Monday, April 6, 2009

Lola Rosa: A Vegan Treasure in the Ghetto (McGill Ghetto, that is)

The weather on the East Coast has been variable to say the least: warm Springtime one day, only to be plunged into near Winter temperatures the next. And I, at the mercy of Mother Nature's wild mood swings, was rewarded with a cold. Fingers crossed that it's the last one of the season. As I have been hiding under the covers for the last few days, I missed my usual Friday Food post.

Better late than never.

Last week, during one of said Spring days, my sister, nephew, and I made our way to Lola Rosa on Milton in the McGill Ghetto. In a former life, before Lola Rosa existed, my sister and I, ironically neither of whom a McGill student at the time, were roomies in the Ghetto. As longtime vegetarians always looking for new places to eat, had the restaurant been around in our days, we would have surely spent many an evening here.

The menu is vegetarian with many vegan options--often by simply omitting the cheese, and ranges from a standard veggie burger to a mystery dish aptly named Pleasure Pie. Flavors are a mix of Mexican and East Asian Curries.

My sister opted for the burrito. Served with a salad, and slathered with their homemade salsa, she reported that it was delicious, although I did not have a taste due to the cheese. For us vegans, however, the burrito can be served without the cheese.

Intrigued and unable to resist the lure of its name, I originally ordered the Pleasure Pie, but ended up with the hemp burger due to a light kitchen glitch. No disappointment here. Served on a classic Montreal bagel, the burger was perfectly spicy all on its own. The homemade salsa served on the side and hot peppers give it an added kick, if you so choose.

We were then spoiled and offered a dessert on the house, to make up for the Pleasure Pie mix up--although, I have to admit, that it worked in my favor. The dessert menu is a nice mix of cakes and pies, from chocolate to key lime, that includes a vegan chocolate option. No thought required on this one. Served with a raspberry couli, the vegan chocolate cake was so moist and light that it was hard to believe that it was both vegan (my sister's comment) and chocolate cake (my own). Vegan or not, I highly recommend that you make your way over to Lola Rosa simply for the cake.

A quick peak into our table's drawers gave up a cute surprise:

With a healthy coffee and tea selection as well, Lola Rosa is the perfect destination for a brunch (weekends only, with vegan options), lunch, dinner, or an afternoon (after-class) snack. Word to the wise: the portions are enormous, so come with either your appetite securely in your backpocket or ready to share. Also, the restaurant isn't very large, so either arrive early (as we did) or be prepared for a bit of a wait. We sat down for lunch around noon, and within 30 minutes all of the tables were occupied.

Cozy, surpringly good for children, and very affordable, there's no question why Lola Rosa has become popular.

I do have one teensy complaint: no vegan cheese option.

Lola Rosa: 545 rue Milton, @ Aylmer, 514 287 9337

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