DTLA: I Ate Vegetarian at Zinc and I Didn’t Even Know It
Zinc Cafe and Market doesn’t call itself a vegetarian restaurant but it is… and you won’t miss the meat here. I ate a whole dinner completely baffled I didn’t want a “real” burger. Located in the Arts District in Downtown Los Angeles, this DTLA hot spot features a both a market and a bar called Bar Mateo. The drinks are from the Proprietors LLC team.
I tried almost all the drinks on the menu including the Merrick which was a fan favorite due to its pretty fanned apple slices garnish (garniture). It’s got a great apple brandy and does taste like boozy apple juice. I wouldn’t say it’s like cider though because it’s not fizzy like that.
Merrick – Clear Creak 2-year-old apple brandy, fino sherry, fuji apple juice, lemon, acacia honey syrup
The deconstructed chef salad was quite fun. You got to eat all your favorite bits first or if you’re like me, eat the other things until you get to savor the good stuff– which for me were the avocado slices and green beans!
We had a number of pizzas including the classic Margherita. The puffy, chewy crust was perfect.
One of the prettiest drinks is the Mesquit with muddled mandarin oranges with a flavor profile supported by the only slightly bitter Aperol. Tequila gives it some backbone.
Mesquit – Siembra Azul blanco tequila, Aperol, muddled mandarin oranges, lime
One of my all-time favorite pizza toppings is mushroom so this was going to be my favorite pizza until we got to the next one.
The bitter greens was absolutely the best. With that same buttery crust and a little bit of cheese to balance out the bitterness.
If you love Manhattans, the Hewitt is the drink for you. The bourbon cocktail with Nonino and sherry is my pick of the night.
Hewitt – Elijah Craig 12-year-old bourbon, Amaro Nonino, East India solera sherry, cherry wood smoke
Moving on we had baby romaine salad. I love the “deconstructed” look and everyone got a bit of everything in one bite.
I really enjoyed the veggie sliders. Just one was so filling.
This particular evening’s Grand Central Market which is a cocktail showcasing seasonal herbs, produce or citrus incorporated both vodka and Campari.
Grand Central Market – seasonal herbs, produce or citrus
There are a couple of things I crave after a night out. One of them is a Reuben sandwich. Getting the Reubenesque would satisfy that craving without additional guilt. Because you’ll want a little hair of the dog at brunch, n’est pas? Subbing in beets for corned beef, I could have used just a little bit more sauerkraut (but I’m a piquant fiend).
The Decatur isn’t on the brunch cocktails list but it can totally do double duty. The sparkling wine drink with vodka and creme de violette is beautiful. Much fuss was made over its glassware as well and a suggestion was made to sell some in the Zinc market. I say you can just visit Zinc for a drink (or two!).
Decatur – Aylesbury Duck vodka, creme de violette, grapefruit, lemon, sparkling wine
Just when I don’t think I can eat anymore, out came even more comfort food. How’d Zinc know I love lasagna and loaf (generally meat but in this case, nut). Really great tomato sauce on the spinach lasagna. It was super fresh.
Nut loaf. Yes, this would be instead of meatloaf. Like the sliders, you wouldn’t miss the meat at all. It gives me the same cozy feelings as eating Mom’s meatloaf except, well, my mom never made this. I do think she would approve of the fresh tomatoes rather than terrible ketchup though!
Sneaking in a brunch drink, we tried the Avery. A delightful and food-friendly tipple with a few of my fave things; grapefruit liqueur and Campari.
Avery – Lillet rose, Giffard pamplemousse, pineapple juice, lime, Campari
Didn’t I say I was full? Oh well, we can always eat dessert. Always! And particularly if it’s something light like the Italian almond tea cake. Fresh fruit including strawberries go so well with the moist cake.
For a night cap, I would go with the Molino. Although it’s a gin drink, it packs quite the punch. Plus it’s lovely to sip on next to the water feature in the courtyard which is super dog friendly.
Molino – Ford’s gin, Suze, Dolin blanc vermouth, verjus blanc, grapefruit peel
The Arts District in DTLA has a few gems and Zinc is one of them.