Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Hey Montreal - Where is all the vegan food?

This past week I have been working a conference in Montreal, PQ. One of Canada's largest cities and known for amazing food, I was pretty excited to see what vegan goodness I would find.

Unfortunately, I did not find a lot. Partially to blame is the fact that I was working, so I had no time to really explore the city. I didn't leave downtown at all during my stay. Found that a bit sad. One day, maybe this summer, I will go back and see if I can find out what vegan treats this city has to offer.

Since most of my time was spent at the Sheraton Centre, I will start there. Not vegan friendly at all. This is not to say that they did not make an honest effort to be vegan friendly, but unfortunately the chef was just not getting it. On the first day, we landed kind of late so I ended up eating at a Chinese buffet. It was decent, very much the norm for vegan cafe. I was lucky to find one that has a vegan soup with tofu and some rice and vegetables. I was just glad that we found a place to eat so close to the hotel since it was pouring rain!

The next day was the start of the event, so we were pretty much stuck in the hotel. My lunch was a green salad with fruit and I let the hotel staff know that I do also require protein and grains with my meals. Same needs as everyone else, just not animal product. Unfortunately this seemed to fall on deaf ears as my dinner was more of the same. Green salad, fruit and this time some marinated vegetables.

Now, that said, the marinated veggies were really good as was the salad. I am just not the type of person that can eat the same thing every day or live on salad. I'm just not. I enjoy food and eating out and I also enjoy showing others that it is possible to eat a normal diet that is also animal free.

The next day, I was frustrated and so the hotel cam out and asked me what I wanted. I told them that the veggies and fruit were fine, but I needed some protein; beans, lentils, tofu, anything! 30 minutes later I was ensured that my lunch had tofu (the chef went out and bought it that day). I opened it up and it was the exact same green salad only they had cut up the tofu and placed it on top.... raw. They also made a nice bean salad which was very good, but seriously... raw tofu?? ugh.

Fiddles, beer and veggie wrap. What more do you need??

Grouchy and tired, we had an evening off and our lovely helper onsite invited us to Hurley's on crescent. They had a veggie wrap on the menu and it was so, so good. Now, it could be that I was starving, but I am pretty sure this was a tasty veg sandwich. I was so tired, I forgot ask if it was vegan, so please do before purchasing. I think it is though. I didn't taste mayo or cheese in it, just yummy, yummy food with a big side of sweet potato fries!

Now, I have been hard on the Sheraton. The food for me just was not up to snuff. I know that some people just don't understand vegan cuisine, but I self-identified that I needed vegan meals a week before I got there, and I found they just didn't put any thought into it. The best meal I had was a dinner done through the catering department and it was a very well made dish of vegetables and couscous. Still lacking a bit in protein, but it really was delicious. I highly recommend it.

One thing that the hotel does well is smoothies. They are not on the menu, but this was my way to stay nourished onsite. I had the chef make green smoothies and fruit smoothies and both were amazing. Better than I can make at home.

One place I did get to try was a yummy 24 hr sandwich shop that offered vegan options on Drummond. It was really good, had some variety and was only a short walk from the hotel... oh yeah and it is 24 hours!! Nothing wrong with that. I wish I could remember the name, but I can't. It was downtown on drummond and honestly was a life saver.

OK, that is all I have on Montreal this time. Anyone out there from Montreal, I would love to hear what you think of the vegan scene. I am sure a big part of my disappointment was that I was stuck in one area and was on very limited time.

Anyways, next report will be from Atlanta... and I think I am about to be pleasantly surprised with some southern hospitality! Later!

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