Category Archives: Restaurant Food

El Camino

Great news!  A taco restaurant and take-out window opened just around the corner!  I’m talking I don’t even have to cross the street to get my hands on these little beauties.  Have a look at what El Caminowhich opened just a few days ago on Elgin street, passes through the window:

El Camino's Beef and Pork Tacos

El Camino’s Beef and Pork Tacos

My first trip (of which there will be many) I ordered 2 pork tacos and 1 beef, and both were UNREAL.  Chris also gave a thumbs up to the crispy fish taco, and lamb is an option as well.  The tacos all come standard issue with set toppings like avocado, pickled onions, radish, cilantro and fresh lime. The meat is cooked to absolute juicy, shred-y flavour perfection; the beef has a hint of five spice and a nice spicy kick while the pork is tender and sweet.  Did I mention they make their own tortillas? Life is good 🙂  For $4 each, this place is a welcome addition to the neighbourhood!

UPDATE: My second trip to El Camino wasn’t that long after the first.  This time I ate in the restaurant and it only made me love this place more.  What you see below is evidence of this feast:  the creamy guac, perfect margaritas, and tacos of course.  Lamb, pork, beef and 3 crispy fish.  Just scrumptious.

El Camino Feast

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June 5, 2013 · 10:24 PM

The Metropolitan Brasserie’s Duck Poutine

Shredded duck, triple cream brie and foie-gras gravy (what? who knew such a thing even existed??) make up this insanely decadent and literally heart stoppingly tasty poutine.   It can be found at the The Metropolitan Brasserie; a gorgeous, lively and delicious french restaurant in downtown Ottawa, which also happens to be right up the street from work. For this reason it often gets picked for after work drinks and celebrations.  Recently I was there for a coworker’s going away party and decided it was a perfect time to try this poutine creation I’d been eying and dreaming about for a few months now.

It was beyond rich, with a very generous chunk of triple cream brie and enough of that foie-gras gravy to generously coat the crispy fries.  So rich in fact that I actually shared and still couldn’t finish it.  It’s not something I could eat regularly but I’m glad I tried it because what I did eat was downright delectable.  Everything I love about poutine, but fancier!

Metropolitan Brasswerie

Metropolitan Brasserie

Yes, that is a giant hunk of brie on top.

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Benny’s Bistro

I love everything about Benny’s Bistro.  It’s tucked away in the back of the top notch French Baker in downtown Ottawa and serves the wonderful things the bakery produces along side expertly prepared breakfast and brunch food.   It’s all in the details at this place.  Take the regular old two egg breakfast; at Benny’s, this includes FRESH, amazing bread and butter, a hit of nutrients with the side green salad, the best potato and bacon hash you can imagine, and eggs cooked to absolute perfection.  Nothing but love for this place 🙂

Two eggs with toast, crispy smoked bacon and fingerling potato hash

I got the inspiration for my stuffed french toast recipe from Benny’s.  I always love their changing menu;  I’ve never once been disappointed!  The french toast on this particular visit was made with baked-fresh-that-morning-absolutely-perfect-baguette (obviously), and topped with fresh fruit, maple syrup and an crunchy oat crumble.  WOW.

French toast with fresh fruit and maple syrup

The only challenge with Benny’s is trying to walk through the bakery on your way out and not leave with a giant bag of pastries.  Not really a huge problem in my books!

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The Greek Souvlaki Shack

The Greek Souvlaki Shack caused a Greek food craving frenzy in my life a few months ago, and I thought it was time I told more people about this place.   I first tried it for dinner with friends one evening, and returned the very next night with another group because I couldn’t stop thinking about it!!  So glad this place is just a few blocks away!

The first night we started with the Greek Fries….and the second night I insisted we do the same thing.  It’s basically a Greek poutine.  And as a good Canadian, I love all things poutine related.  Perfect, crispy fries, feta cheese, Greek spices and just enough olive oil to lightly coat the fries, but not be overwhelming at all.  PERFECT.

Greek Fries

On the second visit we tried another appetizer:  the Greek sausage.  It was juicy with a nice crisp-ish coating, and was served with red onion.  Thumbs up all around!

Greek Sausage and Fries

The main course was beyond good.  Every bite.  So so so good.  The first night I got the chicken souvlaki, but wolfed it down too quickly to take a photo.  The second visit I tried the Beef Gyro platter, and that is what you see below.  The platters all came with rice pilaf (amazing), potatoes and  fresh, perfect Greek salad. All the flavours flying around this dinner were just exceptional.   I loved it from start to finish, and needless to say, I’ve found my go-to Greek place in Ottawa!

I also had to ask what kind of olive oil they used because it was noticeably light and delicious.  Turns out it’s just from Coscto!  Guess that means it’s time to get a membership….

Beef Gyro Platter

I haven’t had room for dessert any of the 3 times I’ve been to this place (I also went back again with my mom when she was in town…).  But all kinds of Greek pastries are displayed temptingly along the front counter.  Maybe one day I’ll have the will power to skip the Greek Fries at the beginning to save room for dessert.  Maybe….

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Black Cat Bistro

Hidden away among the endless pizza and pasta places in Little Italy (not that there’s anything wrong with that), is Black Cat Bistro.  A warm and modern restaurant with excellent bistro fare on the menu, where I recently got to have dinner for a friends birthday 🙂

Right away I was impressed by the simple bread and butter.  The bread was soft and fresh, and the butter had brown sugar or something sweet mixed in….whatever it was, I wanted to eat it by the spoonful.

(Sorry for the dark pictures folks, the restaurant was dark-ish and my little iphone did the best it could. )

Bread and Brown Sugar Butter

The arugula and chicken confit salad.  An appetizer, apparently.

Arugula, roasted almonds, pears,  cheese & sherry shallot vinaigrette

Arugula  w/ Chicken Confit Salad

The tuna carpaccio was another appetizer.  I didn’t try it, but I do know that there was radishes, jalapenos and wasabi mayo involved. There also wasn’t any left on the plate!

Albacore Tuna Carpaccio

For the main course, this is the much sought after burger.   It’s only available from Tuesday to Thursday for some reason.  Maybe because it’s so popular? Anyways, we were there on a Wednesday. Phew.

And this may be the reason why it’s so sought after:  smoked bacon, sharp cheddar, secret sauce, pomme frites, pickles & truffle mayo.

Four or five people at the table ordered this and the reviews were unanimously cleaned plates!

Black Cat Bistro’s Burger

I chose the truffle chicken for my main.  There were actually truffles stuffed underneath the crispy chicken skin.  Combined with the fact that the chicken itself was ultra juicy, and that it was served on top of parsnip purée, kale and a bunch of other yummy veggies, this chicken was pretty much perfect!

Black Cat Bisrto’s Truffle Chicken

My neighbour had the BC Halibut….no complaints!

Fish

The steak from the steak frites was juicy and charbroiled…mouthwateringly good.  A little peppercorn bordelaise never hurt anyone either.

Steak Frites

Here is the frites part of the steak frites.  Sage frites to be exact. They were hot, crispy and perfectly seasoned. I could have eaten a whole bunch of these.

Sage Frites

Obviously there was dessert.  The presentation of this s’mores dessert made me giggle, because I am a child, but it also had many many delicious flavours and texture combinations.  Chocolate, homemade marshmallow, caramel,  banana-almond ice cream and Oreo soil 🙂

Rocky Road

More dessert!  Happy Birthday vanilla creme brulée!

Happy Birthday Creme Brulée

YUM!

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Fraser Café

I’ve decided that brunch is definitely one of my four favourite meals.  I love everything about it.  Like the fact that someone serves you a fancy breakfast, and that it usually means you get to sleep in.   Fraser Café stepped in to fulfill my brunch needs one recent rainy Sunday, and after being on my to-try list for ages it turned out to be as good as I had heard.  As a matter of fact, it has made it’s way onto my to-return-to-very-quickly-list, and the I-have-to-try-it-for-dinner-too list.   Being on a never ending quest for delicious food means having a lot of lists in your life.

Let’s start with the menu.  I took a picture because there was maybe only one thing I wouldn’t have ordered (the trout, just can’t do fish), and I had a tough time deciding on just one thing.  Like I told the waiter, “I’ll need a few more minutes please, but I’ve got it narrowed down to about six things!”   There is so much potential deliciousness to be had at this restaurant, it was the toughest decision I made all Sunday.

Frasier Café Brunch Menu

I decided to go with the standard eggs.  Crazy, I know.  They were fluffy and egg-y (surprisingly, not always a quality you find with eggs), and they were served on the side of a roasted tomato and on top of a nest of cheese curds.  There were also AMAZING roasted potatoes and home made fennel sausage.   And some Green Tea to wash it all down 🙂  There was nothing standard about this meal!

Frasier Café Scrambled Eggs

I took a halfway-done shot so you could see the nest of cheese curds in action.

Scrambled Eggs Action Shot

The very generously portioned breakfast sandwich was excellent too – I got a few bites 🙂

Frasier Café Breakfast Sandwich

The Croque Monsieur was not on the menu, but one of the specials….this obviously made the ordering decision more complicated.  It got rave reviews too!

Croque Monsieur

In the end I actually got to order two things off their menu because there was no way I wasn’t trying the homemade doughnuts.    They were warm from the oven and tossed in cinnamon and sugar, with chocolate mocha dipping sauce on the side.  Speechless.

Homemade Doughnuts w/ chocolate mocha dipping sauce

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Fuschian Vietnamese

This soup deserves a shout-out! It’s the outrageously flavourful peanut satay soup from Fuschian Vietnamese (on Sommerset).  The flavours are somewhat unexpected – spicy, sweet, sour, savoury, and of course peanutty.  They’re all there!  It’s chock full of various other goodies too – juicy chicken breast strips, lots of noodles, peanuts, lime wedges – and topped with crunchy cucumbers and bean sprouts.  It’s wonderfully intense!

Chicken Satay Soup at Fuschian

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