"If you ask me what I came to do in this world, I, an artist, will answer you: I am here to live out loud." ~ Emile Zola

09 March 2011

Vegan Pancakes & The Best Vegan Brunch in Pittsburgh

So, I love pancakes. Actually, I hated them as a kid because the only ones I ever had were made of Bisquick, which is gross. But I rediscovered them in the past few years, trying recipe after recipe until I hit the jackpot on VegWeb- "The Best Pancakes Ever! Vegan or Otherwise". The title speaks the truth. Pancakes, flapjacks, hotcakes, or whatever you want to call them, this recipe produces light, slightly sweet discs that are heaven for your mouth.

Anyway, last week I happened to 'hear' about an all-you-can-eat pancake breakfast with vegan options this past weekend to raise money for Tree Pittsburgh. Me + pancakes + trees = LOVE, so I was all about it. So on snowy Sunday morning, we headed to a favorite eating destination that was hosting the event, Double Wide Grill. Now... if you see an event advertising a pancake breakfast with vegan options, wouldn't you assume that meant VEGAN PANCAKES were offered? Well, not according to Double Wide. They handed me a menu with some other options, claiming there was "a mistake" and that no vegan hotcakes were being served. DUH. *sigh* Lesson: Call first. No matter what vegan claims are made. Sucks.

I wasn't about to leave my pancake cravings unsatisfied, and neither were other people I saw leaving for the same reason. Luckily, just down the street from Double Wide is my favorite veg restaurant in Pittsburgh, Zenith, which happens to have a famously amazing vegan brunch on Sunday mornings.

The thing about Zenith is that it's not only an all-vegan restaurant, but a veritable museum of awesome antiques and vintage coolness for your coveting pleasure. When you enter the building, you do so into a mini warehouse space filled floor to ceiling with anything vintage or antique you could think of. Clothes, furniture, jewelry, dishes, collectibles, stained glass windows from old buildings, weird salt and pepper shakers, and art. The inventory is always changing, and it's all for sale.

Once you pass through this area, you enter the restaurant, which is two more rooms of old treasures and art from local artisans. The walls of the first room are completely covered with paintings, sculpture, and display shelves filled with gorgeous antique collectible glassware in a kaleidoscope of colors. The second room's walls are adorned with art for sale from area artists, and one wall has huge lead windows that let in loads of natural light. The coolest thing is that all of the tables, chairs, and dinnerware used at the restaurant are also vintage or antique. And the ceilings are hanging with all sorts of unexpected odds and ends suspended above diners.

Zenith's menu changes from time to time, but is all vegan all of the time (they do occasionally offer eggs at brunch and an option for dairy cheese for some dishes). They have a super long list of loose teas available- more than I've seen in any one place. On any given day, there are 2-3 options available to choose from for each course: appetizer, soup or salad, entrees, desserts, etc. Our favorite Zenith dish is the divine Tofishy Sandwich, breaded tofu on a thick, soft bun served with vegan tartar sauce or cocktail sauce. We lick our hands and plates afterwards, no kidding.

Each guest, for just $10, gets a coffee or tea, choice of one made-to-order breakfast entree like almond french toast, banana pancakes, or a burrito AND an all-you-can-eat buffet of delicious fresh salads of all kinds, breads, and like 10 different homemade vegan pies and cakes. We always leave full and happy. :)

A tip: If you plan on dining at Zenith for brunch, which is offered from 11 am - 3 pm on Sundays only, plan to get there early or expect a wait (which isn't hard given the exploring and shopping you can do in the meantime). There are a lot of tables, but they fill quickly. A line forms at the door well before 11 and wraps around the building, so when the doors open most tables are called for.


Kathryn Hansen said...

wow...what a cool place...makes me wanna fly out there and visit!!!

FireHorse3 said...

What a fabulous restaurant, thank you for this wonderful article - I loved reading it :)

Heather said...

Droooooool! I would love to come visit. Thanks for inviting me! ;) Sounds so yummy!