Pardon this belated post—eight days have passed since I returned from the splendid Canadian city of Montreal, yet I’m just finishing up my series of recap posts. Perhaps the serene, unhurried vibe of spring break has followed me back to school (I’d better snap out of it soon!).
After my final Magic Bullet smoothie and run on the dorm basement treadmill, I metro-ed up to meet Lisa on the McGill campus for a comforting vegan lunch courtesy of Midnight Kitchen. Launched as a counter to the corporatization of McGill’s food services, Midnight Kitchen “was born out of the desire to make a positive alternative accessible to as many people as possible in the form of affordable, healthy food.” Translated: Free vegan food for everyone! The valiant organization has grown substantially in popularity and currently has a $2.25 student levy each semester for sufficient funds and the ability to hire paid positions. My favorite aspect of Midnight Kitchen involves their food sources—they take donations of still very much edible, though slightly damaged, surplus produce that might otherwise hit the dumpster from market vendors, grocers, and restaurant owners in an attempt to implement more efficient methods of food distribution. Midnight Kitchen serves nutritional vegan lunches every weekday inside the Students Society of McGill University (SSMU) building at 12:30 pm, complete with a whole grain, a hot dish involving a protein, a green salad, a side dish, and a dessert. Everyone brings their own Tupperware containers into which the servers to lovingly slop delicious, wholesome fare, enjoyed convivially with other progressively-minded students.
The particular day Lisa and I chose to partake in this vegan fight-the-power fest, the menu consisted of an herby, infinitely comforting soup with potatoes and carrots; a scoop of perfectly cooked quinoa; a crunchy romaine salad with shredded carrots, crisp green beans, and refreshing celery; and a banana-oat crumble cake (in which I did not partake since I assumed it was filled with gluten, though Lisa happily enjoyed my piece…and three more).
Though I verily enjoyed the meal, after sneaking three helpings of the not-so-generously sized portions, my tummy grumbled for further nourishment, so Lisa led me to the McGill cafeteria a short walk away from the SSMU building. There, in one of the refrigerator cases, my jaw dropped to discover a piece of Crudessence’s Blueberry Un-Cheesecake packaged in a plastic triangular container and ready for devouring. Along with a lemongrass kombucha (also distributed by Crudessence), the velvety smooth, decadent raw cheesecake aptly quelched my hunger…and my soul. I hold raw desserts very near and dear to my heart.
After lunch, Lisa and I headed back to her dorm to pack up my suitcase and head off to the airport. I would certainly miss the liberal, stylish, European, and vegan-friendly vibe of Montreal, though I promised Lisa to return as soon as possible. We bid a heartfelt adieu before I dove into the frustrating world of airplane travel, though I had one last souvenir of the Quebecquois vegan scene to sustain me on the journey back to America—the Vivante Salad from Aux Vivres’ takeout counter which I picked up after the previous day’s dinner in preparation for my flight. The veritable mountain of sprouts, pleasantly chewy wakame seaweed, sour and crunchy pink sauerkraut, refreshing daikon and cucumber slices, crisp lettuce, and smoky grilled tofu tossed in a tangy, creamy dressing offered a scrumptious farewell meal on my Montreal-ean adventure.
- Midnight Kitchen—Room 302, Shatner Building, 3610 McTavish, Montreal, Quebec.
- Crudessence—2157 Rue Mackay, Montreal, Quebec. (514) 664-5188.
- Aux Vivres—4631 Boulevard Saint-Laurent, Montreal, Quebec. (514) 842-3479.
Until next time, Ali.