#MontrealChickenDisaster

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Photo credit to Montreal Nitelife Blog

Damn, I’d been having a hankering…

Romado’s caught fire tonight around 7pm and I got to witness one of those great moments where the Twittersphere lights up with grainy cellphone photos and people’s first reactions as they are instantly recorded for posterity. It’s neat to participate in, even if you’re rather removed from the scene, as is my case presently.

The good news is no injuries and relatively minor damage. Hopefully they have insurance and get back up and running ASAP. It’s a veritable contemporary local dining institution and it’s reputation is well-earned, and incidentally I’m as much a fan of the porc sandwiches as the mouth watering chicken.

I’ve always been impressed with the obvious weight and precisely sharpened edge of their cleavers and knives, as no more than two strikes are required to draw and quarter a bird.

Some argue that it’s not as good as it once was but I’d say that’s only as a consequence of many other fine restaurants trying their best to compete. Competition brings in new variations, seeking to satisfy many diverse palates, and makes a good thing more popular and ultimately better. And yes, the members of our Portuguese community may say that their families have an even better recipe.

But I digress. I find it fascinating to watch people react in situations such as these. I mean, it’s not a disaster by any means, if anything it’s a lucky break no one was hurt and they may very well quickly rebuild.

But that people all over the city are now collectively grumbling about how long it has been, and when the last time would have been. An odd moment of collective reminiscence, of our collective good taste and love of delicious food.

That was made rather clear as people tweeted their no.2 options in terms of where to get quality Portuguese-styled rotisserie chicken in Montréal.

We have many more options than you might think; this is a testament to Romado’s success in popularizing their menu as a high-quality fast-food alternative to traditional casse-croute offerings. And given our considerable Portuguese population, well, naturally opportunity abounded.

I wonder if the recipe is in fact truly imported from Portugal or if it is more directly linked to the Azores, from which a number of our Portuguese community hail. Or perhaps it is an adaptation of Portuguese methods and spices to something more typically associated with French Canadian cuisine.

I should find out, I’m also ravenous at the moment.

In any event. Glad no one was injured and hopeful I’ll have a chance to enjoy their delicious chicken once more.

I remember once thinking it would be nice to bring my children there (if I’m so fortunate to one day have a family of my own), and introduce it to them as my parents and extended family introduced my brother and I to the staples of local cuisine.

They always made it seem rather exciting.

Eating at Momesso’s, or Chalet BBQ or going to the Main were big deals for me when I was a kid because it felt like some higher level of street smarts was being revealed to me. It was this idea that tucked away here and there in the vast and modern city were these mom & pop hold-outs, that might not look like much from the outside when compared with the slick suburban family eateries of which I was more accustomed, but where nonetheless of vastly superior quality. And they were right. And I felt like I had been brought into a club. It’s silly inn retrospect but fun for a kid.

And it also imparted a preference for that which was not advertised, slick and processed.

There are many times I’ve gone well out of my way to eat at Romado’s (and more specifically, so that I may eat it in the bucolic splendour of Mount Royal Park on a beautiful summer’s day), and this is a testament not only to their restaurant but every other restaurant like it.

It’s unlikely any of them are part of a chain. Says something to me, like we might want to consider laws that put a leash on corporate restaurants and make it a little easier for the small entrepreneur to get established.

Food for thought…

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