Knowing Stu’s love for all things grilled, the following tweet was…expected:
@stuntmanstu (May 09, 09:18 AM)
U don’t ever crave a steak? RT @KGrayDonald: @stuntmanstu yup, I’ve been vegetarian since I was a teen
Now, I eat meat, but don’t crave steak. Beef (or bison) short ribs are another matter. But, there is a plethora of vegetarian/vegan options beyond salad in our fair city. Something, we at foodiePrints have begun discovering recently.
To his credit, Stu kept up with his challenge and will be rewarding himself with a chicken sandwich this weekend.
Stu, here are some suggestions for the next time you decide to challenge yourself to go meatless:
Vegetarian Spring Rolls at Peace Garden
A hidden gem in the ByWard Market, the eatery that has adopted teachings of former spiritual leader Sri Chinmoy is located in the Time Square Building’s food court, behind Empire Grill (47 Clarence Street). Chinmoy’s paintings, “Be Kind to the Animals” and “Peace Feeds the Children”, hang in the eatery.
Peace Garden has been referred to as a relaxing oasis.
It serves vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free options from sandwich wraps, to bakery, smoothies, salads, a famed walnut burger, daal soups, pad thai, stir-fries, organic fair-trade coffees and tea.
Made with spring roll wrappers and surprisingly not phyllo pastry, these spring rolls were deep fried very crisp, but not greasy. While Jenn opted for the plum sauce, I think the tomato chutney is the way to go. Its heat, brightness, and umami worked very well with the filling.
Its owners Chef Caroline Ishii and Dave Loan intend their restaurant to be a community-oriented hub. They support local artists by hanging artwork on ZenKitchen’s walls to hosting concerts. For Chinatown Remixed, a neighbourhood event that promotes contemporary art and culture, live bands will be playing this Sunday (May 15, 2011) from 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm in ZenKitchen’s parking lot. On June 8th, ZenKitchen will host the First Annual Fringe Gala: Playing with Fire in support of the Ottawa Fringe Festival. Now in its 15th year, Fringe is a theatre and arts festival that encourages “unrestricted artistic expression and accessibility.”
Chef Ishii’s tasting menus, paired with husband and sommelier Loan’s wines, have earned ZenKitchen mentions in tourism publications, including “Top Choice” restaurant for Ottawa and one of Ontario’s “5 Best Places to Eat” in the 2011 edition of Lonely Planet’s Guide of Canada (11th Edition, March 2011).
ZenKitchen is the restaurant where Jenn and I discovered vegan food need not be a compromise in flavour or texture.
Lunch is a great way to get a taste of what ZenKitchen offers. How about soup and sandwich for $14?
Smooth as velvet, this soup packed a gingery punch.
Having tasted a number of vegetarian curries, it is ZenKitchen’s chickpea coconut curry I compare others to. This wrap featured the chickpea curry with sauteed vegetables and house pickled onions. It was served with a spiced mint mango chutney and hand cut fries.
Wash everything down with a cool glass of lemonade – $4.
The lemonade balanced sweet and tart, refreshing.
Ottawa Veg Fest 2011
Jenn and I also discovered many vegetarian and vegan options at this year’s National Capital Vegetarian Association (NCVA) Veg Fest and some remarkable vegan bakery.
Judges in the Veg Fest’s first annual Cupcake Challenge, Jenn and longtime friend of foodiePrints Abby remarked at the cupcakes they tasted. Some were eye-opening good! Texture, flavour, presentation, creativity, all top marks.
This year’s winners:
- Jennifer Whiteford’s
- Erin O’Sullivan’s
So, are you craving something vegetarian yet?
634 Somerset Street W.
Tags: ByWard Market, Centertown West, Chinatown, cupcakes, vegan, vegetarian, Zen Kitchen