Thursday, December 22, 2011

...My Very Vegetarian Weekend, Part Two: The Zenith


People throw this word around a lot - so I again refer to for a definition: 

adjective, quirk·i·er, quirk·i·est.
having or full of quirks
Ugh, ok.  So what is a quirk? 
1. a peculiarity of action, behavior, or personality; mannerism: He is full of strange quirks.
2. a shift, subterfuge, or evasion; quibble.
3. a sudden twist or turn: He lost his money by a quirk of fate.
4. a flourish or showy stroke, as in writing.

To continue my Very Vegetarian Weekend, James had asked me earlier in the week if I would like to do Sunday brunch at The Zenith in the South Side with him and another friend of his, Amy.  I had been to The Zenith before, which is famous for its vegetarian/vegan Sunday brunch buffet.  In addition, it is an antiques store with many unusual items for sale, including the tables, chairs, and decor in the dining area.

Entrance to Zenith Antiques
 There are a few staples on The Zenith's menu: apple and gouda plate (which is fantastic, and is the reason that I totally got hooked on smoked gouda), vegetarian grape leaves, house salad, and an extensive tea list with around 100 - I'm not exaggerating! - different types of tea.  Each week, the type of hummus (jalapeno, garlic, red pepper, etc.), soup, specialty salad, sandwiches (hummus wrap and two sandwiches), and entree (two different ones) change.  You can join their email list to have the menu sent directly to you each Wednesday, as they are only open Thursday through Saturday for lunch and dinner, and Sunday for brunch.

I used to go to The Zenith occasionally with my ex-boyfriend (hence the "used to go") and his vegetarian friend, and my absolute favorite entree there is the tofu lasagna with vegan basil cream.  It only appears on the menu three to four times per year, and the last two times it did, I couldn't go at all that week.

Major disappointment to me.  Their tomato sauce with the vegan basil cream is heaven.

I had never been to The Zenith for their Sunday brunch, which includes an entree, coffee or tea, and an array of side dishes and vegan pies and cakes - all for only $10. 

Best deal in town!

James and I arrived before they opened and waited for them to unlock the door, but we had to wait for Amy before we could be seated, so we looked at some of the antiques:

Patriotic lamp display
Antique wall hangings

Amy arrived not long after, and we were seated right away.  We had a hard time deciding on our main entree, as just about everything sounded intriguing: 
Zenith Brunch Menu, 12/18/11
Can you guess what I chose?  Yup, Black Bean Burrito (or maybe you thought the Red Bean Soft Tacos - nope! - burrito > tacos).  James went with the Seitan Pot Roast, and Amy stuck with breakfast and got the Scrambled Eggs.

As we waited for our entrees, the buffet beckoned, so we made a beeline for it.  

View of the buffet from my seat.  Tease.
Holy massive amount of food.  I tried to take a little of everything - there were so many things that looked fantastically tasty!  

Tex Mex hummus, stuffed grape leaf, peanut noodles, black bean salad, chickpea salad, pesto noodles, artichoke salad...I think that's everything (I could be wrong!)

The peanut noodles and the pesto noodles were the best things that I had from the salad buffet.  I could have survived on the buffet alone, but then my entree came...

Black Bean Burrito
Thank goodness I love garlic and cumin, because this burrito was full of both - I'm not complaining at all, but if you don't like flavor, this burrito is not for you!  I loved how flavorful it was - the chef seems to be all about creating fantastic flavor combinations and does it so well.

I tried James' Seitan Pot Roast - it was quite tasty, but the texture was unusual.  It definitely had a lot of flavor, too, but I'm glad I got the burrito.


Vegan cake table
Every cake and pie on this table is made without animal products, such as eggs and milk, just like the vegan cupcakes that I have made myself with the recipe from Dozen Bake Shop.  They contain a lot of oil, which makes them incredibly moist.  

Each cake is cut into small slices, so I sampled two - Vanilla Chocolate Chip and Raspberry Lime.

Vanilla Chocolate Chip and Raspberry Lime Vegan Bundt Cakes
Moist.  Rich.  Delicioso.  I think the Raspberry Lime was the better of the two.  James kept raving about the Peanut Butter Vegan Bundt Cake.

He has good taste.  So I got a piece.  

Peanut Butter Vegan Bundt Cake (sorry so dark!)
The man still has good taste; however, I still think the Raspberry Lime was best.

What a great Sunday brunch - great food, great company, and all at a great price - remember, all of that was only $10!

Dinner?  Well, I had to work at Kennywood again (one last time until May!), so I ate another banana and apple before going, and an enormous Asian pear while I was there - and then one of the ladies that I work with brought in a cookie cake for the last day.
Paratrooper on my last night at Kennywood for 5 months
 That cookie cake - some, not all of it - was my dinner.
I spent the entire weekend not eating any meat.  It really wasn't intentional at first, but after eating no meat on Saturday and knowing that I was going to The Zenith on Sunday, I figured, "Why not?"
I can't wait to try recipes from Vegetarian Times over the cold winter months.  Vegetables and other plant-based foods will help to keep me healthy to train for the Pittsburgh Half-Marathon in May...
The Zenith
86 South 26th Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15203

Zenith Tea Room on Urbanspoon

No comments:

Post a Comment