Truck spotted at:
Bus: STM 14, 15, 24, 30, 125, 410, 427, 430, 715, 747
Visit: August 24, 2012
Summer 2012 has been a very busy time for the GBS. On top of getting a lot of burgering done, I’ve been checking off a shortlist of 5 places that I had to get through before the vacation ended. That list started off at 4 places, but as time went, detailed accounts of an epic sandwich forced me to put one more item on my radar. So, for the third time this summer, I found myself at Parc Émilie-Gamelin, where the La Mangeoire would be located for the day.
In short, for my second ever visit to a food truck in this fair city, I chose the sandwich specialists at La Mangeoire. This list of special sandwich creations are enough to put a cog in the highly competitive world of all things between two pieces of bread. After seeing and hearing many reports of some of the magical things they offered, I couldn’t let this time pass without seeing what the fuss was all about for myself.
Parc Émilie-Gamelin is an easy place to find, as it’s located right on top of the Berri-UQAM metro station. For the last few months, I played host to giant chess, lunch-time concerts, food trucks, and the taping for the fourth season of Eat St. La Mangeoire were one of the four trucks features in an upcoming episode of the series, which will air sometime in Spring 2013. From what I’ve heard, some of the things featured on that episode are going to be quite exciting. Now that I need to come off that tangent, I exited the station through Place Dupuis, which took me behind the truck.
From the front, the truck is hard to miss. Its greenish color is reminiscent of another Montreal staple, but that’s where the similarities end. When you’re ready to make your order, step up (pardon the pun) to the plate and have at it. The person who is in charge of the window is actually quite personable. There are so many people at service counters who just want to know your order. Here, I was asked how I was doing, which is increasingly rare.
On this day, there was a slight modification to the menu. As announced on their Facebook page, they were offering more modestly priced and reasonably sized sandwiches starting that day. Regardless of that, 2 of the main superstars, in my opinion, were there and on the menu. That was a good start to the process. Remember, most food truck menus rotate, so keep up with their social media accounts.
While waiting, I was witness to a pretty interesting exchange between the truck and what looked like a tourist couple. The couple approached the truck and were curious, like all people who pass by. They took the step up and inquired if there were any vegetarian options available. At first, it was a not so good response as the menu doesn’t quite give you sandwiches for the careful eater. This was the moment where the person at the window asked the couple to hold on for a minute. What occurred over the next few moments was a pow-wow in the truck. Would the couple get what they want?
The truck’s representative came back and explained to the couple what could have been done to accommodate them. I couldn’t hear most of it, but it was, to me, a great show of customer care. When you’re a food truck in this city, each and every dollar counts, you’re obviously not McDonald’s (see appropriate photo below). That, in my opinion, is what puts some places way above others. Any other business could have let it go right there, but the truck actually wanted to make their potential customers happy. I’m pretty sure you see the ending coming. After the offer was made to the couple, it was a simple, “thank you, but we’ll keep looking.”
After that little quirky happening, the wait was over. To put a little more perspective into what kind of day it was, you have to know that it was getting to be a tad bit too hot. With my rather large packages in hand, I decided to find a more appropriate place to eat. I hoofed it across the street and found my way back to Place Dupuis. I realize that this isn’t Mr. Lew’s Great Shopping Center Search, but I have to give my two cents here. I’ve been here four times and it’s not one of my favorite places to be. But, I know where I’ll spend my days when I retire in 30 years. For today, it was the appropriate place to eat this double trouble team of sandwiches.
This sandwich contains kale pesto, tomatoes, and roasted chicken. For a little suspense, I’m going to leave out one very important detail that should be front and center in that list of ingredients.
Now, to be clear, this wasn’t the sandwich that I wanted to eat, that is, until I saw what was in the sandwich. I’ll get to that in a bit. For $7, what you get is something that is quite reasonably sized. It was just as big as any recent burger I’ve had. Aesthetically, it also looks pretty good. The kale adds some color to what you’re going to eat. Finally, the bread reminds me of rolls I’ve had in pretty fancy restaurants. We’re starting pretty well.
On first bite, you notice how crispy the bread really is. You might think that it would make each upcoming bite harder, but it really wasn’t. With the insides being just so easy to each, it provides you with a mix of textures.
The chicken in this sandwich has got to be some of the best I’ve had this year. The roasted chicken just reminds me of those great evenings I had in Greek restaurants in the last 12 months. The first few bites are awesome, but as with chicken, with time, it starts fading away. That’s why I was really glad that the kale was there. It keeps you focused on the sandwich, instead of drifting away.
I’m leaving the most unique factor of this particular sandwich for last. It was probably the clinching factor for why I decided to order the sandwich in the first place. Above, I just mentioned that there were tomatoes in the sandwich. You’re probably thinking that they were normal tomatoes. I honestly think your regular, average tomate would not work here. The spin on this particular tomato was that it was drenched and soaked in you’ve guessed it, bacon.
I’ll be honest, I couldn’t quite taste the bacon at first. It wasn’t until I got to taste separate pieces of tomatoes where I truly got to see what I was dealing with. At the end, I flipped the sandwich pocket upside down and a few things fell out. I was lucky that one of those pieces was a tomato. You can really taste the bacon here, trust me.
In all, this sandwich delivered from bell to bell and was the appropriate undercard for what was about to come. If you’re ever fortunate enough to try a sandwich at La Mangeoire, you got to give the nod to La Cocotte, it’s worth every bite.
What was to come next is for the more insane individuals walking the streets of Montreal, mostly me. It’s not for the faint of heart and I’ll truly understand if you don’t want to read any further. What’s about to come is a detailed account of a sandwich that is so out there, that you probably should never eat it twice. As a matter of fact, I’m thinking of forming a club for those people who survive eating it.
This sandwich contains peanut butter, Nutella hazelnut spread, and bacon.
Yes, you read that right. This sandwich contains all the ingredients to construct a massive weapon of heart destruction and I was about to place that in my stomach. In this city, it takes that something special to put yourself on the map. If you come to La Mangeoire for this sandwich alone, it’s an experience and a half. I can truly and honestly say that I’ve lived fully now after eating this sandwich.
Looking at this sandwich is like looking at the Mona Lisa of all artery clogging food items on the planet. The rich, creamy peanut butter hits you first. You can see some of the Nutella wanting to creep up and take center stage, but the peanut butter wants none of that. Lying in the weeds is the all powerful ruler of the land, the bacon. The bacon is standing by and watching both breakfast generals fight, just long enough to swoop in to take charge. That’s my imagination for you.
With enough posturing and picture taking at Place Dupuis to last a stint in bacon rehab, I finally had enough will-power to pick up the first half of the sandwich. It was the smaller half of the sandwich. You know, just take small steps. With a sandwich like this, there’s no such thing as starting in the shallow end.
Eating this sandwich brings you into a whole other world. Each of the components has their role to play. What you’ll find is that some things are way stronger than others. If they blindfolded me and didn’t tell me what torture device they were putting in this sandwich, I’d guess that the first component was peanut butter. It’s probably the strongest flavour in the entire sandwich. What’s good about it is that it’s a real good creamy version that doesn’t lock your mouth up after your done. Still, I recommend having liquids handy when eating this thing.
The second flavour you kind of get is the Nutella. To be clear, this was not an imitation spread, it was the real deal. I personally saw a rather large jar of the stuff with my very own eyes in the truck. It’s kind of a subtle flavour and if you’re not paying much attention, you might not know it was there. Despite that, it was still awesome to combine it with the peanut butter.
The wildcard in this whole deal is the bacon. I can see the first two coming together without a problem. You have to wonder what evil genius thought up this dangerous combination. Thinking of stories of how this could have come together would give fiction writers work for centuries. Imagine if it was only an accident, where some Nutella got into the peanut butter. Upon seeing that, in shock, the person holding their massive plate of bacon dropped the whole lot into the pool of breakfast spreads.
If we get back to the bacon, it played another very specific role. While it was very difficult to taste the bacon, it wasn’t very hard to feel it. The crisp bacon provided the crunch necessary to send this sandwich to epicness. In a way, it takes away the need to have a crunchy peanut butter, allowing you to use the creamier, more elegant stuff. The bacon, in this case, was the proverbial cherry on top of the cake.
With the first half of the sandwich done, I had to tackle the second half. I was already pretty much tapped out from all the awesomeness, but I had to forge ahead. Near the end of the half, the bread was starting to drag me down a bit, but not enough to be a really big obstacle.
Having finished the entire sandwiched and lived to tell about it, it’s something that I urge every baconaholic in this city to go try. You will not regret it. They’re really all breakfast materials, just the difference is that they’re all smooshed up together. It wasn’t that heavy compared to other bacon infused items I’ve had in the past. You haven’t lived until you’ve had something truly decadent. And no, I didn’t clean off the remaining peanut butter, it went nicely into the garbage.
There have been many claims on what the best food truck in the city is, but I’m not going to weigh in on that. For personal and sentimental reasons, I have my favorite. What I’ll say is that La Mangeoire is among the top names in that category. Everything they do, they do it well. From the customer service, to the normal food fare, you can’t complain. When you top it off with the most awesome sandwich creation known to humankind, what else on this planet can top that?