Two weeks ago, Corbin and I took a little road trip to Ottawa! I really wanted to visit because my best friend Mel is moving across the world this week, and I wanted to give her a hug before she left. Some sweet friends of Corbin's also just moved to Ottawa, so the whole thing seemed like a great excuse for an adventure!
We spent a lot of time visiting and catching up with our friends, and planned a couple fun meals out to enjoy some highly recommended vegan restaurants. On the Saturday night we headed to Zen Kitchen with my friend Laura for dinner.
Zen Kitchen is a gourmet vegan restaurant that recently reopened after undergoing a change in owners. I started drooling over their vegan and gluten free friendly menu for about 24 hours before we actually arrived - everything sounded so good!
We decided on the black bean cakes and crispy mushroom appetizer to start.
The black bean cakes had good flavor, but were a bit dry. They came with a really tasty side of corn chips, salsa, guacamole and cashew sour cream which we really enjoyed. The crispy mushrooms were a hit! The dipping sauces made them even better. I wish I could eat these all the time.
For our mains, Laura had the Caesar salad (complete with polenta croutons and tofu), Corbin had the Royal Zen Burger and I got the lemon scented gnocchi. While everyone's meals looked, smelled and tasted delicious, I won the dinner round. The gnocchi was sublime. From the well cooked veggies, to the mushroom-leek cream sauce, I was in heaven. I loved every bite, especially since gnocchi isn't something I get to eat very often!
Overall it was a really lovely meal. The service was great and they were very diligent about my gluten intolerance, which I really appreciated! Definitely a fancier dinner out that we would normally do, but certainly nice as a treat with amazing company.
We had plans for brunch with Mel and her partner on Sunday morning and she suggested we go to Cafe My House.
I understand that they recently moved to a new location on Wellington Street West and I loved everything about the decor. It was so cute inside! Since it was a nice weekend, we scored a sweet table on the back patio for our brunch.
This was another menu I had been checking out in advance, though I still found it difficult to choose because everything sounded amazing! I started with the Cacao Latte, which was really good, though a little sweet for me.
I decided on the Chipotle BLT mostly because it had a waffle bun. Holy wow.
It was AWESOME. Also, gigantic. But so good. I loved every bite.
Everyone else enjoyed their meals and I would certainly love to go back there to try the dinner menu sometime.
Over dinner the night before, Laura had mentioned a vegan bakery where she had enjoyed the most amazing cupcake and we decided to check it out! Auntie Loo's Treats is Ottawa's first 100% vegan bakery. They have an amazing selection of cupcakes, donuts, squares and buns with a small selection of gluten free items. We had a great visit to the shop and scored some treats for the ride home.
We spent the afternoon in the sunshine at a Provincial Park and I got to give Mel all sorts of hugs. It's been awhile since we've lived in the same city, but this move is going to be a HUGE change and because she's my best friend I want the best for her. I'm so glad we were able to sneak in a visit and have some lovely time together before she left. Love that girl!