That and $9 Canadian Will Get You Two Reputable Sandwiches

Mr. Fix-It is becoming a regular around this joint. He does love a joint.  The Lunch Encounter is just worn around the edges enough to suit him.

Here he is again, set down at the counter, opining on Montreal smoked meat. Any man worth his weight in meat ought to familiarize himself with the stuff.

What makes a sandwich?

Is it anything you put between two slices of bread? A creative combination of fillings? Or is it something that’s both more and less than ingredients, like a connection to a particular place?

Last week I visited Montreal with my daughter and our dog Ruby. We booked a place on Air B&B that was advertised as “pet friendly.” After the booking was final I realized that meant there would be cats in the apartment.

But Ruby doesn’t mind cats, and the location, in the Mont Royal Plateau neighborhood, was fantastic. As we explored the surrounding blocks we noticed a number of businesses with Hebrew signage, including what appeared to be a small shul. In the dim quarters of my memory I recalled that Ms. Midnight Snack had tried to steer me to a great deli in Montreal. That place turned out to be Schwartz’s, and it was right in the neighborhood.

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I checked out the menu – nothing but meat sandwiches, which wouldn’t please my vegetarian daughter. Plus no outdoor seating for Ruby. So I went the next morning as soon as they opened, thinking I might get a sandwich to go. They weren’t ready for lunch, though, and the only thing available was smoked meat. So I got some.

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Montreal smoked meat is somewhere between pastrami and roast beef, only better (at least the way they make it at Schwartz’s .) For $9 Canadian I got enough for two reputable sandwiches. But since I had already eaten a croissant that morning I decided to forego the bread. Our Montreal smoked meat was eaten straight from the butcher paper. The cats loved it, not to mention Ruby. And despite the absence of bread I felt like I had tasted a sandwich with a long, rich and tasty history, and a strong connection to the Jewish community in Montreal.

So take it from Ms. Midnight Snack, from Ruby, and from the cats. If you go to Montreal, do not miss Schwartz’s.

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That’s right, Ruby doesn’t mind cats. In fact, I heard her human declare, “Ruby, you have a boyfriend. He’s a cat.” Tis true and his name is Oliver.

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