Sunday, January 17, 2010

Zen Gardens, Cambridge

So, Friday at 3pm was my (dun dun DUN!) oral thesis defense. A defense is the culmination of several years of study and field research presented to a committee of professors and subsequent begging and pleading (in the most professional way) for your Master's degree so that you can finally get your life back. So, several weeks of preparation (and several years of research) leading to the most stressful 2.5 hours of my academic career. I have no idea what happened was a pure Will Ferrell in Old School moment where I blacked out but must have got something right because they all signed off on my thesis! Hurrah! I had to complete a few minor revisions over the weekend, but other than that I was done like dinna!

Speaking of dinna, that kind of achievement warrants not having to cook. And so, on Friday night we headed out to Zen Gardens for a celebratory feast.

There used to be a location here in town, but sadly it closed a couple of years ago. Thankfully, there's another location a couple towns over that isn't necessarily convenient, but is close enough for a treat now and again. It's a vegetarian restaurant, but most options are vegan...and I love seeing this on a menu in a town where most restaurateurs stare at you sideways when you say you're vegan:

To say we stuffed our faces is the understatement of the year. I may have unbuttoned my pants when we got back to the car afterwards. May.

The thing with Zen Gardens is that you want to order every single thing off the menu. It is impossible to commit to just one meal, especially since it's not like it's around the corner and somewhere we go once a week.

So, we diversified...essentially ordered an unnecessary quantity of appetizers and meals, spread them about the table and sampled away. Here is a very low-quality (the restaurant is very dimly lit) picture journey of our meal:

Soy chick'n balls with a mango ginger sauce.

Proof that there is a god, and yes s/he is vegan.

Seitan platter!

Sauce flavours: teriyaki, sweet and sour, curry and black bean

Steamed dumplings

Steamed BBQ buns

Very poor quality picture, but so so so good.

Soy-ham fried rice - sweet, spicy and savoury all at the same time, so so so good!

We ate a lifetime's worth of soy, but it was a celebration and what is life without a little unnecessary indulgence now and again. A celebration several years (and many tears) in the making warrants a bit of excessiveness, no?

Zen Gardens
65 Water St. N
Cambridge, ON N1R 3B4
(519) 620-8809


Jessica @ Dairy Free Betty said...

Yummmmy... I want to eat there! It all looks so amazing!!

The Voracious Vegan said...

CONGRATULATIONS!!! You deserve to celebrate for weeks! What an awesome achievement, congratulations. I would love to know what you wrote your thesis on.

The food looks incredible. How awesome to be able to go to a restaurant and have so much to choose from. I think I would order one of everything!

Mary said...

Thank you!

I work with a symbolic interactionist approach within sociology so we look at how people form groups and develop meanings within them and subsequently how they act toward things based on those meanings.

Based on that, I did a study of amateur dance (i.e. children's dance studios) and how participants interact with one another based on the meanings they have for the act of performing and engaging in competitions and recitals. Basically, it's a study on the sociology of entertainment and notions of providing entertainment FOR entertainment in and of itself (i.e enrolling kids in dance to keep them entertained, yet putting on a show is an example of entertainment to the audience). That is a very simple synopsis, but it gives you an idea!

Aoife B said...

Oh my, my, my....sooo hungry after looking at those pictures!!! If only we had a place like that in Ireland...

Vincent said...

I LOVE Zen Gardens!! It's our favourite restaurant ever!

We go there, spend a small fortune (we also feel the need to diversify with so many options) and leave happy.

Mind if I ask what location you frequent? We're in Waterloo, but *that* one closed, so now we visit Cambridge, and occasionally Guelph.

Anyway, awesome to read about Zens from another vegan food lover!

Goodness Baker said...

Zen Gardens is very yummy but I always end up with a crazy soy headache afterward. Great for a special occasion. My favourite Waterloo restaurant is Masala Bay (ask for their vegan options).

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