Sotsil

Adonis, Can’t Live Without You! August 1, 2009

Dear Adonis,

First it was April, and then June.  July arrived and still you weren’t around.  I came by and asked one of the guys standing outside your property when you’d finally come.  He said, "July 15 for sure.  There’s been some delay."  I was satisfied.

July 15 comes – no Adonis.  What’s the matter?  Have you changed your mind?  I came back a week later.  Another guy was sitting outside;  I noticed a flurry of movement past the entrance.  I called out to him. 

Me:  Quand, monsieur?

Him:  Quand quoi?

Me:  La date définitive?

Him:  Ah, le 29 juillet.

Me:  Vous êtes certain?

Him:  Absolument!

He laughed and he waved us off, thinking perhaps some women are hard to satisfy.  This time I was skeptical.  Maybe Adonis decided to wait until the Fall.

The community paper was dropped off at our door and my brother picked it up.  He was leafing through the pages when he noticed something.  Hey, he said, Adonis is finally coming on the 29th.  The  guy who laughed at me was telling the truth after all.  On the 28th, I set my alarm clock for 6 am.  I wanted to be among the first greeters when the man would make his grand entrance at 9:00 am.  There were even rumors that he would be handing out $25.00 gift certificates to his first 100 visitors.

Now you’re guessing it right.  I wasn’t referring to Adonis, the handsome Greek god of the old days or a 21st century male with exceptionally stunning looks.  I was simply referring to the Arab supermarket in Montreal.  A supermarket that attracts 99.99% of Montrealers – that’s the reason parking is always atrocious – and it’s impossible during long weekends and holidays.  But the crowd and the line-ups are worth it.  The moment you walk in, you sniff quality.  Top quality.

BRAVO to Adonis for opening another branch right in my neighborhood.  I used to drive 17 minutes to their Sauvé Street branch, but today, there’ll be one right in my neck of the woods. 

Not Just Shish Taouk and Magnificent Nuts

I love Adonis for its Shisk Taouk chicken and their magnificent array of nuts.  Pistachios, Sudanaises, Krikris, Cashews – they look like they were harvested and picked under a glorious hot sun and given a good shot of healthy vitamins.  They’re huge, they’re delicious.  They’re crisp, they crackle and tease your taste buds – you can’t have enough of them.

Mind you, it’s not just the shish taouk and the nuts that make my hormones rage.  Montreal shoppers will rave about their cheese counter – over 120 varieties – including Lebanese white cheeses like halloum, akawi, baladi and their house specialty – labneh.

Fresh produce – yes, indeed, Adonis knows what "fresh" really means – succulent greens, yellows and oranges.  Run your fingers through their fruits and you’ll be hooked.  The question that comes to mind is, "just where do they get these fruits, they look like they’ve been plucked out of mother earth at the right time?"

The bread and pastry counter – you’ll salivate.  Guaranteed.  You see everyone clinging possessively to their ticket numbers waiting to be served making it seem like the counter will be running empty soon.   Don’t drool too long by the glass shelves, you’ll have to decide quickly between 34 varieties of baked goods and over 65 kinds of breads.

How about a sampling of their boulangerie?

BAKED GOODS

BREAD

Armenian cheese roll Rosemary crustini buns
Bastourma roll Egg twist bread
Sambousik (ground beef meat pie) Crispy wheat rusks
Kishek pizza 9-Grain sandwich bread
Thyme croissants Markouk bread
Chocolate croissants Stone ground whole wheat bread
Hot dog and cheese pie French bread/Belgian bread
Half thyme/half cheese pizzas Korban bread
Lahmajouns Farmer bread

And much, much more!

Let’s not overlook the fish section – if you feel like live blue crabs and fresh oysters, Adonis will be waiting for you!

As part of their customer service, the web site of Adonis has a recipe section.  This week’s feature – Baba Ghanoush – that famous eggplant dip!

Bit of History

Adonis Montreal goes back to 1979 when two brothers – Elie and Jamel Cheaib – and a friend arrived in Montreal from Cedar’s Country Lebanon.  Their first store was in Faillon Street – barely 1,000 square feet of space.  Five years later and with the thriving Middle Eastern communities in Montreal, the brothers had to move Adonis to larger premises in 1984.  Seven years later, Adonis again had to branch out, this time to the west island – a flourishing suburban enclave.  They opened a branch in Dollard-des-Ormeaux.  Another branch was opened in Laval in 1998.

The Adonis name is now a buzz word in Montreal.  Everyone – even people who hate grocery shopping – loves it.

Although new, the Place Vertu branch in Ville St. Laurent is already a beehive of activity – and I won’t be surprised if at 10:00 in the morning on an ordinary work day, I’ll have to drive around patiently for parking.

You can’t keep Adonis a secret.  All it takes is for one person to walk along Thimens Boulevard with the familiar white bag with blue markings and before you can blink an eye…eager shoppers will be descending on the store in massive droves.

This is their web site:  http://www.adonisproducts.com/pages/historique_en.asp.  Really though, you’re better off if you boogey over to the new branch; that is, if you live nearby.

Want to have a sneak preview?  Here you go:

 

 

Short Cut Shish Taouk Chicken May 21, 2009

Filed under: Meals — sotsil @ 7:08 pm
Tags: , ,

A week ago, I had to rush to the supermarket to buy some whipped cream for a panna cotta dessert to serve for brunch.  On my way to the dairy aisle, I was stopped by a food demonstrator. “Ma’am, would you like to try some shish taouk?”  He handed me a generous slice that matched his generous smile.

My taste buds woke up with a jolt.  “Do you have a recipe?” I asked.  He pointed to the shelf behind him where packaged trays of marinated chicken were lined up.  “Here they are,”  he said.

“You mean, that’s it – just put them on the grill?”  He grinned sheepishly.  “I actually put dollops of this.”  He showed me a Classico sauce bottle called Alfredo and Roasted Garlic.  “Anyway, it’s my own version,” he said with a hint of embarrassment.

I loved it.

Supermarkets in large cities like Montreal now sell chicken parts (mostly breasts, thighs and legs) marinated in shish taouk sauce which people throw into their barbecue grill.

Shish taouk is actually Turkish in origin, according to Wikipedia, which means “skewers”, but is also popular in Syria, Lebanon and Israel.  I have a weakness for Middle Eastern food, which is why I like to shop often in  stores that sell Arabic cuisine.  They seem to have the best nuts as well.

We’re lucky to have Adonis in Montreal.  Adonis is a large supermarket chain that specializes in Middle Eastern cuisine.  They have the best shish taouk chicken I’ve ever tasted.  They sell them fresh or already grilled.  They throw in two large-size pitas and two extra cups of garlic sauce when you buy them already grilled.  They’re opening a branch nearer my place so I’m looking forward to opening day.  In the branch I used to shop,  parking was atrocious (Montrealers come in droves, at all times of the day). They have specialty ice cream, the freshest fruits and vegetables imaginable, and a nut counter that you can’t resist.  Their cold cuts and pastry counters carry an impressive array of goodies that you won’t find anywhere else.  If you should ever visit Montreal, make it a point to drop by Adonis; that is, if you’re a full-fledged foodie.

If you like Shish taouk like I do, here’s a quick way to make it:

Ingredients:

  • 1 packaged tray of Shish Taouk chicken (if your supermarket does not sell them, you can buy your favorite chicken part and marinate them overnight with garlic paste)
  • 1 bottle Classico sauce, Alfredo and Roasted Garlic (your local supermarket will have its own product line of sauces, I don’t know if they carry Classico, but I’m 99.99% sure they’ll have a brand that has a similar Alfredo and Roasted Garlic flavor)
  • 1/2 cup green onions, diced
  • 1/2 cup red bell pepper, diced

Procedure:

  • Pre-heat your grill for five minutes, after spraying.
  • Put your chicken and grill for 5 minutes on each side.  If your parts are thick, you may want to increase grilling time by another 5 minutes.  The idea is to cook the chicken so it is no longer pink, but don’t overcook it.
  • Pre-heat your oven 350 degrees.  When the chicken parts are grilled, put them in a rectangular dish and pour the sauce generously over them.  Cover with foil and bake for 15 minutes.   shisk taouk

(The words below the picture say “short cut shish taouk before going into the oven.”  I had started to pour the sauce but realized I did not take a picture, so you’ll notice that the sauce is covering only a few pieces of chicken.  You’ll need to pour the sauce over all the chicken)

  • When you take out your chicken from the oven, sprinkle your diced green onions and red peppers on top.  Serve over a plate of wild or white rice.  A green salad like “tabouleh” would complement this dish beautifully.

shisk taouk 2

Again, the words below simply say, “short cut shish taouk before serving.” 

Tip:  if your chicken breasts are too thick, you may want to slice them into two just to make sure that they get cooked well.  Also, I noticed that the sauce tends to be on the thick side.  You could add a tablespoon or two of skimmed milk to make it less thick.  You can throw in your own garnish like sesame seeds or parsley.

This one’s definitely a keeper.  When friends say they’re dropping by, this dish is something you can prepare in about 45 minutes.  Plus you can’t beat four ingredients!

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