Delish eats in Ottawa

Last week I spent a few days in Ottawa for work and decided to try out some of the city’s finest restaurants while I was in the city. My two favorites were:

Zen Kitchen – A local, organic, gourmet vegan restaurant located on Somerset Street. I took my sister, who’s a vegan and she absolutely loved it. It was a small dimly lit restaurant. They served us some free appetizers to start off (a vegan-type springroll), delicious homemade bread and vegan butter. As mains, my sister order the Raw Special, which came with a pumpkin seed burrito fresh guacamole, house salsa, sour cream, sea vegetables, nutmeat, slaw, kale chips and house pickles. For myself, I chose the Sopé, which was a leavened corn tortilla, black beans, exotic mushrooms flambeed with a chipotle-tequila sauce, house salsa, fresh guacamole, lime creme fraiche and spicy rice. Yum! The mains averaged around $20 each, which isn’t that expensive considering that everything is made in-house, local and organic. And for dessert, we both ordered a vegan chocolate-vanilla swirl cheesecake. To die for! The staff was also very nice and the service was quick.

zen kitchen

Murray Street – renown for it’s wine, charcuterie and delicious cheeses. I was first recommended this restaurant by one of my friends and it’s become one of my Ottawa musts each time I go for a visit. Though it is renown for it’s great meats, it also always has succulent vegetarian options. This time around, I ordered the P,B & J, which consists in roasted beets, soy-maple vinaigrette, crumbled La Folie des Bergeres goat’s milk cheese, in-house peanut butter, Agawam grape jelly & brioche ‘sandwich’ croutons. I also treated myself to a smoked blue cheese called the Blue Haze (which is accompanied by pickled onions, beets & carrots, in-house jelly and fresh bread) and for dessert, the Joe Louis – chocolate coated chocolate cake, peanut butter filling, peanut brittle, chocolate peanut sauce. Now, that is what I call “foodporn”! The waiters are always super friendly and chatty and the food really isn’t overpriced.

murray

So there you have it! My two food recos for your next trip to Ottawa.

Have a lovely Tuesday!

xo

Favorite eats in LA

I just got home on Sunday night from my vacation on the west coast. As a vegetarian (going on 10 years this year, hellz yea!), I love traveling to California because they have such a great selection of veggie or vegan-friendly food. They’ve also got lot’s of farmers markets and great organic and local products to offer.  During my vacation, I always try to hit up new places to eat and this time was no different.  Here are three of my favorites in the LA area:

1 – Flore Vegan

Located in Silverlake, just east of Hollywood, this small vegan restaurant is absolutely amazing! I ordered a vegan “Club Sandwich”, which included tempeh bacon, battered baked tofu, eggless mayonaise, avocado, tomato and sprouts, all served on fresh sourdough bread. It was accompanied by a delicious little salad.  I also had one of their amazing vegan treats: I ordered a peanut butter and chocolate cupcake, which was hands down the best cupcake I’ve ever eaten. I like this place because unlike some vegan restaurants, Flore really fills you up and is relatively inexpensive for all the food you get ($10.95 for the club – photo shows only half of the club :p). They apparently also serve a delicious brunch. I highly recommend going for a visit!

2 – Bulan Thai Vegetarian Kitchen

Bulan Thai has two locations: one in Silverlake and another on Melrose Ave. in LA. Their dishes are creative and super tasty. I ordered the vegan “Hot Wings”, which give Sadie’s (One of my favorite vegetarian restaurants in Toronto) a run for their money. They are veggie chicken wings deep-fried and flavored with special hot sauce. I also ordered the vegan “Tasty Sweet & Sour” dish, with tofu, veggies and their yummy sweet & sour sauce. There are so many different things on their menu: Soups, Noodles, Appetizers, Rice, Curries, etc. It’s hard to pick out something to eat. I like this place not only for the food but also for their great service and friendly staff.

3 – Venice Beach Wines 

You wouldn’t even know this place existed if you were just walking by on Rose Avenue. Located in Venice Beach, this small tiny wine bar is a great place to discover new wines and eat lot’s of fantastic cheeses and food. They’ve got wines by the glass starting at $7, an extensive selection of beers and a delicious food menu featuring charcuterie, mini paninis, cheese, pizzettes, etc. I couldn’t resist getting some cheese (those who know me know I live for cheese), so I ordered the Beemster and Triple Cream St André, which were served with jams and warm baguette. Both cheeses were great, the portions could have been a little bigger for the price but for the quality of cheese they served, it wasn’t bad at all. I also ordered a mini panini – pear, aged cheddar and truffle oil. Wow! What a combo! I think I ate that thing in just a few seconds.  They’ve also got tons of options for non-vegetarians as well. I also loved the ambiance and warmth to the place.  Definitely worth the trip!

So there they are! If ever you’re in the area, I hope you’ll pay them a visit.

Have a lovely Tuesday!

Mel

ps. All this food talk is making me hungry… is it lunch time yet?