Wednesday, July 1, 2015

On this year's trip to Montreal, we traveled very well on our stomachs

Roasted Root Vegetable Salad at The Red Mill Restaurant in Vergennes, Vt., below.

The Red Mill is on the grounds of the Basin Harbor Club, an upscale resort on Lake Champlain in northwestern Vermont that also has a formal dining room.


MONTREAL -- The food is so bad at service plazas on the New York State Thruway we always prepared our own for the 360-mile trip to this French Canadian city for the annual International Jazz Festival.

This year, we were able to avoid that fast food altogether and enjoy the same high quality we're used to when eating in or eating out at home.

I'm a big fan of the homemade soups I've enjoyed at the Whole Foods Market in Paramus, N.J., and I was delighted to see another Whole Foods outside Albany, N.Y. ,where we stopped to charge our all-electric car.

My 8-ounce cup of Portuguese White Bean and Kale Soup was so full of greens I could have eaten it with a fork.

My wife had an 8-ounce cup of Chicken Soup that looked and tasted homemade ($3.79 each).

That's pricey, but you can get more value by filling your cup with as much kale, beans, poultry and so forth, along with a minimum of broth.

Root vegetables, goat cheese

Our second stop on Saturday was in Vergennes, Vt., where we had lunch in The Red Mill Restaurant on the grounds of the Basin Harbor Club.

I loved my Lemon Chickpea Soup ($4 for a cup), and my main dish, a Roasted Root Vegetable Salad, was dressed in a terrific lemon vinaigrette ($8).

Besides the root vegetables, including garlic, the salad was filled with arugula and some crumbled Vermont goat cheese.

My wife had Sriracha Chicken Wings ($10) and a side of Sweet Potato Fries ($2), which were a bargain and irresistible, too.

This Adirondack Chair at the Basin Harbor Club will easily accommodate a fairy tale giant.
Whole Foods Market at the Colonie Center outside Albany, N.Y., a mall near the New York Thruway, lists all the ingredients in its homemade soups.

Whole Foods Market at the Colonie Center has a bakery, pizzeria and a large selection of hot and cold foods, and salads, many of them made with organic ingredients.

At $9.99 for a 25-ounce jar, Jersey Italian Gravy from Ridgewood, not far from where we live in northern New Jersey, is definitely not a Whole Foods Market offer that is too good to refuse.

A trio of Lebanese specialties at a food court in Montreal.

Baba Fine Lebanese Cuisine is one of close to two dozen food stands in the Complexe Desjardins, an enclosed mall in Montreal, but the hummus didn't live up to the billing.

The food court is where Montreal residents, including the homeless, and tourists go for an inexpensive meal.

Lebanese food in Montreal

Instead of a price-fixed lunch in a fine dining restaurant on Sunday, we tried the food court in the Complexe Desjardin, an enclosed mall under our hotel, the Hyatt Regency Montreal.

Among the ethnic stands, Baba drew my attention as a lover of Middle Eastern food.

I ordered three small plates for me and my wife to share -- Hummus, Tabbouleh and Potatoes with Garlic -- at $2.99 each, and the server threw in a medium, Lebanese-style pocket bread.

The bread was terrific -- thin Lebanese pocket bread baked in Montreal appears almost daily on the shelves of Middle Eastern food stores in Paterson, N.J. -- but the other dishes were only OK. 

The hummus was bland, completely devoid of garlic and lemon juice, and I had to ask for a splash of extra-virgin olive oil.

The chopped parsley and tomato in the tabbouleh tasted good, but the salad contained only a little bulgur wheat.

We liked the Potatoes with Garlic best. They were crowned with a wonderful garlicky mayonnaise, and I used some of it to give the bland hummus a little kick.


Whole Foods Market Albany, 1245 Central Ave., Colonie, N.Y., in the Colonie Center shopping mall.

The Red Mill Restaurant, 4800 Basin Harbor Road, Vergennes, Vt.; 1-800-678-8946.

Baba Fine Lebanese Cuisine in the Complexe Desjardins, 150 St. Catherine St. West, Level 2, Montreal, QC.

See related posts:

Vacation car travel is an adventure again

A big gulp of free juice at Tesla Montreal

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