While combing Montreal’s outskirts (St-Léonard, to be precise) for second hand shops like my favorite Pacific NW chain Village de Valeur (Value Village in the U.S., duh) I was tempted by all the bright and shiny restaurants we were passing on Jean-Talon E.
The weird thing was that our fast food like McDonald’s and Wendy’s (and even A&W, which we found in Kuala Lumpur too) were well represented, but they didn’t seem to have our casual dining chains. There were places that looked like Applebee’s or Macaroni Grill from afar, but turned out to be establishments I’d never seen before. I couldn’t even tell you their names because they didn’t stick.
I wanted to try regional fast food. I’ve been to Tim Horton’s a million times so that wasn’t necessary. I saw an orange and blue hamburger logo advertising a place called Harvey’s, Roasters with a cock’s comb cutely designed into the a in their name, but I was drawn into St-Hubert’s feathery embrace.
The counter girl didn’t speak any English, which I’ve noticed happens if you get like 20 minutes out of downtown Montreal. It’s totally baffling to me because how do you watch TV and listen to radio and live in a predominantly English speaking country and not pick up the language? Of course, fast food is about combo meals and backlit color photos so words aren’t of utmost importance. But there are options and I got totally lost on one of her questions despite possessing cursory French language skills. Dark or light meat had me confused for a while. I wasn’t as stymied by the traditional or creamy coleslaw inquiry.
I tried the #1, which is a quarter roasted chicken sitting atop what looked like the bottom half of a hamburger bun, french fries, soda and coleslaw. James got some bizarre sandwich, #5 possibly, which struck me as totally British. Who else would put gravy and peas on white bread? Maybe Australians would do that too. I’m not sure and I’m afraid to ask the handful that I work with.
While getting drinks I noticed a self serve machine with a nozzle like an institutional coffee carafe. The label said barbecue sauce, which I couldn’t resist indulging in out of sheer curiosity. I pushed the spigot and hot steamy gravy streamed out. I’m still not clear on how this is bbq sauce. I’d say it was more like peppery gravy, though it wasn’t the same as the sandwich gravy.
Sauce confusion aside (that's it on the left) the chicken was really good. Normally, I’m more of a fried chicken girl. It’s easy to forget the beauty of a rotisserie grilled bird. This location was a St-Hubert Express. I have no idea how that differs from a regular version, though I did catch a glimpse of one on Rue St. Denis and it looked like there were sconces and frosted glass details. Fancy.
Later that afternoon, we saw St-Hubert branded gravy, poutine and bbq sauces in packages and cans sold in the supermarket and picked them up. I see a culinary adventure in my future.
St-Hubert * 7190 Rue Michelet, Montreal, Canada