Archive | Resto Reviews RSS feed for this section

Dinner in the gaybourhood

26 Aug

I finally stopped by Fuzion during a trip to Toronto over the summer. It was better than I expected, but I keep my expectations low when trying new restos. However, it had gotten good reviews from acquaintances and I have to say, they weren’t wrong.

Here’s what I ate!

Yep, that is a huge honkin’ piece of tofu on the left. And it was delicious. Amazing marinade clearly, great seasoning, and crispy on the outside. On the right, rice with black beans served in the outer layer of an onion.

All the flavours were well-developped, great seasoning, there were no unlikely ingredient pairings, and, here’s a biggie for me, there was not too much salt. Overall, a well-thought-out vegan meal (well, vegan as far as I could tell, but I don’t ever grill my waiter on the specifics – boo me if you like).

My friends were equally pleased with their meals – the vegetarian gnocchi and the roasted lamb – and the dessert one of them ordered (raw cheesecake) was delicioso, apparently. The only problem with the whole experience: the cocktail I started off with was not awesome. Heavy on the booze taste, which is fine if that’s what you were aiming for, but I chose a super-girly mega-martini, so I was hoping for sweet & sinful. I didn’t try anything else, so really, that one martini might be their only stinker.

So, whatever, we had fun, our waiter was great, and the patio has a nice decor, is well separated from the sidewalk and faces out across Church towards one of the small parks, so it didn’t feel so much like we were eating on the side of the street.

If you’re in the area, check it out. It’s not a must-eat destination, but it has all the elements required for a great evening.

July Resto Review!

31 Jul

Allow me to introduce you to one of my favourite restaurants here in Montreal: Aux Vivres.

If you are a vegetarian/vegan in Montreal, or a Mile End-er, you are already familiar with this place, of course.

Everything I’ve ordered there has been satisfying (except for one horrific chocolate cheesecake of which we shall never speak – it has not been as bad since). I highly recommend all their burgers, rice bowls and chapati wraps; their juices are delicious, and the cake-y desserts, and truffles, are scrumptious. One of their most popular dishes is the “BLT” on chapati, but here’s the deal: you better enjoy coconut because this guy is CHOCK FULL of it. I enjoyed the taste, I don’t think I would have been able to finish both halves of the sandwich if I hadn’t been splitting it with a friend, not just because of the coconut. However, said friend did NOT dig the flavour. Granted, she did not love coconut before this sandwich, but since then, she has not been able to even look at one. So, a word to the wise, if you’re unsure, skip it. There’s about a cup of smoked coconut in there. Yum or yikes, you decide.

Aux Vivres is not without its faults, of course. They aren’t generous with the grilled tofu slices in their various “bowl” dishes, the chili isn’t spicy or particularly zingy, etc. I’m not fussed, though, I’m just so pleased to have a whole menu to choose from, instead of a meager couple of ho-hum options. I guess that’s a sad state of affairs, when a restaurant is a favourite simply because it offers food you can eat, but Aux Vivres is more than that. The atmosphere is warm and bright. It is clean and the waitresses are cute. I have brought non-veggie friends/family there and all of them loved it. You just feel good eating there.

So there you have it, my semi-love letter to a great little veggie spot. A couple of other places here in the big M have a place in my heart, you’ll be hearing about them soon!

À plus!

Resto Review: Le Pain Quotidien, Yorkville

4 May

Specials board, main dining room

You don’t go to a bakery hoping for great vegan food, but I was hoping for the best when I cracked open this Belgian chain’s menu. There are a fair number of vegetarian options on offer, but there in the Salads was the lone vegan entree. Mediterranean Tofu Salad. Ok, it comes with three sauces, and maybe they know how to season/cook tofu.

Just to give you an idea of how appetizing this salad was, here is what remained after I ate as much as I could:

You're jealous of the gorgeous tofu I got to eat, I know you are

That’s right. Big, cold slabs of tofu with a few drizzles of mystery sauces, some of which may have contained mayo (!). The tofu was not marinated, or even cooked (as far as I can tell, since it was ice-cold and dry). If I hadn’t been starving, I don’t know if I could have eaten more than one of those guys. The pesto on top of it all was good, I can say that much. I don’t have a pic of the untouched salad, but it was mostly that spring mix of lettuces that is served by basically every restaurant these days.

I hate to give a bad review to a non-veggie restaurant, in this case particularly because everything else on their menu is pretty delicious. Before going totally vegan, I had the pleasure of sampling their veggie tartines and the deadly bread pudding. So good. But certainly a good chef can come up with a meal adequately tasty vegan dish? Just one is all I ask. Maybe Belgians don’t like veggies? 🙂

NV rating: (one heart out of five)

——————————————-

The NerdyVegan rating system

: Vegan option(s) available, not particularly appetizing

: Vegan options are satisfying, if boring, and not numerous

: Tasty basics at fair prices, more than one vegan option

: Several vegan dishes, varied and satisfying

: Innovative, taste-bud dazzling, plentiful vegan fare