I was going to post Toronto’s Photolog until I realized that I’m still in Toronto! I don’t leave until next week and will probably have more to report… So, I’ll hold off on this one for a little while and instead share our recent journey north into French-speaking Canada.
We broke away from the homebase where we had been staying for the month to venture up to Montreal as the start of a week of celebrating my 30th birthday. Consequently, we splurged a little and actually stayed at a nice hotel and ate at some awesome vegan restaurants.
There are tons of photos here, so scroll down if you want to cut straight to the food! I’ve included my favorite vegan spots and some of the food I made in the hotel room.
Check out the other entries in My Healthy North American Road Trip here.
We had a great time in Montreal. Since it was my birthday weekend and I happen to love eating, we ate out (at vegan cafes) much more than normal. We balanced this with tons of walking all over town and some healthy homemade hotel meals.
My favorite part of Montreal – Mount Royal Park
It towers several hundred feet up above the city which means lots of stairs or hills to climb! We spent time in this park every day since it is right in the middle of downtown Montreal. What a wonderful restorative resource to have in the middle of such an urban city!
There were about a dozen different slacklines strung between trees in the park at the base of Mont Royal. If you aren’t familiar with slacklining, it’s basically like tight-rope walking except usually only a couple of feet off the ground… Really challenging to the balance.
Even cooler, there were also people doing acroyoga, basically another form of acrobatics done with a partner – I’m not even going to attempt to describe that one. Just check out the link.
If I lived here, I would totally hang out at this spot! Why didn’t I just walk over and join in? Because I’m a little veggie chicken.
The main road through the park circled its way up the hill. We left the beaten path and traveled along the dirt paths that crisscross the park. We dove into the forest and did some “hiking” as we made our ascent to the top.
The view from the top of Mount Royal is amazing. The quickest way to reach the top is not the easiest. It’s the stairs. If I lived here, this would be my daily exercise!
Exploring the City
There are beautiful cathedrals all over Montreal. This one comes with a colorful piano for the public to play.
Found some kale growing in the historic Governor’s Garden in Old Town. Would you believe me if I told you we each ate a few leaves? We did it discreetly at least.
A Bicycle-Friendly City
We walked and walked and walked. But we could have easily ridden our bikes. This city is one of the most bike-focused in Canada, and we saw tons of cyclists – in the park, commuting, locking up their bikes before heading into cafes… We even ran into a huge race our first day just outside Mount Royal.
I couldn’t leave Montreal without visiting at least one of the main markets.
Ground cherries (cerises de terre) have the same papery outer husk as tomatillos but are smaller, yellowish, and sweet with a slightly toffee-like flavor.
And now the moment you’ve been waiting for…
Vegan Restaurants in Montreal
Guess what. Montreal’s got great vegan food! Who knew? We ate well while we were there, and not just because of the awesome produce markets. One key thing to remember is that vegetalien means vegan in french – as opposed to simply vegetarian.
This was my favorite place – the one place we returned to. I’m gonna do a feature post just on this one so look for that later.
We just sorta happened upon this next one by chance, and what a score! Three vegan cafes in one place.
This little spot downtown has three little vegan cafes all together. You’ve got Crudescence, Cafe Verdure, and La Panthere Vert. So definitely a good place to put on your map if you are visiting. Just look up one of the latter to get directions since Crudescence has a few locations.
We went to Crudescence, Montreal’s raw restaurant, for dessert on my birthday. I was still pretty full from eating at Aux Vivres for lunch. So what did I order? A little of everything! I got the Exploration plate. And instead of wine, bubbly kombucha!
We didn’t eat at Cafe Verdure, but it looked pretty good. Well, okay Jay did snag some vegan banana bread for later.
La Panthere Vert
Doesn’t get much cuter than a green version of the Pink Panther… and
French Quebecois, no less!
It’s right near McGill University, so there was a little line up at lunch time. I chose the lentil soup along with the salad which is a mix of everything in their cabinet – sweet potato, quinoa salad, bean salad, and green salad. I imagine it might change…
Home (Un)Cooked Meals
If we had eaten out every meal, we would have blown through our budget and I would not have been feeling so fit. So most of our meals were made in the hotel room.
We brought a box of apples and bananas with us and those became our primary raw calorie source for the week. For perishable veggies like salad greens, we had our electric cooler which we plugged into the wall of our hotel room. Didn’t even have to pay extra to get a fridge in our room.
Every morning, I made my raw Apple Pie Bowl… and sipped some tea.
Most other hotel-made meals were just big salads. Very simple. Raw food is so much easier to prepare in a hotel room than getting all MacGyver and cooking with the iron and coffee maker. It also just made me feel cleaner and offset the heaviness of any meals eaten out.
For a hearty full meal, I added denser foods like leftover lentils or acorn squash.
When I had big meals all day and just felt like eating lighter, I kept it raw with just veggies and kraut.
So, I could probably go on, but I may have lost you by now! Don’t worry, that’s how I felt by the end of four days. Too much birthday! But, the show must go on, so we moved along next up to Quebec City, further into the heart of the province. Stay tuned!
Now your turn. What’s your favorite urban park? Leave it in the comments.
This is another What I Ate Wednesday.