Tag Archives: meat

Schwartz’s Charcuterie Hebraique de Montreal (Montreal, Quebec)

Quebec isn’t just another province in Canada: it has it’s own language (Quebecois French, which, as my French colleagues like to point out, resembles Continental French, but has a distinct vocabulary and accent), it’s own culture, and, particularly, it’s own cuisine. In particular, it’s rather hard to drive through Quebec without noticing all the businesses advertising poutine (I’ll get back to the topic of poutine in my next article), Montreal-style bagels, and Montreal-style Smoked Meat (aka “viande fumée”, or even, if being a string Quebecois French constructions, “boeuf mariné”). Which brings up the question of “What is Smoked Meat?” It’s really a specific style of prepare beef. Several references claim it’s basically “pastrami”, which is closer, but isn’t quite right, either. However, it shares the basic preparation style with pastrami: the meat is spiced, cured in a brine, “smoked” (which is really more of a roasting step than a proper smoking) and, finally, steamed it until the connecting tissues within the meat break down into gelatin. Where it differs from pastrami is in the spicing and smoke, the result being something approximately halfway between corned beef and pastrami, leaving a bit more of the natural beef flavor. The best description I’ve heard is “the flavor of pastrami but the mouthfeel of corned beef”. If you like a good pastrami, you’ll like smoked meat, although it’ll be a matter of taste which one you really prefer. As far as getting smoked meat, Montreal is full of delis that specialize in it. And one of the classic places to get it Schwartz’s Deli…

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St John Bread and Wine (Spitalfields, London, UK)

One of the greatly unfortunate fact of life is that English cuisine still wrongly suffers from a relatively poor international reputation. I can’t count the number of friends and coworkers that, upon hearing that I was going to be spending two weeks in England, their response was, “I’m so sorry, I hear the food is terrible.” It’s terribly unfortunate, since nothing could be further from the truth. While there definitely was some justification for the stereotype of bad English food back in the 60s and 70s, the cuisine of England has definitely improved, and, especially in London, includes several of the best restaurants in the world. One of these is St John restaurant. The chef at St John, Fergus Henderson, focuses on doing classic British cooking done to high standards of perfection, with typical fare including such items as roast suckling pig, aged Scottish rib roasts, Grouse, and other high quality meats served with an excellent assortment of sides.

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