An Italian lunch in St-Lambert

I have been dispatched on the South Shore of Montreal to give a hand to NDP candidate Richard Marois in St-Lambert and also NDP candidate Anne Lagacé Dowson in Westmount-Ville Marie.

There is nothing like fighting the Forces of Evil in a by-election. So I’m told anyway.

And of course, you are then forced to eat out, or order in. At any rate, not much time (or available equipment) for cooking.

Might as well make the most of it. So I forced a few key members of the campaign team to get out of the office for my first day in the area, so I could get a feel for the riding and check out the competition a little.

The four of us ended up in a lovely Italian establishment in the heart of Old St-Lambert, Trattoria La Terrazza & Casa da Carlo.

It was a very nice day, se we decided to eat on the nice terrazza. Mind you, it is equipped with heaters, so that might not have mattered.

It was also very quiet – only another table was occupied, but thought that it was because it was Monday and a bit early for lunch. But it basically remained very quiet all the way through, which made for great service from our two Italian waiters.

Three of us decided to go for a table d’hôte – and we chose the meat ravioli with black olives and capers. Patrick decided to be distinct that day, and opted for the lasagna.

Nice bread rolls were served while we were waiting for our appetizers. Nicely warm, with a few different variety, they wnet quickly. We also enjoyed a fresh Birra Moretti – which is now apparently owned by Heineken – a light and bubbly italian beer, with a light hoppy taste, with some malt in there too. It also has a very nice aroma and is a very refreshing beer, and usually works well with italian food – especially if you go with spicy tomato-based dishes, not so much with cream-based ones.

ND and Pierre went for the Italian Salad, I chose the Zuppa. It was a cream of carrots, which was not bad but not really surprising or creative.

Our ravioli came: a generous portion of meat stuffed ravioli, topped with a generous arrabiata-type sauce, enhanced with black olives and capers. Our waiter offered some fresh parmesan and generously sprinkled my dish, a little too much even though I asked him to stop. “That is the way to eat the pasta,” he said. Fair enough. The ravioli were cooked well, tender and meaty enough to give the dish some depth – which was needed. The saltiness of the olives and capers was not out of control, but borderline. If the ravioli had been weak in flavour, it would have crossed the line. Which means that either the chef knows what he is doing, or that he was lucky. Somehow, I don’t think it was luck.

We ended the meal with a tiramisu, a fairly solid one, too. A nice discovery on the South Shore – and more people should enjoy it at lunch time – I can tell you that much.

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