Posts tagged restaurant
Posts tagged restaurant
Dinner at The Burbs Pub
I always thought the name of this restaurant was a little bit cheeky, which I am sure it was meant to be. Truthfully, it put me off a little bit, which is why it took us so long to give it a try.
The term “the burbs” has a bit of a negative connotation to me. I mean, I live in the suburbs, and I love it. I just don’t like the connotation of the word, as it negatively describes where I live and where I love living.
All this to say, when I finally figured out that the restaurant was owned by the same people who own La Cucina, a lovely little restaurant just down the road from the Burbs Pub, I changed my mind. We have enjoyed many a delicious meal at La Cucina, so I knew I had to give this place a chance.
We decided to go for dinner (we were toying with the idea of breakfast at first) as the husband loves a club sandwich and loves trying them wherever he can. The restaurant wasn’t busy when we arrived around 6 p.m. or so on a Saturday night. A few tables were occupied with couples and families.
After perusing the menu for a bit, I was impressed to note that a lot of what they serve is made in-house, which was true for both the pulled pork sandwich that I ordered and the turkey from the husband’s club sandwich. The pulled pork was crazy delicious - super sweet (just the way I like it), tender, juicy - everything you could want in a fantastic pulled pork. The side garden salad left a bit to be desired, but both the lettuce and the vegetables were fresh and crisp. I also really liked the coleslaw - it had great flavour. The husband was impressed with his club and the french fries; they didn’t jump to the top of his all-time favourite list or anything, but they didn’t disappoint.
We would definitely return to this little pub. The food, service and atmosphere were all great!
Brunch at gezellig
The husband and I finally made it to gezellig one recent weekend for a late lunch/brunch. I’d been wanting to go since it opened late in 2012, but had not yet been able to make it.
gezellig is the creation of Stephen Beckta, who owns two other amazing restaurants in Ottawa: Beckta Dining and Wine and Play. Play is one of my absolute favourite restaurants! I adore the small plates concept and the food has always been nothing but amazing. I have yet to dine at Beckta Dining and Wine as the menu is a bit too exotic for the husband, but it’s still on my must-try list!
The restaurant’s location is that of an old bank that sits at the corner of two streets. There are huge windows that let in a great deal of light, so dining during the daytime is lovely as there are no dark spots and the restaurant is bright and sunny. The decor is very modern and minimalistic, with light wood coloured tables and black leather banquettes. It is a gorgeously designed space.
The brunch menu at gezllig is fun and quirky. I had no trouble deciding on what to order: I chose the gravlax, served with corn and cilantro fritters, pique sauce, lemon oil and red onion jam. It was delightfully zingy and full of flavour. The gravlax was plentiful and paired well with the fritters. I also couldn’t resist ordering something from their “sides” menu, which includes such fun items as house biscuits and preserves and baked beans with pork and molasses. I chose the house banana bread and loved it! It was fresh, warm and soft, and dotted with chocolate chips. It was everything homemade banana bread should be. Yum!
The husband had no trouble deciding on his order: he chose the breakfast poutine, which was fries topped with a poached egg, hollandaise sauce, guanciale (which is a type of unsmoked Italian bacon) and cheese curds. He thought it was fantastic! He also ordered the baked beans from the sides menu and raved about them.
We had a great brunch at gezellig and can’t wait to go back for dinner!
Breakfast at Big Rig Brew Pub
A friend of the husband’s had been telling him time and again that he should go to Big Rig for breakfast, so we finally took his advice and did just that one recent weekend.
Big Rig, which opened just about one year ago, serves up its own in-house made beer as well as a huge range of brew pub style food. Since the restaurant was built new from scratch, the interior is gorgeous with high, open ceilings, lots of windows, brand new big screen TVs, and ample seating.
We went pretty early on a Saturday morning, so the place was fairly quiet. We were seated right away and, since we had perused the menu online before heading out, we were quick to place our orders.
All breakfasts come with regular tea or coffee, which I really love in a restaurant breakfast. I was actually quite impressed with the coffee: it was strong and piping hot, which usually isn’t the case with restaurant coffee. I ordered the bagel egg-wich, a breakfast sandwich served on a toasted sesame seed bagel with ham, scrambled egg and cheddar cheese. The husband ordered the “Ottawa’s favourite,” which is your basic two egg breakfast served with your choice of bacon, sausage or ham, toast and homefries. My breakfast also came with their homefries.
We have tried a lot of breakfasts in Ottawa, and this was definitely one of the good ones. My sandwich was perfect: the bagel was beautifully toasted, and the ham, egg and cheese were hot and cooked well. Everything on the husband’s plate was also great: the bacon plenty and crispy but still some how a bit soft, the way he likes it, the scrambled eggs cooked expertly, and the toasted rye bread fresh and soft. Their homefries were definitely interesting; they were more like a hash, like potatoes that had been gently precooked and then tossed on the flat top for crisping. There were also a few onions kicking around in the potatoes, which I liked.
We would definitely go back, but it isn’t the spot if you’re looking for something fancy or out of the ordinary. But it does serve up a solid, basic breakfast/brunch menu of the usual suspects!
Happy hour at Spin Kitchen
After having such a lovely dining experience at Spin for my birthday dinner this past January, I decided to kick back one day after work and try their happy hour fare.
Spin offers a limited happy hour menu that they call the 5 @ 5 (5 bar eats, 5 beer, 5 cocktails, 5 wines for $5 at 5 p.m.). I haven’t had a fruity martini in forever so I was immediately drawn to the mangotini (their name, not mine), and I was not disappointed! Made with vodka, mango puree and fresh squeezed lime juice, this was one satisfying drink.
I couldn’t miss out on trying some cheap eats either, so I ordered the beef short ribs, which was two huge chunks of beef smothered in a red wine sauce and served with a single onion ring for garnish. This item usually goes for $12 on the regular menu, so it is a steal of a deal! It was incredibly tender and delicious; my tongue was tingling from all the savoury flavours.
I will definitely return to Spin for their happy hour, but the key is to order wisely: comparing the items on the happy hour menu with their prices on the non-happy hour menu helps for making smart decisions!
Dinner at Grounded Kitchen and Coffee House
I’ve had the pleasure of enjoying lunch at Grounded, but had not yet been there for dinner until one recent evening.
I met a friend for dinner and, as luck (and Mother Nature) would have it, the patio was open and we could dine al fresco! The dinner menu at Grounded is not huge but there is lots from which to choose. I settled on the soft tacos, which were under the small plates section of the menu. The tacos come with your choice of shrimp, pulled pork or vegetarian, and are served with mango chutney, house made chipotle bbq sauce, guacamole, pico de gallo and pickled jalapenos. I chose the shrimp, and they were good! Maybe not quite bursting with the exact kind of zingy flavour that I had hoped for, but everything was fresh and well put together, and the shrimp were nicely cooked.
Would I return? Absolutely. There are many other menu items that I would like to try!
Breakfast at Alice’s Village Cafe
This is only the second time that I’ve had the chance to dine at the lovely Alice’s Village Cafe in Carp, but it won’t be the last! My first trip to Alice’s was for dinner, so I was excited to try their breakfast!
I ordered the basic breakfast sandwich, which comes with egg, your choice of bacon or sausage (I chose sausage) and cheddar cheese. It is served with Alice’s in-house made ketchup and a few slices of fruit. The sandwich was great - lots of flavour, and I believe they locally source their meat (but I didn’t ask to confirm). I also adore their in-house made ketchup, which I tasted during my first visit and fell in love. It is so tangy and the spices used to flavour it are spot-on. Unfortunately, the fruit slices were a little dreary and dried out, but I overlooked it due to the deliciousness of the sandwich!
To accompany my sandwich, I ordered a cappuccino and one of their apple cinnamon scones. Both were fantastic - I love the size of their cappuccino: it isn’t too big and isn’t too small, and it its perfect in its ratio of milk to espresso. The scone was impressive with lots of cinnamon flavour and big chunks of fresh apple. All in all, it was a delightful breakfast and I can’t wait to return!
Brunch at Panera Bread
The husband and I decided to take a drive to New York State one recent weekend to do some shopping. We go a few times a year just to hunt for new grocery/food items, and, while there, we always dine at Panera Bread.
I tend to try their new menu items whenever we go because we don’t go that often. This time, they had a new breakfast sandwich which was a flatbread stuffed with turkey chorizo, scrambled egg, potatoes, cheese and veggies and grilled until hot. Yum! We also shared their new muffin, the peach pecan crunch muffin, which was super moist and packed with huge chunks of peach. I also loved the crunchy granola baked into the top of the muffin.
The husband got his usual (the bacon turkey bravo sandwich, the mac and cheese and a cherry cheese danish) and he ate every bite like it was the first time. Sigh. haha
Our Wedding Dinner
One month married! I can’t believe the husband and I were celebrating our wedding just one month ago today. It is incredibly surreal!
We were so lucky to be able to host our immediate families for dinner after our ceremony at the Courtyard Restaurant, a well-known restaurant in Ottawa famous for its fantastic food and rustic ambiance due to its location in a historic, very old building in the Byward Market. We enjoyed every moment in the private room with its gorgeous stone walls and exposed beams in the ceiling.
Even though we were a small group, we still opted for a pre-selected menu. However, the great thing was that we were able to offer our guests different selections for each course, except for the soup course. We all started off with the wild mushroom bisque with sourdough croutons and C’est Bon goat’s cheese, which was incredibly creamy, earthy and delicious!
For the appetizer course, our guests could choose from in-house made fish cakes served with celeriac remoulade with apple and grainy mustard, or the house salad with baby greens, carrots, raisins and a shallot-thyme vinaigrette. Both the husband and I chose the fish cakes, which were moist and flavourful, as was the celeriac salad.
For the main course, we wanted to give our guests a big range of choices. Our guests could choose from a rib-eye steak served with mashed potatoes, broccoli, Brussels sprouts and a caramelized onion sauce; a roasted chicken breast with red wine jus served with local root vegetables and mashed potatoes; pan-seared pork served with apple and raisin chutney, roasted fingerling potatoes and roasted local root vegetables; and pan-seared sustainable striped bass topped with a white whine veloute and served with sauteed potatoes, peas and shallots. I chose the bass, while my groom chose the rib-eye, and we were both absolutely delighted with our choices. Both of our meals were perfectly cooked and the service was incredible!
Last, but not least, for the dessert course, we were able to offer three sinfully delicious choices: a flourless chocolate cake with cherry crumble and cherry puree; maple sugar pie served with vanilla ice cream (a Canadian classic!); and sticky toffee pudding with toffee sauce and cinnamon custard. I chose the sticky toffee pudding, and I was so quick to eat it that I didn’t even get a photo to share! That is how delicious it was! The husband chose the flourless chocolate and loved it! My mom chose the maple sugar pie and adored raved about it.
Our wedding meal is definitely one we will never forget. For me in particular, it was everything my perfect meal would be, and everything I could ever dream that my wedding day meal would be!
Whenever I am craving the flavour of sweet curried coconut, I always find it best to indulge in the delightful lunch menu at Siam Bistro. The portion sizes aren’t too big, but still big enough that I can get two meals out of one lunch.
One of my favourite dishes is the kao sai, which is a soup with chicken or beef (I get beef) in light curry and coconut milk broth served with steamed egg noodles. It is such a perfect combination of sweet, savoury, spicy and rich. The beef and the noodles are extremely tender, and each bite is smooth and fulfilling.
Siam Bistro is definitely one of my favourite Thai restaurants in Ottawa - it is always high quality food, great service and lovely ambiance!
Lunch at Bistro Fifty Four
While taking a little bit of time off for the period pre- and post-wedding, the husband and I had a little bit of extra time to dine at a restaurant we had been wanting to try.
We first experienced Bistro Fifty Four at the Kanata Food and Wine Show in November 2012.(see here), and enjoyed the beef bourguignon that we tasted.
The restaurant is actually a part of a golf course, which I did not realize. It was quiet in the restaurant the day we dined (the golf course was not yet open) except for a few other patrons who were mostly retirees, likely due to the fact that it was a week day lunch, and there aren’t any office buildings or businesses nearby.
We were promptly greeted, seated and served, and the food came out pretty quickly too. I ordered the monte cristo sandwich and got the soup of the day, a chipotle roasted corn chowder, as my side. Both were delicious - the sandwich was so moist and fresh, and the soup had a great kick of spice but with lots of good roasted flavour. Both of our dishes were served with a pickle and their in-house made coleslaw, which was very different and tasty as it was made with balsamic vinegar, which gave it a wonderful caramel-type colour.
The husband went for his usual, a club sandwich, but for his side, he upgraded to poutine. But this wasn’t just any ordinary poutine - he got what the menu described as “Newfie poutine,” which was your basic poutine topped with stuffing! As a self-dubbed club sandwich connosseur, he liked both the sandwich and his side very much!
We would definitely return to Bistro Fifty Four; the food and service were great, and we’d like to try more of the menu.
The husband and I continue to love to go out for breakfast on occasion to Eggstyles. Their fresh, fast and delicious breakfasts never cease to please! Most recently, we branched out and tried the blueberry pancake combo breakfast, served with all the usual suspects (eggs, bacon, hash browns, fruit, toast). The pancakes were delicious and a nice addition to the regular breakfast.
Snack time at Must Wine Bar
We had the pleasure of stopping in for a snack at one of our favourite Byward Market spots this past weekend. We came to love Must Wine Bar after dining there last summer before attending Aziz Ansari’s show at the National Arts Centre.
This time around, we ordered the smoked salmon plate with rye toast, lemon dill ricotta, and pickled Bermuda onions; the daily special, which was a slider with fries; and lastly, the in-house rib eye ground meatballs stuffed with smoked mozzarella and served in tomato Parmesan sauce. Everything was delicious! I especially loved my smoked salmon plate; the salmon was served rolled up in a beautiful rosette.
We will be back at Must again soon - it is a must do while walking around the Market! haha
Dinner at Absinthe
Feast with your eyes! My words will not do this amazing dinner justice, so I leave you with my photo essay. Enjoy!
Lunch at Nectar Fine Tea
I once again had the opportunity to lunch at Nectar Fine Teas one recent afternoon, and it was just as amazing as I remembered it to be! I had not dined there in quite some time, so I was so excited to experience the delicate, dainty dining experience that is their High Tea lunch service.
My lunch began with the savoury course, which consisted of potato and leek soup, a potato tart (with the amazing flavour of tarragon) and an open-faced lemon chicken sandwich with black olive tapenade. All three were so delicious and had amazing depth of flavour.
The second course, the sweet course, consisted of a vanilla and cranberry scone as well as green tea and ginger shortbread cookies, and, of course, jam and clotted cream. This is my favourite part of the high tea experience! The scones were fantastic and I adore their shortbread cookies, especially the green tea flavoured one.
If you are looking for a laid back but delicious high tea lunch, I highly recommend Nectar Fine Teas!
Nectar Fine Teas
1250 Wellington Street West, Ottawa, Ontario
Kiwi Kraze Frozen Yogurt
We finally made it to Kiwi Kraze this past weekend. I’d been hearing so much about this new shop, and both the fiancé and I had been wanting to try it. We first enjoyed the concept of self-serve frozen yogurt while vacationing in Las Vegas a few years ago, and we totally loved it!
Upon entering the store, the concept was completely apparent, so we helped ourselves to the self-serve cups and started to examine the flavours. I decided on cappuccino (the beige coloured yogurt), Dutch chocolate (the dark brown coloured yogurt) and white chocolate macadamia nut (the white coloured yogurt). Both the Dutch chocolate and the white chocolate macadamia nut were awesome, but the cappuccino definitely lacked any real flavour. The fiancé opted for orange, cranberry goji and cookie dough. The orange and cranberry goji flavours were great, but, again, the cookie dough didn’t have any real flavour.
All in all, Kiwi Kraze was a delicious treat and we will be returning to sample more of the flavours in the very near future! I am already planning my next combination..maybe banana sorbet mixed with chocolate? Mmmmmmmmmmm. Perfect to go with this spring like weather that is slowly spreading all over Ottawa.