There are days, where you eat so much amazing raw food that you actually have to split it into two posts instead of one so you don't look like a total glutton. That was pretty much our day trip to Montreal last Friday, which was pretty much a food trip... just the way I like 'em, and just like I had planned! I've been really wanting to go to a raw food restaurant since moving back to Canada. Though I know Toronto is rife with raw food places, but my heart went out to the slightly closer option, Montreal's Crudessence (get the title? Cru=raw essence=gasoline so "fueled on raw"? I know... I'm so clever)
In fact, because I'm a food nerd, I've been studying their menu for months now. We even almost went there for my birthday back in October because they happened to be having a special fall harvest raw food testing menu event. (Instead, I chose to stay in town and go to Cafe My House.) I've been waiting to check out this place for a long time.
During a thankfully uneventful drive, we figured we would try both of their locations (one for lunch and one for dinner). We chose to check out their smaller place at 105 Rachel Street West first. The place was adorable (it also really helps that we were coming in from the cold and snow too...) this location had much more of a lunchy, cafe feel. It was sunny and warm, and you felt right at home. Randomly enough, the first thing I fell in love with were their chairs. Every single chair was unique. It had its own design and I couldn't help but take as many shots as I could before they thought I was weird:
I love it when restaurants aim to be as healthy as possible, and Crudessence definitely achieves that being both organic AND raw (and gluten-free!). While all their choices were ridiculously enticing, we opted for their Om Burger (that name is more clever if you say it out loud in French accent) and their Tacos Supremes:
Assiette Om Burger
A mushroom, sundried tomato, flax seed and veggie burger
served in raw bread with tomato, red onion, lettuce, raw mustard,
homemade ketchup, a fantastic aioli sauce,
and a side of salad and homemade sauerkraut
Corn, flax, and sundried tomato tacos
garnished with chipotle pate, tomatoes, sprouts, red onion, & avocado
served with hot sauce, sour cream, & a salad
While I did enjoy my burger, these tacos changed my life. To be more specific, that chipotle pate changed my life, spicy, sweet, and wonderful. As a soft shelled taco filled with so many veggies, it had the perfect texture and was the perfect size. Its size reminded me of how difficult it is to eat one of those Chipotle burritos... you just don't know how to start fitting it into your mouth.
Strangely enough, my second favourite thing about all this wonderful food was the salad dressing. I don't know what it was but it was delicious, sweet, sour, tangy, fantastic! In general though, their texture combinations were fantastic. They managed to recreate everything I love about a sandwich (aka. a yummy vehicle for lots of veggies that's not just a plain ol' salad). I loved that these plates were pretty much 70% veggies and 30% your main dish (though it was that 30% that really filled you up). The platage was beautiful and was totally representative of how delicious the food was. Also, for those who think you can't get full on raw food, you can (and this is on top of the fact that their portions are very generous).
Of course, we couldn't have driven all the way to Montreal without having dessert with lunch too! While I had my eye on their banana chocolate crepes (there's always a next time!), I wanted to make Andrew happy by sharing what they called their triple chocolate Noir Desir cake, while Andrew got their sugar pie a la mode.
The ice cream (maple flavoured) was amazing. I think I would have been quite happy just getting lots of ice cream. Otherwise, maybe I just wasn't in the mood for dessert (in all fairness, I rarely am) or maybe I just have to accept that I'm a fantastic raw chef, but their supposedly sinful chocolate cake, tasted very much like my own or Meredith's version of fudgy goodness. The sugar tart was a pretty standard sweet creamy raw dessert (like I said, to be fair, if you're don't spend nearly as much time in the kitchen as I do, these are great desserts! I may just be spoiled...). But the ice cream!!!!!
All in all, the food was amazing, the place was really cute, and the atmosphere was really laid back. It was definitely on par with some of the best raw restaurants we've ever been to (that being NY's Quintessence and the now closed Grezzo in Boston)
The only thing is I felt like I was being watched in the bathroom...
To check out Crudessence on Rachel Street, head out Monday to Wednesday from 11am to 9pm or Thursday to Sunday from 11am to 10pm. They can be reached at (514)510-9299. This location serves as a sit-down restaurant as well as a take-out place. They also have some ready-made raw foodies (granola, cookies, squares, and some packaged superfoods and dried goods). They also sell their own in-house made kombucha in a variety of flavours as well as a whole bunch of great raw food books and resources. Bon appetit!