4 days in montreal

I recently had the great pleasure of showing my awesome friend Lydia around Montreal, my favorite city in the world (yes, I've finally come to admit that). I've already blogged about many of the places we went to, so I'll keep this short and sweet:

W H E R E    W E     A T E

Green Panther - Even though they're not exactly the most authentic, Green Panther's falafel are an absolute delight. Crisp on the outside, nice and green on the inside, and served with a fresh veggie slaw, these little balls of goodness do not disappoint. Lydia orders the regular falafel sandwich, Meghan the Falafusion (perhaps my favorite), and I the BBQ tofu. I should have gotten the falafel!

Gusta (at Jean Talon Market) - A vegan butcher shop in the middle of Jean Talon. You can buy sausages and fake meats, as well as grab a meal. Lydia gets the Caesar Salad and I the shawarma sandwich. Meghan gets the grilled cheese, but for the miserably small sandwich she receives, it's pretty overpriced.

Chez Jose - A small café on the corner of Duluth and Hotel de Ville. This local favorite is unmissable due to its colorful painted exterior. And with its funky wallpaper, green wooden chairs and laid-back European music, Café José is just as vibrant on the inside. While neither vegetarian nor vegan, it does offer a number of options for all the herbivores out there. We order the fresh and filling végé-pâté sandwich, which comes served on those red checkered papers and baskets reminiscent of Applebee's (in a good way). I also recommend the vegan Portuguese breakfast plate.

L’Gros Luxe 100% Végé - I'd actually been to this L'Gros Luxe location a year ago, before it was vegetarian. Lydia eats her very first poutine, which she orders with vegan cheese (for which you sadly have to pay extra) and surprisingly realistic fried 'chicken'. Tate and I get delicious banh mi tacos, and Tate gets a veggie burger because ya know, he's a big boy now.

Vua - If there's one thing I miss about Montreal, it's $3 banh mis. The only two places you can get $3 banh mis in SF are at Saigon Sandwich and some Vietnamese supermarket, also in theTenderloin. So unless you're in that area, you're forced to pay at least $7 for a mediocre sammie. At Vua, however, $3 gets you a large, scrumptious banh mi (or other type of sandwich!) with perfect baguette and crunchy veggies. My favorite thing about Vua is actually it's dark chocolate frappé, which is super dark! And vegan! And cheaper than Starbucks! The perfect year-round snack of choice.

Fairmount Bagel - Some of the best Montreal bagels. (Please don't get me involved in the Fairmount vs. St.Viateur debate - I still can't tell them apart.)

Aux Vivres - My favorite restaurant in the world. And everyone's favorite restaurant in Montréal. And yeah, it's 100% vegan! Lydia gets the caesar salad, and I my usual favorite, the coconut bacon BLT. Lydia tries the Dragon Wrap the next day, and she really enjoys it as well.

for more dining ideas, please see my 'montreal culinary adventures' post.

W H E R E    W E    S H O P P E D 

Drawn & Quarterly - AMAZING bookstore with fantastic selection of graphic novels. Whether you're a hip parent, a culinary adventurer, a dark poet or a stationary geek, it's impossible not to find anything in this shop. And if you have trouble navigating your way around, you can always ask one of the passionate staff members.

Monastiraki - Vintage postcards, stickers, and miscellaneous items, as well as local art pieces.

Electrik Kidz - Crazy cute kids store (just take a look at their website and you'll see for yourself). There's a mini-barber shop inside - whaaat?

Citizen Vintage - A cute Mile End boutique featuring an assortment of vintage clothing and locally-made goods.

Boucle & Papier - Stationery Store. If you're as obsessed with paper goods and office accessories as I am, Boucle & Papier may get a little overwhelming. The shop's beautiful selection of stationary cards, calendars and decorative objects will be a sensory overload for the visually inclined. If you're looking for a birthday gift for that crafty friend of yours, this is the place.

Eva B’s - My favorite thrift store. Vintage downstairs, more recent stuff upstairs. Looking for a Halloween costume? Eva B's is the place to go. Don't fear the complimentary lemonade - it's not poisoned! And make sure you try the cookies...

L’insoumise - The ultimate anarchist bookstore. My friend Anya used to work - sorry, I meant to write volunteer - there, so I have a few good stories to tell...

Magasin Général Lambert Gratton - A nice vintage home decor and gourmet food shop right on the corner of Duluth and de Bullion. They have a great selection of locally-made jams, sodas, cocktail mixers, greeting cards and soaps, as well as vintage trays and serving-ware.

Le Petit Dep - I believe this place is new, because I've never seen it before. Nested between tourist shops in Old Port, Le Petit Dep is a hip and upgraded take on the classic Montreal dep (our equivalent of the NYC delis or the Parisian Loto shops). You can find gourmet snacks, coffee, pastries, but also dep essentials like tape and deodorant!

Espace Pépin - Beautifully curated (but expensive) shop in the middle of Old Port. It definitely stands out from the crappy galleries surrounding it.

W H A T    W E    S A W

Mount Royal
McGill University
Jean-Talon Market
Saint-Laurent / Mile End
Old Port
Fine Arts Museum (free for youth under 30)
McCord Museum (free Wednesday evenings)