You are currently browsing the tag archive for the ‘Ottawa’ tag.
In a previous post I talked about a new bracelet system for purchasing brews at this year’s Bluesfest. Seems like they will not be ready for this year’s festival. You can still sign up to be a tester of the new system, but this is optional.
Imagine that, working out the kinks before unleashing it on 30 000 people.
The other night hubby was working late then heading to a concert downtown. Myself, being a 90 year old lady in a younger body, decided it would be best for me to just meet him downtown for dinner then return home to the comforts of my couch and shortly there after, bed.
After looking at a couple of online menus we decided to check out Blue Cactus Bar and Grill in the Byward Market just across from Empire Grill and beside Zak’s Diner.
Price – The prices are decent. Not a fantastic deal for the quality of food, but you get a good sized portion for your money. Dinner will cost you anywhere from $12 (for a burger) to $18 (for pasta) up to $35 (for surf and turf). Dinner with drinks for two ended up costing us around $60 with tip.
Ambiance – Posh and nicely decorated, Blue Cactus is a good place to go for drinks before heading out for a night of dancing. Not really a place to go for a romantic meal, or if the meal is the main event of the night. It’s the type of place you go to meet up with people before heading to the real activity for the night.
Menu Options – The first thing I noticed about their menu is that it is split, half of it sounds like pub / bar food (nachos, burgers, pizza) and the other half tries to sound like an upscale bistro (pasta, fish, steak). Their starter doesn’t really have appetizers, it has bar food to share while having drinks (nachos, tacos, quesadillas) which is fine – but it is not how I would like to start a fine dining experience.
Food – I have to say I was let down. A few bites into my meal I was wishing I had ordered something else and a few bites later I was wishing I was eating somewhere else entirely. I had decided on the Asparagus Ravioli earlier in the day and was looking forward to something fresh and tasty. Not exactly what I got. If it hadn’t had Asparagus in the title I would never have known there was any in there (I still question it). Basic ricotta stuffed ravioli with tomato sauce – it had an odd sweetness to it that I did not enjoy. Hubby, who had the Jambalaya Linguini (which he said wasn’t bad, not amazing but not bad) had a few bites of mine and agreed it was lesser of the two dishes.
Overall – Maybe I would have been happier ordering from the second, more pub style half of the menu, or just sticking to drinks. But I was really hoping for more out of my experience. 3 out of 5 stars.
This past Sunday my step daughter had her First Communion Ceremony. And as with any right of passage, there was food. Fruit and veggie trays, cheese, pate and crackers, sushi, deli meats, taco dip, cake and the list goes on. Here is a recipe for Japanese Gyoza dumplings that we served with some fresh sushi.
This super easy recipe is a variation of one I watched Anna Olson make only the day before. So simple my step daughter made most of this herself.
1 small savory cabbage chopped finely
1 lb ground pork
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 1/2 TBSP both grated fresh garlic and ginger
Fresh black pepper
Won ton wrappers
Combine all ingredients (except the wrappers) into a large bowl. Mix together using your hands.
Put roughly 1 TBSP of mixture in each wrapper. Wet 2 edges and press wrapper together to form a triangle. Make sure you shape the dumpling so that it can stand up on its own.
Place finished dumpling onto a cookie sheet in individual rows. Freeze. Once frozen you can put the dumplings into a container or freezer bag, this way they will not clump together.
Cook from frozen. Heat 1 TBSP cooking oil in a pan over medium heat and add frozen dumplings. Brown the bottoms of the dumplings for 1-2 minutes. Add enough water to cover the dumplings 1/2 way and allow to boil away, about 7 minutes. Serve warm.
When I was younger we got a West Highland White Terrier. She was 6 and her home before us was not the best. Soon after we got her she became quite ill and had to be put on a special vegetarian diet because her body could not longer process protein. The vet chalked this up to the diet of cheap, horrible dog ‘food’ that she had been fed for years on end. This was just the start of several health problems and a battle with her weight that would last the rest of her life.
Years later after she passed, our family decided to get another dog, a puppy this time. Determined to keep our new puppy in better health, I began researching dog foods. What I found disgusted me.
The marketing behind most pet foods is misleading to say the least. Did you know that if a pet food states that it is made ‘with real meat’ legally the meat content of that food need only be 3%? For more in depth information on what you are feeding your pet check out this web site.
Sound familiar? We are sold processed junk under the idea that it is healthy and nutritious – giving a product a ‘health check’ because it has fiber in it, but ignoring the high levels of sodium or chemicals used in preserving it. Marketing has us embracing the idea that because a sugar loaded cereal now has 1/3 less sugar that it is somehow better for us, when we really should be questioning if the remaining 2/3 is still way too much. It really makes me angry – anything edible can come up with some claim that it is healthy for some reason! That doesn’t make it good for you overall. Even paper could be sold as a ‘useful source of roughage’, but most people know better than to eat it.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: learn about your food. Where does it come from? What’s in it? How was it produced? Over the years we have become disconnected from our food and have allowed companies to make our decisions for us. It’s time to take back control over our food. Take the time to make food from scratch or at the very least be able to name every ingredient in it.
Today my dog eats a raw food diet of quality meat and veggie patties that I purchase locally from Tolden Farms in Kemptville. I supplement that with sushi rice for his sensitive tummy and the occasional treat (OK, occasional may not be a strong enough word). Healthy and happy, he hasn’t had the health or weight issues of my first dog. And I would like to think that by eating as healthy as he does, I might be in just as good a shape.
I had the pleasure of visiting the Scone Witch on Beechwood Ave the other day – what a treat! I really enjoyed my experience and I don’t think it’s hard to see why.
Price – At just under $2 per scone these little babies are comparable to any croissant or pastry you would get from a coffee shop or bakery.
Ambiance – A light and airy cafe feeling. The Scone Witch invites you to stay and enjoy your food while watching the busy staff behind the counter serve those who wish to take theirs to go. There is not much seating, but it is comparable to a coffee shop of similar size. You wouldn’t have much trouble getting a seat, but on busier days you may have to wait a minute or two.
Menu Options – For a place that specializes in scones there is a lot of variety. Beyond the several different flavours of sweet and savory scones there are options for breakfast and lunch – all of which sound amazing and are reasonably priced.
Food – I loved the scones! So flavourful and perfectly baked. It was hard to stop at just one. And the jams they offer are quite amazing as well.
Overall – I can see visiting the Scone Witch time and time again, for a casual breakfast / lunch or a well deserved treat. 5 out of 5
I know you will read this because I will send you the link every hour on the hour until you do. I have decided what I would like for my birthday… I very much would like to return to the NAC and get to experience the Taste 5 menu again with Chef Michael Blackie. It was amazing – but I only made it to the 3rd course before I had to leave. Sad face.
Not only do you get a private chef’s table, but you get to meet the chef and his team (all very nice) and you get to help prepare the dish. I know it may sound odd that I want to cook my own birthday dinner – but I assure you it is a great time! To top it off, each course is paired with a wine.
Here are a couple amazing postings about that incredible night:
Rachelle Eats Food: http://rachelleeatsfood.blogspot.com/2010/04/evening-at-le-cafe.html
Whisk Food Blog: http://www.whiskblog.com/2010/04/nacs-taste5-food-bloggers10.html
Minty Fresh: http://mintyfresh.ca/archives/1204
It was so unique and so much fun – you’re going to love it. And remember, your birthday comes next and I haven’t quite decided which amazing thing to do for you… but I have a feeling your choice here will impact my decision.
Sunday I had the pleasure of sampling some of the city’s best croissants with Ron Eade - of Ottawa Citizen fame, and Don and Jenn from FoodiePrints – bloggers extraordinaire. It was a great time, but rather than rehash the outcome I will let you read all about it for yourself.
And some extra info from FoodiePrints: http://www.foodieprints.com/item/2417
Can’t wait until next time!
In the old Oregano’s building, 74 George Street in the Byward Market is The Grand. Boasting a wood burning pizza oven with hand pressed dough and homemade pasta, I was really looking forward to my visit.
Price – for most items on the menu the price is quite reasonable. You are looking at anywhere from $16 – $19 per dish. Which was a fine price for my pasta with sausage, cherry tomatoes and ricotta – but there were others at the table that paid the same amount for cheese pizza and spaghetti with meatballs. So be sure to choose your menu item wisely.
Ambiance – The Grand has a gorgeous modern looking dining room with the pizzas being created right in front of you beside the bar. Classy and elegant looking, all of this is ruined by the acoustics. It sounded like I was sitting in a chucky cheese. Which of course is fine if you are there with friends before a night of fun – not so good if you are there on a date.
Menu Options – a very extensive menu with several different kinds of pizza and pasta – many of which sounded amazing. Again, just be sure you are getting your money’s worth, go for something a little fancier than the plane Jane pizza or pasta.
Overall – Servers here were very nice. Even when I had to send back our dinner rolls because they were frozen solid in the middle. We waited over an hour for our order, and even then one of the guests in our party continued to wait another 20 minutes for his meal. He was given a $30 gift certificate in the hopes he would come back. Personally I’m not that eager to return and probably would have used the gift certificate right then and there. 3 out of 5.
In preparation for my visit to Benny’s Bistro (119 Murray Street in the Byward Market) I made an ask to my foodie friends as to what I should order. The answer came back time and again – everything. So needless to say I had high hopes.
Price – a little higher than your normal brunch will run you, but for the quality of ingredients it is well worth the price. You also receive a very decent sized portion of food – it may look small next to our super sized ideals of what constitutes a portion these days, but there is more than enough for a meal here.
Ambiance – located in the back of the French Baker, eating at Benny’s Bistro reminds me of sitting in a friend’s kitchen. It’s bright and each of the tables give you plenty of room. While there isn’t a lot of seating, there is more than enough space between tables. We even had a stroller with us and it was no problem. It’s a friendly and inviting space – though it was pretty warm in there the day we visited.
Menu Options – a small menu that changes with the seasons. Though there isn’t too much to choose from everything sounded amazing and in the end it was very hard to decide on just one dish.
Food – here is where Benny’s Bistro really shines – amazing food. Clean, fresh and wonderful. I enjoyed every single bite of my own meal and the bites I managed to seal from Kris.
Overall – I found the only thing lacking at Benny’s was really good table service. When we arrived our reservation had never been taken down. Luckily the wait for a table was not long. After that I found that our server was not very attentive, nor were they able to properly split the bill into 2 even though they were asked twice. However, they were very friendly on the few occasions they flagged to the table. 4 out of 5.