First, thanks to reader Squeezebottle for this suggestion: "Montreal bagels are best eaten fresh from the oven or warmed up a bit before eating. They go stale very quickly so time is of the essence." Without this advice, I might have waited until we got back to our apartment before trying them--in both cases, the bagels were best enjoyed right outside the store.I made sure to visit the original St Viateur location and Fairmount within minutes of each other, in each case sampling a sesame bagel both with and without cream cheese. While both Fairmount and St Viatuer have several varieties, like chocolate chip, multi-grain, cinnamon raisin, etc., I found it best to stick to the bagels that were coming down the long metal chute next to the oven (at both shops, these were sesame):
I've been back to Fairmount each day for more, while I can't say the same for St Viateur. Not that St Viateur's bagels were bad, but they simply weren't as ephemeral as the goods at Fairmount. For instance, just while writing this post I have put down two of Fairmount's sesame bagels (washed down with some french press coffee with beans from Toi Moi Cafe, many thanks to reader Phillipe-A for that tip).
The Montreal bagel is very different from its New York counterpart, as many readers pointed out, like Peter: "Montreal bagels are smaller, crunchier, sweeter (bit of honey in the dough) and with far fewer toppings (pretty much poppyseed, sesame, or plain) than NY bagels."Overall, I think I may prefer the Montreal variety, but I'll get back to you on that after we get to New York next week.
Many thanks for the votes and suggestions, up next will be the results of our poutine poll.
Fairmount Bagel Bakery
74 avenue Fairmount Ouest, Montreal
(Bagels available at several stores and shops, and they will ship outside Montreal)
263 rue Saint-Viateur Ouest, Montréal (514) 276-8044
(Other locations in Montreal, and their bagels are available in other cities in Canada and now the U.S., you can order them online at their website).