Sometimes, all you need to cure a bad day is good food and good company. So when Diva #1 was having an overwhelming day, she called up Diva #2 for a distraction and plans were made to do what we do best – eat! A friend in need is sufficient reason enough in our books to drop everything, the promise of food, is merely a bonus.
We decided to check out Dinette Triple Crown in Little Italy. It has been on our list for a while and it seemed like the perfect place for a lazy Sunday afternoon. Located on Clark at the corner of Saint Zotique, the non-descript eatery is easy to miss without any signage, though the line may give it away.
The inside is pure vintage. From the old photographs and pickled vegetables lining the shelves to the antique radio and blenders, the small inside screams old-school charm. And we loved it right away! The menu is above the counter and boasts a big selection which meant we wanted everything. We placed our order and waited for our number to be called. You can eat at their lunch counter facing the kitchen, or another option is to picnic at the park across the street. We chose the outdoors so they handed us a wicker picnic basket, complete with a red checkered table cloth and we headed to the park.
Dinette Triple Crown has picnics down to a science. We unpacked our basket: red and white checkered tablecloth, dishes, cutlery, napkins, variety of BBQ sauces and mason jars with water and our drinks. You need it, they packed it.
And we now know why Southern people are always so damn happy! It’s the food. Even the Divas would go to church regularly for the southern barbecue afterwards. Although we fear entering a church and immediately catching fire for all of our sins… so we tend to avoid the inside of religious edifices.
First of all we should note that we bought too much food, but the mix of Diva #1’s bad day and our usual large appetites made us a bit wonky. We started with the pulled pork sandwich which we were told was on of their more popular items. And with reason! The pork was tender and juicy and the coleslaw didn’t interfere with the taste, it simply enhanced it. The bread was not mushy which is definitely key. The basket also came equipped with all their sauces: Memphis classic, Southern Carolina mustard, and East Carolina vinegar. All added a different dimension and a level of heat which we enjoyed with every bite.
We couldn’t resist ordering the Big Nasty. How could we not order fried chicken and melted cheddar on a biscuit with gravy? The chicken was moist, the outside perfectly crispy and not at all greasy. The gravy was heavenly and could have made a flip flop taste good. The biscuit was flaky and crumbly and held up well to the saucy gravy. Our only complaint is we didn’t see or taste the cheddar. Diva #1 is very picky about her gravy but this was real gravy! You can even order pieces of fried chicken at Dinette Triple Crown, but the Big Nasty was the perfect Southern treat. One of our sides was the coleslaw, which you can order as vinegar or creamy. We chose creamy. And this is the way creamy coleslaw should be. It was not weighed down by pounds of mayo, it was light and the cabbage was still crisp.
Another one of our favourites is the brisket sandwich! Juicy tender brisket with coleslaw is held together by a bun. The Big Nasty and the beef brisket sandwich are so enjoyable that when we go to Dinette Triple Crown we now like to order both and share them. It’s the perfect meaty southern combination!
Mac and cheese is a Diva favourite so we had to order it. The blend of cheeses used gives it a deep cheese flavour that is hard to resist. The breadcrumb topping was savory and salty, and the pasta was cooked perfectly al dente. It was not the best mac and cheese in the city but it was a great side for a southern picnic.
We washed this all down with a carbonated lemonade and a perfectly balanced ice tea. They have many options to keep you hydrated, including beer, cider, cocktails and a long list of bourbons. Though you can’t take booze to the park, we tried to add some bourbon to our lemonade but the alcoholic options are only for when you eat inside. But there is a corner store across from the park, if you’re so inclined 😉
There are plenty of sides to choose from including cornbread, black eyes peas, etc. One of our sides was the sweet potato side which came with a dipping sauce that reminded us of warm apple cinnamon pie, the perfect pairing with these delicious (and healthy) nuggets. But the best side was the hush puppies filled with corn in a deep fried batter. Deep fried bites of deliciousness, they had green onion in the batter and the dipping sauce was a cool, thinner take on a tartar-ranch sauce. Definitely a side dish you must order.
We were completely full and decided it was perfectly acceptable to lie on our park bench, unbutton our pants and rest a while. We gossiped about our most recent mischief and laughed till our stomachs hurt. Dinette Triple Crown has their own desserts of the day but since we were walking distance from a popular Little Italy bakery, well we decided to add a new dimension to our picnic. After a good rest, we got up and returned our basket and headed for a coffee and dessert at La Cornetteria. We were eager to finally try their version of the cronut, the popular and often sold out cronetto.
When we arrived at the bakery, a small line had formed. We slowly made our way to the front of the line and panic set in as we saw the tray with the little sign indicating “4.00$ cronetto” BUT with only one solitary cronetto left… and we were not the first in line.
Thankfully, the girl behind the counter, after seeing the panicked look in our eyes, announced that there were more in the back and the Divas collectively let out a sigh of relief. Diva #1 was ready to beat up the old lady in front of her if she dared order that last cronetto. And Diva #2 had her bail money at the ready. We ordered the original custard flavour and the tiramisu, which was their surprise flavour of the day.
Settled at a table with our cappuccinos, we were ready to taste these treats we’ve heard so much about. The cronetto is very light, each layer crunchy and sweet, it is a cross between a croissant and doughnut. The custard inside is plentiful and delicious and the pastry itself is just heavenly. We preferred the original custard over the tiramisu but you can be sure the Divas will be making a few more stops in Little Italy to enjoy these cronut spin-offs.
On another visit, when the cronettos were sold out, we also had La Cornetteria’s zeppoles, which are traditional Italian deep fried pastries made for the feast of St. Joseph. Cut in half, the pastry again is very light and holds the thick custard perfectly. Messy to eat but definitely worth a visit to the bakery. And if the cronettos are sold out, La Cornetteria’s zeppoles are almost equally delicious.
It was the perfect summer day: a picnic in the park organized and prepared for us, great food and company, and dessert at one of Montreal’s finest bakeries. The Divas will definitely be returning for another Dinette Triple Crown picnic with their friends. The fried chicken is calling our names!
Our Rating: Always on Thursdays
Tagged: American, bakery, Barbecue, BBQ, Beef Brisket, Big Nasty, Biscuits, Bourbon, Brisket, Clark, Cocktails, Coleslaw, Collard Greens, Cornbread, Cronetto, Cronut, Dinette Triple Crown, Dinette Triple Crown Clark, Dinette Triple Crown Montreal, East Carolina Vinegar, Fried Chicken, Hush Puppies, Ice Tea, Italian, La Cornetteria, La Cornetteria Cornettos, La Cornetteria Cronuts, La Cornetteria Little Italy, La Cornetteria Montreal, Lemonade, Little Italy, Mac and Cheese, Memphis Classic, Montreal, Montreal Lunch, Montreal Restaurant, Picnic, Preserves, Pulled Pork Sandwich, Saint Édouard, Sandwiches, Slaw, Smoked Brisket, Southern, St-Laurent, Sweet Potatoes, Take Out, Zeppole