Spoiler alert: It’s Le Hot Dog. The first recommendation uttered out of a local’s mouth when I told them I was attending a Habs game that night was “you have to try the hot dog”. And it did not disappoint (more on that later).
Visiting Montreal is like listening to Prince for the first time. It’s too quirky, too unique, and too awesome not to try it. I keep telling people it’s like visiting another country before stopping myself and saying, “wait you idiot, it is another country”. But the rest of Canada doesn’t feel this way! Toronto, Ottawa, Vancouver are fantastic cities but they all remind you of other US cities. Not Montreal. It’s one of a kind.
The official language of Montreal is French with about 60% of population being bi-lingual (thanks Wikipedia). The city literally has too many restaurants which is an incredible problem to have. For every 10,000 people in Montreal, there are 26.81 restaurants to satisfy their hungry souls. For comparison, The New York metropolitan area has 19.57 restaurants per 10,000 people and San Francisco (highest restaurant density in the US) has 21.44. Each year Montreal holds both the largest jazz festival in the world (Montreal International Jazz Festival) and the largest international comedy festival in the world (Just for Laughs Festival).
Montreal-eans (scientific name) love their food, music, comedy, and…their hockey.
Bell Centre is the largest hockey rink in the NHL but it doesn’t matter. I attended a generally meaningless game late in the season on a Thursday night and it felt like it we were in the playoffs. The atmosphere made it the best regular season hockey game that I’ve ever been to. And I’ve been to like eight whole hockey games.
The exchange rate is your friend. This meant a $10 CAD beer was actually $7 USD. This meant I drank a lot of them before, during, and after the game. So much so that I’ll be honest – all I really remember is that damn hot dog. Oh, and some meat sandwich that looked amazing after a few beers but one that my stomach rejected faster than driving on Dikembe Mutumbo in the 90’s.
To the food!
Have to Have it
Hot Dog – it’s the bun. The bun adds a sweetness that compliments the delicious god-knows-what meat up top. And it’s simple. No onions, peppers, sauerkraut, etc. Just a dog, mustard and relish and it works.
Hot-Dog-O-Meter: 9.0 out 10. The second best dog I’ve had at a stadium behind only Saag’s at Oakland Collesium.
Smoked Meat Sandwich – It was OK going down. A little dry but not bad. It was anything but OK coming out the next morning. I’ll leave it at that.