Nick Denis – The Ninja Of Love Blog: It’s Shawarma Time !


Nick “The Ninja of Love” Denis is quite the character. Deadly. Silly. One-of-a-kind. Nick will blog his thoughts about life, love, work, play and, occassionally, fighting. He’ll blog at his leisure, sometimes daily, sometimes weekly, and sometimes twice an hour. Who are we to tell him when to write stuff?

What get’s you through the week?

You’re exhausted. You just had over nine hours of sleep and still feel tired. This is anti-good. Training hard twice a day can be tough, especially when you are eating clean. I really start to feel it mid-week. Usually Wednesday or Thursday I’m feeling drained. Bad weeks are when I feel it as early as Tuesday. I start to count the number of training sessions left until I am free! ‘Ok only 1..2..3..4..5..6 training sessions until I can have my cheat day’. :( I know there is zero chance of going out and getting a cheesecake to recharge my fatboy batteries. My organic 14 bean chili, soup, free range eggs and kale-spinach-vegatable-a-thon vitamix blended smoothie just doesn’t quite cut it. Is it a calorie thing or just a mental thing of giving myself a treat? Either way, throughout the years there has always been a cure.  It is something so inherently awesome. It is probably what defines us as human beings. Without it, man is lost. It is none other than SHAWARMA, and I heart it.

For those of you who have never had shawarma, please, let me guide you into a land of knowing what true happiness is.  Shawarma isn’t a food. That is a common misconception. You see, shawarma is more like a life force. With every bite you take, you feel it flowing through you. The beautiful garlic sauce flowing through your veins. It gives your life meaning. Trust moi.

If you have never had shawarma, or had shawarma and don’t share my feelings, you have only two options. Find the best shawarma in your city – I’m talking legit shawarma. If it doesn’t exist, you have to move cities.  It’s as simple as that. In Ottawa, there are literally one or two shawarma shops on every street block. If you ask around, almost every person will tell you that Shawarma Palace is the best. No, I am not sponsored by them, but if I was, I think I would be making my debut at Middleweight. Let me paint for you the shawarma experience.

Chicken Shawarma

You get in line, if you are lucky it is a short line. Either way, it is well worth the wait. The place is playing some Lebanese music. This is the first part of your sensory sexplosion experience. It lets you know that you are on the right path to love. Finally, it is your turn to order. You ask for a chicken plate, for here. You don’t take it to go because 1. You have a feeling you get less food and 2. You can’t possibly wait another 15-20 minutes to get this life force into your being. White or brown rice? Bit of both please. Two or three giant servings of each rice go onto your plate. Enough to feed someone for a few days already. This is good. Next come the garlic potatoes. This is a necessary experience. Don’t be fooled! Some shawarma places don’t include this with your meal, and you might have to pay extra. Nonsense! This is not a truly divine shawarma place. You must never return there again! A true shawarma place knows that garlic potatoes are an integral part of the experience.  The plate slides down now to the salad/veggie area. You get your 1-2 pita breads here too. Next, a big scoop of hummus is splattered onto your plate, with some spice and oil added. Next, a giant serving of salad and some dressing. If you’re lucky, some baked pita chips and tabouleh is added. What comes next is what makes your eyes go wide, like unwrapping your favorite gift on Christmas morning. The server makes his way to the giant chicken rotating spit thingy. I don’t know how many chickens had to die to make that giant mass of spinning chicken heaven, but I thank them all. They, and their families, should know that they died for the greatest of causes.  The server slices off what seems like enough chicken for a family or two. Cheap anti-real shawarma places will only cut off a bit and make the chicken slices ultra thin so it seems like they are giving you more. These shawarma places don’t deserve you. Please don’t support them, in the name of the holy garlic sauce. Ok, so at this point your server is trying his best to pile on this insane amount of chicken onto your plate over the rice and potatoes. It’s overflowing, as is your love for this man and what he is doing for you. Next he asks if you want some pickles, pickled turnip, both reasonable requests, but what he asks last is what you really came here for. ‘Garlic sauce?.’ YES PLEASE GOOD SIR! He wallops onto your plate two giant spoons of this white creamy goodness. You make a mental note to offer him your first born daughter then quickly pay whatever it is they are asking for, throw your money at them and run off to sit down and begin the next phase in the ritual.

For myself, I have developed a ritual of ingesting this godly gift. It is important to eat the salad first.  You might think this is a no-brainer as it is quite typical to eat salad first with any meal. However, the real reason I do this is simply to make space on the plate. There is too much goodness! Now with the extra few inches of space, I can do what I love most. I make a big mess of everything, mixing the garlic sauce all over the chicken, rice, potatoes evenly. I use my fork to continuously mix it all together, so it becomes one giant mix of heaven. Every bite must contain garlic sauce, chicken, rice, potatoe, and a bit of hummus.  Now I can eat, and eat I do. When it comes to eating shawarma, it is important not to listen to your stomach. It will mislead you, trying to tell your brain that there simply isn’t enough space to put all this. Blasphemy! You must make space for this gift. Would you really want to insult the beautiful shawarma server and not accept the gift he has given you in its entirety? That is not an option.

You have now finished eating your beautiful shawarma plate, and must quickly make your way to the closest available couch for the digestion part of this ritual. This is most likely located in your home. At this point you feel much like your breath, great! You can now enjoy the rest of the night knowing that you have accomplished something magical. For myself, I also feel like a new man. The mystical properties inherent in the shawarma goodness is transferred to me, most likely via the law of conservation of energy, and I am recharged and fully capable of finishing off the rest of my week’s intense training sessions. However, this story doesn’t end happily. For you see, shawarma palace only exists in Ottawa. Montreal has been quite different for me. I have tried my best to find great shawarma in Montreal.  I simply can’t find it here. No matter where I go, it simply doesn’t compare to Ottawa shawarma.  And so this is where our story ends. I am but a man, in search of high quality shawarma in Montreal. Please, if any of you know where such things can be found, please feel free to contact me @theninjaoflove on twitter.

10 Responses to “ Nick Denis – The Ninja Of Love Blog: It’s Shawarma Time ! ”

  1. Jamie Locke says:

    I am hungry now…

    Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  2. From cheesecake to shawarma… I think Nick’s blogs show that fighters who train at a high level like Nick does are constantly thinking of good food.

    Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  3. Wael Saghir says:

    I would like to represent the Lebanese people by saying you are very welcome for literally the greatest food on earth.

    Well-loved! Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0

  4. angelo says:

    Coming from a Montrealer, I think Nick needs to go to Boustan on Crescent… DON’T go to Amir. Basha is decent… and yeah, for some reason, in Montreal we call chicken shawarma (perhaps incorrectly) “shish taouk”.

    Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  5. McDooogs says:

    “You might think this is a no-brainer as it is quite typical to eat salad first with any meal. However, the real reason I do this is simply to make space on the plate.” Lol that was awesome :)

    Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

  6. HA, i was just laughing at that same part, as I ate my salad first.

    Love the Denis blogs. Not sure what any of this has to do with zombies though.

    Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  7. Dave "SHOULDRZ" MacMillan says:

    I can attest to this. Nick’s post here is 100% FACT. the palace is awesome and the prairies are missing the boat on shawarma

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  8. What we lack in shawarma we make up in Slurpee

    Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  9. RY says:

    Honorable mention to Shawarma Castle(Rideau Street) and their spicy garlic!

    Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

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