Montréal Day 1: Aux Vivres, Viva Vegan, & Crudessence
After a lovely night’s sleep in THE ‘vegan driveway’ with Gerty, we were ready to start exploring. After mid-morning chit chat and coffee with Alex and Daniela, we headed to our very first vegan destination, with Alex as our guide! We quickly learned why Aux Vivres is a hometown favorite. They’ve got a varied menu with everything from BLTs, gyros, creamsicle smoothies (it really does taste like a creamsicle!), a variety of burgers, salads, desserts, and brunch options (served from 11-4 on weekends).
The restaurant is pretty big with three sit down dining areas (including a new addition/porch in the back), and a take out/express area on the left-hand side where they feature some of their tasty desserts in a display case. You know, to drool over (pics below).
“At Aux Vivres, we strive to serve food that is local, organic, free of animal products-and delicious. It’s our mission to disprove misconceptions about vegan cooking by offering a wide variety of inspired, satisfying meals that are every bit as tasty as they are healthy.”
Aux Vivres – 100% vegan
4631 Boulevard Saint-Laurent
Montréal, Québec, Canada
We started with the Assiette Froide – veggie paté, veggie lox, tofu cream, hummus and olive tapenade with bread. I really, really liked this dish a lot. The variety was wonderful and each dollop of “mezze” had unique flavor that was perfectly paired with the accompanying bread. I think my favorites of the bunch were the tofu cream and the veggie lox. Rich, oozing with flavor but not overpowering. I could have had just this dish for my meal. It was so satisfying and delicious.
Hey, check it out. In the background of the below photo you can see how we destroyed that Assiette Froide dish. Om nom nom! Ah’em. For my main course I had the BLT – coconut bacon, lettuce, tomato & mayo. Have you ever had coconut bacon? It’s really interesting. I was a little unsure as I’m not a huge fan of coconut in general. And by that I mean straight up coconut. Coconut-based ice creams are another story, however. :) But back to this sammy – It was pretty good. I couldn’t finish it what with filling up on the appetizer, so I took half of it back to the van and finished it the next day. I was pleasantly surprised with how much more I liked it that next morning. The flavors had all merged into a harmonious blend of soggy, yet somehow still crispy in some ways, delight. This was a pretty good one!
Ethan had the Mekong Sandwich which is grilled tofu with pickled carrot & daikon, mint, coriander, lettuce & Thai peanut sauce.
Alex went for a Brunch menu item, Le Complet. It is not just a clever name; Tofu scramble, tempeh bacon, cornbread, fresh fruit, salad & sweet potatoes.
Some desserts in the take-out area teaser case. :) I thought this was interesting, the literal translation of ‘Gateau Fauxmage’ is fake cheesecake. And there you have it!
I didn’t catch the name of this one but I’d imagine it’s a carrot cake of some sort. No matter, I’d totally eat this up.
I spy an orange colored Gerty van on this board of cards! Had to leave a few before we left, of course. :)
Viva Vegan – 100% vegan
Montréal, Québec, Canada
One thing you don’t find very often, even in super vegan-friendly cities, is a vegan store. An actual store that sells everything from baked goods, to cookbooks, canned goods, frozen foods, skin and body care products, pet food, cosmetics, jewelry, and supplements. I could go on but in short, this place friggin’ rules, man.
Viva Vegan offers select items in their brick and mortar location but you can order pretty much anything vegan you can think of off of their website. It’s just so lovely to have a physical location to visit and pick up essential vegan items. If I ever move to Montreal this store would be one of the reasons why. For sure. You know you’ve found a winner when you can get sweets and essentials in one place, AND when the owners and staff are super duper nice. As is the case with Viva Vegan!
It’s relatively small but is packed with all kinds of goodies.
Oooh, another teaser case. Our favorite! I didn’t get a picture of the area just in front of this display case but there is a table or two where you can sit and enjoy a cup of coffee, tea, or hot chocolate. Or one of those goodies in the teaser case! Eeee!! ;)
I spy a number of familiar books here! At the top is one of my favorite vegan bakers, Kelly Peloza (AKA The Vegan Cookie Connoisseur). I also see Vegan Cupcakes Take Over The World by Terry Hope Romero. Yum, naturally. Oh and the Earthlings documentary. Very nice. What else do you seen in there, hmm?!
Okay. Are you ready for THIS?! Feast your eyes on the one, the only, VEGAN CROISSANT! I haven’t had a croissant since becoming vegan, or “waking up” as our good friend Ben Strothmann would say. :) Nope. Not one. But ladies and gents if you’re ever in Montreal you must, I repeat must stop at Viva Vegan and purchase the chocolate-filled croissant. Do it. You’ll thank me mid-bite. I promise.
Humina, humina, humina.
CUPCAKES! These were very delicious as well. Look, I have two. La-di-dah.
If you thought croissants and cupcakes weren’t enough it’s time to get real with Viva Vegan’s luscious donuts. I feel as though I don’t need to say a word. Just. Look.
“Does this donut make me look skinny?”
Crudessence – 100% raw vegan
105 Rachel St. West
Montréal, Québec, Canada
Crudessence (“raw essence” in English) is kicking vegan arse and takin’ names. And by that I mean this raw powerhouse chain has got three locations up and running, a fourth one in the works, and hosts regular potlucks as well as raw food preparation classes.
I had the Lasagna – layers of sliced zucchini, fresh basil, sun dried tomato sauce and macadamia nut “rawcotta” garnished with crumesan and served wit a Caesar salad.
Ethan ordered the seasonal raw pasta dish.
Oh and for an appetizer we had the Sushis de vie – maki rolls of vegetables, sprouts and sprouted seed paté of the day, served with gluten free tamari sauce. This was our favorite dish at Crudessence. Very flavorful, pretty to look at, and fun to eat! :)