Friday, July 6, 2012

More on Cool Vibes in Montreal

I realize we’re a week out of our trip to Montreal, but I wanted to share a cool experience we had. We are always looking for cheap eats that are healthy, as well. Cheap dining is easy, you can just get a hot dog or a slice of pizza. It’s healthy eating, at any cost, that’s a real challenge. Generally if you seek out vegetarian stuff, you can do okay, but that’s a tougher sell with the kids. Factor in eliminating dairy (cheese) and sugar, and the challenges can be insurmountable.

Either way, after doing some research online, R found a falafel place on what I think was the west side that got good reviews on Yelp. The plan was to grab some supper, then continue west to the movie theater to catch the 3D movie Brave. As we headed in that direction, it became clear that we were heading into an ethnic neighborhood, appearing to be Middle Eastern/Asian. There were kabob and falafel places all over, but we were looking for one in particular. The place was called XX, and it was a small non-descript place with a few tables. There were a few people ahead of us waiting for their food, so we ordered and grabbed a table.

There was only one woman working the counter, and I’m guessing one woman in back cooking or cleaning, so it was a small operation. The first thing that struck us was that the food was very affordable. I’m talking cheap. We all got falafel platters, which include salad, grape leaves, and bread, for less than $20. You can’t beat that. It’s the kind of place I’d eat at regularly if I lived in the city. After we had ordered, a wave of people came in, and that’s when things got crazy.

The woman behind the counter was completely overwhelmed, and though I assumed someone was in back helping her, she constantly went back there and did the cooking. I couldn’t quite figure out what was going on, but man did I feel for her. It reminded me of selling dumplings at the market. It took awhile to get our food, but we didn’t mind. If anything, I was ready to get back there and help her out, I felt terrible.

The food was excellent, and even A&N were digging their vegetarian meal. She was constantly apologizing for the delay, and you could tell that she was really bummed that she couldn’t keep up, it meant something to her. After we were finished, I gave her a tip, for which she was very grateful, and we went to the movie. After the movie, as we were walking back to the hotel, R and I were wondering how things went with the falafel lady, and wanted to stop by to see how things were going, but the place was closed. We figured she survived and left it at that.

Well, in a crazy twist of fate, while we were walking down the sidewalk, two women were behind us and one spoke up to address us, and who would be but none other than the woman in the falafel place. She must have just closed the shop and was heading home, and again, she apologized profusely for how long it took for her to make our food. She only spoke French, so we tried to explain that there was no reason to apologize, and that she did a great job. She was very nice, and it was a cool moment in the big city. Her friend was with her translating and explained that she was all by herself and couldn’t keep up the pace, but we understood. I think selling dumplings at the market gives you a whole new perspective on these sorts of matters.

Kind of a cool moment for us in the big city. Until the next time, thanks for reading, and thanks to wmliu for the pic.

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