The magic of a neighbourhood

So, we have been gone for SO LONG because we bought a house, renovating a house, and are continuing to renovate this house. But. I've learned, or re-learned, the importance of neighbourhoods, and how they define different areas in this city.

This past Saturday, I got to experience a new neighbourhood, and learn a bit more about this fair city that I live in.

All this learnin' (best said with a redneck accent) was made possible by the lovely, gracious, funny, charming, and all around amazing Paola St-Georges of C'est Bon Cooking (@cestboncooking on the twitter). Paola is just, one of those people. When you meet her, you feel like you've known her for years because she has this demeanour that is so welcoming, loving, and passionate about her work. That's why I was so SO SO excited to get the opportunity to go on one of the Edible Ottawa Tours offered by C'est Bon Cooking.

The cherry on this food tour pie was that the tour was of a hot hot hot area in Ottawa, Wellington West. These Edible Ottawa Tours are exactly what they sound like, an opportunity to eat your way through an area, while learning about the area, the restaurants, the food served in those restaurants and the people who are behind these restaurants.

Enough of the blah blah blah. On to the food!

A tasty bite from Chef Jason Laurin of Essence Catering - chicken on rice cakes (not the gross kind). Chef Jason started the tour off on a high point, I was actually a little concerned what we would encounter after this!

We next strolled to Burnt Butter (@burnt_butter), a brand new restaurant that is less than a week old! We had these lovely hand made pasta tortelloni that were made with lobster. LOBSTER. The pasta was pillowy soft, and the sauce was perfection, velvety and smooth. Burnt Butter is a place that is "italian inspired" but reminds me of the excellent italian food back home. It is not pretentious, and is easily the best pasta I've had since moving to Ottawa seven years ago.

After that, we ran across the street (due to the rain) and went to the Back Lane Cafe (@BackLaneCafe on Twitter). Again, I was blown away. The food is focussed on local ingredients, and it shows. However, the standout item for me was the chocolate bar. Shortbread cookies, dolce de leche, sea salt and espresso ganache. It was magical, and for someone with a sweet tooth, it was nothing short of perfection.

These are baguette's from Back Lane Cafe. I'm telling you now, if you head here, order anything that involves pastry. I'm not sure who's responsible for this bread, but they have major skill.

Cookies from Credible Edibles (@creded on Twitter). Good to know that healthy food can taste great too! I always have that issue with healthy eating, but I'm thinking that maybe I'm approaching it wrong!

Oooooh onto treats from Thyme and Again (@thymeandagain on Twitter). In order, peach HOMEMADE marshmallow, coconut macaroon, and a lemon square. I may or may not have eaten extra peach marshmallows. I'll never admit it.

Bagels from the Ottawa Bagelshop. These are darn good bagels, crusty on the outside and soft on the inside. It's always nice to know where a solid breakfast option is available!

Last stop, 3 Tarts. And this particular tart, at 3 Tarts... is worth trekking from whatever part of town you're in to this place immediately. I can't explain it, you just seriously have to try it.

Look at all this freaking food! And I ate all of it, proudly. Okay, maybe I left the bagel for breakfast on Sunday, but this was a ton of food, I didn't even eat anything for the rest of the day!

Folks, this is only a portion of what we saw, ate, and learned about on the Edible Ottawa Tour. Go see Paola, asap. It's so worth it.


Um, hello?

Wow, has it really been three months since we posted?! I guess it has. Well, we're back. Or I'm back. In any case, I have stuff to tell the internets about, and to heck with it if no one is listening!

Going to Town... <-- that's a pun!

On Good Friday, K and I decided we would go for lunch with some friends since we were both off. The friends happen to be Steph and Drew, two very popular tweeps.

For lunch we decided to go to Town, 296 Elgin St.

I liked their fun menu presentation on a clipboard.

We all decided on some drinks, Drew and I had a pint of Kichesippi Natural Blonde. K and Steph both decided on a glass of White wine.

We also all decided to share the Super Green Gnudi.

Doesn't look so green when you put Marinara sauce on it, but they were amazing. They were the perfect blend of acidic tomato, rich cheeses and yummy deep fried goodness! The order had 8 pieces of Gnudi so 2 for each of us and was $13.

On to the mains!

I decided to have the Open face Meatball sandwich and am not disappointed that I did!

The portion sizes were very big for lunch but I won't complain about that. They use a nice Art-is-in bun for their sandwiches. The Meatballs were incredibly juicy and rich, the marinara is acidic and flavourful and the cheese was just enough to add some sharpness. I'm not much of a salad guy, so I was thrilled that they used a nice light oil dressing. I wasn't as big of a fan of the pecorino rosemary potatoes, I found the cheese and rosemary both very overpowering and not complimentary to each other.

K settled on the Cavatelli pasta.

It was delicious - salty, rich, cheesy and meaty. Everything a good pasta should be.

Steph had the Linguini Nero.

While Drew had the Halibut Fritto.

As you can see from the pictures, I wasn't lying about portion sizes!

We really enjoyed ourselves, the service was great, and the food was very impressive. A great change from all of the pubs on Elgin St!



We're on a roll, can you tell? A few weeks ago, before we had to leave town, A and I decided we should go out for dinner. I told A he could choose the restaurant, which he begrudgingly agreed to do. I was expecting a reservation to one of our usual haunts, but A called me and told me to get ready - that we were going to Murray Street restaurant for dinner.

Murray Street Restaurant
@MurrayStreetKWC on Twitter
110 Murray St, Ottawa

I was SO excited. First of all, my husband used to be fairly, ahem, predictable, in his food tastes. Anyways, Murray Street isn't so far from our comfort zone, since they specialize in making tasty meats tastier. And as the title states, we love meat!

It was difficult for me to decide what to have, as the whole menu sounded delicious. A and I were both stuck on the same two menu items, so we each ordered one so we could share with each other.

I ended up with the pork (tenderloin? I think, it was a little while ago... ) with beans and a cider reduction. First of all, the plating is fantastic. Everything looked so great, and tasted even better. The pork was perfectly seared, and was very tender. I think my favourite part was the cider reduction, as it added a nice bitterness to the softness and mouth feel of the pork and beans. A very classic dish taken up a few hundred notches.

However, A's dish was the real standout. He ordered the beef brisket with sour cream spatzle and mushrooms. As you can see, again, the plating is fantastic. The colour of the beef is making me drool right now. Anyways, the beef was fork tender, and fell apart easily. The spatzle was a great side for the brisket, it was creamy and soaked up all of the tasty beef juices. I know this because I'm pretty sure I ate half of A's dish as well as my own!

All in all, service was good, food was amazing, and it was a great night out with A. Sometimes that's all a girl can ask for!



Sorry for the lack of posts recently. K and A have been dealing with a family issue back in our home town, but we are back and the posts will be coming at you steadily again.

So being from Northern Ontario, we have an appreciation for good Maple Syrup and there is none better than that from Gilbertson's Maple Products located on St. Joseph Island. K grew up with a cottage (or as we call them back home, a camp) on St Joseph Island and her and her family frequented Gilbertson's yearly during the sap run. I had only been to Gilbertson's once prior to this visit when the location was basically a shack with bench seating and you had to sit with strangers, not that it was a bad thing. Recently the location underwent a major renovation, well a complete rebuild truthfully and now offers individual tables surrounding a lovely fireplace.

But enough with the location, I know you guys only care about the food!

K and I both decide to get the Gilbertson's Sampler $11.95, which consists of a 7" diameter, uber fluffy pancake, a piece of French Toast larger than my head, Pure Pork Maple Sausage made in Northern Ontario using Gilbertson's syrup, and a choice of Maple Baked Beans, which I chose, or a cup of fresh fruit, K's choice.

My Breakfast!

K's Breakfast.

As you can tell my the pictures, this breakfast was pretty amazing! K couldn't finish all of hers,wimp. I however, destroyed mine. The pancake is massive and super fluffy. The french toast is also massive and perfectly cooked. The sausages and juicy and flavourful and my beans were smokey and had a nice hint of maple.

Oh, there was one more purchase we made, and some of you may or may not agree with it, but we don't go home often and had to stock-up!

4 Litre jug of Maple Syrup anyone? It will only set you back $63!!

So as you can see, we really enjoy our visit to Gilbertson's and will be going back next time we are back home and if any of you ever want to go visit St Joseph Island, we can recommend other places to go and fun/nerdy things to do!


Lucy returns

When we got Lucy, we didn't crate her at first when we were at work. She, like many pugs, and other dogs, developed separation anxiety. This manifested in many ways, the most amusing however, can be seen in the picture below.

Twenty dollar pet bed from Wal-Mart - destroyed. So we began to crate her and haven't had many issues since. I mean, really, how can you get too mad at a face like this?


Happy Friday.


Belonging to a neighbourhood

Since we moved to Ottawa, we lived in the Sandy Hill area, usually as close to the University of Ottawa as possible, since K was going to school there. Recently, last summer actually, we realized that we needed more room, and couldn't afford to stay in Sandy Hill. We looked and looked for appropriate places, and just kept coming back to this cute little house in Vanier, close to Beechwood/New Edinburgh. Although we had heard rumours about the crime in the area, we've not experienced any of that since we've moved here.

The neighbourhood is extremely walkable, and there are many great places within walking distance - including the Scone Witch on Beechwood at MacKay. Last weekend before K and I went to go get a patio set for the backyard, we decided we needed a filling, quick, healthy breakfast. Off we went to the Scone Witch.

K got her usual, a vanilla cream scone with half devon cream and half raspberry jam. I've never had devon cream, but K tells me it's similar to cream cheese, except way, way better. The best part about these scones, at least the vanilla cream ones, is that you can peel them apart layer by layer so you can slather each piece with cream and jam.

I usually get the full brunch special, which is a full omelette with a piece of ham, but we were in a bit more of a rush that day, so I got the egg sconewitch (get it? like sandwich?) that had fresh scrambled eggs and ham in a cheddar scone. They also put some fruit and a (very light) salad mix around the plate. It obviously wasn't much, but I appreciated the small touch of the greens. This was the perfect breakfast for us. It's really nice to have such a great spot in the neighbourhood, and we will be customers of this spot for a long time to come.