montreal culinary adventures


As the semester is wrapping up, I think it's time for me to give you all an update on what my roommates and I have been up to for our weekly culinary outings. But first, aren't you wondering where that beautiful apple crumble came from? Well, turns out I made it. Yes, I can officially make a crumble - and it's pretty damn good. The real credit goes to my mom, though, whose recipe played a quintessential part in this dessert's inception. And yes, you do need that entire stick of butter - it too plays an essential role.

Now, onto some of Montreal's best grubs!


C I N K O

Cinko is possibly the best thing to ever have happened to students. For a mere $5, you and your friends (or date?) can treat yourselves to a classy meal in a hip setting. Yes, certain items do cost extra, but the $5 base portions are already generous. For instance, while most places would only give you a burger for $5, at Cinko you get the burger and the fries for the same price. There are also a decent amount of vegetarian options (veggie burger was great). From the vinyl placemats to the trippy restrooms, this place is a keeper for St.Denis.


A U X   V I V R E S

When the Herbivore Society planned a group bonding dinner at Aux Vivres, Lydia and I just couldn't miss out. As usual, I ordered the coconut bacon BLT ($11.25), and Lydia the Dragon Bowl ($12.25). For dessert, I couldn't resist trying the  Choco-Classique Smoothie ($4.95), which had a surprisingly strong taste of dark chocolate (and that's always a good thing). After our meal, we explored Aux Vivres' boutique next door, and discovered many wraps and bowls are available for takeout. Good thing we don't live nearby...

PS: Here's the legit Aux Vivres recipe for the Choco-Classique. You can thank me later.

Ingredients (makes 2 servings):
1 cup ice
1/3 cup dates
2/3 cup chocolate soymilk
1/3 cup of coconut milk
1/2 tablespoons cocoa

Put the dates in boiling water for 15 minutes. Drain.
Mix all ingredients with a mixer until smooth and creamy texture.


T H A L I

There are many places called Thali in Montreal. In fact, Lydia, Grace and I originally went to the wrong Thali, but finally got to trying this one - the "right" Thali - a few weeks later. Located near Concordia, this casual restaurant is famous for its thali, which I learned means 'round platter' in Hindi and designates a meal made of samples of different dishes. Lydia and I got the Vegetarian Thali ($9), while Grace and Meghan ordered the Reg Thali ($10). The only caveat is that you have to pay extra for samosas - but you'll be so full you may not even end up wanting any. Both options are very tasty and generous in size - next time we'll know to bring some tupperware!


O M N I V O R E

Omnivore has been on our restaurant bucket list for two years now, and it's so good I wish we'd tried it sooner. It's quite small inside, but many customers are there for takeout, so you'll likely not have too much trouble finding a spot. As its name indicates, Omnivore offers a mix of both meat and plant-based options. I tried the Khodra Wrap ($6), composed of a veggie-patty, pesto, babaganoush and red cabbage, and it was excellent.  Rachel got the Beirut ($6), which contains beef, hummus, and tahini, and loved it as well. If you're not feeling a wrap, that's perfectly fine! Omnivore is known for its mezza plates, which come in herbivore ($7.50 for 3 mezza), omnivore and carnivore options. For dessert, Rachel and I shared the decadent Choco Banane ($4), which is actually just bananas and chocolate wrapped in a pita (they're actually really easy to make - I tried them at home recently).


M A I   X I A N G   Y U A N

I'll admit, I've had a very hard time eating Chinese food ever since my trip to China in the 10th grade. I just can't deal with saucy dishes anymore. However, I still very much appreciate dumplings, and the ones at Mai Xiang Yuan are particularly good. For $6.99, you get a whole dish of steamed vegetarian potstickers, and for a small extra fee, you can choose to get them half of them steamed and the other fried (which is what I'll do next time). Joyce also ordered an appetizer of shredded potatoes, and those were very good as well. Again, portions are big here so you'll have a whole second meal to take home!





K A N T A P I A 

I'm glad I finally got the opportunity to try out Kantapia, because I walk by it literally every day on my way to campus (unless I choose the opposite sidewalk). This unpretentious, student-loved spot is great for a casual meal. They have a variety of Bulgogi, Bibimbap and Kimbap, a type of Korean maki roll, which were a discovery for me. I decided to try the Vegetarian Kimbap ($6), and was very pleased with my choice. I'd love to return to Kantapia to try their Bibimbap.



G R E E N   P A N T H E R

This was our second time going to Green Panther. While I had enjoyed my meal there, I was pretty frustrated at myself for having failed to notice on the menu that the Traditional Falafel contains pickles - which I'm really not a fan of. This time, I ordered the FalaFusion ($5.45 for half-pita), a variation of the regular falafel. The FalaFusion was everything I could have asked for. With its slightly sweet yogi sauce, crunchy pickled carrots and sprouts (I love sprouts), it definitely made up for my past regrets. Nearly all of us went for the Poppin' Carrots cake ($5.45) for dessert. I was really pleased with it, because I was afraid it would contain too many spices (like the one Lydia got from Aux Vivres), but it was actually very mild and carrot-y. Thank you, Green Panther!




V E G O

I'd never tried Vego before, but I'll definitely be a return customer. At this place, you have the option of getting your food from either Petit Végo or from the hot and cold buffet upstairs, from which you pay per weight. I opted for the grilled red pepper pesto and spicy tofu wrap ($5.50) from Petit Végo, while Lydia and Meghan went for an assortment of dishes from the buffet. The place is really great for people with allergies, because all of the ingredients are listed on each buffet item. There's also a dessert buffet, but I selected a delicious vegan muffin from the counter instead. I loved Végo so much I ordered a gift card for Christmas, which I can't wait to use next semester!

Note: Do yourself a favor and avoid the hot chocolate - unfortunately, it's one of the worst I've ever had!



L I T T L E   S H E E P   M O N G O L I A N   H O T P O T

More recently, we went to Little Sheep Mongolian Hot Pot, a place my roommates had tested (and loved) last year and were desperate to return to. An all-you-can-eat lunch will end up costing you $23 (taxes and tip included), which is quite reasonable considering the amount of options you can choose from. We ordered nearly one (or more) of each item on the menu, and this was more than enough! My favorite items were the watercress, sweet potato, rice noodles and taro. I don't think I'd go again, just because I'm not a huge fan of Mongolian cuisine, but it was very cool experience!





Bonus pic: Delicious hot chocolate from my first time at Cafe Castel. What a perfect paper-writing spot!

 

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