the lowdown: Montréal, Canada
Montreal in January is the antithesis of Mexico and that is exactly why I chose the fantastic city for my 30th birthday destination. Although short, the trip was complete with nightlife, culture, history, and great food. Not to mention everyone primarily speaks French but will shift to near perfect English on demand for ignorant Americans such as ourselves.
Between Old Montreal and Downtown Montreal lies the stunning W hotel. It was conveniently located near the Metro, coffee shops, bars, and restaurants.
L’Escalier – 552 Sainte-Catherine Ste. est, Montreal | 514.670.5812 | Website | On our first full day in Montreal we walked a long distance on the never ending Sainte Catherine Street which begins with blocks of shopping, transitions to sex shops and eventually continues to the gay district. L’Escalier is a small upstairs bohemian cafe offering a number of vegan options under $10.
Chu Chai – 4088-4094 rue Saint-Denis, Montreal | 514.843.4194 | Website | One of the first things we did in Montreal was purchase tickets to the contemporary dance “In-I” featuring Juliette Binoche. Prior to the show we dined at Chu Chai, the most amazing Thai restuarant I have ever experienced. Entirely vegetarian with significant vegan options. We chose the 3 course meal for $28/pp which included a sample of five appetizers, a main course, and dessert!
Le Commensal – 1204 McGill College Street, Montreal | 514.871.1480 |Website | The two locations in Montreal offer a gigantic vegetarian buffet with many vegan options priced by the pound. If you are into buffets, here’s your place. I simply can’t get over the notion of everyone digging into the same food.
Spirite Lounge - 1205 rue Ontario Est, Montreal | 5140.522.5353 | We celebrated my 30th birthday at the Spirite Lounge and words cannot describe the experience properly. One man runs this regimented vegan restaurant offering one dish in two sizes. You absolutely must finish everything on your plate or you violate the “Golden Rule”. We had heard rumor dessert would be denied, fortunately we both ate our food. Also, no tap water is offered, however you can purchase a bottle of spring water and must drink everything you pour. We enjoyed the food as we carefully poured out our water, stuffed our faces, and quickly snapped photos while he wasn’t looking. It is important to note that if you chose the small dinner portion, your dessert portion will also be small. Simply fantastic!
In conclusion, I wanted to characterize Montreal as something simliar to the feeling you get when you eat coffee and fries. A little bit of class combined with grit. Exactly how I want to lead my thirtysomething life.