I am back from a very lovely and relaxing long weekend in Montreal, a city that any Francophile, including this one, would love. It was my husband's first time there, and I had only been once before for a work trip, a visit all too brief that had left me yearning to return and see more. With the metro, bikes everywhere, cafe culture, and of course the French language, it felt like we had escaped to Europe. It was almost a bonus that we got to discover some incredible vegan restaurants while we were there.
Montreal seems to be quite a veg-friendly city, although the majority of veg places seem to be concentrated around and along rue Saint-Denis, a bustling street with lots of shops, places to eat, clubs, bars, and theaters. Saint-Denis stretches into a neighborhood called the Plateau Mont-Royal, which reminded me of the Oberkampf/Bastille area in Paris, and perhaps the Williamsburg area in Brooklyn, which is to say that it is a working class neighborhood that has been inhabited by many students and artists, with a bohemian vibe and lots of trendy but casual places to go out.
There were two all-vegan restaurants in Montreal that we loved so much, we went back twice. One of them was Aux Vivres (for the other restaurant, stay tuned for Part Deux), a casual vegan restaurant and juice bar. We were amazed at the quality of food there.
They had only a few options for the weekend brunch, but what they had was really, really good. We got a tofu scramble with tempeh bacon, sweet potatoes, and cornbread. I thought you had to be Southern to know how to make good cornbread, but damn if those Canadians didn't prove me wrong.
We also shared this dish of fried polenta with refried black beans, served with guacamole and salsa. It might not look like anything out of the ordinary, but it was very nicely spiced and so good!
On our next visit we started out with some veggie pâté. I'm not sure what they made this out of, but it was rich, smooth, and seemed to have plenty of herbs like sage, thyme, and possibly rosemary. In fact, it actually tasted a lot like Thanksgiving stuffing, which for me is a compliment of the highest order, as I love Thanksgiving food more than just about anything. In fact, I could just change this blog to Vegan Thanksgiving Things, and happily write about Thanksgiving food year round. But I digress. The veggie pâté here was incredibly delicious, even if it was served with dill pickle slices instead of cornichons, which I'll let slide, but just this once.
We also got the vegan waffles, because hooray, they're vegan waffles! These were topped with some cashew cream, fruit, and maple syrup. They went kind of heavy on the vanilla in the batter, but that's ok with me. Definitely one of the best waffles I've ever had.
But this, this is what I've been dying to share with you. Behold - the MOST AWESOME, MIND-BLOWING, INCREDIBLY DELICIOUS, I'M STILL DREAMING ABOUT IT BLT IN THE WORLD!
Lightlife Fakin' Bacon kind of gal, but now I'm team smoked coconut all the way. In your face, smoked tempeh!
I desperately tried to get a recipe out of server for the coconut bacon, but all she would divulge was that they took unsweetened coconut flakes, added tamari and "maybe some maple syrup" among other spices, and baked it for a really long time at very low heat. I will make it my mission to recreate this smoked coconut. I will! I will figure out how to make this myself! This was truly the holy grail of vegan BLT's. We even picked up another one to go for our drive home.
Stay tuned for Part Deux: Vegan Thai Food in Montreal!
4631 boulevard Saint-Laurent
Montréal, Québec, Canada