Travel Talk

Dinner at Zen Kitchen in Ottawa, Canada


Today I have the esteemed pleasure of writing about a creative culinary experience I had the pleasure of partaking in last night.  I’m home for a few weeks and the fine people at Ottawa Tourism decided to help  SHABL with a few things to do. As a result I’ll be visiting lots of cool places and the one we’re going to discuss today is an organic vegetarian restaurant in China Town aka downtown called Zen Kitchen.

I had not heard of this place before but than again, I don’t live in Ottawa but was thrilled when they emailed me about visiting their restaurant. The first thing I noticed when I got to the restaurant was a list of their local suppliers in the area. Almost every ingredient is sourced locally and you know it’s organic. I’ve eaten vegetarian food before and always been a fan, that said I’ve never had the experience that I had last night, my sister who accompanied me described it as a “pleasurable experience for the palate”.

The restaurant is owned by a couple named Dave and Caroline and you can tell that they are passionate about what they produce. Besides sourcing most of the ingredients locally, they also have an incredible selection of gluten free items and most items can even be made gluten free should one choose.  The atmosphere was relaxed and the meal was an experience and I eat many dishes I’d never dreamed of before including but not limited to “Grilled watermelon with wasabi cream; heirloom greens with lime-ginger dressing; balsamic-chocolate paint; poached baby tomatoes” and “Pattypan squash with a red quinoa-corn-mushroom filling and romanesco sauce.”

The two items I just described are all part of the Chef’s August 2012 Tasting Menu which I had. My sister who is gluten intolerant had an array of other dishes but most notably was the gluten free ravioli, say what!? Besides the solid servings, we also had wine pairings and they were all tasting great, naturally I only sipped them to paint a picture on my palate as I made the erroneous decision to drive there. Had I not been driving, I’d of dove into those delicious smelling glasses without an instant of hesitation.

We went last night which was a Tuesday night and it wasn’t a particularly beautiful summers evening, the sky had just finished crying and the clouds crammed together making 50+ shades of grey. That said, the place was still packed and it had an eclectic mix of people from what appeared to be all segments of society who shared one thing in common, a love for next level organic vegetarian food. My sister and I enjoyed pleasant conversation with our new friends from Vermont who are here for her 50th birthday and had a solid time.

In closing, you already know I had a great time but what this did was let me sample things I’ve never had before and it rekindled my interest in top shelf vegetarian food. I will also be turning heads and shocking secretaries and space cadets at the next BBQ I stroll into and throw a few massive watermelon steaks on the grill. Grilled watermelon is awesome and I can’t believe I’d never seen let alone thought of it before. I’m telling you to try it at home, fyi.

Big thanks to Dave & Caroline from Zen Kitchen and Ottawa Tourism for making it all happen.

Tips hat,

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