Aug 11, 2009

Dépanneur Le Pick-Up: The best of Montreal between two slices

by Fiona O'Connor
Last week, food and travel writer and fellow Montreal Insider Alexandra Forbes brought our attention to Montreal's latest in diner hipster-dom: Dépanneur Le Pick-Up, the corner-store-cum-snack bar that was recently featured in The New York Times' ever-trendy T Magazine.

The NYTimes article, written by local journo Geneviève Paiement, does a great job of elucidating Quebec's très unique dépanneur phenomenon- an essential lesson in Quebecois culture for anyone wishing to understand daily life in the province. "Dépanneurs, also known as deps, " writes Paiement, "are to Montreal what bodegas and delis are to New York: family-run dispensaries of everything from toilet paper and beer to cigarettes and empanadas."

So, New Yorkers, if you don't know, now you know...

I come back to Dep Le Pick-Up today, however, not to wax poetic about the joint's perfectly ironic airbrushed decorative touches or its friendly, thick-rimmed glasses-wearing staff, but to reiterate Paiement's praise for what she calls its "killer pulled-pork sandwich."

Le Dep's top-selling sammy: pulled-pork.

This sandwich deserves mention because it packs some serious punch in all its elemental simplicity. Juicy and mildly smokey, the pork is combined with a tangy and delicious home-made coleslaw and some spicy pickled peppers, all served on a standard white bun (the Portuguese variety with which virtually all Montreal deli sandwiches are made). For under $6.00, this is bang for your sandwich buck, even coming with a vegetarian alternative - just ask for the Dep's faux pulled-pork.

While I have yet to hear of any writing career jump-started by a dedication to writing sandwich reviews, I feel a guide to Montreal's sandwich scene may be of considerably practical use to on-the-go visitors who, in between museum visits and late-night shows, just don't have time for fancy, sit-down meals. With this, I urge you to stay tuned for another edition of "Sandwich City: The Best of Montreal Between Two Slices."

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