I’ve mentioned before I am not vegetarian or vegan. I just sometimes eat like one. I really hate labels to be honest. Just in our society it just seems like we are always labeling people. I believe the term “flexitarian” fits how I eat. I don’t know. I can say that during the warmer months I do in fact eat less meat and tend to look more like a vegetarian to others. Whatever.
The fact is I just love good food. I could careless what it is, as long as it’s good. Simple as that.
Recently though, I have been really wanting to go to two local places. Both vegetarian/vegan. One I have been to several times over the past 10 or so years. The other was new to me. I had not heard of it before and was honestly doing an online search of where someone with my food sensitivities could eat without worrying too much about the menu.
When I landed on their site and looked over their menu options I was thrilled that I could safely order and not worry about a thing. It went right on my list of places to try. My husband , a happy carnivore by the way, suggested we go and check it out and so we did.
Located on the coast in Branford, Ct , G-Zen lives up to its Zen like name the moment you step on to the grounds. A beautiful garden awaits you, beautifully landscaped and sprinkled with Buddhist statues. I felt like I had walked out of Connecticut somehow and was at a retreat. But wait, when you walk inside your going to be just amazed at not only what you see but what you feel. The Zen theme carries on inside and enhances you’re wanting to relax and enjoy your meal mindfully. I didn’t take any pictures of the inside as we were seated at a window seat in the front where we could look over the garden, see the charming New England Charm of downtown Branford and enjoy the coming and goings of the folks where enjoying the Branford Festival that day. Besides, the food is what got me.
We came on a Saturday when they offer a Buddha Brunch. Lots of wonderful items on the menu from fresh juices made right there to dairy free, gluten-free deserts. Lots of raw options for those who go that way and some items to make even a carnivore happy.
Hubby ordered a fresh juice and I went for a tropical green smoothie. Both worth being the only thing you ordered if stopped in to get something quick. So good.
We are that kind of couple that when we go out to eat at a new place, we are going to go at least three courses at a new place. I usually know after appetizers if we are going to dessert or not. If we blown away it’s going to be an investment. So we started off with the “G-Zen Dim Sum Plate. It arrived and all I could do is lick my lips. It was hard to believe it was all vegetarian. Crispy tasty tempura fried veggies, the most delicate but tasty spring rolls and these steamed vegetable dumplings that were out of this world. The spicy cilantro peanut sauce was heavenly and there was a ginger tamari sauce that was so good too.
It turned out both of us were torn between two entrée so we ordered both and shared. Hubby had the Crabbie Patty, which I giggled when I told him it wasn’t crab but seasoned tempeh. I have to admit, if you hadn’t told me I wouldn’t have known either. It was so incredibly moist and flavorful. They serve it with sweet potato fries and a homemade hickory ketchup.
I had the special that day which was a falafel wrap that came with sweet potato fries and a homemade blueberry ketchup. Yeah I know wait….blueberry ketchup? Yes you read that right and I have to say it was odd but that kind of odd you can’t stop eating and I really should have asked if I could have bought a jar of it somehow. It was like a jam but like a ketchup if that is possible and that is the only way I can explain it, besides saying I loved it.
After enjoying our lunch in a peaceful environment our very sweet waitress brought us the dessert menu and told us about what they had. No mind you I can’t have diary. I am so used to turning down dessert because honestly, there never is a dairy free option. If there is it usually has my other allergy, corn syrup. Well not at G-Zen. You wont find those and you can get gluten-free if you so wish. Hello dessert heaven!
Months of seeing cheesecake demo’s at my part-time job I was feeling left out and wanting to try some cheesecake so I jumped at the chance to have a piece of non-dairy cheesecake with chocolate ganache. That had to be the best dessert I have ever eaten in my entire life. I really need to learn to make this for myself.
Hubby had a dairy free coconut cream pie. Hello, my other favorite treat I miss! It was amazing when I tasted it but I got lost in eating my cheesecake and savoring ever bite I could.
Ami, the owner and chef came over and introduced herself and we had a wonderful time talking to her about her place, the food truck they have and how it all got started. She offers juice fasts that they make fresh for you as well as classes.
We walked out of there feeling full but not stuffed and tired. We walked the town green and took in the festivities of Branford day.
I look forward to going back and taking a few friends there too. It’s perfect for a date night or meeting up with friends. Now that I typed this up I am craving the cheesecake again. Better go look for some chocolate
Check out G-Zen’s website for more info.