Monday, May 7, 2012

Party for one: Solo adventures in Ottawa

Here is the story about the second fabulous road trip I've taken to Ottawa in two weeks! My life kind of rocks right now! I travelled to Ottawa for business this time and went up on my own. I don't do things by myself very often so the prospect of a solo adventure was both weird and wonderful. I say solo, but you'll see I couldn't stand my own company for very long ha!  After my work obligation ended, I got to see Helen my "hipster before it was cool" friend I've known for ten years. As soon as I got there, she handed me a bowl of coconut sweet potato soup. How well does she know me that she knew 11 pm would be the perfect time for that kind of thing?

Take 32.

The night of the supermoon led into a day of super sun for adventures-woo hoo warm weather!Armed with a new bucket list for the capital region thanks to the awesome teasers at Vegfest, it was off to The Gypsy kitchen for vintage clothing and good eats. I chose the BLT with coconut bacon, sprouts and home made mayo-yum! I also got the macadamia orange cookie.
Fact. Anything served on awesome plates tastes better.

The sandwich was bad ass but the cookie made me sad with it's suckiness. Silver lining that made up for crappy cookie = the bathroom was tiled with highlights of the 70s and 80s. Yes please!

How you doin? Come here often?

After such a disappointing finish, I was off in search of dessert nirvana. I took Helen's advice and went to Raw Sugar, a super funky coffee shop that was right in China town. Surprise surprise, my internal dumpling radar led me straight to China town. Every.Time.

Even though they failed to deliver the Auntie Loo's cupcakes as promised on the website, they did have whoopie pies! Sold! I'm not sure what the technical definition of a whoopie pie is so I'll break it down for you the best I can. Soft oatmeal/cinnamon cookies that hold both a dreamy marshmallow type filling AND chocolate frosting goodness. *drool*

 It was both incredibly delicious and super filling, so I put half away (we ended up fighting over it later like it was the last edible dessert on earth). On the way out, I spent an embarrassing amount of time in their super fab bathroom. I've decided that if I ever pee again without being directly under a chandelier, it will be too soon.

 Also, magnetic poetry! I hope no one else had to go.... 

Last stop before home was a visit with Mandy and Rob in Brockville, who I love like family. I've written before about how awkward holiday meals can be when you're vegan, so I've assembled a dream team of stand ins.

 I met Mandy last year at a circus protest (of course I did) and numerous commonalities sealed our friendship forever. We've been cooking up magic in the kitchen ever since. Mandy and Rob were just returning from another veg-themed road trip to Montreal and came bearing a freezer full of mock meat from Paradis Vegetarien foods. I've said before that I'm no longer much of a mock meat fan but tonight's dinner may have changed my mind!  This stuff is THE BEST! Mmmmmm!

 On the menu was mashed potatoes with mushroom gravy, fiddle heads, coleslaw and lemon pepper "chicken". Oh baby! This meal was *awesome*! Here is an approximation of the mushroom gravy.

Christina's dream team gravy
2 tbs coconut oil
500g sliced mushrooms
1 onion quartered and sliced
2 cloves garlic, pressed
1/4 cup red wine
Juice of one lemon
2 tbsp tamari/braggs/soy sauce
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp rosemary
1/2 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp savory
1/4 tsp coriander
1/4 cup water mixed with 2 tbs flour

Melt coconut oil in a pan heated on medium. Add onions and cook until translucent and a little bit brown. Add garlic and saute for about 2 minutes. This is a good time to add your mushrooms. You can cut them a little bit more if you like, but as they cook will get soft and you can break them with your cooking utensil until it's at your desired size. After your mushrooms have had about 5 minutes to sweat, this is a good time to add the wine. You can also add some to your mouth. Depending on how your mushrooms are looking (You want them to be pretty soft by this point. I wasn't really timing things, so it could be up to about 20 minutes to get here), now is a good time to add everything but the flour water mixture. Cook for about 3-5 minutes longer, feel free to add a bit more wine to the sauce or your belly if you feel the need. You can now add the flour mixture and watch it thicken up like magic. I also added a tablespoon of some fancy Shitake mushroom "oyster" sauce that Mandy and Rob brought back, but if you're not in Montreal you're most likely out of luck. You should taste yours now and decide if it's delicious or needs anything else to finish it.

Mouth Orgasm

Even though I gave out a ten for a brownie a few blogs ago, you should to know that almost never happens. To be honest, I've been chasing a perfect ten meal since Las Vegas. Tonight all my dreams came true. This meal blew my mind with awesome. Here's Mandy, proudly wearing her perfect ten!

A day later and I'm still feeling the afterglow from this meal! Thanks to my friends who fed and entertained me and my business for allowing me fun, adventure and funds for travel! Now go out and have your own adventure!

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