Stranger in a Strange Land - Grampies Track the Tortes (2019) - CycleBlaze

March 13, 2019

Stranger in a Strange Land

Montreal is of course part of Canada. And given that it was founded in 1642, it has a pretty firm claim on being central to the country.  But Montreal and Victoria are 4500 km apart, and there really are some noticeable differences. I was born in Montreal, but after about 50 years away, every time I return I can enjoy the place much like a tourist.

The first thing I noticed today was snow. Snow that contrived to interfere with my favourite Montreal activity, which is cycling to bakeries. Here is Josh's bike, the one I usually use. Get the idea?

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Well it is possible to still get out there with a little effort. These cops, anyway, are going for a ride!

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But bike riding is really not the scene here right now. This is more like it:

These machines are interesting to watch. Somewhere behind will be the big snowblower, filling dumptrucks.
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The first foray into this "new" land was to Lafleur. Lafleur and La Belle Province dominate the local hot dog and fries (frites!) market. At Lafleur you are not at McDonald's. In fact you are worlds away. Look at the fries - actively designed to have absorbed the maximum in yummy grease. And the dog, in the optional toasted bun, has non optional relish. Actually, it's a combination of cole slaw and relish.

A deadly Lafleur combo.
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What kind of reception did this get with me? The pictures tell the tale. Fortunately, Dodie was not out on this expedition. She hates (hates, hates!) greasy fries.

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He likes it!
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Although I was on my own (with Sabrina) for Lafleur,  Dodie and two kids came out for some bakery research. Dodie is proud to show little Joe how well she can walk down stairs. She does it like an adult - just like him!

Straight down the stairs with Joe and Evee.
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Our destination bakery was of course the "Polish", which is the primo location in this neighbourhood.

The Polish is always our first choice.
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I asked the lady in the Polish about tortes. What does she understand by a torte? She did not look at me strangely at all, but recognized this as an important bakery topic. First, she asserted that torte is a Polish word, and that Poland is the true home of tortes. It was great - reminiscent of the Dad in the Big Fat Greek Wedding, for whom everything had a Greek origin.  Next, the lady put forward a two part definition. Yes, a torte must have many layers - étages, she said. But she also asserted that there has to be "cream" between the layers. Lots of cream, though she did not exactly define cream.  It did seem that apricot jam, like in a Sacher torte, would not qualify. 

 I could probably understand all that.  But then confusion set in. I identified something called an Opera in the display case, as an ideal torte. But no, the lady said. Instead she pointed out something labelled Gateau Noisette - hazlenut cake. This seemed to align with my idea that a torte has a fairly dry cake making up the layers - created by the substitution of ground nuts for flour. But when I asked her about that, she thought I was crazy.

The Opera - not a "torte"?
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This cake - a "torte"?
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To learn more about this we really would have had to dissect the Gateau Noisette.  But not only would that be $24, it would violate our "diet" approach to all this cake research. We left rather confused, though the kids seemed well satisfied with the "Opera".

Satisfied customers.
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Joe may have been more focussed on the lattés. (Took this photo to add some controversy to the blog!)
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Back home, I explained these torte conundrums to Josh. While he had no definite answers, he did point out that the Noisette cake does occasionally appear as a slice the Polish display case. So we have a reason to go back and check for that!

Father and son share some of the same interests.
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Laurie MarczakRare to see Josh looking so much fluffy that you - is that so your helmet will fit?
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3 months ago
Steve Miller/GrampiesTo Laurie MarczakYes, you usually get a trim before a trip. But it was not enough to permit a coon skin cap (with tail!) that I found downtown.
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3 months ago

And the blog is a hit so far with the kids:

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Sue PriceSoak up all that wonderful grandkid time (and some more greasy fries) while you can! Looks too cold to get out to do anything! Brrrrr!
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3 months ago
Janet Anspach-RickeyGreat to see you two on the move again!
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3 months ago
Steve Miller/GrampiesTo Janet Anspach-RickeyWe are really eager to actually get cycling, but as of this writing, that is still at least four days away!
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3 months ago
Glen AdamsDo your grandchildren like fluffies. That's what we usually give children in NZ. Can come well decorated with chocolate hail and marshmallows on the side.
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3 months ago
Steve Miller/GrampiesTo Glen AdamsFluffies must be an exotic to us NZ treat. At the market yesterday we took them into a fabulously expensive chocolate shop, and they got some of the official chocolates. But we almost got them a long chocolate coated loaf with marshmallow centre.
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3 months ago