In the past I’ve written about the food in Panama being – well – kinda, sorta, meh. Living in the interior the food options were quite limited…Okay, they were VERY limited. During the year we spent in Pedasi we had a few good restaurants that served some decent meals. Nearby Las Tablas had some go-to fondas, and Rosti-pollo #2 in Chitre was always a hit. But when we got to the city we were pretty excited about the food options we’d have.
Then it happened…
But first, a word from this week’s sponsor:
Solomon’s Montreal Deli
So what happened, you ask? Well, a Facebook post of a sandwich came into my feed. The irony of feed being in my feed was not lost upon me either.
A little back-story; I grew up with French Canadians. And I don’t mean that “I was raised by a wild pack of them”. My entire family is from the province of Quebec, specifically the greater Montreal area. With that, I have a special area in my heart reserved for:
- Poutine (and I know how to pronounce it properly)
- Montreal Smoked Meat
- Celine Dion (ok, not really – my heart would go on without her…Ba-dum-tsss!)
And then a miracle was delivered by the food gods in the holiday month of December, right here in Panama City, Panama. And no, Celine Dion didn’t come for a visit. Instead, a new deli opened. Not just any deli. A deli serving Montreal Smoked Meat and poutine – Solomon’s Montreal Deli.
If you’ve never had Montreal Smoked Meat, well, I feel tremendously sorry for your flavour deprived taste buds. And if you are wondering what poutine is, well, in a nutshell; it’s fries, cheese curds and gravy, and the gravy melts the cheese curds into wonderful cheese-stringy happiness.
Pfft, so! That’s easy to do, right? WRONG!
You see, you can’t just cook fries and toss gravy onto them. McDonald’s in Canada is trying to do just that, and failing – although Harvey’s does an okay job for fast-food poutine. But you don’t just wake up and make poutine one day. Solomon’s Montreal Deli cooks their fries so perfectly crispy that the gravy doesn’t soak right into them, so you get a mix of crispy fry, warm stringy cheese curd, and ever so tasty gravy! I can’t tell you their secret though, it’s kind of like a Caramilk bar thing.
My wife, Cheli, doesn’t usually eat poutine, I think because she’s Ukrainian and they tend to prefer pierogis as their potato fixing of choice. But even Cheli was devouring the poutine, which kind of sucked for me, because I ordered it thinking she wouldn’t want any but she ended up having at least half!
Okay, but back to the Montreal Smoked Meat sandwiches. Solomon’s Montreal Deli imports their meat from one of the best suppliers in Canada. The same supplier that supplies some famous Montreal and Toronto deli’s with their meat supply. And the staff have been trained to 1) slice it properly and 2) serve properly. They asked how the food was. They asked if I needed anything else. They smiled. Let me repeat that last one…THEY SMILED!!!
Solomon’s Montreal Deli in Paitilla (near Multi-Centro) is a must-do for locals and expats alike, Canadian or otherwise. And for those fellow Canucks missing things like Maple Cookies, Maple Syrup, Maple Fudge (hmm, I guess we do like maple things), you can get your fix from their small marketplace that sells not only maple products, but other items you can’t easily find in Panama – like the bags of chips we bought from the market – Salt and Vinegar flavour, which is near impossible to find in Panama!
I really can’t say enough about this place. The owners of Solomon’s Montreal Deli are from the Toronto area (like us), and we had a nice chat about their move; moreover, some of the things they miss. Well, they no longer miss Montreal Smoked Meat sandwiches and poutine, and neither do we!
But if you’re missing your favorite deli from back home, or you’re just missing pastrami or smoked meat sandwiches in general (kosher too), then Solomon’s Montreal Deli in Panama won’t disappoint.
Say ‘hi’ to Smokey!
Thanks Solomon’s Montreal Deli for raising the food bar in Panama!
You can check out the menu and get directions on the Solomon’s Montreal Deli website. And if you’re a fan of smoked meat, be sure to like their Facebook page for updates and events, and follow them on Instagram for some mouth-watering photos of meat and other tasty food they have available.