Stuff I Get Off On: G-Zen (Food Porn Alert!)

Whaddup, vegan dim sum?!

Last weekend I had the pleasure of checking out a semi-new vegan restaurant in Brandford, Conn., called G-Zen. I went with my friend Hannah and met a new friend there, Paul, who I uhm…may or may not have met on the Internet.

Anyway, let me tell you that my dining experience at G-Zen was probably one of the best I have had at any veg restaurant over the past year, and that’s saying a lot because I’ve been visiting some of the well knowns–in just this month I went to NYC’s vegan babies Blossom and Caravan of Dreams. In my opinion—which is the only one that matters right now because this is MY blog—G-Zen blows them both out of the water.

G-Zen is terrific because it is actually geared toward non-vegans; the owners say about 50 percent of their patrons eat meat. So on the table was a great little pamphlet explaining why veganism, educating anyone who stumbled upon the place without a solid knowledge of the movement. G-Zen owners are also owners of the popular vegan food truck, G-Monkey.

Their menu was completely innovative, with fresh ingredients prepared beautifully. They also have a massive drink menu, and although I didn’t imbibe, I did have a fresh young coconut which they cracked for me so that, after I drank the milk, I could enjoy the flesh, Hannibal Lecter style.

Okay so the food. We started with their signature sweet potato fries, called G-Fries; a plate of dim-sum; and the raw tacos—a brand new menu offering. Sweet potato fries are my go-to guilty pleasure, and they kicked it up a notch with their home-made hickory ketchup, which tasted like a mix between barbecue sauce and ketchup. Bangarang Rufio!

The dim sum was an eclectic mix of fried fare, dumplings and these gorgeous raw veggie spring rolls filled with beets and carrots. While I normally avoid fried foods when I do eat them, I want them to be fresh and unique. Fried bell peppers?! Don’t mind if I do.

But the raw tacos! Can we talk for a second about the raw tacos?! Wrapped in lettuce and stuffed full of sprouted walnut meat, veggies, guac and cashew cream, these tacos seriously fucked me sideways, which is the ultimate SexyTofu seal of approval—ask my boyfriend. If you’re not a fan of heat, I wouldn’t suggest them, however. While the heat isn’t overwhelming at first, it creeps up on you from behind and before you know it—bam! Belly down on the bed with your face in a pillow. Wait…what?

For entrees, I had the Kama Sutra. Any restaurant that incorporates sex into their food names is fine by me. This delicious coconut curry dish was full of veggies, sweet potatoes, and local tofu. Get in me!

Hannah had the Portabella Tofu Napoleon—which I think would be the perfect dish for a meat eater trying veganism for the first time. Layers of delish mushrooms, local tofu and caramelized onions, piled next to mashed potatoes and asparagus and drizzled with a porcini merlot sauce. Hannah and I accidentally switched doggie bags, so I ended up taking her Napoleon home, and my omnivorous man-friend and I ate the left-overs at midnight. He was extremely pleased, and although he will eat vegan fare with me, this is a guy who digs his meat. So A ++, G-Zen.

In a moment of extreme gluttony we ordered three desserts. We had the carrot cake, the cheesecake, and these phenomenal raw donut holes made of nuts and dates. They had a really crumbly, donut-y texture, which was amazing considering they were completely raw!

Now is the time for name dropping, and although my sweet friend Hannah hates when I brag about her, I will tell you that Hannah is the author of three awesome vegan dessert cookbooks (buy them on Amazon here) and as a vegan pastry chef, she is the ultimate dessert aficionado. Now pepper in the fact that I was raised by a pastry chef (Hi, Mom!), so the two of us are the ultimate sweet snobs. The carrot cake was killer, not too sweet, but not too earthy the way some “healthy” carrot cakes can be. The ginger crème frosting was sprinkled with coconut, and I was pleased through and through. The cheesecake, made with a mix of tofu and Tofutti, was also delicious. Simple and melt-in-your mouth creamy, this is the type of cake I would eat in a bathroom stall to avoid sharing.

Paul, my new vegan friend, is a G-Zen regular, and knows the owners, so everyone was especially nice to us. All in all, the experience was really incredible, and everyone was so kind—they even let Hannah in the back to take photos of the chefs at work in the kitchen. As someone who has worked in a kitchen before, I believe it’s the ultimate mark of a great (read: clean!) restaurant when they are fine with people documenting the kitchen space on any given evening.

Oh also I love that in the bathrooms, the toilets have a “half flush” button. Way to be eco-conscious!

G-Zen is only open for dinner Tues- Saturday 4-9, but I am considering starting a sit-in (non violence people!) advocating a G-Zen brunch. Please scramble my tofu with a side of spicy sweet potato hash, G-Zen! Call it the SexyTofu.

Now another note before I bombard you with sensual food porn. At the end of the night I dropped Hannah off at home, and she invited me in to take some of her latest pastry projects off her hands. She gave me generous slices of an awesome ice-cream cake with edible glitter (new stripper name, anyone?) and this chocolate cherry pie that I inhaled in my living room later that evening, growling a bit at the fact that I was expected to share with my man-friend. Keep an eye out for that recipe in the cookbook she is working on as we speak! Little pastry genius.

Okay have you been to G-Zen!?! Do you often have food field trips with super cool vegans you met on the Internet? Wanna make bets on how long I can continue doing this before someone turns me into a lampshade?

Take that, Rihanna!

Dim sum

raw tacos

edible art!

Kama Sutra curry

Tofu Napoleon

Top left, Hannah’s Choc cherry pie. Top right, raw donuts
Bottom left, carrot cake. Bottom right, cheese cake

Ice cream cake with edible glitter!

About the author  ⁄ Zoe

Zoe writes about food and sex on SexyTofu.com.

11 Comments

  • Reply
    July 3, 2012

    Presentation looks fantastic, and now I’m super hungry. I’m intrigued! I want to go sometime! Me want tacos.

  • Reply
    July 3, 2012

    i don’t wish anyone to drop their iphone in a puddle, but geez girl, i can’t read your blogs (AND LOOK AT YOUR GORGEOUS FOOD PHOTOS) anymore without leaving a trail of drool in my wake!!!

  • Reply
    Lauren
    July 3, 2012

    Looks amazing! Have you been to Quintessence? We have great raw tacos as well!

  • Reply
    July 3, 2012

    You are FAR too kind and complimentary, my dear! Seriously, I’m just grateful that you would take me along on this fantastic foodie adventure. The absolute least I could do was repay you in dessert. Next time though, I’m taking -you- out. I think it’s gotta be a Bloodroot brunch one of these upcoming Sundays.

  • Reply
    July 3, 2012

    Food porn —->>>> Food woody. Wow, that stuff looks amazing. I was so close to being there. Damn work.
    Marty
    Marty’s Flying Vegan Review

  • Reply
    Tyler beach
    July 3, 2012

    gzen and this blog ROCKSSS

  • Reply
    July 4, 2012

    We have not been to GZen yet but we have gotten food from their GMonkey food truck. They have a raw pasta dish that is super!

  • Reply
    Cheryl
    July 4, 2012

    I believe I may have been at GZen the same night- I was offered the donut holes but opted for the chocolate cake, which is to die for. We were also WOWED by their raw tacos and the Karma Sutra! Oh, and I had the red sangia and my friend opted for the white mango flavored sangia….so yummy!

    • Reply
      July 4, 2012

      Yes next time I go someone else will drive so I can booze it up! Also that Choc hazelnut cake – I need that in my mouth’

  • Reply
    July 5, 2012

    Those raw donut holes look soooo good. I actually wouldn’t feel bad about eating them; if they’re raw, that means they’re good for you, right? :)

    • Reply
      July 6, 2012

      Guilt free! I only eat sugar in moderation so when I do, no feeling bad!

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