One of my summer goals is to get super involved in the events around the city. Montreal has so many fun activities and festivals every summer and I’ve never had a chance to experience them, seeing as I’ve been galavanting in other cities and countries come summer for the past six years.
This is actually my first full summer living in Montreal. Let me rephrase: This is my first full summer living downtown as an adult (before I left home for university, I lived with my parents in the suburbs and didn’t appreciate my city the way I do now).
One of the events I’m most excited about is the Just for Laughs festival. The one thing I enjoy doing more than eating is laughing! (I try not to do both at once – that never ends well!) I love going to comedy shows and I feel so lucky that my city has one of the best comedy festivals around.
So how do food trucks play into the picture?
The city of Montreal is in the process of bringing them back for the first time in over 60 years! For a city that breeds foodies, it’s exciting stuff.
As part of the Just For Laughs festivals, Parc des Festivals is full of food trucks – apparently over 40! Last year they tested this out for the first time with about 25 trucks and called it Le Souk. This year, they changed the name to Bouffons Montreal and amped up their game. It’s the first time I’ve seen anything like this in Montreal and let me tell you, it’s pretty awesome.
Upon entering the food truck grounds, I was pretty overwhelmed. I needed a strategy. I started by making my way around, reading every menu of every truck until I had a good grasp of which vegetarian options appealed to me. Then I narrowed it down.
My first experience with the trucks was last Saturday night. I got Perogies. They were delicious, but overpriced (maybe I feel slightly swindled because I’ve made perogies from scratch before and I know how cheap they are to make). I got 5 perogies and a sad little handful of lettuce that they called salad for $8. One thing’s for sure is that they are authentic. The funny man serving me was so nice and cracking jokes – from his accent, it’s clear they brought the recipe from Poland.
I didn’t feel too badly about the price because I expected it – these food trucks aren’t your typical greasy spoon on wheels. I like to think of them as tapas. The portions are tiny but you can expect quality ingredients and nice presentation, all for a pretty penny.
A fellow vegetarian friend told me later that night that she tried the best tofu she’d ever had (she’s not even really a fan of tofu to begin with). I knew I had to try it and went back to the trucks on Sunday night for an encore.
Palais Nouveau‘s truck called Winneburger sells a tofu “pork belly” sandwich that, arguably, tastes like pulled pork (I say arguably because, as Josh, a carnivore, often points out, I have no authority to identify what does or doesn’t taste like meat, seeing as I haven’t eaten any in almost 5 years!)
To quench my thirst, I got a 1/2 and 1/2 mix of fresh squeezed lemonade and homemade iced tea. It was pretty tasty, but I later assessed that it wasn’t worth the $3 for the small glass. Especially since Josh discovered that Meatball was selling fresh squeezed lemonade in a glass double the size for $2.
I will concede that the spicy sandwich was delicious and totally worth the $6.25 price tag. The tofu was sliced thin like deli meat (perhaps with a mandolin?) and seasoned on the grill, giving it deliciously crisp edges. The sauce was also great, but hard to pin-point the taste. Though scrumptious, it was too small to fill me up and I could have easily had a second one.
Instead, I snacked at some of the other trucks. I got an indian doughnut ball infused with rose water and honey (though I didn’t detect any taste of rose, but it was still delightful! Especially since it was only $1). I also got a homemade lime-cucumber-melon popsicle from Landry & Filles (two for $5, Josh got strawberry). My friend got a homemade doughnut slathered in a pistachio glaze and I took a taste – wow, it was amazing.
Overall, I love the unique experience of eating at food trucks. I especially like that you get what you pay for in experience (instant gratification) and quality (tasty food). Not something I would do every day, so it’s totally worth the price.
For more info about the food trucks, check out the Just For Laughs page dedicated to Bouffons Montreal