Geronimo ! Lets go.

So what do you do when in Kemptville watching your child curl. In between games, I decided to sample some local establishments. One such place is Geronimo which is an indie cafe which is only half a kilometer away from the curling club on Prescott St.The cafe uses Equator coffee and makes a smooth and flavourful latte. There is a small selection of loose leaf tea; green, darjeeling, earl grey, camomille, and other herbals. They also offer breakfast and sandwiches for lunch and some nice looking scones and muffins (none of which I tried). It is nice to be able to get a good coffee/tea that’s not a Timmies or McDonald’s in a small town.

Another gem in Kemptville is Graham’s Bakery. It is in the back of an old house; again close to the downtown area. They make the most amazing apple fritters and filled donuts. The apple fritters are crisp with lots of apple. The lemon filled donuts are to die for…the crispy outside with the soft inside and a tart lemon curd. Way better than Tim Horton’s. They also make apple turnovers and raspberry turnovers which are very good (better than the now defunct Richmond Bakery).

Unfortunately, the bonspiel ended at 3 so we didn’t get to go to The Branch for dinner (another culinary gem). I tried The Branch for dinner in November…it is an upscale smokehouse. The chicken platter was very good.

Note my child’s team came in second in the spiel and boy was it tough being behind the glass watching.

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Ramen, You’re Late!!

After a Thursday evening visit to the Museum of Nature with my son (free night), we decided to sample some new culinary delights on Elgin Street.  On the north end of Elgin, a new Japanese/asian restaurant opened called Ginza Ramen which from reading the reviews have amazing ramen dishes.

We arrived at 6:45PM at the restaurant that had 2 tables occupied. Then a couple of people came in to order take out and finally we ordered gyzoa, chicken wing yakatori, beef yakatori, miso ramen and the vermicelli mixed grill.

So how long do you think it takes to make ramen? How about 45 minutes…my ramen dish came first…the broth was amazing with that unami taste  and the ramen noodles were fresh tasting.  By the time I finished my noodles, we got our first appetizer, the chicken wing yakatori…basically a flatten chicken wing with one bone removed grilled on a skewer. Tasty but nothing to write home about…then we finally got the beef yakatori and the gyzoa. My son gobbled up the last two appetizers (because he waited soooo long and was sooo hungry). We were nearly finished the appetizers when finally my husband’s vermicelli showed up.

So the waitress says that the wait was long because there was a flurry of take out orders…I saw three ahead of us…not really sure what was happening in the kitchen because the ladies that were seated beside us at 7:30PM got their orders pronto…they finished their appetizers and were half way through their main course of pho when we left. We left at around 8PM.

Food was not bad…good ramen but the service definitely is spotty and the kitchen needs to put their in house patrons ahead of the takeout.

(Note that the owner sent me an email and apologized for the service and invited us to try again on the house.)

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Mello on Canada Day

The family had to do a bit of the tourist thing on Canada Day. We ended up on Wellington Street just on the west side of Parliament and that is where we found the Merry Dairy Food Truck. My son had the vanilla custard cone with strawberry sauce in middle of the frozen custard. I was very surprised by the price..being on Canada Day and on Wellington St….his cone was only 4.50 which is very reasonable.

Note to self, do not try to walk on Wellington right at Metcalfe on Canada Day…it is crowded!!! Better off back tracking and going to Sparks to get to the Market. Of course when we emerged from Sparks onto Elgin, we discover that the War Monument is fenced in for repairs so we had to walk around that to get to Rideau.
We had walked a long way and it was hot so we were looking for a place air conditioned and simple for some food. My son wanted a simple burger. We were surrounded by loud party patios with overpriced food.

We walked a bit and then I spotted Mello’s diner. They had a llimited menu for lunch. We ordered the bacon cheese burger and the club. The bacon cheese burger was on texas toast with the cheese melted into the bread (like a grilled cheese) garnished with tomato lettuce and special sauce (ok so my son had lettuce and special sauce only). The club was really a grilled mediteranean chicken sandwich with mayo bacon and lettuce with the bread toasted on the grill. The sandwiches were very filling and not overpriced at all.
This first experience at Mellos has me wanting to go back someday to try their breakfast and normal lunch menu.

Yes, we were very satisfied customers!

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Three for two six ate

Since we decided to forgo a weekend journey to Niagara Falls, I decided to treat myself to a foodie dinner in Ottawa Saturday. After reading the reviews and scouring the internet, I decided it was time to try two six ate on Preston street. Since they are only open during the evening, we decided to go at 4:30PM just after opening time.

We were seated by the front window so we could people watch while we dined. This was during World Cup and so there were very few people as this restaurant has no patio or TV.

My husband decided to have the sampler of beer…most of which were different varieties of Beau’s beer. Strangely, I liked the wheat beer the best.

The specials that day were ox tail blood ravioli stuffed with homemade ricotta in an asparagus cream sauce with garlic scapes. The other special was the smoked meat sandwich(note the meat was cured in house) on homemade rye cheese bun with grilled fennel.

We decided on the 2 specials and my son had to order the chicken confit poutine. We also had the surf and turf (the grilled calamari with grilled sausage). My husband was hungry so he also ordered the foie gras burger.

None of the plates were very large…I would say my sandwich with fries would be considered a normal plate. The ravoli plate had 4 raviolis 2.5 inches wide. The foie burger was a four ounce burger (hand ground) with a fair size portion of foie gras. The surf and turf was a 6 inch tube of squid sliced into rounds with a sausage cut into 4 pieces. The poutine was a bowl of hand cut fries with homemade chicken gravy, fresh curds and a flatten chicken thigh that was deep fried.

The two best dishes were the poutine and the smoked meat sandwich. The smoked meat had beautiful flavour and melt in your mouth texture. The bun had chew but was still soft to complement the meat.

If you go, and you are a peanut butter fan, you must order “THE DESSERT”. This place is famous for their signature dessert which is peanut butter and jam sandwich that is deep fried with homemade ice cream to accompany it. It was like a hot peanut butter and jam donut where the peanut butter oozes in your mouth.

All in all a great culinary experience.

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Savoy n’est pas Sauve

It was a beautiful Sunday for a bike ride with the family on the Western Parkway. Being his first ride of the season, my son was getting bicycle butt by the time we got to Westboro. Ok, he was hungry and needing food too. We decided to do breakfast at a new place. So we decided to try Savoy.This is a new restaurant at the corner of Churchill and Richmond where the Newport used to be.
The food was ok; nothing special but the prices were ridiculously high. A normal 2 egg breakfast was 11 dollars and that did not include coffee or tea. The coffee or tea was a whopping 3 dollars. So an ordinary breakfast of eggs and bacon with coffee is 14 dollars.
The best part of the plate was the potatoes but even then that didn’t justify the price. My bacon came just cooked and I sent it back to be crisped up.

The eggs benedicts that were ordered looked fine; eggs poached soft; hollandaise sauce made from scratch…you could tell because it was broken. I could taste the butter but sauce served was separating. Pricing is very strange with the ham version being priced the same as the smoked salmon version at 15 dollars. Again extremely high price for what you got.

Recommendation…if you are planning to spend that much for breakfast, go to Gezellig across the street where the food costs the same but the ingredients and prep are of higher quality. Even the tea is better (david’s loose leaf tea versus Higgins Burke bagged tea).

In comparison 2 weeks ago, I had the pleasure of having breakfast at Jak’s kitchen. That was a treat. The prices were a little high but you got local sourced ingredients with interesting combinations and preparation. The egg sandwiches were very good…but I had the eggs bene with spinach. The hollandaise sauce had a bite to it but was very tasty…The menu did mention that it was not traditional.

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Ministry of Coffee

After reading a review of the ministry of coffee in ottawaFoodies.com, I was curious about it as my husband is a coffee connoisseur. The baristas are very knowledgeable. They had a nice choice of loose leaf tea. The cherry sencha was a lovely fruity green tea. The cappuccino was well made  with good body, flavour and micro foam. (made from Parallel 49 beans). We picked up a pound of Phil and Sebastien coffee roasters to try.

They have sandwiches and homemade soups. The syrups are homemade and they also have Nutella hot chocolate on the menu.

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Smokeless Scotties

So after a disappointing zone mixed playdown that went into the wee hours of Sunday morning, the family decided to go to Montreal for a couple of games at the Scotties. A considerable amount of snow had come down the night before so we were delayed in leaving and so we didn’t make it to the Maurice Richard arena until after 10:20AM. There was little traffic in Montreal as the city was still digging out from the snowfall. There was no point in paying 25 dollars each for the morning draw when to see half a game.

The “patch” is a gymnasium across the parking lot. The giftshop did not open until 11AM. So we decided to grab and early lunch at Schwartz and get bagels at Fairmount. Because of the snowfall, there was choice of seating at Schwartz. It is amazing the number of visits to Montreal and I’ve never been to Schwartz for smoked meat sandwiches. The sandwiches were really good. The smoked meat melted in your mouth. The fries were hot and crispy. Definitely worthwhile. We then decided to buy some for home and they do takeout in the shop beside and they also have the meat in a seal package that you put in boiling water for 5 minutes and open and serve. Of course, we were close to Fairmount bagelshop so we stopped by and got some fresh hot bagels to munch on.

The curling at the Scotties was great but the venue was not up to snuff. The arena was dry and the only food was Subway with cold 6 inch subs and drinks. There was no hot food…no fries, no poutine. Very disappointing. The arena is by the Olympic Stadium and well that area was not very well stocked with restaurants within walking distance. You needed to take the metro somewhere to get some real food. Watching a 3 hour curling game with very little food and munchie choice was not a great idea.

After the afternoon game we decided to go have dinner somewhere in Montreal suburbia; off rue de Sources, we found an Italian restaurant. Service was good, food was filling and they had big screen tvs in their bar area for the football game.

I’d pick Kingston over Montreal for the Scotties any day.

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Flying Panninis

This weekend after a spectacular game of scotch doubles curling, I decided to take the family to the Flying Banzini for a late night dinner. This place is new in Hintonburg (by Holland and Wellington). It does panninis and personal pizzas.

The first thing I was impressed with was the pricing. The sandwiches were generally 8 dollars with a few exceptions. They make there own slow cooked beef and porkcetta. Choice of soft bun or pannini. The panninis looked more interesting as they had more flavour combinations with different dressings and vegetables. The soft bun was a big pile of meat on a bun.

We tried the beef pannini, and a porchetta pannini and the roast chicken pannini (minus the vegetables for my son). Each was extremely flavourful. I wouldn’t say there was a lot of meat in the sandwiches except for my son’s chicken…but there was enough to enjoy the flavours…I think in the beef and the porchetta, there could have been a bit more meat in them.

For dessert, we chose to get an assortment of 6 mini cheesecakes for $10…this way you get one free as they are priced at 2 dollars a piece. My husband and son loved them. The salted caramel chocolate was my son’s favourite and the espresso was my husband’s favourite.

They just got their liquour licence so there is a small selection of bottled beer and wine. There is also a small selection of loose leaf tea from Nectar teas. Hopefully they decide to add an espresso machine.

I was very impressed with the food and the pricing…definitely planning on returning to try another menu selection.

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Pressed Again

Our friends and I were looking to go to Hang Ten on Gladstone for lunch last weekend. When we got there, the sign was off and a for lease/sale sign was up…another failed restaurant. So we decided to go down the road a bit and have lunch at Pressed.

This time I avoided the waffle as I wasn’t too hungry…instead I got the smoked Trout “pressed” sandwich. My son got the waffle with smoked bacon, apple and cheddar and my husband got the eggs benedict waffle.

My sandwich was very tasty,,,the avocado and flavoured mayo had great flavour balance with the smokiness of the trout. The waffles are very much improved from the last visit where they were crispier and lighter in texture. However, the egg benedict were still not up to par as the egg was medium and there was a distinct vinegar flavour in the egg and the hollandaise sauce had too much lemon juice.

They now offer loose leaf tea…but again nothing exotic.

Overall the experience was much better than the last visit as the food seems to be improving.

After visiting the maker fair, we decided later that evening to venture out and have dinner at Zazaza pizza in the Glebe. This place was hopping….as we walked by many other restaurants that evening on Bank Street…it seemed to be one of the few that was full.

The pizzas served were thin crust…wheat or white. Exotic combinations. Five different pizzas were ordered and they all were very flavourful…(I couldn’t pick out a favourite as they were all unique and good in their own way). My only gripe is that I felt the pricing was a bit high for a personal thin crust pizza…all around $16.

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Smothered Butter

I had the opportunity to try the restaurant Burnt Butter in Hintonburg with a couple of girlfriends. The restaurant is a small bistro with a wall of windows that serves italian bistro food. Our waiter was very knowledgeable and personable.
The bread was brought with a small dish of tomato concasse instead of butter or olive oil. The concasse was very sweet and fresh tasting.

The beer selection is a small list of different microbewery beer in the bottle.

I ordered the gazpacho (cactus pear, cantaloupe, tomato)…Unfortunately, the tomato was the overpowering taste with a bit of sweetness from the fruit. It was real cantaloupe because I found a seed in my soup.

My main course was the chicken rotolo…Pasta sheets rolled up with chicken and asparagus. I found that this dish was very underseasoned. I could taste the chicken flavour and it was real chicken as I found a piece of bone in the coarse ground chicken filling but there was no spicing…I found it bland. The tomato sauce could have had much more flavouring too. I also noticed that salt and pepper was missing from the table.

My companions had the beef meatball pasta dish which she found that the meatball was dry. My very pregnant companion had ordered the pork chop. It was thick but had to be sent back as it was undercooked. It took quite a long time for the kitchen cook it right as it finally came back when I was more than half done my dish.

There was only one wait person…as the restaurant filled, it seemed the waiter was a little overwhelmed as it took quite a while for us to send back the undercooked pork and for him to return with fresh pepper and parmesan.

With all the good restaurants in this area, it just did not impress.

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