Every so often during my hectic, stress filled life, I like to take a break and just relax. I stop to smell the roses ( or whatever odor is around me), listen to the birds chirp their happy song or watcha little paint dry. The St Viateur Bagel and Cafe is that kind of place. It has two cafe locations in Montreal. Simone and I choose the cafe at 1127 Mont. Royal East. Its a little out of the way ( probably a mile or so off the subway) in the "Plateau" European district of Montreal, but worth the walk even during those rather frost bitten winter days. At this small cafe their specialty is Jewish style bagels baked in a wood burning oven all day long.
You can have the traditional bagels with Lox ( a gross combo of Smoked salmon, raw onion and capers with some other junk on a platter) or with some of their flavored cream cheeses. They also have lots of specialty sandwiches featuring their bagels for the lunch crowd.
After walking from the subway on a cold morning with the snow lightly falling, Simone and I walked into the cafe which features an open kitchen so you can watch the bagels being made and hand rolled all day long. We found a seat next to the window, but away from the drafts from the door at the entrance. You seat yourself (or at least we did ) and then the waitress or waiter takes your order. If you don't know your French lingo then they are well prepared for you, as they offer both French and English versions of the menu. Simone and I both opted to start with some hot chocolate to warm ourselves up. The hot chocolate was made fresh and not from a packet. It was rich and topped with a little whipped cream and was an excellent choice. After sipping on the hot chocolate we ordered our bagels. It it was breakfast time, so we opted out of the sandwich options and went for the basics. We both ordered a Multigrain Bagel ( seriously, why does my wife insist on always getting the same thing as me ?). To keep things healthy, I ordered mine with a side of sun dried tomato cream cheese. Simone ,with her never ending sweet tooth had hers with the chocolate cream cheese.
The bagels arrived with-in about five minutes with a small side of fresh fruit on the plate. Unfortunately, the fresh fruit in these parts during the winter months tends to be pretty tasteless, and this fruit fit into that category. So onto the main course, the Bagel. Jewish Bagels are denser then your New York variety that you usually find in the supermarket, and this makes them a little less chewy and usually moister. The Bagels at St Viateur were done to perfection. Hand rolled with lots of seed and oats, they arrived hot with a crunchy exterior from the wood burning oven ,but dense, doughy and moist on the inside. The bagels are cut for easy dipping into the side of cream cheese that comes in a 2oz souffle cup filled past the top. The cream cheese is also super rich and super good, and although its a lot of cheese, its good enough that you will find yourself finishing it all and licking the utensil of your choice at the end to make sure you don't leave any behind.
Simone and I both finished off our entire plate and were pretty full at the end of it all. We paid the bill and rolled ourselves back out into the frozen Montreal tundra happy with our choice. St Viateur Bagel & Cafe is a nice country cafe to sit back and relax and get a good and hearty start to your day. Four Stars ****