried eggs and poutine, so I'll stick to what I know.

While any attempt at generalization necessarily glosses over certain nuances, for the sake of convenience I’m operating under the assumption that anywhere I eat will fall into one of three categories. First, the “as things were.” These are the diners which seem least affected by the influx of money and youth into the neighborhood. Secondly, the “as things are.” Diners falling under this category reflect St. Henri’s traditional features alongside a determination to stay viable as their surroundings are transformed. Finally, the “yet to come.” A handful of businesses have arrived which mark a strict departure from the ethos of the neighborhood, their place among the locals yet to be determined.

Finally, the rules. In order to create some baseline for comparison, breakfast expenditures will be restricted to $5, lunch/dinner to $10. And that’s including tax and tip. As I move through the neighborhood it should become clear that who takes their breakfast here, and where they chose to do so, ultimately tells a story which reaches beyond how they take their eggs...

Discussion

14 Comments

Kay O. Sweaver / May 12, 2008 at 02:47 pm
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I spent my first month in Montreal in St. Henri and now six months later I'm back. Seems it made an impression. And yes, there are a FEW diners around.
Sisi / May 12, 2008 at 07:34 pm
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Your entries should always have a picture, either 468 pixels or 250 pixels aligned right. Apart from that, great first entry; welcome to the team.
kim / May 12, 2008 at 09:58 pm
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Welcome Stefan!

I am excited to see where this series goes. Diner food has a very special place in my heart. And belly.
foodi / May 13, 2008 at 04:15 am
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i've got nothing against getting all romantic about st-henri, but those diners have some of the worst goddamn food i've ever tasted.
Olivier / May 16, 2008 at 11:49 pm
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Great post, and please do nothing less than romanticize both diners and St. Henri.
S / May 17, 2008 at 06:43 am
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thanks for the friendly welcome...though by acknowledging it am I turning this into some sort of an AA-type event?



joanna / June 22, 2008 at 09:19 pm
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i really enjoyed this article...after you explained what it's about to me.
joanna / June 22, 2008 at 09:19 pm
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i really enjoyed this article...after you explained what it's about to me.
golu dolls / February 14, 2019 at 09:26 pm
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nice post
kanchipuram sarees / February 14, 2019 at 09:27 pm
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nice post
kanchipuram sarees / February 14, 2019 at 09:27 pm
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nice post
herbal powder / February 14, 2019 at 09:27 pm
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nice post

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