Posts tagged lunch
Posts tagged lunch
I have been eating this same salad for lunch all week and I am still addicted to it! There is nothing better than roasted veggies and quinoa for a hearty salad.
Lunch at A Thing for Chocolate
I’m lucky to work near the very up and coming neighbourhood (or perhaps it has already arrived?) of Hintonburg. It seems like there is always a new restaurant or shop that is on the verge of opening up, so I always have lots to explore!
Most recently, I noticed a little shop with a catchy name with an ‘opening soon’ sign on it’s doors: A Thing for Chocolate. With a name like that, I was intrigued!
A friend from work and I decided to check it out one day during our lunch hour. I had done a little bit of research online to try and find out exactly what we might find, and I was delighted when I discovered that this new little cafe would be serving crepes, both of the sweet and the savoury variety.
I wanted to try a savoury crepe for my first visit, so I chose the English crepe, which is filled with scrambled eggs, bacon, fresh tomato, cheddar cheese and Dijon mustard. Served with a side of greens drizzled lightly with a balsamic vinaigrette, this was one amazing crepe: light and fluffy, and filled with just the right amount of ingredients. My friend had the house special (sweet) crepe, which comes filled with your choice of fruit (strawberries, bananas, blackberries, blueberries - or all of the above!) and their in-house made chocolate spread, either in milk or dark chocolate. She loved it! The chocolate is of the highest quality, and the fruits were incredibly fresh.
I couldn’t resist trying one of their Death by Chocolate brownies (I mean, come on!) and I was not disappointed. This is a brownie at its best with a crisp top layer and a dense, rich inner layer. To help cut some of the sweetness, I ordered a cappuccino, which the owner, Omar Fares, makes on the strong side, which is absolutely perfect to me!
Overall, this is a great little spot. There is, however, limited seating, so I wouldn’t recommend going with a big group. The service, while good, is relaxed, so be careful if you’re tight for time. But if you have a free afternoon, it would be a great spot to relax in their big, comfy chairs and sip coffee and eat chocolate!
The owner loves to chat and is incredibly friendly and personable, which I loved. It is so invigorating to see the passion in an owner’s eyes and to hear it in his voice - he wants to be there and is excited to share his passion for excellent chocolate, crepes and coffee with his customers. I can’t wait to return: next time, obviously I’ll have a sweet crepe!
Another Flying Banzini conquest: the meatloaf sandwich
As I have mentioned before, I’m slowly making my way through the Flying Banzini’s sandwich menu bite by delicious bite. It has been one tasty adventure after another so far!
When the Flying Banzini changed their menu a few months ago, I was excited about the new soft bun sandwich options, mostly the meatloaf sandwich. Meatloaf on a sandwich! It made my mouth water with delight just thinking about it. So when I finally sat down to sink my teeth into this hearty sandwich, I could barely contain my enthusiasm. A giant (and I mean GIANT) slice of Chef Nico’s meatloaf comes piled upon one of one of the Flying Banzini’s in-house made soft buns, with your choice of toppings (I chose the chipotle ketchup at the recommendation of my server and added fresh greens and sliced tomato). This sandwich was perfect - it was a monster of a lunch size-wise (let’s just say that I didn’t need to eat dinner that night) and worth every bite and penny. Chef Nico’s meatloaf is tender, not too salty and oh-so-meaty. The chipotle ketchup added a delightful but not too spicy kick. Overall, this has been my favourite Flying Banzini sandwich so far!
A lovely cappuccino on a rainy day - at Art-is-in Bakery.
Another lunch at the Flying Banzini (trying their online ordering system)
I was a bit short on time during the lunch hour one recent day, so I decided to put their take-out/online ordering system to the test. It is a pretty detailed system that asks you to spell out exactly what you want right down to specific sandwich toppings and condiments. I placed my order, and, at my designated pick-up time, I arrived at the restaurant. It was a success! My order was ready to go, I simply had to pay and collect my yummy sandwich. I’ll definitely use their system again in the future when I need to get in and out quickly!
I am currently making my way through the Flying Banzini’s soft bun sandwich menu, so on that day, I went for the porchetta. Described on their menu as “marinated pork loin stuffed with Luciano’s sweet Italian sausage, fennel seeds, sweet chilies, sage and sea salt, wrapped in bacon and slow roasted,” this sandwich was incredible. So many amazing flavours in each and every bite! I added fresh tomato and spinach as toppings as well as Major Craig’s mango chutney as my choice of sauce. This is one beast of a sandwich, so come with an appetite! I think the porchetta has been my favourite of the Flying Banzini’s soft bun sandwiches so far, but I’ve still got a few to go before I make any final decisions! haha
Grand opening of Panera Bread in Ottawa!
The husband and I visited Panera Bread last night for it’s grand opening in Ottawa. This is the very first location in our city, so we were very excited to see how it compared to the U.S. locations that we have visited over the years.
When we arrived, the line up was almost out the door! But the restaurant itself seemed less busy; most of the tables were unoccupied. I think most people were taking their food to go.
Our wait wasn’t too long, and we didn’t mind since we were just so happy to not have to drive over 2 hours to our nearest location. The husband ordered his tried and true favourite Panera meal, the bacon turkey bravo sandwich with the mac and cheese for his side. I opted to try two items that I have never tried, the Napa almond chicken salad sandwich and one of their brand new salads, the Mediterranean shrimp couscous salad. Both were delightful! The salad was incredibly fresh, with a mixture of spinach and romaine, and topped with lemon balsamic dressing, Panera’s “signature couscous blend,” sundried tomatoes, feta, olives and shrimp. I would order both again in a hearbeat!
We talked with a few of the employees both while waiting in line and while dining, and they explained that Panera is taking a new approach in their restaurants in terms of how the food is delivered. If you’re familiar with Panera’s current operating standard, you will know that, as the customer, you place your order at the cash, and you’re given a buzzer that advises you when you’re food is ready for pick up at the pick up counter. Panera’s new model (which they told us that they would soon be rolling out in their U.S. and all other restaurants) is that, after the customer orders, they are still given a buzzer and can go and sit down at a table (if dining in), and the food will be delivered by an employee right to your table. We were told that Panera feels this is what the customer wants and it will provide a more enjoyable experience. It also allows them to make a few subtle changes to the way they serve their food, such as serving the sandwiches on real porcelain/ceramic plates instead of the lightweight melamine plates.
We were pleased with the service: our food came very quickly and there was no confusion or mix-ups with our order. We are both looking forward to enjoying everything Panera has to offer, now close to home!
Lunch at Absinthe (another contribution from the husband)
The husband has been enjoying quite a few lunches out lately, and I was very impressed by his choice for his recent outing to Absinthe, one of my favourite restaurants in Ottawa.
Being a bit of a picky eater, the husband has what you’d call a more simple palate, but he is impressing me lately with his eagerness to try new things. So when he told me he had ordered the beef stroganoff for lunch at Absinthe, my jaw dropped!
Described on Absinthe’s menu as sauteed beef tenderloin with mushrooms and sour cream in a dill and brandy sauce, served over fresh spätzle, the husband said it was absolutely delicious! This was his first time having spätzle, which is basically just like egg noodles, and he loved it.
So when will it be my turn to lunch at Absinthe? Soon, I hope!
Lunch at Art-is-in Bakery
The husband and I were lucky enough to get out a little early from work on New Year’s Eve this year, so we took advantage of the rare occasion of having our car at work to go to Art-is-in Bakery for lunch.
I was determined to try something new (how many times can one eat their amazing clam chowder? Many times, it seems), so I ordered the pulled pork sandwich, which was a new lunch item (well, new to me since the last time I had been there). Served on a bun instead of Art-is-in’s bread, this sandwich was piled high with tender and juicy pulled pork, fresh slaw, arugula and a spicy jalapeno cream cheese. It was pretty spicy for a spice wimp like me, but it was so tasty I couldn’t stop eating it. It was very different than any other of Art-is-in’s sandwiches that I’ve tried, but it was a welcome and delicious change.
The husband went all out and ordered the pulled pork mac and cheese, This rich concoction is a mixture of pulled pork, cheesy pasta, buttery croissant croutons, caramelized onions and tomato pesto. It is a perfect example of Art-is-in’s excellence at decadence!
We were too full to even contemplate dessert, so we had to stare longingly and wave goodbye to Art-is-in’s delightful selection of baked goodies..but there is always next time.
Lunch at Anthony’s (an entry care of the husband!)
So it seems I may be turning my husband into a food blogger! More and more he will take photos of his dining outings and lunches to share with me, and I love it!
He recently lunched at Anthony’s, a wood-fired pizza joint in Ottawa’s trendy Hintonburg/Wellington West neighbourhood. As most of you may remember, pizza is probably my husband’s favourite food of all time, so Anthony’s is his kind of restaurant.
The husband and I have actually dined at Anthony’s once before (see here), and we enjoyed it tremendously. We shared a pizza that time, so for his lunch, the husband had his choice of pizza turned into a calzone, which Anthony’s can do with any of their pizzas. Stuffed to the brim with ricotta, roasted red pepper, sausage and mozzarella, this was one delicious calzone! The husband said he ate every last bite and could have had more. He loved the light but dense crust and the extra tomato sauce for dipping on the side.
Brunch at Navarra
Well, it was my birthday this past weekend. As I get a little deeper into my early 30s, the more I dislike celebrating my birthday, but I guess that is to be expected. I am getting old!
The good thing about my birthday though is the delicious eats! Friends know my penchant for good food, so I get to indulge a lot during my birthday time frame.
A Byward Market restaurant that I had been dying to try was Navarra, and I finally made it there for brunch with some friends one recent weekend. I still have to make it there for dinner sometime, but that will have to be for another birthday or celebration.
I started off my brunch with a perfect cappuccino, which was totally adorable with its delightful foam cap. Next, we were treated to some in-house made chocolate chip scones (on the house), which were deliciously flaky and sweet.
I knew long before I set foot in Navarra for brunch that I would order their “huevos rancheros” (quotations marks are Navarra’s own). Described as “poached eggs, chicharron, black bean tostada, serrano, spicy tomato sauce and goat cheese”, this was indeed an adventure for the tastebuds! The tomato sauce had a definite spicy kick to it, and the eggs were soft and fluffy. I loved all of the different textures in the dish: the crunchy chicharron (pork rinds), the silky serrano ham, the velvety black bean sauce. My co-diners had the Mexican bricklayer scrambled eggs and the french toast, both of which also looked to die for!
I would love to return to Navarra for brunch sometime: the atmosphere was relaxed and the service was attentive without being overbearing. Most importantly, the food was incredible!
Lunch at the Flying Banzini, round 3
I’m really late sharing this lunch with you - a friend and I went to the Flying Banzini (FB) for lunch quite a few weeks ago, and I am just getting around to sharing it with you now. As well, since this lunch, the restaurant has revamped their menu, so the sandwich that I had is no longer available in its exact form. However, since I love the FB so much, I thought I’d share it with you anyway!
So far, I’ve tried a couple different panini sandwiches at the FB (see here and here) but I had not yet tried one of their soft bun sandwiches. When I went, there were two soft bun options available: roast beef (beef outside round) and porchetta. I chose the roast beef, which was described as “rubbed with rosemary, sea salt, Bytown Beanery coffee grounds, and horseradish. Served with your choice of horseradish rosemary cream sauce or honey dijon mustard” all on a soft bun. I enjoyed this sandwich very much. It was a bit heavy on the horseradish which I find can be overwhelming, but that is more my personal preference than a fault of the meat. I knew what I was getting myself into! The beef was expertly cooked and the bun was incredibly fresh and soft. I added a side of broccoli soup to my sandwich which was also very well executed.
My friend had the Wasting Away Again pizza, which comes topped with fresh basil and bocconcini and parmesan cheeses (it is basically similar to a margherita pizza). She loves it! She has had this same pizza both times she has been to the FB. This pizza is still available on the newly revamped menu.
Now that the FB has a few new soft bun options in addition to roast beef and porchetta (roast chicken, meatloaf and crispy pork belly), I can’t wait to go back and try another.
Holiday work lunch today at the Casino du Lac Leamy. Yum!
The most perfect mini corn breads to accompany a southern BBQ-style lunch from @DoubleDsBarBQ - always a delicious meal!
Stocking the freezer: chickpea and roasted squash chili
As I mentioned here, I have been having fun with coming up with ways to use up the butternut squash I got from my parent’s garden during a recent visit.
Since there is no convincing the husband to eat any kind of squash, I knew this was going to be a fantastic opportunity for me to stock my freezer with some healthy lunches.
I had come across a recipe for a black bean and squash chili on the Serious Eats website a while back (click here for the original recipe), and realized it was the perfect way to both use my butternut squash and stock my freezer with ready-made lunches for my work week.
I altered the recipe quite a bit, so below is my adaptation. This turned out wonderfully! It is a hearty, healthy meal, and a perfect lunch for a cold winter day. It can also very easily be a vegetarian or even vegan dish by using vegetable broth (instead of chicken or beef). As I mentioned in my post about butternut squash soup, they key to amazing flavour is to first roast your squash!
Chickpea and roasted squash chili (adapted from Serious Eats)
- 1 can (540 ml/19 oz) chickpeas, drained and rinsed (I used President’s Choice no salt added chickpeas)
- 1 medium-sized butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cubed into bite-sized chunks (about 2-3 cups)
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 bell pepper, chopped (I used an orange one)
- 1 Tbsp. ground cumin
- 1 Tbsp. chili powder
- 1 tsp. herbes de provence
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 cups beef broth (or you can use vegetable broth to make this dish vegetarian)
- freshly cracked pepper and sea salt, to taste
Preheat oven to 425°. Toss squash chunks in olive oil, salt and pepper and spread in an even layer on a shallow roasting pan/cookie sheet. Roast for 30 minutes, turning once. Remove from the oven and set aside.
Heat a large dutch oven or pot over medium heat. Add a splash of olive oil, onions and bell pepper, and cook until softened, about 5-10 minutes. Add garlic, cumin, chili powder, herbes de provence and cook for a minute or two but be careful not to let the garlic burn. Add the beef stock, chickpeas and squash. Simmer for 15-20 minutes. If desired, mash a few of the chickpeas to thicken the mixture (I left mine all whole).
Serve topped with diced avocado!
Lunch at the Flying Banzini (round 2)
I was excited to return for a second lunch at the Flying Banzini recently; my first experience was fantastic (see here) and I couldn’t wait to try another of their delicious sandwich creations.
After being warmly greeted by the owner, Dave Scharf (he is so incredibly friendly and helpful!) I placed my order. This time, I opted for the Swing Swing Swing panini, which contains smoked salmon, spinach, red onions, capers and dill cream cheese all on a rosemary focaccia bun. I have an obsession with smoked salmon, so my hopes were high for this panini. It delivered! The classic pairing of smoked salmon, red onion, cream cheese and capers is artfully and skilfully brought together in this panini; there was the perfect amount of each ingredient on this sandwich.
Of course you don’t leave the Flying Banzini without also having one of their delightful mini cheesecakes! This time, I had the pumpkin cheesecake, which came topped with marshmallows - wow! The texture of this cream cheese was incredible: soft, silky and smooth. I managed to scarf it down before I had the chance to take a photo so you’ll just have to use your imagination about what this little gem looked like!
Once again, I’ll be back to the Flying Banzini, hopefully sooner rather than later this time! My next quest is to try one of their soft roll sandwiches…my mouth is watering just thinking about it!