40 and Famished : A Foodie’s Bucket List

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If you are a foodie, there is something great about going on vacation and visiting a city for a finite period of time: you get to make your restaurant bucket list. If you accomplish even some of it, it’s checked off, you can return home and either rave about it to your friends, or mumble about it being grossly overpriced, or simply overrated, and return again next time to complete your said list.

Fish Burger. 40 and Famished. Photo Esther Szeben

Fish Burger. 40 and Famished. Photo Esther Szeben

One of the caveats I face being a native Montrealer is having an ongoing bucket list and as soon as I mentally add to it, a new place opens or I find myself dining somewhere that was not necessarily my choice, since dining-out is typically a social event often endorsed by someone else.

I know I am not alone in experiencing this. I have had this conversation with other native Montrealers who never graced the likes of Schwartz’s with their gastronomic presence (after-all, I think I was close to 30 when I first experienced a legendary lean smoked meat as I sat sardined among five strangers). We hope that one day we will go to these restaurants, but life gets in the way.

40 and Famished. Photo Esther Szeben

Sushi. 40 and Famished. Photo Esther Szeben

I have had friends who are immigrants to Montreal who reproach me for never eating at the Orange Julep! I bet their King’s Transfer truck had barely turned the corner and they were out hitting the Main finding some famed eatery to initiate their lives as Montrealers!

There is something about Montreal dining that allures people from afar. Our eateries may be hole-in-the-wall infamous, but for the every-day Montrealer, it’s hard to cram them all in in a life-time.

40 and Famished. Photo Esther Szeben

Bofinger. 40 and Famished. Photo Esther Szeben

I’m turning 40 this week and though it makes me feel old on some levels, it’s time to mark four decades in this fabulous city and feel a sense of accomplishment at last and attack this bucket-list head-on! No epic trip to New York, Las Vegas or Paris. No big party. Just 40 restaurants I can finally pour out of the bucket in my 40th year. The cumulative effect of friends (mostly out-of-towners) rebuking me for not having been to the likes of Wilensky’s or La Banquise (often in the same breath) and my own desire to do something fun and meaningful for me have been the catalyst for this little project.

40 and Famished. Photo Esther Szeben

Beer. 40 and Famished. Photo Esther Szeben

Realistically, I will need to eat out once every nine days. Or I can attempt averaging one restaurant every week for 40 weeks. Or we can periodically try an Anthony Bourdain layover challenge and hit eight or nine restaurants in under 24 hours!

Inside Restaurant. 40 and Famished. Photo Esther Szeben

Inside Restaurant. 40 and Famished. Photo Esther Szeben

Whatever happens, you can count on a review of each of these restaurants based on my bucket list composed of personal recommendations from friends.

Let’s hope I really have 38 friends who will take me up on the challenge, after all, I am counting on my husband and parents taking me out at least once each!

Stay tuned for 40 meals.

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