Saturday, June 6, 2009

Beyond the Green Door

Last night Chris and I joined our friend N for dinner and a movie. N is a vegan, and both Chris and I enjoy vegetarian food, so we decided to go to The Green Door, in Ottawa East. It's a cafeteria/buffet by weight sort of place, very casual, communal tables etc. but they also sell beer and wine, which is really lovely. We had all been there together for dessert in the past, but never dinner.

I was blown away by the selection of dishes both hot and cold. The line begins with the daily soup (zucchini, which N tried and enjoyed) and four different kinds of bread, several gluten-free. You move on to the hot dish area, where I selected a tofu and vegetable stir-fry, a scoop of mashed potatoes with kale and cheese, a pile of simply steamed asparagus, a helping of mild eggplant curry, and a dollop of cauliflower in a lemon-tahini sauce. There was also a gorgeous-looking vegetarian lasagna, mashed yams, black beans with squash, and several other things I cannot remember.

Move on to the salad bar, grabbing a still-warm triangle of spanakopita along the way, and you'll find mixed greens, bean and grain salads, even a bowl of Caesar (sans bacon and anchovies of course) as well as cucumber-yogurt raita and a sesame-dressed yam salad that I found overpowering. It was the only thing I tried that I didn't adore, actually. The rest of my plate was utterly delicious, fresh, and not aggressively "healthy" tasting in the least. I wish I had taken way more of the cauliflower dish because it blew my head off with its subtle flavours and mild richness. The eggplant curry was excellent as well, and the tofu in the stir-fry was some of the best I've ever eaten.

Of course we got dessert - Chris and I split a slice of chocolate and vanilla swirl cheesecake with a coconut-spiked crust. We forgot to check if it was dairy or soy, but I think it was dairy, though it was far airier and lighter than most cheesecakes. Very nice indeed. N had a slab of their amazing gluten-and-sugar-free chocolate cake (it has cashew flour in it, and it's dense and dark and wonderful). I got a cinnamon walnut cookie to take to the movie with me and it was delicious as well.

All in all, a fantastic experience and one I hope to repeat very soon. WIth just water to drink, and with well-laden plates, our dinner came to $30. I think we could splurge on a boozy beverage next time, perhaps.

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