Sometimes I draw a tarot card when I’m wavering on where I need to be at a certain time. On this coat-sheddingly balmy spring day, when one could actually see the earth, the dusty layers hidden for eons under what used to constitute terra firma (terra snow-a), when sneakers started to smell rubbery again, when girls with thick smooth legs ran their brazen goosepimpleless season-heralding skin up wrought iron staircases above spilling-over terraces packed with overdue coffee dates, when finally, finally, the air quality improved to the level where pink, verdigris, humboldt and vizier became colours again, when the 70s were possible to be fondly eyed askance with nostalgia this generation never properly earned, but somehow embody in ways that probably owe a lot to just the way that certain parts of Montreal look .
Should I go to Jean-Talon? Should I go to Chinatown? Knowing I’d be moving closer to the market and not the sino-choice, I took my chance to appreciate the proximity, and drew the Knight of Wands as a symbol of the adventure, and kept a mental lookout for little guys with firey presences, in sculpture form, realform, yummyform and all of the above (mostly appeared in yummyform! O_O) (unsurprisingly).
First thing I did was drool in the window of the Bahn Mi shop, Cao Thang. I’d never had one before, but I think I probably even knew more about them than this guy, so it was weird and soon-to-be-remedied that I didn’t know the taste of them personally.
I can vouch for the #1 special here (pork and pork paste, pickled veg, jalapenos – could have been more – and cilantro) it’s a nicely balanced sandwich! The bread was fresh with that Ol’ ChewCrisp, the pork was strong enough to feel like a robust filling even though I initially thought there wasn’t much of it (which is expected for such an affordable thinger-sandwich! O_O), and yey for pickled veg. Yeah for $3.50 you better believe I’m going back to try the other kinds.
Skip this stuff though. Kinda okay? Best I can say. It smells heavily of sesame but doesn’t have much taste and leaves grease marks on my finger when I touch it. Pretty though. Very, very ruby pretty.
So far? I guess that’s the Knight of Wands choice. Admittedly in chronology the sammich-lunching happened on my way out, but my Nose-On-The-Window-WANTING moment happened on my way in, and then I got distracted from linear sequencing while I was writing, so it’s here first and explaining all of this nicely takes up the rest of the space next to this picture of red rice that I would otherwise have to fill with rhetoric on a dish I know nothing about and tasted no more than a biteful of. The woman at the shop gave me a fork with this though. Ooh, damn, didn’t even notice the chopstick-miss until I got home, oooooooh. (s’okay though, I come prepared.)
The other Knight of Wands/dragony moment happened after picking up some (RED!) curry for my roommate, I passed by a place that looked SO legit, SO attracting, that I felt like I was back in the night markets of Taiwan for a moment, watching skilled hands make the same perfect foodstuff day in and day out for years and THAT’S why it’s legendary and people come back. I mean, I don’t know how this Dragon’s Beard candy rates among others, but I can fully say that this is one of those special-er things that Montreal’s chinatown has to offer.
I got a piece for 75 cents. It melted and chewed and turned to nutty brittle, the hairs of the dragon, for the life me, reminiscent of grasses made of sugar. More sturdy than cotton candy for sure. Light as a feather. Given to me in a little napkin and I felt like I was holding a woodland creature, a bit.
Is that it? Probably mostly. Well, not entirely. I also got a lamp that makes me want it to be august already so I can sweat to it’s flickering light, writing fevered dream-letters to myself declaring burning love and saucier things, AND some fish earrings and some boring old raisins, and some pumpkin pocky, boy howdy. Geez, nobody told me pocky was delicious. You guys are such holdouts. Yum. *eats pocky* snap snap. :P