Gastronomy and Life's Other Pleasures

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Posts tagged Ottawa

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Celebrating National Ice Cream Day with an ice cream date at Carp Custom Creamery

In honour of National Ice Cream Day this past Sunday, the husband and I decided to check out Carp Custom Creamery, a small, window service only store front in the little village of Carp. The Carp Custom Creamery is owned and operated by Dustin Therrien, who is also the owner of my two favourite dining spots in Carp, the Cheshire Cat Pub and Alice’s Village Cafe.

The Creamery carries both their own in-house made ice cream and Tracey’s ice cream from Renfrew, Ontario. We were most interested in trying the Creamery’s homemade flavours since we know we can get Tracey’s anytime.

There were quite a few flavours from which to choose, so the husband and I decided to get one scoop each of two flavours. I chose the blueberry custard swirl and chocolate, and the husband had the double vanilla coconut and the vanilla rolo swirl. All four were fantastic! My chocolate was deeply rich, and the blueberry custard swirl had whole fresh blueberries throughout. I adored the husband’s double vanilla coconut,with ample toasted shredded coconut throughout.

We are definitely interested in returning to try more of the Creamery’s in-house creations; their Facebook page shows a few past creations that I think would be amazing, like s’mores and vanilla brownie rainbow. I do wish that the Creamery’s hours of operation were a little bit more clear (there isn’t anything specific on their Facebook page), but it is still worth the drive out to Carp.

How did you celebrate National Ice Cream Day?

Filed under food dessert ice cream national ice cream day ottawa carp Carp Custom Creamery shop store window dairy homemade custom Dustin Therrien vanilla coconut chocolate sweet treat blueberry blueberry custard Rolo

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Dinner at the Rex

I first went to the Rex a while back for lunch, and totally loved it (see here). I knew I had to go back to try their weekend dinners, which feature a different themed menu each Friday and Saturday nights.

The husband and I happened to stumble on a perfect night for our taste buds, which was a World Cup theme, featuring all the great flavours of South America. The weekend menu at the Rex features two appetizers, two main dishes and two desserts: the three course meal for one is $35 - a great deal for such amazing food!

Considering there is only two choices for each course, the husband and I ordered one of each and shared everything. The appetizers were the perfect start to the meal: an Albacore tuna ceviche on sweet potato chips for me, and black bean, corn and cheddar empanadas for the husband. Both were amazing!

Next were our main courses, which we shared equally. My favourite of the two was the spice rubbed chicken breast served with grilled baby red potatoes which were tossed with chorizo, goat cheese and baby spinach, all drizzled in a roasted garlic jus. The chicken was ridiculously moist and tender, and I adored the flavour that the chorizo imparted in the mixture with the potatoes and spinach. The second main course was the striploin steak served with frites and a mixture of grilled king oyster mushrooms and zucchini, all with a side of chimichurri aioli. The steak was cooked perfectly, and the frites were crispy and light. My favourite part of the steak dish was the chimichurri aioli - wow!

I couldn’t wait to taste dessert; the words ‘dark chocolate,’ ‘dulce de leche’ and ‘coffee’ all in one description make my heart (and my taste buds) sing. Obviously my favourite dessert of the two was the dark chocolate cake with dulce de leche frosting and coffee ice cream. The cake was rich and moist, and the frosting and ice cream added sweetness to counter the gentle bitterness of the dark chocolate. I also enjoyed the second dessert, a rum and strawberry sorbet with candied lime zest and fresh mint; it was like an explosion of fresh flavours on the tongue.

Overall, we had a great time at the Rex for dinner.  Service was excellent and attentive, and while the portions are a tad on the small side, we both left feeling full. We can’t wait to go back!

Filed under food dinner supper Ottawa restaurant Little Italy appetizer main course dessert review chicken steak tuna tartare empanadas The Rex tuna ceviche black bean cheddar corn potato chorizo chocolate dark chocolate sorbet strawberry mint lime coffee ice cream

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Lunch from the Red Roaster food truck

I finally got to try the delicious eats from Red Roaster, one of the new food trucks to come out of Ottawa’s revamped food truck rules. It was one of the trucks that I had been wanting to try, but circumstances had not yet allowed me to do so.

Red Roaster’s designated spot (at Bank St. and Clemow Ave.) is not convenient for me, so I had not yet had the chance to try it out.  As luck would have it, the organizers of my annual work summer gathering/celebration decided to invite a number of Ottawa’s best food trucks to serve us lunch, and Red Roaster was one of them!

I knew I had to try their signature pulled pork tacos, and though I had been advised by a friend to try their sweet potato fries, the heat of the day led begged for a cooler, more refreshing side, so I went with the jhal muri.  Both were delicious! I love love love a good pulled pork, and this one had all of the elements that make a perfect pulled pork for me: tender, sweet and smoky.  The tacos were topped with a fresh, tasty slaw, which added a great crunchy texture, as well as a pineapple habanero chutney, which added some heat.  

The jhal muri, which is an Indian street food snack type dish, was new for me. I had never tried it before! I loved it - it was also delicious, packed with many little different ingredients like puffed rice, tomato, peanuts, lentils, noodles and bean sprouts, among other ingredients. You can actually find Red Roaster’s recipe for jhal muri here (scroll to the bottom of the article).

I’d love to go back to try Red Roaster’s other menu items, like their Red Roaster sandwich (their in-the-truck roasted chicken on a bun with cheddar cheese, ranch dressing, bacon, avocado, lettuce and tomato) or their roast beef on a bun. So many delicious choices!

Filed under ottawa food lunch food truck 613streetfood Red Roaster tacos pulled pork slaw coleslaw street food jhal muri salad tortilla

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Took a break from shopping in the Byward Market this afternoon to finally try the soft tacos from Corazon de Mais.  We ordered one of each kind of meat on the menu, which was chicken, beef and pork.  They were delicious! The meats were all tender and flavourful, and we loved the fresh tomato salsa and the beans that accompanied the meat. There was also a mini self-serve salsa bar where we found some tasty salsa verde. A great stop for a quick refuel after a long day of shopping!

Took a break from shopping in the Byward Market this afternoon to finally try the soft tacos from Corazon de Mais. We ordered one of each kind of meat on the menu, which was chicken, beef and pork. They were delicious! The meats were all tender and flavourful, and we loved the fresh tomato salsa and the beans that accompanied the meat. There was also a mini self-serve salsa bar where we found some tasty salsa verde. A great stop for a quick refuel after a long day of shopping!

Filed under food tacos soft tacos ottawa byward market beef pork chicken tortilla Corazon de Mais Mexican beans salsa corn snack lunch weekend cheap cheap eats

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Brunch at Izakaya
Ok, ok, so I promise that, even though it may not seem like it, I DO INDEED cook at home every single day, but I’ve been so busy lately that our meals have been made up of mostly the same things that we tend to eat all the time, like grilling some chicken breasts and steaming some veggies. Pretty much not a lot of blog-worthy cooking! I finally got around to trying out a couple of new recipes this weekend, so I’ll have some fun stuff to share soon! 
But who can resist weekend brunch on the patio on a late spring morning? I met some friends for brunch at Izakaya on Elgin Street one recent weekend, wondering what brunch at a Japanese restaurant might be like. I was pleasantly surprised!
Many of Izakaya’s brunch items have a Japanese/Asian twist, from the togarashi (chili pepper) seasoning on the home fries to the sweet soy sauce on the yakiniku beef, which is what I decided to order. The yakiniku (which translates to grilled meat) beef and two eggs was a 6 oz grilled striploin steak topped with mushrooms and a soy drizzle, served with two eggs any way (I chose over easy), togarashi-dusted home fries and toast. It was delicious! The steak was tender, the eggs perfectly drippy, and the togarashi on the home fries provided a bit of heat to spice up my brunch. 
The service at Izakaya was also great - our coffees were kept filled and hot, and the staff seemed totally ok with us lingering on the patio (it wasn’t too busy). Overall, the brunch wasn’t anything mind blowing, but it was tasty and fresh.  I’d definitely return!

Brunch at Izakaya

Ok, ok, so I promise that, even though it may not seem like it, I DO INDEED cook at home every single day, but I’ve been so busy lately that our meals have been made up of mostly the same things that we tend to eat all the time, like grilling some chicken breasts and steaming some veggies. Pretty much not a lot of blog-worthy cooking! I finally got around to trying out a couple of new recipes this weekend, so I’ll have some fun stuff to share soon! 

But who can resist weekend brunch on the patio on a late spring morning? I met some friends for brunch at Izakaya on Elgin Street one recent weekend, wondering what brunch at a Japanese restaurant might be like. I was pleasantly surprised!

Many of Izakaya’s brunch items have a Japanese/Asian twist, from the togarashi (chili pepper) seasoning on the home fries to the sweet soy sauce on the yakiniku beef, which is what I decided to order. The yakiniku (which translates to grilled meat) beef and two eggs was a 6 oz grilled striploin steak topped with mushrooms and a soy drizzle, served with two eggs any way (I chose over easy), togarashi-dusted home fries and toast. It was delicious! The steak was tender, the eggs perfectly drippy, and the togarashi on the home fries provided a bit of heat to spice up my brunch. 

The service at Izakaya was also great - our coffees were kept filled and hot, and the staff seemed totally ok with us lingering on the patio (it wasn’t too busy). Overall, the brunch wasn’t anything mind blowing, but it was tasty and fresh.  I’d definitely return!

Filed under food brunch breakfast Ottawa restaurant eggs steak toast mushrooms yakiniku soy togarashi homefries potatoes

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Dinner at Aperitivo

It has been a while since the husband and I had been to Aperitivo, a great spot for delicious eats in our own back yard.  We decided to take a chance and go for an early dinner sans reservation one recent Friday night, and we lucked out and got a table.

Aperitivo changes their menu often enough so that you will never get tired of their offerings. Everything is quite creative and will leave your tastebuds begging for more!

We decided to do our usual and share a few plates, and rich and earthy seemed to be the theme for us that night. I started with the bone marrow and escargots appetizer, which was three bone halves with the succulent marrow waiting to be devoured, plus a handful of escargots scattered on top.  This was a very unique dish, and I was glad I went out on a limb to try it: but it is not for the faint of heart.  It was incredibly rich!

The husband and I shared the braised beef shoulder with fried Brussels sprouts and cauliflower puree, which was amazing. The beef was perfectly tender, and the sprouts and cauliflower made rich with earthy flavours.  We also shared the beef tostadas, which came topped with chimichurri sauce and sheep’s milk feta.  Wow! These bite-sized tostadas were fantastic, and the edible flowers made for beautiful presentation.

I ended my meal with a cappuccino, and we both sat back and relaxed and enjoyed our Friday evening out. I can’t wait to see what Aperitivo has planned for their summer menu!

Filed under food dinner supper restaurant review Ottawa Kanata Aperitivo small plates tapas share beef cauliflower Brussels sprouts bone bone marrow escargots tostada

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Brunch at Pressed Cafe

A fellow foodie and friend had texted me a photo a while back that got me really excited: an eggs benedict but with waffles! I immediately had to know where she had enjoyed this beautiful sight, and the answer was Pressed Cafe.

Funnily enough, I had been meaning to go to Pressed Cafe for a very long time, but with a long list of ‘must try’ places, it had continued to be shuffled lower in the list for no reason in particular. But with this new information (and my love for all things brunch) it had suddenly become very important to get there ASAP!

So the husband and I went to check it out one Saturday morning a few weeks back, and I can say with total confidence that it did not disappoint! I had a bit of trouble deciding between which of their waffle brunch items to order as they all looked so good. In the end, I opted for the Natasha, which is two delicious Belgian waffles that come topped with the Whalesbone’s smoked trout, two poached eggs and a whole lot of hollandaise sauce. So simple, but so totally delicious, this is brunch at its best for me! The smoked trout was plentiful and the waffles were tender and not overly sweet. The whole plate came together wonderfully!

The husband was feeling more of a lunch vibe, so he ordered one of Pressed’s sandwiches, which is what they are most known for. A fresh ciabatta bun came topped with smoked chicken, roasted red peppers and goat cheese, and was served with a side of in-house made sweet potato chips and a pickled green bean.  He enjoyed it very much, but it didn’t necessarily top his list of best sandwiches in Ottawa.  

I would definitely return to try other versions of their waffle brunch, which I forgot to mention comes with bottomless coffee or tea (they serve Equator, which is one of my favourite local roasters). It is a very relaxed cafe with self-serve seating and food ordering - a great place to relax and enjoy a delicious brunch any weekend morning!

Filed under food Ottawa restaurant Pressed Cafe Gladstone Avenue cafe self serve sandwiches brunch breakfast waffles poached egg benedict eggs benedict smoked trout Centretown waffle brunch Whalesbone lunch dining sandwich smoked chicken chicken goat cheese roasted red pepper ciabatta bun

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Lunch at the Rex

Walking into the Rex for the very first time, I was on completely familiar ground. How is that possible, you ask? Well, the Rex is housed in a former not-so-special pizza/diner type restaurant that I frequented when I worked in a nearby office building. I was so excited to finally get to try the Rex, about which I had read so many good things.

I was amazed what a fresh coat of paint a little bit of styling can do for a restaurant space! We took our seats and I was overwhelmed by deja vu, but only by my surroundings: the food was about to be a million times better than that which I ate seated at that exact same table a million years ago!

The Rex offers a small menu, but you will still have trouble deciding what to choose to eat - everything looks amazing! For my first time, I went with their shepherd’s pie, which is described on their menu as overnight braised short ribs, caramelized onions, grilled sweet corn, and brown butter mashed potatoes.  For my side, I chose the cauliflower soup. Both were incredibly rich and delicious! The braised short ribs in the shepherd’s pie were tender and moist, and flavoured nicely (not too salty).  The soup was velvety and earthy, and I almost wanted to lick the bowl to get every last drop!

I can’t wait to go back to the Rex and make some more new memories! Check out their website for more information: http://therexottawa.com/

Filed under food lunch restaurant Ottawa The Rex Little Italy review Shepherd's Pie short ribs braised short ribs mashed potatoes soup cauliflower puree velvety smooth hearty comfort food

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A drop-in treat: SuzyQ Doughnuts
It had been a very long time since the husband and I had visited Ottawa’s favourite locally made doughnut shop, SuzyQ, so we dropped in one recent weekend to treat ourselves to some doughnut deliciousness!
We always like to try SuzyQ’s new flavours, so on this outing, we shared the Boston (creme - top left), the peppered pineapple (top right), and the Brass Monkey (not pictured).  The Boston was amazing, with a vanilla custard on the inside (I could see the vanilla beans!!), as was the pineapple, but my favourite had to be the Brass Monkey, with its banana-flavoured glaze and chunks of soft peanut brittle.  SuzyQ’s glazes are mind blowing!
When you’re in Ottawa, skip over the Tim Hortons and make the trip to SuzyQ - you will never regret it!

A drop-in treat: SuzyQ Doughnuts

It had been a very long time since the husband and I had visited Ottawa’s favourite locally made doughnut shop, SuzyQ, so we dropped in one recent weekend to treat ourselves to some doughnut deliciousness!

We always like to try SuzyQ’s new flavours, so on this outing, we shared the Boston (creme - top left), the peppered pineapple (top right), and the Brass Monkey (not pictured).  The Boston was amazing, with a vanilla custard on the inside (I could see the vanilla beans!!), as was the pineapple, but my favourite had to be the Brass Monkey, with its banana-flavoured glaze and chunks of soft peanut brittle.  SuzyQ’s glazes are mind blowing!

When you’re in Ottawa, skip over the Tim Hortons and make the trip to SuzyQ - you will never regret it!

Filed under food Ottawa donut doughnut SuzyQ SuzyQ Doughnuts Hintonburg restaurant bakery doughnut shop dough fresh Boston creme pineapple chocolate glaze treat sweet dessert banana peanut