- pumpkins at byward market
As what happens with life, my trip to Ottawa wasn’t chock full of culinary adventures as I had hoped for.
It started off with a cough on the plane that blossomed into a full fledged, bad-ass cold (NOT H1N1, so you jerks on the airplane can stop glaring at me), and resulted in me being propped up in a meeting room and then missing out on a dinner at Luxe because I was staring at the stuccoed ceiling of my hotel and ordering soup and tea for room service.
Things slowly improved and I found the energy to go to Wellington Gastropubwith local friends. There I had scallops on risotto and a cheese tray with the tiniest chunks of cheese (so tiny I should call them ‘slivers’ of cheese, not chunks). The place is in Westboro, west of the Parliament Buildings, and as the name Gastropub implies, it was an upscale pub, complete with tin ceilings and servers serious about their food and wine.
- chateau laurier
Then there was a pitstop at the magnificent Chateau Laurier’s lounge for a nightcap, where everything was plush and overstuffed, complete with piano bar and chandeliers.
- benny’s bistro
My last morning I dragged myself out of bed, determined to spend my last few hours in Ottawa having a leisurely brunch. I picked up a latte from the mellow, modern Planet Coffee, tucked in a little alley off the Byward Market, and meandered up to Murray Street, which is the hip restaurant street in Ottawa. Murray Street Cafe is there, as is Domus, Sweetgrass and Navarra. None of those were open for breakfast, but Benny’s Bistro was.
Now Benny’s Bistro is in a funny little spot – you have to walk through Le Boulanger Francais to get to it. It is a big bright room where everybody but me speaks French, and they serve wonderfully creative food. I had a big steaming bowl of latte and their version of eggs benny, which was a carefully crafted little house of Yukon gold potatoes and pumpkin, layered with thinly sliced pork loin and greens and a perfectly poached egg perched on top. The whole little cuisine d’art was covered in a smoky deep yellow hollandaise sauce.
I picked up a handful of croissants and pain du chocolate on my way out, and now am trying to figure out how to pack them in my suitcase. I believe they will be carry on. There’s nothing sadder than a squished croissant. My kids can eat them tomorrow to temper their inevitable chocolate hangovers.
119 Murray Street