vegan eats: reconnaissance in Montreal

When I decided that I would be going to Montreal for a vacation this summer, one of the first things I did was map out all the vegan and veg-friendly restaurants in the vicinity of my rented apartment.  I love good food, and was pleasantly surprised to find many hits to my google query.  I had less than one week to delight my taste buds to the culinary tastes of Montreal and “research” new smoothie recipes.  Surprisingly, I didn’t make it to all of them, but that was likely because of the extreme, muggy heat that curbed my appetite and my discovery of a few favourite places that I couldn’t help but return to more than once.

The first gem I found was all-vegan Crudessence  on Rue Rachel near Mount Royal.  On my way to the tam tam drumming on Sunday (that is a whole experience to write about on its own), I stopped in and had a delicious wrap with chipotle quinoa, avocado, carrot, sprouts, red pepper and onion, wrapped in nori and rice paper, with a to-die-for green sauce. I have no idea what the green sauce was, but oh-my, I could eat it with on it’s own by the spoonful.  In my subsequent visits there, I tried three smoothies (two of the superfood varieties, one of the purely decadent raspberry, mango, lemon and cashew yogurt variety), another wrap, a raw brownie, and their pre-packaged sprouted nut mixture.  Mmmm mmmm good! Check out their website for recipes: http://www.crudessence.com/en/recettes/recipe-book

The second gem that I couldn’t get enough of was Lola Rosa. Lucky for me, it was just around the corner from my apartment in the McGill ghetto on Milton, which made its yummy food easily accessible to my stomach.  This is a vegetarian restaurant, but they have ample vegan options (including desserts!). Restaurants with vegan dinners are impressive, but I know they’re awesome when they have vegan desserts – and this place has two!  My first dinner there I had the chickpea curry (so flavourful, and I love  that they put raisins in it).  I’m me, so I obviously couldn’t pass up dessert, so I had the apple crisp with homemade lemon sorbet.  I’m a sucker for crisps – aside from anything with chocolate, it’s one of my favourite after dinner treats. However, a necessary accessory to my crisp is non-dairy ice cream. Crisp without ice cream is like yin without yang.  So, you can imagine my smile when I was offered fresh made sorbet. Perfect. From what I hear, Lola Rosa doesn’t have sorbet all the time but I highly recommend asking for it – this one had a creamy texture but was still light and refreshing and definitely complimented the crisp to my satisfaction. In subsequent visits I had a vegan burrito (yam and black bean – a favourite combo of mine), and the homemade lemonade.  PS – I hear the non-vegan brownie is to die for, so if you make exceptions (as I sometimes do), you won’t be disappointed.  PPS – they’re opening more locations and expanding their menu, so I’ll have to come back and check this place out again.

Honourable mentions:
Aux Vivres – I had one dinner here, and the food was yummy! They are creative with sauces, and have lots of juice options, which is a home run with me.

Le Panthere Verte – rumoured by some to have the best falafel in town. I had the classic falafel wrap and it was good!

Commensal – Let me just say that I love there are multiple locations of an all-vegetarian buffet. This makes me life easier that I can go get an easy and quick breakfast/lunch/dinner and actually have options to choose from. Here’s to veg lifestyle getting more mainstream!

Now, on to Toronto for more inspiration.

Ciao!

xx Kristin

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