July 10, 2012 By Leanne Vogel July 13, 2017Kevin and I spent one full day of our recent camping trip to Cypress Hills putzing around Walmart supercenter, eating out and touring Medicine Hat. What’s that? Campers don’t go out for lunch? Well, they do when their name is Leanne and all she wants for lunch is a panini. A little searching on my handy dandy iPhone (seriously, how did we function without these 10 years ago?) brought up a gluten-free, lactose-free cafe in Medicine Hat that, believe it or not, served paninis. It was meant to be. Zucchini blossom market and cafe is a Mediterranean influenced eatery dedicated to serving delicious food made by hand with fresh ingredients. Located in the historic neighbourhood of Riverside, they are easily accessible from the Trans Canada Highway and across the river from downtown Medicine Hat. Their location was great for us because we had the dogs with us and wanted to find an area to park that was shaded so the car wouldn’t get too hot while we enjoyed a quick bite to eat. The first thing that jumped out at me upon entering was the salad and drink selection. Because of the small space, everything jumps out at you the minute you walk in the door. There are menus, plates of gorgeous food, staff, tables, everything all right there. I was like a kid in a candy store – distracted and challenging to make sense of. There were many jars of teas, large veggies on the ceiling, and a bunch of black boars with options galore. There was a lot happening on the menu and 0 in the way of explaining what allergen-free options were available. I chose to consult one of the ladies behind the counter to help narrow down my selection. She was very helpful, comfortable with the menu and open to suggesting items that would best suite my dietary restrictions. A bit of back and forth and I decided on a big bowl of bean salad and a gaucho panini on gluten-free bread, with roasted pork loin, mayo and chimichurri. Kevin went for the ham & cheese panini… with no cheese. We were a bit disappointed that they didn’t have a lactose-free cheese for Kevin given that their website said that they catered to lactose-free diets, but we gave them the benefit of the doubt that our lunch would turn out just as good without the cheese. While our lunch was being prepared, I took the liberty to walk around a bit and take pictures of tasty looking things. My absolute favorite detail to our visit were the little letters on the cookie jars. How cute is that? I used to make necklaces and bracelets out of those beads when I was a kid. Oh, memories :) Our food came out lickity split. 5-8 minutes perhaps. The bean salad was so large, I only got through half of it. The gluten-free bread was filled with flax seeds, sunflower seeds and was thin, panini style. I had hoped that the chimichurri would be the ingredient that made this dish, but I was a bit disappointed in the pesto-like sauce. It didn’t have much taste at all. Kevin’s panini was thin, crisp and wonderful. No cheese and all! This is the face of a happy camper… ready for an afternoon nap.
Hi! I’m Leanne
a Keto Nutritionist, host of The Keto Diet Podcast, and best-selling author of The Keto Diet & Keto for Women. I want to live in a world where every woman has access to knowledge to better her health.