I'm from New England -- Moxie, incedently, is an eclectic local soft drink sold only in northern New England -- but I am presently in my last term of university in Montreal.
Another month or two and I'll have a B.A. in English lit, which has been fun, but now I'm looking to indulge my first love and head for cooking school. I've had quite a bit of restaurant experience and know all about the seedy underbelly. I remain undaunted and determined, though I am totally in the dark about cooking school -- the how, not the why, thereof.
That's about it. Save, perhaps, that any other Montrealer's out there with restaurant reccommendations suited to the beans-and-rice student set would be doing me a great service. I've been woefully neglectful of one of N. America's great food cities.
Actually, Moxie predates Coca-cola. It was the first soft drink to be mass marketed in the U. S. about 1884. It was huge well into the twentieh century, but then suffered a steep decline, and is manufactured today by the Monarch Beverage Co. of Atlanta. Cocca-Cola bottles and distributes it, but only in Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, and, to a lesser extent, Massachusetts. It has its origins, as most older softdrinks do, in medicine -- it was originally a tonic which claimed to "prevent softening of the brain" and "restore masculin virility." Its taste echoes its original purpose -- most people don't like it at all. Anasturga bitters is the closest thing, taste-wise, although the Italian "Brio" is somewhat simmilar.
It takes some getting used to, but one does come to love the taste. Furthermore, Moxie's most charming feature, today anyway, is that there are noticable variations between batches. Moxie doesn't always taste the same. In fact, with some internet savvy, one can find discussion groups dedicated to traking where the best batches are available from in any given month, or warning about substandard batches likely to be encountered.
I believe that you meant something akin to angostura bitters, a bitter liquid known widely among bartenders and others. Read what follows.
As far as Moxie's being a panacea, a cure-all, beware. Alot of currently published herb books purport that many herbs do EVERYTHING. Again, the best herb book for instructions on curing common low grade ailments - as far as herbs that originate in America and Europe are concerned - is entitled THE SCIENTIFIC VALIDATION OF HERBAL MEDICINE. Get a copy, you'll be glad you did.
Angostura Bitters, if you take the time to read the label on the bottle, are made from Gentian Root among other herbs. Gentian is a known digestif; it aids in the digestion. Please, read the labels. :chef: :chef:
Yes, exactly. Sorry about the wildly inaccurate spelling. It stems, I am sure, from my wildy inaccurate pronunciation. Angostura.
Ang - oh - stir - uh?
Anywho, Moxie also contains gentian root extract. I would suggest that it is far more detrimental to one's health than it is beneficial, being, in the main, fizzy sugar water.
What, exactly, is an aperitif? I only ever see it describing a wide variety of vermouths. I am not a vermouth fan. Does any drink taken before a meal count as an aperitif? I appreciate your patience with me -- I have consulted my slim culinary references on this matter, but with no effect.
It's my understanding that an apertif is generally any light alcoholic drink taken before a meal. With the idea in mind that it stimulates the appetite. But anyone else feel free to correct me if I'm off base on that.
Aperatif is something that you have before the main meal, it can mean anything from a vermouth -martini, cinzano and the like with a few nuts to a whole culture. In the Atlantic coast of Spain you can go for 'la vermout' or an aperitif from about 1200, especialy on a Sunday, to meet your friends, drink anything you want, although the general rule, obeyed by all but the most hardened whisky addicts, is fino sherry, martini or beer and eat tapas and pinchos. you can eat prawns, fish pate, roasted peppers, anchovies, chorizo, you name it. In fact it isn't unknown to go for 'la vermout' at 1200 and return to your house at about 1500 with your stomach full and somewhat the worse for wear - but that's for the diehard fans!
Most anything that shouldn't be missed, really. I've sampled many of Montreal's ethinc restaurants, which I'm told is really the city's stregnth. I've had just about enough of Thai and Indian, though. (Okay -- that's a dirty lie. But I'd still like to try something different.) Only problem is, the ethnic restaurants seem to be by far the best, value-wise. (For the uninitiated, there's any number of restaurants in Montreal where 15-20$ canadaian will get you a four course, delicious, leisurely meal. I reccommend New Dehli on St. Dennis near Carre St. Louis -- ambiance/presentation is lacking but the food and service can't be beat.)
Last week I went to Le Persil Fou, and the cooking, ambience and service were all great, but the price tag was a little beyond me. Do you know of any really great classical/european restaurants where 30-50 bucks'll get a guy a really good meal and maybe a bit of vin? near a Metro stop? Bring your own wine, maybe? Yo-yo is next up, I think, but Touque, Globe and their ilk are clearly out.
How about Dim Sum in Chinatown? Or Japanese? Isakaya on Park is fantastic and not too expensive.
For French food, try the "bring your own wine" restaurants. I know there's a good French bistro on Rachel near Parc Lafontaine.
Check Voir or The Gazette, they always have reviews of inexpensive restaurants. Or look in the bookstore for a book that reviews "bring your own wine" restaurants. Honestly I am not sure it is still in print, I'll check next time I'm in the bookstore.
Isakaya is just around the corner, but I've never been. Soon!
How about good markets? La Veille Europe can be fun, but do you know any great butchers or fish markets downtown? I'd especially like to get sashmi-grade tuna. I want to be able to eat it seared without worrying ... I've been told to avoid Waldman for this reason.
I didn't go to Atwater (yet), but looking for the address I came across Marche Jean Talon, which seemed closer ... just got back. Fun, Fun, Fun! Better ingredients, more variety, and much lower prices than the local Metro/Provigo options.
I also scored that much sought tuna steak... seared with pepper and a citrus/soy reduction.
Could I be the happiest boy in the world? I think so.
Should have told you about Jean-Talon. I always go to Atwater so I tend to forget about Jean-Talon. It is a bigger market, lots of Italian shops near by. If you need cooking stuff try Quincaillerie Dante, not too far from the market.
Since you live close to Jean-Talon, no need to go to Atwater unless of course you want to do sight-seeing.
I'm always up for sight-seeing, so I went to Atwater yesterday. I definetly thought that produce-wise Jean Talon was better. The selection was not as eclectic, but it was more than sufficient and much more economical. Nonetheless, Atwater's butcher shops were very impressive. I can afford to eat meat again! Woo-hoo! Not only that, but its fresh, and in reasonable cuts. What is up with those very thin french steaks, anyway? Sure, they have their charms, but enough is enough.
Anyway, thank you so much, Isa, for turning me on to the market scene around here. I've a whole new grocery buying regimine now that promises exponential increases both in my fun having and health maintaining capacities.