Dishcrawling is a trip, an adventure, a party and a date with a room full of people who play with the intersection between real life and OnlineLife (twittering and blogging away!), swirled generously with more fat than is genereally advised to be consumed in sitting (YUM!!!), peppered with camera flashes, barely whispered with a hint of delightful awkwardness, and as always, a
drink tab you didn’t expect.
Welcome to frickin’ Crescent Street. :D Hurray!
Kristel of Kristel’s Kitchen rounded us up for an intro eat at Boustan Lebanese, a downtown institution that serves impossible concentrations of garlic in shatteringly crispy-wrapped pink-turnip-pickle-studded portable sandwiches that just MUST hit the spot like an old friend after too many drinks down the Crescent line. A students dream, and crazy cheap too.
I admit, having grown up there I am spoiled on the wonders of Ottawa shawarma (one of our coolest claims to fame), and one of the main reasons I’ve wanted to try Boustan for a while is it’s promise of offering a righteous version of a chicken shawarma (Drunk Self: “omg all i want right
now is to nomcrunch/diveheadfirst into a chargrilled warmwrapped hunk of shredded veg and hyper-marinated chicken!!! garlic sauced everywhar!!!” Ahem. (okay, maybe not since I was 22. hehe.). Anyway, it IS a really good shawarma, and definitely the closest to home I’ve had in Montreal, well worth trying – but what was REALLY good was the veggie version. (Yes. I tried two kinds. I AM A CURIOUS CAT. Meow.) None of us could figure out what was in it, which is maybe weird, but here is a picture of a whole pile of whatever that thing is, if anyone knows and can enlighten us less familiar with Boustan’s menu or Lebanese-American food in general. It’s definitely not falafal.
Speaking of familiarity, the owner is adorrrrrrable!! Such a friendly face, and he’s retiring in two months, awww. Something tells me that it’s straight-up soul put into the food that’s kept people coming back to this tiny underground oasis with the late-night diner vibe. I mean, that and it’s 4 bucks for a sandwich. A GOOD sandwich. Try finding that almost anywhere else!
After sandwich time came a short amble over to recently opened Burger Bar, whose burgers are (shock and surprise!) supposed to pretty much take the house down. Fellow bloggers like Mechant Mangeur going crazy for “one of the best burgers” and Mr. Lew Burger Searcher supporting it solidly.
And the verdict?
Holy crap. I mean, I’m a recovered vegan. I have limited burger experience. Cookouts with the family and fast food and the occasional foray into bison, boar and horsemeat. But I haven’t actually inhaled a beef burger until last night. The small size helped it jump into my belly, but more pertinently the taste was intense and the texture a riot of crispy and fatty and sweet. What was involved? Beef, blue cheese, tomato confit, some thick cut and heavily spiced potato chips, and drips all around of the nicest port reduction, sweet and hyper-sticky. Plus, after sitting there cooling off for a minute or three as *everyone* pulled out their camera, it was still like biting into a juice-bomb, and totally completely pink inside. Yumz.
The atmosphere of the place was pretty nice, too, actually – seemed to invite the outside night in, and there was a really casual mix of young and old. Oh, and they poured my whiskey generously. Super points for that!
And then what? Part Two!