Saturday, August 09, 2008

Noshing around Montreal

My husband Carlos and I took a road trip through Vermont and Canada, making our own breakfasts of natural cereals, rice milk, plain yogurt and fruit from the convenience of a cooler and food bag full of non-perishables. Goji berries, cherry pie Larabars, low-sodium chips, and more fruit took the edge off hunger as the day wore on.

But sometimes, ya just gotta eat. We visited a few places in Montreal that might fly under the food critics radar, but offered us delicious, healthy and satisfying meals. At Jardin Nelson, an indoor/outdoor and inner courtyard charmer in Place Jacques-Cartier in Old Montreal, I started off with a midday glass of Prosecco, followed by a cup of really homemade chicken and vegetable soup, a creamy tomato bruchetta and a shrimp and avocado salad, all lightly and evenly seasoned and extremely well made. Carlos enjoyed salmon on a bed of angel hair noodles, with chives, and red and green pepper. The seating was picturesque, the breeze light, and the whole experience, so Vieux Montreal.

Downtown, turn to Le Commensal, a vegetarian buffet on the second floor of McGill and St. Catherine. It was warmly recommended to us by a former Montreal artist, Genevieve, whom we met during our visit to the Vermont Studio Center. A variety of tasty hot and cold vegetarian dishes and desserts are available by the pound. Fill up your plate and weigh-in at the cashier. Microbrews also available. Nice views fom the high perch and great food, especially for those like us, who long for hard-to-find vegetarian specialities when traveling. View a Commensal You Tube.

At the Novotel Montreal Aeroport, stop into Trio, an ultra chic minimal moderne place to relax to music piped in directly from France, and with a tray of luscious, nouvelle cuisine appetizers. I enjoyed brie with strawberries and mangoes, mushroom tarte, and escargot with tomato sauce on small toasts. Another night I had a trio of chicken skewers, along with small shrimp and scallops dishes. The soups are also fabulous. Carlos seemed to live on air at times, or at least arugula salads. The Novotel is a great hotel to stay, by the way.

For dessert, stop in again in Old Montreal and have one of its homemade sorbets at Les Glaceurs along the side street of Notre Dame Cathedral at rue 453 St. Sulpice. The pamplemousee, trichamp and framboise sorbets are all fresh fruit tasting, not too sweet and really delicious. Even my dessert-shunning husband couldn't resist.

Do you have a favorite Montreal dine-out place, and why is it so good? ◦


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