Gastronomy and Life's Other Pleasures

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Posts tagged Ottawa

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Dinner at Juniper Kitchen and Wine Bar

While my mother was visiting one recent weekend, we decided to try somewhere new for dinner. I had read about Juniper’s recent menu overhaul (see here), and thought it would be fun to give it a try. The husband and I had been to Juniper once many, many years ago, so it was also time for us to return.

I had forgotten about Juniper’s great the atmosphere. It is so big and bright from all of the floor to ceiling windows. We were promptly greeted and seated when we arrived, and that great service continued through the evening.

We decided to order a couple of appetizers to start, but before that came an adorable and tasty amuse bouche, a meaty strudel. I love amuse bouches; they are such a treat and I find that very few restaurants do that anymore. For my appetizer, I ordered the crispy lamb dumplings, which were so rich and delicious. The husband had the inverted poutine, which he liked for its unique take on the classic Canadian dish. My mother had the gazpacho, which she thoroughly enjoyed.

For our mains, I absolutely had to have the scallops with bacon-garlic scape risotto.  Wowsers - this was magical! The dash of chimichurri added an insanely fresh and tangy flavour to the whole dish. The scallops were perfectly cooked, of course! The husband had a few of the small plates for his main dish, including the pulled pork grilled cheese with onion rings and the sous vide pork ribs with fries. He enjoyed both - the ribs were very tender and flavourful. My mother opted for the cornish hen, which came with a very spicy slaw and rice. She enjoyed it but the spicyness of the slaw was a bit of a challenge.

For dessert we decided to share the brownie with ice cream. Juniper’s menu overhaul included switching out expensive, large desserts for smaller, reasonably priced dessert bites (most are just $5). Indeed, the brownie was small, but it gave each of us two bites or so to satisfy our sweet craving, and that it did! 

Overall, we enjoyed our dinner, and would return. The food was delicious, the service excellent, and the ambiance lovely!

Filed under food Ottawa dinner supper restaurant Juniper Juniper Kitchen and Wine Bar Westboro Wellington West dining fine dining lamb scallop risotto cornish hen pulled pork grilled cheese fries onion rings chimichurri brownie chocolate dessert main appetizer

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Lunch at the Mill Street Brew Pub

When your acting manager asks if you want to spend an extended lunch on a beautiful patio on a beautiful day, your answer should always be a resounding YES! One of the managers in my group happens to love beer, a good patio and delicious food, which is what has brought us to the Mill Street Brew Pub on so many Friday lunch hours over the past couple of summers.

Feeling like something fun and different, my coworker and I split the pretzels as an appetizer: these in-house made beauties came with two dipping sauces, a marinara and a mustard aioli. They were soft, chewy, and oh so salty. Perfect pretzels, really!

I was craving something other than a sandwich or a big meal for my main, so I opted for the red thai mussels, with red thai curry, coconut milk, kaffir lime leaves and lime juice, served with their in-house made spelt grain bread (which is amazing) on the side. These mussels were tender and full of flavour! I preferred them over the Brewmasters mussels that I had eaten last time (see here).

It is moments like these that I have to keep in mind during the frigid winter months: the thought of a beautiful summer day on a patio with friends and good food!

Filed under food lunch meal mussels restaurant pretzel pretzels thai red curry curry steamed steamed mussels Ottawa Mill Street Mill Street Brew Pub

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Lunch at Fiazza

While doing some shopping in the Byward Market on recent weekend, the husband and I were in the mood for a snack. We decided to try the brand new Fiazza, a casual, custom pizza restaurant.

The restaurant is pretty big, occupying the space of a former bicycle shop. To order your pizza, you line up (in the manner of Mucho Burrito or Subway) to choose either one of Fiazza’s specialty creations or to pick your own toppings. For our first time, we decided to go with one of Fiazza’s specialty pizzas (which range in price from $7.95 to $12.95), the Sicilian, which came topped with local spicy Italian sausage, roasted red peppers and a mix of Fiazza’s cheese blend and blue cheese.

We watched our pizza being prepared right in front of our eyes, and then off it went for a quick bake in the incredibly hot oven (we could see the temperature gauge and it was set to around 500 degrees). As we proceeded to the cash to pay for our pizza, we noticed small containers of aioli (presumable for dipping) in the self-serve bottled drinks refrigerator, and added one to our order (for $2.95).

Our pizza came out beautifully: it was perfectly cooked for our taste, and the toppings were ample. The sausage had a bit of kick to it and the blue cheese added a fantastic tang. We realized as we were eating it that this was the exact same pizza we had shared in South Beach, Miami earlier this year, so we had some fun reminiscing about our trip and our delicious eats. But I can’t forget about the aioli: WOW! It was perfect! Super garlicky, creamy and everything an amazing aioli should be.

Overall we really enjoyed our pizza at Fiazza, and the ample open air seating area which was great for people watching. The self-ordering and pick up system allows you to have a quick bite if that is what you need, but there is still the option to linger. We can’t wait to return to try their other pizzas!

Filed under food lunch dinner supper pizza Ottawa restaurant new Byward Market dough toppings cheese self-serve Fiazza fresh Sicilian blue cheese cheese blend sausage Italian sausage local review food review

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I had to include a small snippet of video to share with those of you who couldn’t be there (Lamb!). This is a short bit from “Not A Bad Thing,” which was amazing and beautiful. The whole crowd was singing along with Justin and his band, and the moment was so cool. Enjoy!

Filed under Ottawa Canadian Tire Centre Justin Timberlake jt2020tour 2020experience concert show music songs live band summer 2014

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What a concert! Justin Timberlake put on an amazing show at the Canadian Tire Centre last night. I won’t give too much away in terms of his set list, but my favourite performances of the night had to be “Cry Me a River,” a beautiful acoustic rendition of “What Goes Around…Comes Around,” and, of course, “Not A Bad Thing.” My friends and I danced our butts off!
JT forever! haha

What a concert! Justin Timberlake put on an amazing show at the Canadian Tire Centre last night. I won’t give too much away in terms of his set list, but my favourite performances of the night had to be “Cry Me a River,” a beautiful acoustic rendition of “What Goes Around…Comes Around,” and, of course, “Not A Bad Thing.” My friends and I danced our butts off!

JT forever! haha

Filed under Ottawa concert show Justin Timberlake Canadian Tire Centre summer the 20/20 tour JT jt2020tour music

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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