Friday, June 8, 2007
Vegging in Montreal
After spending a full day en route, we stumbled zombie-like out of our hotel, ignoring the concierge's unimaginative suggestions of going to a Japanese or to an Italian restaurant. We walked down to a major commercial street, Rue St. Catherine, where I gasped and pointed to our Mecca: Commensal vegetarian buffet. I'd seen this place on previous trips to Montreal but had never eaten there before. This time was going to be different.
We ended up going to Commensal twice and gorging ourselves each time. It was the best buffet I've ever eaten at. Everything was fresh, flavorful, and interesting. The vegan choices were clearly marked. Some favorites were the seitan bourgignon, fresh sprouts of many unusual varieties, and the lemony quinoa salad. They also had an entire separate dessert buffet! I won't forget the maple syrup pie anytime soon.
The picture at the top shows our feast at Aux Vivres vegan restaurant. The first time we went it was closed, but we made it a priority to return. I had a salad with tofu and cornbread; HS had a grilled vegetable and "tofu whip" sandwich on homemade naan, and we both had smoothies. The decor is nice and so was the wait staff.
Also of note are ChuChai vegetarian Thai restaurant (though I'm a little pissed off at them because they made us repeat customers order food before being allowed to use the rest room) and St. Viateur bagelry. Some Montrealers claim their bagels surpass New York's, but I was not sold. They are tasty and different though: much smaller and denser than NY bagels. They had lots of whole grain varieties, including flaxseed. Flaxseed (lin) seems to be big in Montreal: many flaxseed bread products were available.
We didn't try poutine (I know it's not vegan; at least, it shouldn't be), but we got the T-shirt: