Monday, November 24, 2008

Restaurant Malhi - Cuisine Indienne

Indian restaurants are generally safe havens for vegetarians who want to dine out but don't feel like asking the 20 questions to the waiter to make sure what they are ordering is really vegetarian. Tonight was one of these nights.

This restaurant was highly recommended by my hair dresser, who swore up and down that this Indian restaurant on Jarry and L'Acadie was the "bomb".

On our way back from visiting the condo - inspecting the progress for our big move this weekend - we decided to go for some hearty Indian food. For some reason, as we turned onto Jarry, my brain referenced this memory and we headed west to find this place.

You can't miss it. It's got the mandatory large signage and copious newspaper clippings on the windows. Inside, you have some wonderfully kitsch velvet paintings, holiday lights and hand woven art hanging on the walls. To add to the mood, two flat screen tvs were pumping friendly pop Bollywood music .

I ordered myself a limca pop, and shared a Chana Samosa with my beau. I then had the Vegetarian Thali - with eggplant. It was served with chana masala, raita, salad and naan. The eggplant curry was indeed, absolutely amazing. The chana also lived up to my expections, with surprisingly tender and savory chickpeas. I finished off my meal with a chai masala with milk.

The whole meal for two with drinks, 2 thalis and 2 tea came up to an economical $32 including tax and tip. I recommend this place. One of the better Indian eateries on the island.

Malhi Sweets
880, Jarry West (Crossing Wiseman)
Montreal (Qc) H3N 1G9
(514) 273-0407

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Accidents happen, unfortunately.

As a vegetarian, dining out can be a real challenge. Waiters and chefs have assumptions on what is "meat" and feel they need to decide for you if you are being difficult or legitimate.

I had been to Elixor in Laval a few times in the past and had a great time. The food was plentiful and fresh and the desert menu was decadent. They opened a new one on Des Sources, in Dollars-Des-Ormeaux. We were served by a very young and eager waiter. He gave us great service. I picked the edamame in a Szechuan sauce and the vegetable quesadilla for my dinner. I explicitly mentioned that I didn't eat meat. He asked me if it was for allergies or if I was a vegetarian. I should have figured something was up with the question. He reassured me that he would ask the chef if my selection was meat free.

Anyways, he came back from the kitchen, told me the only meat element in my meal was the eggs in the mayonnaise. No sweat, I'm an Ovo-Lacto vegetarian. The edamame was served and was delicious. I even joked, it taste so good it probably has meat. The joke was less funny when I found a piece of pork in the sauce. I felt awful. I didn't make a scene, but I mentionned to the waiter that I was sure - i.e. piece of meat - that the sauce had meat.

He got flustered and said he forgot to mention that there was fish in the sauce.... Accidents happen, I know. This one sucked particularly hard. I guess the lesson of the story here is:

-Eat at vegetarian restaurants
-Don't trust your waiter
-Tell them it's allergies

Sunday, November 16, 2008

The portobello mushroom burger revisited

I love mushrooms, and I appreciate them even more now that I switched to a vegetarian diet. When I have a craving for something meaty, they always do the job and chase away the meat blahs. I made some tonight for dinner and I tried a new variation on this classic.

I used:
- 4 portobello mushroom caps, stems removed and saved for another meal, scrubbed with cloth and gills gently scrubbed off with a spoon.
-2 onions diced
-olive oil, enough to cook onions in non stick pan and to brush on buns
- 1 cup of cheese (cheddar, Gouda or Swiss is fine - look for the rennet free kind to keep it vegetarian) grated, divided in 4 parts
-splash of tamari
-2 splashes balsamic vinegar
-no salt seasoning
-salt and pepper to taste
-4 buns, lightly brushed with olive oil and toasted

In a non stick pan, heat some olive oil and fry onions until translucent. Add tamari, balsamic vinegar, salt, pepper and a few shakes of no salt seasoning. Continue to cook until all the liquid has evaporated. Empty onions in a separate bowl and set aside.

Add some more oil to the pan and cook mushrooms with gill side facing down on medium high heat for about 5 minutes. Then flip on the other side and cook for another 4 minutes, or until the mushroom is cooked through. Spoon the onions into the caps of each mushroom and sprinkle with cheese. Heat through until cheese melts. Place on toasted buns and add whatever condiments you like. I like HP sauce. Enjoy!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Veggie Burger Indulgences @ Montana's

I was in the mood for a good burger and the better half had a hankering for real meat so we went to Montana's for dinner.

They had an amazing - I had to double check to make sure it really wasn't meat - veggie burger. It was juicy, tasty, just perfect. It's not healthy by any means, judging by the nutritional table I found online but totally worth it.

Montana’s Vegetable Burger with Feta

Calories 775
Fat 40 g
Calories from Fat 367
Protein 38 g
Carbohydrate 67 g
Dietary Fiber 12 g
Cholesterol 25 mg
Calcium 400 mg
Iron 7 mg
Trans Fat 0.0

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Gifts with a conscience for the holiday season

I hate to say it, but the 'tis the season to consume' is upon us. Malls are decked in their brightest and lavishest holiday trim and soon the stores will be pushing their great gift ideas for the family, friends, pets and hosts.

I decided to be different this time around, I'll give gifts that make a difference - gifts with a global conscience. The gifts, cards and wrapping paper will need to have at least one of these to be part of my repertoire:

  • Donates proceeds to a charitable cause like Unicef and Green Peace to name a few.
  • Be organic - certified by a recognized agency - not just "green", look at the ingredient lists to spot suspicious words. Truly organic products will disclose their ingredient list and will state that it's free of pesticides, petrolatum, synthetics, etc.
  • Be fair trade - meaning a fair price was paid to the producer and/or that part of the proceeds went to improve the life of the community where the product was produced - Ten Thousand Villages has a great selection of fair trade items ranging from coffee, teas, spices, rice, chocolates, housewares and jewelry .
  • Is produced locally in a responsible fashion and meets one of the three criteria above.
I already got my greeting cards from Unicef. I bought them at the Ikea store in Ville St-Laurent.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Montreal Vegan Restaurant Review: Aux Vivres

Aux Vivres! Oh wow! I just came back from having dinner at Aux Vivres and it was fantastic. I read a lot of reviews raving about the VeggieLox (faux salmon) and the side I had of it tonight lived up to my expectations.

I had the Tofu Dragon Bowl - again, delicious - served with a tahini/peanut sauce. Very filling and satisfying with layers of daikon, sprouts, brown rice, grilled tofu, carrots and greens. For desert, I indulged in a slice of vegan carrot cake. Absolutely decadent, nutty and spicy.

The items on the menu where reasonably priced - with entrees less than $15, the portions very generous and the service was descent, considering the place was jam packed. The crowd also made it fun, an eclectic mix of artsy, healthy, smiling folks.

I'm definitely going back for more!

Aux Vivres
4631 boulevard Saint-Laurent, North of Mont-Royal
Montréal, QC H2T 1R2
(514) 842-3479
HOURS: Tues–Fri noon–midnight;
Sat–Sun 11am–midnight; closed Mondays.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Great faux chick'n from Garden Goodness

I had a great easy dinner with a salad in a bag - I checked the dressing to make sure it was vegetarian - and added a "faux chicken breast" for the meaty part. Absolutely amazing. I think I found myself a quick and easy lunch for work. I got the chick'n (Gardein Veggie Chick’n Breast) at Costco and it was worth every penny.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Life is like a box... Wait, what?

This post doesn't have much to do about food... Ok maybe a little bit. The beau and I are packing like crazy for our upcoming move. We bought an awesome new condo near the Jean-Talon market. The market is the best place for fresh produce, with great mongers of all kinds, including health food and organic produce. My beau loves the organic butcher and cheese shops. Since I switched to a veg diet, I have to say I'm way more excited by the produce.

The condo is being built at we speak. We visited the place yesterday and the dry wall was up. The ceramic tiles are on the floor and around the bathtub. The tiles behind the stove haven't been done yet but that should be soon. We're hoping we can come in and start painting by November 23rd. This is truly so exciting! In the picture, you see part of the dining room and the dark square on the ground is where the kitchen will be.