Sister Angèle and the “French tacos”

Inside Montreal, journalist Louis-Philippe Messier travels mainly on the run, his office in his backpack, on the lookout for fascinating subjects and people. He speaks to everyone and is interested in all walks of life in this urban chronicle.

Haven’t heard of “French tacos” yet? It’s just a matter of time.

Filled with fries and cheese sauce, these sandwiches invented fifteen years ago in the suburbs of Lyon are sweeping the planet.

In Quebec, at least two restaurant chains (Mont Tacos and French Takos) are already dedicated to this dish.

Fries in a sandwich? It may surprise.

To judge this newcomer to the menu, I asked the opinion of the doyenne of our kitchen: Sister Angèle.

At the word tacos, the 83-year-old nun of course thought of Mexican cuisine. I had to disabuse her.

French tacos are mostly fries and cheese sauce.

Photo Chantal Poirier

French tacos are mostly fries and cheese sauce.

Because the “French tacos” have a misleading name. This is NOT a taco. But rather a burrito, a tortilla that packs a garnish of various meats, cold cuts, vegetables, in addition to the famous fries and cheese sauce, then grilled.

” Oh my God ! exclaimed Sister Angèle upon hearing the description of this hybrid between kebab, burrito and panini.

“I have never eaten a sandwich that contains fries! It piques my curiosity! »

At Snatch Tacos

Sister Angèle therefore accompanied me to Snatch Tacos, on Saint-Laurent Boulevard, in the heart of Petite-France.

The amazing name of this restaurant refers to the movie Snap (tu braques ou tu raques in French) by Guy Ritchie to which the owner devotes a cult.

Driving with Sister Angèle as a passenger, I’m as careful as a priest in his big cream Buick.

“It’s okay if French tacos aren’t tacos!” she said smiling. There is indeed the shepherd’s pie which is neither Chinese nor pie, it’s just a matter of habit! »

Sister Angèle joins the owner, Nora Abbar, in her kitchen.

Another reality of the tacos of our cousins: the French who speak about it always say tacosss, by stretching the final s.

“It’s really the fries and the cheesy sauce that define the tacosss, the rest – the vegetables, the meats, the spices – can vary almost endlessly,” says Abbar.

Arrived two years ago, she immediately opened her restaurant, in the midst of a pandemic.

“It’s convenient to deliver, so the closing of theaters hasn’t affected us. »

Outrageous fries

Mme Abbar put pastrami in his guest’s tacosss, a nod to his Italian origins.

While Sister Angèle's tacos were pastrami and minced meat, mine was marinated chicken and merguez sausages… yum!

Photo Louis-Philippe Messier

While Sister Angèle’s tacos were pastrami and minced meat, mine was marinated chicken and merguez sausages… yum!

“It’s nutritious and comforting in addition to being a complete meal that fits in your hand,” comments Sister Angèle. I wouldn’t have thought of putting fries in a sandwich, but it works! »

“Some customers refuse the fries integrated into the sandwich”, laments Mme Abbar.

Immigrated to Quebec 65 years before Mme Abbar, Sister Angèle remembers another culinary scandal involving French fries: the appearance of poutine.

“It shocked people a lot, poutine, and now people talk to me about it in China or Egypt! »

“There may be people who snub French tacos, but this dish has the potential to take over the world! »

If Sister Angèle says so… Amen!

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