I’ve lived in the Mile End district of Montreal for almost six years. I feel like I understand the place like a sock drawer, a bit, having poked my head into most of it’s windows and doors at least once to understand my neighbourhood better every day.
Wilensky’s, though, until recently, had remained a mystery. I kinda chalk that up to a vegan past, I mean – what would some tamari-smoked-almond smelling patch-kneed grass-feeder do in the presence of RUTH WILENSKY???? Eek, I dunno, stammer and ask for a fountain soda? Anyway, at the time, it seemed weird, but always so, so enticing.
Enter a future self, one who decided that having a legendary “Special” for breakfast was like, the most perfect decision I’d made so far in September. (It was September 1rst). And slightly cool outside. That is to say – scarf and bicycle weather. Aha! I thought, for some reason, “this is my moment!”
It makes sense, really. The sammich as offered is as comforting as a hug from a mammy – 6 layers of mystery deli meat (at least 2 kinds of salama and 1 bologna) pressed flat and crispy in a sweet onion roll – a bretzl! – and kissed with a touch of mustard (and in my case, a piece of swiss cheese folded thin and just slightly melted – this just made it extra cozy-making).
A few rules about this thingy.
1. You cannot have it without mustard.
2. You cannot have it cut in half.
Why? Man, that would be change and that is not what this place is about. No, truth told, it was SURREAL walking into Wilensky’s. The whole setup just stunned me in it’s perfect historic maintenance – suddenly it’s 1932. But it was so absolutely present, too. Eloquence, you fail me! But to make a point: I asked for “one Special, a half sour pickle and a diet cherry coke.” Twice. Ruth stared me in the noggin, not really caring and answered back, “one Special, one cherry soda.” Twice. :D Now THAT is time colliding in on itself while the present maintains the past and I’m dumbstruck but weirdly happy to be there waiting all of 1 minute for my breakfast to get pressed together and wrapped in a paper bag for me. I snapped a few photos and idly scanned the bargain-bin trash-lit for sale taking shelf-estate next to the takeout containers and other resto-sundry, and I was sure that I would earn a place in Ruth’s bad books for even daring to whip out a camera so early in the morning. But actually, I think she almost smiled at me as she handed me my sandwich. One can only imagine.
It’s cholesterol in a warm handheld more-ish piece of Love, it’s totally not healthy and I’m kinda wondering when I can get another one.
Immortal for a very good reason, I’m thinking.