Sunday, April 25, 2010

Review of Ottawa's Zen Kitchen Vegan Restaurant

The Zen Kitchen in Ottawa is the first vegan/vegetarian restaurant I went to that offered a multi-course meal with accompanying wines. I love multi-course meals as they become very involved events where each dish is a flavor adventure. My best dining experience of the kind was as an omnivore and took place at the now defunct l'Anise in Montreal.

The atmosphere at the Zen Kitchen is a bit too casual for this sort of complex dining experience and the wait staff, a bit punky and edgy didn't seem to blend well with the concept. However, the multi-course meal is just one option of their otherwise a la carte offering.

Luckily, the chef and her husband, a knowledgeable sommelier, were very helpful in explaining each course, their content and what to look for in flavorings. The wine pairings were on the mark for all of the proposed dishes.

We were started with an amuse-bouche which was a hand cut multigrain tortilla with a fresh guacamole and micro green topping.

The second course consisted of a green salad with balsamic vinaigrette which was somewhat ordinary. Served with it was a sparkling white Ontario wine. I can't remember the name, unfortunately.

The third course comprised of three hand made mushroom dumplings in a tamari mushroom broth. It was served with another white wine. At this point in the meal, I figured the wine selection would remain in the very light end of the flavor spectrum. Very personally, I prefer bolder wines but these did fit well with the dishes served.

This course was my favorite. It was a tempeh cutlet that was heavily marinated for hours, served with a reduction and a multigrain risotto. The risotto was a bit too cold for my liking but the tempeh really surprised me. I had a terrible time enjoying tempeh lately. Something about the flavor doesn't sit well with me any more, but they managed to do something to get the after taste out. Accompanying the dish was a light red wine, again a bit too light for my liking but it did go well with the dish.

For dessert, we were treated to a delicious brownie with a soy ice cream with an almond brittle.

All in all, it was a very nice dining experience and it's amazing for vegans, as you don't have to worry about any animal products in your meal. I recommend it. Now I wish Montreal could step up and get something comparable! Does it beat my L'Anise meal, or the 5 Flies in Amsterdam? No, but its certainly good to see a vegan chef step up to the plate and take on the challenge. I'll definitely go back!

The Zen Kitchen
634 Somerset Street West
Ottawa, Ontario

Review of Ottawa's Perfection Satisfaction Promise Vegetarian Restaurant

I spend so much time in Ottawa these days that I should consider changing my blog's by-line to "Montreal and Ottawa Vegetarian Adventure"... :)

This restaurant came to me as highly recommended from a fellow vegetarian acquaintance of mine. I absolutely loved the food. This place is in a basement, in the Ottawa University part of town. The owners appear to be Krishnas or some other Hindu sect. I'll keep my atheist rants to myself for now, but I have to say that the food is worth it.

The base of all their dishes is either potato, sweet potato or rice. Then you have a choice of one or more toppings. I took the avacatofu and chili on sweet potato, and my friend took the chickpeas on sweet potato. Both were extremely flavorful and we both left the restaurant with a full belly. The prices are reasonable and the service is quick.

Perfection Satisfaction Promise Vegetarian Restaurant
167 Laurier Avenue East
Ottawa, ON K1N 6N8
(613) 234-7299

Monday, April 19, 2010

Recipe sent from Gardein - Beefless Soft Tacos for #meatlessmonday

gardein™ beefless soft tacos
  • 1 bag of gardein beefless tips
  • 6 small tortillas
  • 1/3 cup prepared green salsa
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • Pinch sea salt
  • Pinch black pepper
Avocado Salsa
  • 3/4 cup prepared green salsa
  • 1/2 avocado, diced
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 tbsp chopped onion
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 cup cooked corn
  • 1 head shredded green cabbage or romaine lettuce

Defrost beefless tips for 5-10 minutes. Combine marinade ingredients. Cut tips in half and marinate for 20 minutes. Heat stainless steel sauté pan, add oil and sear beefless tips for 3 min on each side. Meanwhile combine avocado salsa ingredients in medium bowl and set aside. Warm tortillas. Put tips in middle of tortilla with avocado salsa, lettuce, corn and fold. Garnish with your choice of green onions, shredded cheese, chopped fresh cilantro, lime wedges.

Makes 6 servings

Sunday, April 11, 2010

VegeMontreal Potluck in May

Montreal has a thrive Vegetarian group called VegeMontreal and they organize regular pot lucks for local vegetarians. Here are the details to their next event:

May 2010 Potluck

Participate in our next potluck, Saturday May 8th, 2010! You will be received in a wonderful, warm and spacious room generously provided by one of our members.
Where :

Photo Service
218, Notre-Dame street West
Place-d’Armes Metro
When : 5:30 p.m.

Good to know :
What is a potluck?
So that everyone can eat without having to ask questions, we invite you to bring a vegan meal meaning it was cooked without any animal product (meat (beef, pork, chicken, fish...), milk, butter, cheese, yogurt, eggs, honey, chicken broth, gelatin, etc.).
If you need any vegan recipe ideas, visit our website under the Recipes tab.
We invite all participants to bring the recipe of the meal they brought.
Everyone must bring their plates and utensils, as none will be available.
Please RSVP at  . This event is opened to everyone.

Come with your friends!
 I don't do group things anymore but if you are new to the vegetarian lifestyle, meeting others that are like minded is always a great way to help you in your quest for a meat free diet.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Shout Out to our very own Nadia G. on Food TV!

Just watching her show on FoodTV right now. Great job, guys! I'm happy to see Montreal's very own on TV.

Quoted from their page on FoodTV:
Hilarious, informative and deliciously demented, Bitchin’ Kitchen is a brand new cooking show for a new generation of foodies. From one night stand breakfasts to dump ‘em desserts, twisted mastermind and chef-comedienne Nadia G offers recipes, lifestyle tips and more madness than you can shake a zucchini at! This program is based on the wildly popular web series.

The irreverent series stars Nadia G. alongside Panos da Fish n' Meat Guy, The Spice Agent, and Hans the Scantily-Clad Food Correspondent.

Product Review : In Snax Pita Chips

I recently had the chance to review a new Quebec product called In Snax Pita Chips. Here's the bio that was sent to me along with three bags of pita chips:

The young woman behind this Quebec company is Cheria Kyres, the daughter of George Kyres, former President and Founder of Europe’s Best and co-owner of the Montreal chain of supermarkets Les 4 Frères. Aiming to become a national leader in the field of gourmet health and well-being, In Foods is committed to offer natural products, without preservatives, and as low in sodium as possible.

With their first product, the all-natural In Snax pita crisps, In Foods is set to make inroads into the healthy snacks market. Offered in 3 flavours, In Snax pita crisps contain up to 70% less fat than regular chips, are an excellent source of fiber, contain no trans fat, are oven-baked with sunflower oil and are produced in a peanut-free factory.

I brought them to my office to share with my co-workers over lunch. They were an instant hit! So much better than regular chips, and they hold up very well to dip. I can see many possibilities for hors-oeuvres too. Unlike other pita chips, they have a double layer, making them thicker and tastier. They come in three flavors: cinnamon & sugar, lightly salted and multigrain and garden herbs.

They are crunchy, not over salted. Go buy some!