For those of us who share a healthy appetite for food blogs, it’s difficult not to recognize at least a pinch of Molly (aka Orangette) and a dash of Clotilde (aka Chocolate & Zucchini) in Marysol (aka She Eats Bears). Like her renowned online counterparts, Marysol Foucault transitioned from casual food-obsessed blogger into a real-life force in the food world, right before our eyes. Until recently, Marysol was coordinator for Urban Element, where she was immersed in a never-ending parade of food-centred events, featuring hungry clients, ego-driven chefs and so much beautiful food. When an opportunity came along, almost out of the blue, to open up her own little restaurant, Marysol pounced on it. The result is Edgar (named for her late father), an intimate retro-chic café/sandwich shop and prepared-food take-out counter that has the local blogging community in fits of giddy excitement and puddles of drool (in a good way). Now in addition to coveting her delicious recipes and reveling in her mouth-watering story telling, fans can actually eat Marysol’s homemade food!
So, about the food. Edgar’s website describes it as “plats réconfortants gourmandises” which could be translated as gourmet comfort food—but doesn’t it sound so much better in French? The simple menu (salad, soup, sandwich) changes daily so you have to consult the double chalkboard at the entrance and then peruse the display counter for the daily baked goods. There’s also a chalkboard at the back that lists the frozen take-out dishes on offer. Edgar has been open for less that two weeks yet Marysol is already discovering her customers are demanding some items stay on the menu permanently such as her soon-to-be-famous edgar bars (made with oats, chocolate, and peanut butter), her sinful signature bacon date brioche, as well as the fresh ‘n’ crunchy grilled pork Vietnamese sub (I’m ready to declare it one of the city’s best sandwiches). The gooey grilled cheddar panini with sautéed apples, onions and raisins on Art-Is-In bread is another one worthy of raves. Marysol blogged about the 14 (!!) different varieties of soup she debuted during her first week in business — from chunky chipotle chicken to squash apple and cashew —evidence that inspiration, creativity and a good solid chef’s knife are not in short supply in Edgar’s kitchen.
So, what’s the catch? For many of us, Edgar’s a bit out of the way. It’s located in Hull. And not even in downtown Hull. It’s on a residential street across from an elementary school in the Val Tétrault neighbourhood, home to the Université du Québec en Outaouais’s Alexandre-Taché Campus. The good news is it’s a super easy, less-than-10-minute drive from downtown Ottawa and West Wellington (via Island Park Drive). Go check it out and tell me it wasn’t worth the detour.
Edgar, 60 rue Bégin, Gatineau (Hull sector), Quebec 819-205-1110
Hours:Wednesday-Friday, 7:30 a.m.-6:30 p.m.; Saturday 9:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m., closed Mondays and Tuesdays.