Gastronomy and Life's Other Pleasures

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Posts tagged sandwich

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La Sandwicherie, South Beach, Miami, Florida

I know what you’re thinking: sandwiches - no big deal, right?  Wrong! As someone who is head over heels in love with GOOD sandwiches, I was pretty excited to discover La Sandwicherie while researching restaurant and food options for our recent trip to Miami Beach.

Known for it’s fresh ingredients and its huge and affordable sandwiches, La Sandwicherie has been serving South Beach, Miami since 1988 from their take out window/counter-only shop on 14th Street.  You get a full view of the sandwich-making action while waiting at the counter for your order to be prepared, and it’s pretty fantastic to watch!  Never have you seen faster hands whipping together sandwich perfection.

The menu explains all of your sandwich options, including choice of bread (fresh daily baked baguette - both white and whole wheat - and croissants) and the toppings that come with each sandwich (lettuce, tomatoes, green and hot peppers, black olives, onions, cucumbers, cornichons, mayonnaise and their house-made French vinaigrette).

The husband and I visited La Sandwicherie twice during our stay in Miami Beach.  The first time, I ordered the SoBe Club, which comes with turkey, brie cheese and avocado (along with all of the toppings above), and the husband had the Italian, which comes topped with ham, salami, proscuitto and provolone (and also all of those other toppings).  These were fantastic!  The baguette was fresh, as were the ample toppings.  As well, having eaten these at lunch time, we were full for the rest of the day!

For our second visit, I had the ham and turkey with provolone (and all the toppings, but on a croissant, which was amazing! One of my favourite things in the world of sandwiches is croissant sandwiches. They just add that special touch! The husband had the roast beef, which he also thoroughly enjoyed.

La Sandwicherie also offers fresh smoothies and juices (we tried one of the smoothies but I forgot to take a photo! It was delicious), soup, salads and breakfast sandwiches. There are even a few options for toasted or hot sandwiches.

I would definitely add La Sandwicherie to your itinerary if you’re looking for something that is fresh, delicious, and won’t break the bank, especially in South Beach.  Plus, who doesn’t love a portable meal? Get your sandwiches and head right back to the beach for a picnic lunch. 

Filed under food sandwich restaurant review South Beach Miami Florida SoBe La Sandwicherie turkey croissant baguette fresh delicious ham avocado provolone roast beef Italian meat deli meat cold cuts outdoor picnic take out

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Abuela’s Cuban Kitchen, South Beach, Miami, Florida: Round 2

After our first delicious meal at Abuela’s (see here), we were keen to return to try out the more casual, diner-esque side of the restaurant, and to have a Cuban sandwich, of course!

We chose to sit at the counter, and were promptly greeted and happily helped by a number of staff. That was one thing we noticed during both of our experiences at Abuela’s - the servers are so friendly and happy to make your meal the best it can be! For example, the husband wanted to try another traditional Cuban/Latin American soda/pop after having tried Ironbeer and liking it and was hoping the server could make a recommendation.  Our server suggested Jupina, a pineapple flavoured pop, and it was delicious!

We decided to share the Cuban sandwich and the tamal en hoja (a classic pork tamale). The sandwich came with all of the classic ingredients including shaved ham, pork, pickles, mustard and swiss cheese, and it was delicious (and huge!). I wanted to try a tamale, so we ordered the tamal en hoja, which is a classic pork tamale. It was dense, dotted with chunks of salty and tender pork among the corn mixture. I have learned that I am indeed a fan of tamales! 

Sadly we did not have any room for dessert, but Abuela’s also offers a number of Cuban and other sweets to satisfy your sweet tooth. Perhaps next time!

Filed under food lunch dinner sandwich Cuban Cuban sandwich Abuela's Abuela's Cuban Kitchen tamal tamal en hoja Jupina pop soda tamale pork corn husk

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Weeknight supper: cocoa sloppy joes
In continuing to cook my way through Jennifer Bain’s Toronto Star Cookbook, I have realized that I love this cookbook! The recipes are simple but also interesting and totally, lip-smackingly delicious.
In honour of Sloppy Joe Day on March 18, I took a chance on Jennifer’s cocoa sloppy joes, which, I have to admit, I wasn’t sure about. Cocoa in beef? But it was delicious! The meat was moist and the flavours were unique.
Cocoa sloppy joes - from the Toronto Star Cookbook
Serves 4
Ingredients - 1 lb extra lean ground beef
- 1/2 cup ketchup
- 1 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 tbsp chili powder
- 1 tbsp yellow mustard
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp freshly cracked pepper
- 1 small yellow onion, chopped
- 4 buns of your choice
DIrections
In a small bowl, mix together the ketchup, cocoa powder, chili powder, mustard, salt and pepper.  Set aside.
Heat a medium non-stick frying pan over medium-high heat, and cook onion and ground beef until beef is browned and cooked through, about 10 minutes. Drain off any fat if necessary.
Reduce the heat to low and stir the ketchup mixture into the beef mixture, and let cook, stirring often, for 5 to 10 minutes.
Toast the buns lightly and divide the meat evenly among the buns.  We added some and sliced pickles to our buns for extra texture and flavour. Enjoy!

Weeknight supper: cocoa sloppy joes

In continuing to cook my way through Jennifer Bain’s Toronto Star Cookbook, I have realized that I love this cookbook! The recipes are simple but also interesting and totally, lip-smackingly delicious.

In honour of Sloppy Joe Day on March 18, I took a chance on Jennifer’s cocoa sloppy joes, which, I have to admit, I wasn’t sure about. Cocoa in beef? But it was delicious! The meat was moist and the flavours were unique.

Cocoa sloppy joes - from the Toronto Star Cookbook

Serves 4

Ingredients
- 1 lb extra lean ground beef

- 1/2 cup ketchup

- 1 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder

- 1 tbsp chili powder

- 1 tbsp yellow mustard

- 1/2 tsp salt

- 1/2 tsp freshly cracked pepper

- 1 small yellow onion, chopped

- 4 buns of your choice

DIrections

In a small bowl, mix together the ketchup, cocoa powder, chili powder, mustard, salt and pepper.  Set aside.

Heat a medium non-stick frying pan over medium-high heat, and cook onion and ground beef until beef is browned and cooked through, about 10 minutes. Drain off any fat if necessary.

Reduce the heat to low and stir the ketchup mixture into the beef mixture, and let cook, stirring often, for 5 to 10 minutes.

Toast the buns lightly and divide the meat evenly among the buns.  We added some and sliced pickles to our buns for extra texture and flavour. Enjoy!

Filed under food beef recipe cocoa dinner supper Jennifer Bain sloppy joes sandwich hot sandwich

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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! 

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! 

Filed under food lunch sandwich restaurant Ottawa Flying Banzini meatloaf bun soft bun beef ketchup chipotle review hearty meaty Wellington West Hintonburg

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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

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

Filed under food lunch Ottawa restaurant Flying Banzini sandwich pork porchetta bun tomato spinach fennell sausage sage sweet chilies pork loin hearty

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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!

Filed under food restaurant Ottawa Panera Bread grand opening dinner lunch sandwich salad napa almond chicken salad mediterranean shrimp couscous salad shrimp couscous

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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.

Filed under food lunch restaurant Ottawa Art-is-in art-is-in bakery review sandwich mac and cheese pork pulled pork jalapeno slaw croissant

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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.  

Filed under food lunch restaurant Flying Banzini Ottawa Hintonburg review sandwich soup beef pizza basil roast beef horseradish rosemary Wellington West cheese bocconcini broccoli

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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!

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!

Filed under food ottawa lunch sandwich smoked salmon cream cheese capers Wellington Street Flying Banzini Hintonburg focaccia spinach red onion dill restaurant review

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Lunch at Ad Mare (round 2)
Look at that beauty!! I couldn’t tell you the last time that I had a lobster roll; I think it has been years. My first experience at Ad Mare (see here) was so great that I knew I had to return to try one of their signature offerings, their lobster roll.
I was so impressed by the amount and quality of lobster in the sandwich: it was piled high! The dressing on the lobster was light with a strong lemon flavour.  Overall, a wonderful experience!  I also got to try their maple vinaigrette salad dressing, which was delightful.  There are still a few more menu items that I would like to try at Ad Mare, so I will be back!

Lunch at Ad Mare (round 2)

Look at that beauty!! I couldn’t tell you the last time that I had a lobster roll; I think it has been years. My first experience at Ad Mare (see here) was so great that I knew I had to return to try one of their signature offerings, their lobster roll.

I was so impressed by the amount and quality of lobster in the sandwich: it was piled high! The dressing on the lobster was light with a strong lemon flavour.  Overall, a wonderful experience!  I also got to try their maple vinaigrette salad dressing, which was delightful.  There are still a few more menu items that I would like to try at Ad Mare, so I will be back!

Filed under food lunch food truck 613streetfood lobster lobster roll seafood sandwich salad maple vinaigrette bun Ad Mare Ottawa Ontario snack

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Weeknight dinner: roasted pork sandwiches
Happy Friday, friends!  And Happy Thanksgiving to my fellow Canadians.  How will you be celebrating this holiday long weekend? I am so thankful for everything that I am so lucky to have in my life: my husband, my wonderful family, my amazing friends, my job..the list could go on and on.  I hope everyone has a wonderful holiday however you celebrate.
I was never a fan of leftovers when I was growing up. I don’t know why exactly; I think it may have had to do with the types of foods that we were eating as leftovers but I’m not totally sure. I just remember being very picky about leftovers, and I’m sure my mother would agree!
My stance on leftovers has changed somewhat over the past few years since I’ve learned to appreciate that some foods are actually better once they have had a day or two to rest.  I still think that not all foods make good leftovers, but I’ve learned to repurpose most things.
After making that huge roasted pork loin a few days ago (see here), we had lots of leftover meat so I thought what better way to repurpose it than to make sandwiches?  So we sliced up some of the meat as thinly as we could, and I fried some yellow bell pepper and onions.  We piled it all on a couple of buns and topped with some provolone cheese, and then put it in the oven to make it all gooey and melty.  We served it with my classic home made oven fries (sweet potato for me and regular russet potato for the husband), and boom! Delicious sandwiches from our leftover roast! 

Weeknight dinner: roasted pork sandwiches

Happy Friday, friends!  And Happy Thanksgiving to my fellow Canadians.  How will you be celebrating this holiday long weekend? I am so thankful for everything that I am so lucky to have in my life: my husband, my wonderful family, my amazing friends, my job..the list could go on and on.  I hope everyone has a wonderful holiday however you celebrate.

I was never a fan of leftovers when I was growing up. I don’t know why exactly; I think it may have had to do with the types of foods that we were eating as leftovers but I’m not totally sure. I just remember being very picky about leftovers, and I’m sure my mother would agree!

My stance on leftovers has changed somewhat over the past few years since I’ve learned to appreciate that some foods are actually better once they have had a day or two to rest.  I still think that not all foods make good leftovers, but I’ve learned to repurpose most things.

After making that huge roasted pork loin a few days ago (see here), we had lots of leftover meat so I thought what better way to repurpose it than to make sandwiches?  So we sliced up some of the meat as thinly as we could, and I fried some yellow bell pepper and onions.  We piled it all on a couple of buns and topped with some provolone cheese, and then put it in the oven to make it all gooey and melty.  We served it with my classic home made oven fries (sweet potato for me and regular russet potato for the husband), and boom! Delicious sandwiches from our leftover roast! 

Filed under food dinner supper leftovers pork sandwich melt sweet potato fries oven fries onion bun

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Lunch at Freshii

I noticed Freshii a while back when I drove past it in a blur trying to focus on the lanes of traffic and cars around me while driving into the downtown core.  I didn’t think much of it until my sister mentioned the name, saying that it was a great spot for a quick, healthy lunch.  

During my sister’s recent visit, we took advantage of my day off and went to Freshii for lunch so that I could see what it was all about.  There are two locations in Ottawa, one on the University of Ottawa campus and one on Sparks Street.  We had parked on the university campus so my sister could attend a meeting so we ate at that location.

The interior is bright, and Freshii’s colour theme is quite apparent: white, bright emerald green and black.  There are menu boards displaying the myraid of options for their wraps, salads, burritos, soups and bowls.  I decided to stick with their menu boards for my first time, but they have another option: design your own _____ (wrap, salad, burrito, bowl or soup).  They provide little clipboards with pre-made forms that list all of the available ingredient options and prices for each choice.  Wow! You could literally go in and order something completely different every day of the week.  You might think that this is no different than say, Subway, but Freshii has even more toppings such as chopped beets, artichoke hearts, corn, edamame, green apple, chickpeas, celery, cabbage…and the list goes on!  Definitely not your average toppings.

So as I was saying, I decided to go with one of their menu board items, and I chose the Fiesta burrito, which is basically a heated wrap that comes stuffed with brown rice, cajun chicken, avocado, corn, black beans, diced tomato, cilantro, salsa and low-fat ranch dressing. It was fantastic!  A huge burrito that left me full for the rest of the day. I did feel the price was a tad steep at $7.99 plus tax, but it was a really big portion and the ingredients were all of excellent quality. 

I can’t wait to go back to try more of their menu board items (or even create my own).  I’m going to try to take the husband as I know he’ll love it, even though I know he’ll be totally overwhelmed by the choices! Have you been to a Freshii?  Any tips?  What is your favourite menu item?

Filed under food lunch restaurant Freshii wrap sandwich burrito Ottawa fiesta chicken avocado brown rice tomato salsa ranch cilantro beans corn review fresh fast

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Lunch at the Flying Banzini

As you can perhaps guess, I get excited when a new restaurant opens in Ottawa.  Especially one that is close to my workplace, which affords me the delight of being able to wander out on my lunch hour to experience new and delicious eats.

When I first saw and read about the Flying Banzini, it was a little bittersweet because it was opening in the former space that belonged to Collected Works, a fantastic independent book store that had to close its doors.  Alas, I had high hopes: even the name had me intrigued!

I had been following the owner’s blog during the first couple of weeks of the business being open, and it was interesting.  Of course there are ups and downs when opening a new restaurant, and the owner, Dave Scharf, blogged about every one of those ups and downs.  I really liked his honesty in those blog posts - I thought he was pretty brave for being so open about the ups and downs of his new restaurant.  

I am a big sucker for a good sandwich, so I was excited to sink my teeth into one of the Flying Banzini’s fine offerings.  I decided on one of their paninis, which was cutely named “Late in the Evening” and cost $8.95  Served on focaccia, this panini comes with pulled roast chicken, double-smoked bacon, sliced granny smith apple, spinach, tomato, Quebec brie and lemon chive mayo.  What a fantastic sandwich! The portion size was huge, and the flavours complemented each other incredible.  I loved the mish mash of textures from the creaminess of the brie to the crunchy apple.  I also added a side salad to my sandwich for an extra $1.95; it was fresh, ample and the in-house made lemon, honey and thyme dressing was fantastic.

But if the amazing sandwich and salad weren’t enough, feast your eyes on probably the most delightful aspect of their menu: the mini cheesecakes!  When ordering my lunch, I also wanted to get a couple of cheesecakes to take back to the office with me.  The cashier, while handing me two of the adorable coins you see in my photo above, advised me that, when I was done my lunch, I could return to the counter and hand in my coins for my two cheesecakes.  Cute!  I opted for the chocolate espresso (the one with the coffee bean on top) while a curious coworker for whom I promised a cheesecake had chosen the sea salt caramel chocolate cheesecake.  My chocolate espresso cheesecake was incredibly rich and dense, and full of coffee flavour.  I loved every last bite! My coworker also loved hers but thought that the chocolate base overwhelmed the salted caramel a little bit. 

Overall, I can’t wait to go back to the Flying Banzini.  What a fabulous restaurant!

Filed under food lunch Ottawa sandwich Flying Banzini Wellington West Hintonburg Westboro restaurant review panini salad cheesecake chocolate salted caramel espresso chicken brie