For any native-born and diehard Montrealers, any tourists or food-mavens who know the worth of a well-kneaded, rolled, water-and-honey-steamed, round blob of dough that bakes itself to chewy perfection each and every time.. well, they also know that this city nailed it long ago.
Today, this inimitable institution marked its 60th anniversary.
They went all out.
A block party in one of the most (hi)storied parts of town, aka the Plateau; the street and sidewalks brimming with mascots, face-painted kids, dozens of people swooning over free bagel-and-cream-cheese halves served al fresco – some even jazzed up with slices of lox (woohoo, I scored!)
Even local media celeb Moise Persico showed up, as did dozens of relatives and friends – as well as a husky dolled up in a necktie.
The noshers were out in full force, downing bagels in mouthfuls. People spilled out the front of the joint in droves; with a line of bagel-lovers trailing along the sidewalk, past the Vietnamese store and David’s Tea, all the way until the next intersection.
Klezmer tunes jostled for airtime with whistlers and crying babies. Tattoos alongside shtreimels, spandex-clad cyclists breaking bread with high- (or well-) heeled ladies from Outremont.
A block crowded with a hodge-podge of ethnicities; the French-Canadian yuppy families with babies and labs on a leash; politically-resilient anglos who weathered the storms and stuck around – despite the frenchified changes (already long-entrenched); Hasidic mothers trudging by with plastic bags while their daughters rolled by on scooters, their long braids trailing behind them; wide-eyed tourists gawking at the scene, perhaps unaware that this city, barely waking from yet another unbearably long wintry hibernation, will find just about any excuse – even if it’s just about a hole-y piece of bread – to get out, schmooze and party.