Montreal Photolog: My Healthy Road Trip Days 43-46

Montreal Photolog: My Healthy Road Trip Days 43-46

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.

Road Trip French Canada
Brushing up on our French and getting ready to be tourists!

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.

drive Toronto to Montreal 1
Lots of forested land between Toronto and Montreal
Montreal skyline with Mont Royal
The view from our hotel room: downtown Montreal skyline below Mont Royal

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

Montreal Cathedral and piano

There are beautiful cathedrals all over Montreal. This one comes with a colorful piano for the public to play.

Montreal waterfront
We walked along the chilly waterfront on our way to Vieux (old) Montreal

Montreal streets scene

Montreal streets fruit market
We passed a lot of produce markets – great way to grab a fruit snack and greens for salad!
Montreal old town
Kale! Ever seen tourists snacking on the landscaping?

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.

Montreal streets stop sign
Very cycling-happy city
Montreal streets bike lane
Downtown core – see the designated cycling road?!

Marche Atwater

I couldn’t leave Montreal without visiting at least one of the main markets.

Montreal Marche
Lots of Quebec fruits and veggies for sale
Montreal Marche ground cherries and strawberries
My first time trying ground cherries

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.

Aux Vivres

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.

Montreal Crudescence exterior
Three vegan cafes in one

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.

Crudescence

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!

Cafe Verdure

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.

Raw apple pie breakfast bowl with tea
Apple Pie Breakfast Bowl

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.

Romaine salad with lentils, tomatoes, sauerkraut, mustard
Salad with romaine, lentils, tomatoes, sauerkraut.

For a hearty full meal, I added denser foods like leftover lentils or acorn squash.

Romaine salad with cucumbers daikon sauerkraut lemon
Romaine salad with cucumbers, sauerkraut, and lemon juice. With daikon slices.

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.

More Unforgettable Insight

8 Responses to Montreal Photolog: My Healthy Road Trip Days 43-46

    • Cel, I couldn’t find a brand anywhere on it. All it says is “thermoelectric cooler and heater”. I can’t remember where I got it. It was a few years back as a free gift that came with something else so it’s pretty basic and probably low end.

    • Cel, I couldn’t find a brand anywhere on it. All it says is “thermoelectric cooler and heater”. I can’t remember where I got it. It was a few years back as a free gift that came with something else so it’s pretty basic and probably low end.

  1. You make me SO want to go vegan! How do you cook the lentils in your salads? Do you use any dressing? There isn’t a vegan or vegetarian restaurant within a hundred miles! And I’m still apprehensive to start fully. You are inspiring!

    • Wendy, I’m glad that I make vegan look desirable! My work here is done. 😉 The lentils in my salad were leftovers I brought, cooked in advance when I had a kitchen. I don’t soak them and simmer them on the stove for about 15-20 minutes until they are tender then rinse. I used a flavorful sauerkraut as my dressing for the salads made in Montreal. Don’t worry, take it one step at a time. Remember this – don’t do nothing because you can’t do everything.

  2. You make me SO want to go vegan! How do you cook the lentils in your salads? Do you use any dressing? There isn’t a vegan or vegetarian restaurant within a hundred miles! And I’m still apprehensive to start fully. You are inspiring!

    • Wendy, I’m glad that I make vegan look desirable! My work here is done. 😉 The lentils in my salad were leftovers I brought, cooked in advance when I had a kitchen. I don’t soak them and simmer them on the stove for about 15-20 minutes until they are tender then rinse. I used a flavorful sauerkraut as my dressing for the salads made in Montreal. Don’t worry, take it one step at a time. Remember this – don’t do nothing because you can’t do everything.

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