Plan ahead! Saturday Sept 26, attend Prince Edward County’s annual food & drink festival [advertorial]

Prince Edward County’s 14th annual food & drink festival, TASTE community grown, returns September 26 [advertorial]


Sip and nibble your way through this annual showcase of the best that Prince Edward County offers in food, farm products, restaurants, wineries, and craft breweries. TASTE community grown, Prince Edward County’s premier culinary event, is happening Saturday, September 26 from 11:00 am to 5:00 pm at the Crystal Palace in Picton.

Farmers will have local fruits & vegetables for sale along with jams, preserves, hot sauces and other products made with locally grown ingredients. You’ll also be able to purchase bottles of VQA wines directly from wineries.


The festival features three seminars:
1. The Cellar Sisters host Unusual Suspects: Unique Wine & Food Pairings
2. Gavin North of Honey Pie Hives and Herbals speaks about honey
3. Michael Fohr of Amphora Trading Company gives a tutorial on the importance of serving wine in the right glass to maximize the aroma and flavours

There will be live entertainment throughout the day courtesy of Vintage Soul, County locals playing classic rock, country and soul.burger

County Chopped, based on the popular TV program, returns this year at 4pm. Defending Champion Elliot Reynolds of The Hubb Eatery & Lounge at Angeline’s Inn returns to take on two challengers. MPP Todd Smith will emcee, while judges Cynthia Peters (From the Farm Cooking School), Rebecca Mackenzie (Ontario Culinary Tourism Alliance), John Walker (former Dean of the Centre of Hospitality and Culinary Arts at George Brown College), and Kari Macknight Dearborn (Slow Food PEC, Ontario Wine Society PEC) taste the chef’s creations and determine who’ll take home the trophy this year.

FREE Shuttle Bus! Organizers are offering a free shuttle bus service with stops in Wellington and Bloomfield. If you’re staying at a local B&B, take advantage of the shuttle; no need for a designated driver! If you’re staying in Picton, the Crystal Palace is walking distance or a short cab ride away.

Don’t want to stay overnight? Savvy Company is offering a one-day bus tour to Prince Edward County from Ottawa that will take you to TASTE plus stops at 2 family-run wineries: Traynor Vineyards (the newest in The County) & Keint-He Winery & Vineyards, where a light dinner will be served amongst the vines. Details here.

“TASTE community grown is so much fun, year after year,” – Kathleen Greenaway, Chair of the Prince Edward County Winegrowers Association. “The food & drink coming out of this area is really stellar. Visitors to TASTE get a chance to sample some great food, wine & beer and take things home to enjoy later.”

Visit for more details.



CITY BITES INSIDER: Opening soon! Étienne Cuerrier gets set to open Meat Press Creative Charcuterie and Sandwich Shop in Hintonburg

Meat Press owner Étienne Cuerrier stands in front of the door hiding his fermentation room — that's where the pickles, vinegars, and bread starters get made

Meat Press owner Étienne Cuerrier stands in front of the door hiding his fermentation room — that’s where the pickles, vinegars, and bread starters get made

By Sarah Brown

He ran his own successful catering business but, most recently, was known as the chef dreaming up the delectable dishes to complement Véronique Rivest’s wines at the critically acclaimed Soif wine bar. Now Étienne Cuerrier is teaming up with his wife, Myriam Campeau, to open Meat Press Creative Charcuterie and Sandwich Shop in Hintonburg. After a whirlwind six-week reno, the new business is set to open in time for the popular Tastes of Wellington West event on Sept. 19 — perfect timing!

A very busy Étienne Cuerrier took time out from his hectic schedule to show off his 16-seat charcuterie and sandwich shop — and to talk about some of the surprises he has in store for Ottawa’s more adventurous carnivores.

Who’s running the show?
It’s a family operation — me, my wife Myriam [Campeau], and our kids. My five-year-old daughter says she’s going to be the sweets advisor. She already makes fruit rollups and candies!

Take a seat: Étienne and his father are building a bench — a place for customers to sit and chat while their sandwich is being made

Take a seat: Étienne and his father are building a bench — a place for customers to sit and chat while their sandwich is being made

Why open up your own business?
When you work at a restaurant, you have impossible hours. It’s hard to find time for your home life. Owning Meat Press will allow me to set my hours better and to be truly creative because I won’t be restricted by a menu.

Any reason you chose Hintonburg?
I grew up in this neighbourhood and love it here, so when the city’s urban planners rezoned this building, I jumped at the chance to open Meat Press. The area reminds me of a little of the Bronx or Brooklyn — it’s part of the city but also not quite ‘of the city.’ It soothes me. There’s not as much pressure here.

Are you worried about being slightly off the main drag?
Not at all. We’re so close that you can actually see Meat Press from Wellington Street. And once people find us, they’ll be back. We’re launching at the Tastes of Wellington West event on Sept. 19, so that will be huge for us. Oh, and being almost right across from the PranaShanti Yoga Centre means over 150 people walk or drive by us every day.

There have been rumours – is Meat Press a lunch counter? A restaurant? A take-out spot?
I have so many plans! It will be all of these things. I’ll definitely be doing sandwiches seven days a week as soon as we open in September, but we have applied for a liquor license so we hope to begin serving dinner a couple of nights a week by December. On the retail side, I’ll be making sausages and charcuterie. We’ll sell our meats at Meat Press, but also through other retail food stores around town.

The storefront: With just a few weeks till opening day, boxes and supplies come and go into 45 Armstrong Street. The sign will arrive any day.

The storefront: With just a few weeks till opening day, boxes and supplies come and go into 45 Armstrong Street. The sign will arrive any day.

Tell me more about the charcuterie at Meat Press.  
Charcuterie is important, but we won’t just be focusing on dried meats and sausages. I am picturing selling whole ducks and stuffed chickens for takeout. I would love to sell sweetbreads — that’s something people don’t have time to prepare at home — and maybe marinated duck hearts and crispy pork belly. In the fall hunting season, we’ll be working with duck and venison.

Okay, we’re salivating. Now tell us more about the sandwiches.
We’ll work at a table by the window so people can see everything getting made. I plan to do two types of hot sandwiches a day — roasted meats like a thick-sliced porcetta or a pressed duck.

And the parts that aren’t meaty?
We make all our own pickles and vinegars and bread. I’ve been experimenting with apple yeast and grape yeast as bread starters. The apple yeast gives the bread a slightly acidic taste which goes really well with pork, while the grape is sweeter and matches with beef and duck.

Anything else?
We’ve been making our own fresh cheeses for fun, experimenting with the easier ones like mozzarella, ricotta, and cheddar. For drinks, I’ve been making my own grape soda and root beer.

Okay, let’s end the interview with a couple of sample sandwiches to get readers in the mood. Can you describe a few you have planned?
Porchetta with pickled brussel sprouts, crunchy barbecue sauce, and lemon-parsley; a smoked brisket with fried shallots, sunchoke chips, aioli, and celery leaf; and a smoked duck with creamy slaw, duck neck flakes, and ramp leaf pesto. A vegetarian sandwich might be tofu bacon with diced apples, soft cheese, watercress, and dry figs.

CITY BITES: Industria Brasserie Italienne – pizza & scissors



Pizza and scissors, a sight many Italians will recognize

Industria Brasserie Italienne is the second in the family (first being in Montreal) and has taken its residence in Lansdowne.

Chef Sergio Mattoscio, a previous contestant on Top Chef Canada and famous for his gnocchi poutine, welcomed a group of writers, bloggers, and T.V. personalities to his restaurant last week for a group dinner, famiglia style.

Chef Sergio Mattoscio greeting his guests and a nice close up of my peach Ciroc sangria (food from front to back: meatballs, the industria pizza, tacos)

Front to back: peach Ciroc sangria, meatballs, the industria pizza, tacos, Chef Mattoscio

We were greeted with beverages and led to the back corner of the restaurant, that was roped (red velvet rope at that) off. There was a long, communal wooden table laden with food, phones, and drinks, as everyone chatted, ate, and took photos.

We tried the crab wonton taco and some calamari served with a chipotle dip to compliment our Ciroc peach sangrias.

Mattoscio joined us not long after we arrived, bringing the buzz of the socialites to a halt. He told us about the restaurant, the menu, the food: the sfizi (Italian-style tapas), the pasta and pizza made fresh daily. He told us how the scissors served with the pizza were a part of his heritage. How he would constantly think “How would my mother do it?”

It was a very touching talk, punctuated only by his daughter’s shout, “Hi daddy!” from the staircase above. He finished to applause, anticipatory stomachs, and a reminder from the one of the marketing managers, no doubt, to mention the “Giovedì Grasso” or “Fat Thursday”. An unfortunately placed addition taking away from the charm of Mattoscio’s talk, but such is life in the industry (or industria). However, it did come with a charming story from the chef: Giovedì Grasso is the Italian tradition of eating in abundance the day before Lent starts so you can get your fill of your favourite things: chocolate, wine, cheeses – before giving them up for 40 days.


Objects in photo are much, much cuter than they appear

Encouraged to sit in the large, black booths by the charming publicist who introduced herself as Mimi, we shared ours with two other couples: a home design blogger, a copy editor from Ottawa Life, and their respective dates. The camaraderie was pleasant, and it was apparent that we had been placed in booths rather than long tables for that reason. My only complaint about it? I got very sweaty, very quickly. The entire front of the restaurant can be opened, but the fresh air was not reaching our back corner.


The ceiling piece above us

We were offered the choice of the “hamburger di porchetta” (pulled pork burger), the “orecchiette saisiccia e rapine” (Italian sausage and rapini pasta), and the “prosciutto e rucola” (prosciutto and arugula pizza). I chose the pizza.

As everyone’s meals arrived, there was shameless food photography as we all whipped out our phones.

“I like this event,” said Eric, from Ottawa Life, “you can unselfconsciously take pictures of your food.”

Then there was silence as we ate. I enjoyed my pizza, especially cutting it with the scissors as I hadn’t done so in years. There was more prosciutto than cheese (shaved parmesan) which is not generally my taste, but I know I’m a minority in that.


Nutella pizza: fried dough, nutella drizzle, ricotta sweet cream, icing sugar dusting

Italian food in Ottawa (or anywhere other than Italy for that matter) is a tricky thing. Long ago I gave up the search for equality. It is not the quality of the chef that is sub par, nor the food. It is the nature of the ingredients. Yes, we can use local, organic, grown-in-our-neighbours-backyard food – but it still will not meet the taste that is found in Italy. Maybe it is the sun or the soil, I’m not quite sure, but if  you abandon your quest for the perfect Italian tomato, I promise you will enjoy your experience in Italian eateries that much more. It’s just the way it is. But as far as Italian experiences in restaurants go (I’m talking the laid-back familial-type Italians), this was taking the cake for me.

Dessert came unannounced, it was a Nutella pizza with sweet ricotta. More pictures, but this time more hurried as we all were excited to dive in – it came without scissors and was blessedly pre-sliced.

As we finished off our slices (and seconds, for some of us), we all slowly made our way out. As we neared the door, I spotted Sergio and wiped my sweaty forehead before making my way over to him.

“Auguri e mille grazie,” I said. He returned my pleasantries and we parted the way traditional Italians do: a kiss on each cheek.

I left very full of good food, good feelings, and into the thankfully fresh air.

CITY BITES: Fantasy Food Trucks

This article first appeared in the Summer 2015 issue of Ottawa Magazine.

*Yawn* It’s 9 a.m. on Friday, the last Friday of August, and oh how you wish it was 5 p.m. Soon my friends, soon. In the mean time, here are some Fantasy Food Trucks thought up by a few of our illustrators to amuse you while you drink your coffee. Can you think up any you’d like to roam the Ottawa streets?


Illustration by Michael Zeke Zavacky

Imagine, if you will, a food truck that allows you to take a sweet stroll down memory lane, back to a time and place where you enjoyed the best meal of your life — perhaps in the company of a loved one. Zeke’s Memory Lane food truck allows you to do just that. Put on the unique headgear, which will tap into your memory bank and project a visual of that special scene right on the side of the truck. What’s more, the truck also serves up the exact meal you enjoyed. Do you dream of that unforgettable night in Paris 50 years ago when you shared that amazing glass of pinot noir over a bowl of pasta with the love of your life? Voilà! Memory Lane recreates your incredible meal of a lifetime, allowing you to experience it anew. And all for a very affordable food-truck price. Think about it: if Zeke’s Memory Lane food truck pulled up outside your door, what would you order? —Michael Zeke Zavacky



Illustration by Kyle Brownrigg

Beeraoke: Two of my favourite things in this world are beer and karaoke. This food truck would provide specialty beers and a stage on which to perform your favourite karaoke songs. Don’t have the guts to sing? No problem. Have a few more! —Kyle Brownrigg



Illustration by Dave Merritt

LOTS OF LOX: Enjoy hot gourmet bagels with lox and cream cheese!
“There’s nothing like fresh cream cheese on a bagel topped with smoked salmon, fresh off the smoker. I wish this food truck existed so I could eat one of these satisfying treats whenever I had a craving. It would also be cool to look at.” —Dave Merritt



CHEAP EATS: Six Budget-Friendly Sandwiches

For the Summer Issue of Ottawa Magazine, our Food Editors noshed their way around the city discovering their top 43 bites on a budget + seven more from local chefs to round out the Top 50 List. Below are six sandwiches worth every penny nickel.  Have the summer issue mailed to your home or get it digitally.

Photo by Christian Lalonde

Photo by Christian Lalonde


1. Krakowska sandwich

Nothing slapdash about these Polish sandwiches from the Baltyk Delicatessen. Stuffed between two slices of light rye is a goodly amount of sliced Krakowska, a lean smoked pork sausage. Owner Teresa Miklas adds mild, buttery Edamski, the Polish version of Edam, and creamy Polish mayonnaise. Ogórek kiszony tops off the sandwich. (A dill pickle, of course.) $5.
Baltyk Delicatessen, 935 Carling Ave., 613-761-7450

2. Bifana sandwich

“Why call it a bifano when it’s not beef?” asks a GaloPiriPiri customer. “Why call a hamburger a hamburger?” answers owner Marco Almeida. This sammie is filled with thickly cut pork slathered with a spicy sauce, Almeida’s secret recipe of 20 ingredients. But it starts with piripiri, a fiery condiment the Portuguese discovered through Africans. You’ll be blown away! $5.95.
GaloPiriPiri, 40, prom. du Portage, Gatineau (Hull sector), 819-771-7474

3. Art-Is-In bread sandwiches

Happy, cheery places, these morning owls, with well-crafted sandwiches served on Art-Is-In buns, priced cleverly for those in a rush to get back to the desk: all $7.50 after tax. Plop down the spare change, and off you go. Good thing, because these guys do a brisk business.
Morning Owl Coffeehouse, 538 Rochester St., 613-402-6951 and 139 Bank St., 613-240-9883

4. Banh mi sandwich

There are loads of places out there that ladle up a decent pho, and Co Cham may well be one of them. But we use the place for the banh mi sandwiches, as do a mess of Carleton U. students, who always seem to show up ahead of me in the daily queue. $3.
Co Cham, 780 Somerset St. W., 613-567-6050

5. Smoked meat

A lunch of smoked meat on rye with ballpark mustard? Come now — try to branch out. How about slow-roasted smoked pork with gremolata and a wheat-berry salad? Or a turkey sandwich with cranberry that tastes like Boxing Day? Okay. Okay. Meat in the Middle also plates an amazing house-smoked beef brisket on rye, served with the best spud salad in the city. $7.95–$9.50.
Meat in the Middle, 311 Bank St., 613-422-6328.

6. Meatball sub

Yes, it’s cramped, and yes, it’s cluttered, and there’s not much more than a college fridge, a hot plate, and a monstrous rosemary tree. But can Genio Ienzi ever make a sandwich! Daily special announced on Twitter. Like this one: chicken butter brandy and rapini with goat cheese. But we usually go straight for the meatball sub on Lenzi’s own rosemary-flecked ciabatta buns. $9.95.
Sanguiccio Cafe, 183 Preston St., 613-569-0456

CHEAP EATS: 7 Ottawa chefs reveal their fave budget-friendly bites

For the Summer Issue of Ottawa Magazine, our Food Editors noshed their way around the city, discovering their top 43 bites on a budget. To round out the Top 50 List, we called on seven discerning chefs to reveal their cheap eat of choice. Have the summer issue mailed to your home or get it digitally.


Chef West de Castro. Illustration by Jeff Kulak.

Chef West de Castro. Illustration by Jeff Kulak.

Chef: West de Castro, Clover

“The Burgers n’ Fries Forever’s burger combo. Egg bun. Beef patty. Cheddar. Lettuce. Tomato. Pickles. Mayo. Mustard. Poutine — with ketchup. Always. They know their burgers and fries — plus it’s down the street from us.” Burgers n’ Fries Forever, 329 Bank St., 613-230-3456.

Chef Mike Houle has a soft spot for Fiazza Fresh Fired. Illustration Li Hewitt

Chef Mike Houle Illustration Li Hewitt


Chef: Mike Houle
The Village House“I’m a sucker for a good ’za. When I hit the market, Fiazza Fresh is where I get my fix. Luigi [the man behind the pizza] used to be in Wakefield, and we miss having that great ’za delivered weekly to our home in the Hills. It’s a little bit longer trek now to get my pizza slice but still definitely worth it!” Fiazza Fresh Fired, 86 Murray St.,613-562-2000.


Chef Stephen La Salle picks Frito pie from Union 613. Illustration by Li Hewitt

Chef Stephen La Salle. Illustration by Li Hewitt

Stephen La Salle, The Albion Rooms
“Totally prepared junk food, the Frito pie at Union 613 is literally a bag of Fritos with chili, sour cream, and cheese. Maybe it’s the Fritos, or maybe it’s the way it pairs with an IBU bumping craft beer, but the first time I had one at Union, I had this stupid grin on my face from ear to ear. I loved it.” Union 613, 315 Somerset St. W., 613-231-1010.

Chef Jamie Stunt loves the pupusas from La Cabana. Illustration by Li Hewitt.

Chef Jamie Stunt. Illustration by Li Hewitt.


Chef: Jamie Stunt, Soif

“La Cabana is an El Salvadorian restaurant on Merivale. I get the pupusas [Salvadorian patties, typically filled with pork, refried beans, and cheese]. They come with an awesome spicy fermented cabbage condiment, kind of like a South American kimchi. I like to sit awhile with a beer and watch El Salvadorian divorce court.” La Cabana, 848 Merivale Rd.,613-724-7762


Chef Mandi Loo. Illustration by Li Hewitt

Chef Mandi Loo. Illustration by Li Hewitt

Chef: Mandi Loo, Auntie Loo’s Treats [now defunct]

“Freshly prepared each day and served warm, the spinach pies from Aladdin Bakery are the size of your head, only a few bucks, and they’ll fill your tummy. This shop fills with high school students at lunch but functions like a well-oiled machine — you’ll never wait more than three or four minutes.” Aladdin Bakery, 1801 Carling Ave., 613-728-5331.

Chef Michael Farber. Illustration by Li Hewitt

Chef Michael Farber. Illustration by Li Hewitt


Chef: Michael Farber, Black Cat Bistro

“Richard [Urquhart] and I have a weekly breakfast meeting at Meadow’s Lunch on Preston. The boss and I each get two eggs, sausage, hash browns, and rye toast.” Meadow’s Lunch, 455 Preston St., 613-567-5214.

Chef Michael Bednarz. Illustration by Li Hewitt

Chef Michael Bednarz. Illustration by Li Hewitt


Chef: Michael Bednarz, Oz Kafe

“I never leave the kitchen, but the one thing I will stop for is simple french fries. S & G Fries, a food truck on Carling Avenue, makes the best in Ottawa.” S & G Fries and Burgers, 1845 Carling Ave., between Broadview and Maitland, 613-729-2129.

CHEAP EATS: Three high-end deals

For those keen on dinner at Le Cordon Bleu’s famed Signatures restaurant (453 Laurier Ave. E., 613-236-2499) helmed by chef Yannick Anton, but less keen on the price tag, consider the Anton Wednesday-night meal deal. Four-course prix fixe, complete with a remarkably drinkable bottle of wine.$110 for two.

Le Cordon Bleu’s four-course meal, including wine, for $110pp. Photography by Christian Lalonde, Photolux.

1. Wednesday Nights at Signatures, Le Cordon Bleu

For those keen on dinner at Le Cordon Bleu’s famed Signatures Restaurant helmed by chef Yannick Anton, but less keen on the price tag, consider the Anton Wednesday-night meal deal. Four-course prix fixe, complete with a remarkably drinkable bottle of wine. $110 for two.
453 Laurier Ave. E., 613-236-2499

2. Thursday Nights at Village House

It’s a pretty rare deal — three courses for 30 bucks — and though these are listed as small plates, we find they add up to a deliciously filling dinner. From the very effective team of chef Michael Houle and front-of-house charmer Sarah Swan, Thursday nights in Wakefield’s Village House are affordable pleasures. $60 for two.
759, ch. Riverside, Wakefield, 819-459-1445.

 3. Table d’hôte de midi at Le Tartuffe

Le Tartuffe may be the last of a dying breed of formal French restaurants in the region. There’s something to be said for tradition, though. One is the table d’hôte, even at noontime. Why not? Order three courses (always varying) that balance together well. “We try to be as simple as possible,” owner/chef Gérard Fischer says. “But that doesn’t mean we’re not innovative.” For instance, instead of the usual bone-in fish soup, his superb Provençal-inspired bouillabaisse is based on good fish broth in which fillets, scallops, and shrimp are poached. Meanwhile, Fischer’s crème brûlée is brightened with red raspberries. Why not, indeed? $15–$25.
133, rue, Notre-Dame-de-l’Île, Gatineau (Hull sector),819-776-6424.

CHEAP EATS: Top 11 Foodie Finds for the Frugal Veg*n

What’s a veg*n? It’s code for vegan and vegetarian; the cheap bites on this list are vegetarian and either vegan, or can be made vegan. Here we’ve assembled a few finds from the list of 50+ Cheap Eats.
Full list here –>

For #20, Anne DesBrisay picks the vegetarian buffet at Green Door (198 Main St., 613-234-9597) . Since 1988, the kitchen has been peeling and chopping and whirring and kneading and showing no sign of doing anything other than getting tastier and tastier and more and more inventive. The daily veggie buffet is priced by weight. Think light or pile it on, depending on your hunger and your wallet. $21/kg; $23.75/kg for dessert items. Photo by Christian Lalonde.

The Green Door. Photo by Christian Lalonde.


1. Green Door buffet

Since 1988, the kitchen has been peeling and chopping and whirring and kneading and showing no sign of doing anything other than getting tastier and tastier and more and more inventive. The daily veggie buffet is priced by weight. Think light or pile it on, depending on your hunger and your wallet. The Green Door Restaurant, $21/kg; $23.75/kg for dessert items. 198 Main St., 613-234-9597

2. Cocoa hemp bites

Zhara Ali says it all started the day she forgot her lunch. Scanning the cafeteria’s offerings, she told the cashier, “I love this place, but you don’t have what I want.” Next day, Ali, owner of Healthy Superfoods, took a package of her sweet little cocoa hemp bites to the cafeteria as an example of the food she had been looking for. The clerk “didn’t even try one” but did start selling them. Next day? Sold out. These darlings look for all the world like truffles. After all, there is that delicious chocolatey coconutiness. And what’s not to like about crunchy peanut butter? (Oh Henry! anyone?) The mysterious perfumed sweetness? Dates! Now you can congratulate yourself on eating healthy hemp seeds. All’s cool. $4.49 for four. Herb & Spice Shop, 375 Bank St., 613-232-4087.

3. Spinach Pie

“Freshly prepared each day and served warm, the spinach pies from Aladdin Bakery are the size of your head, only a few bucks, and they’ll fill your tummy. This shop fills with high school students at lunch but functions like a well-oiled machine — you’ll never wait more than three or four minutes.” – Chef Mandi Loo of the now defunct Auntie Loo’s Treats. :( Find the pies at Aladdin Bakery, 1801 Carling Ave., 613-728-5331.

4. Cold green bean noodles

Anyone who has visited Beijing in summertime appreciates any relief afforded from such scorching heat. Eating liang fen is one way. By green beans, Frank Pay means the mung beans used to make these slippery, translucent noodles. At his Harmony Restaurant, Pay himself makes them. The sauce? Simply soy sauce, vinegar, sesame oil, and chilies. Bring on the heat! $2.95. Harmony Restaurant, 769  Gladstone Ave., 613-234-9379.

5. Vegetarian leftovers

Stroll through the doors of the jam-packed Vaishali’s Super Store, then immediately turn left and head for the pop fridge with the faded 7-Up sign. That’s where they stash the 500-mL containers of leftover curries from busy Little India Café next door. At $5.99, veggie curries such as baiganbharta (spicy eggplant) and alooghobi masala (potatoes, cauliflower, and tomatoes) are a steal. Prepare your own rice, and you have dinner for two for $13, tax included. Heck, with the money you’ve saved, you might consider splurging on an Indian sweet or a $1.99 kulfipopsicle for dessert. Vaishali’s Super Store, 62 Wylie Ave., 613-721-0318.

Olive fougasse from Gatineau's La balade des douceurs. Illustration by Jeff Kulak

Olive fougasse from Gatineau’s La balade des douceurs. Illustration by Jeff Kulak

6. Olive fougasse

Where else in the Ottawa-Outaouais region do you find such fat fougasse? Only at Gatineau bakery La balade des douceurs. Michel Pépin, baker and co-owner, keeps memories of his native France alive with these stuffed breads. One is made with humungous green and black olives. No better lunch than this, to boot! $4.95. Two locations: 1540, boul. Gréber, Gatineau (Gatineau sector), 819-205-1288; 166, rue Montcalm, Gatineau (Hull sector), 819-205-7088.

7. Kolo

“After work, the family always gathers together to talk about their day,” says Samuel Demissie, owner of confectionery Royal Variety. “During that time, especially, we [nibble on] kolo.” The English have their crisps, the Indians their spicy-sweet chevda. Meanwhile, in any Ethiopian merkato, find paper cones of this roasted barley and peanut mix. Nutty and crunchy, with just a touch of salt.
$2.50. Royal Variety, 260 Bank St., 613-235-7797.

8. Potato quarma

Quarma, ghormeh, qorma, korma — all names for braised dishes, whether Iranian lamb, Tajikistani chicken, or Sri Lankan aubergine. At Afghani Kabob Express, manager SharifaAsiel makes hers simply with potatoes. But potatoes like you’ve never had before. The creamy sauce is rich with caramelized onions and, as Asiel says, spices that “warm the tongue.” $4.99. Afghani Kabob Express, 240 Bank St., 613-593-8880.

9. Sambussas

Looking for party food? Make a platter of sambussas, Ethiopia’s refined answer to samosas.
Too much like work? Then order ahead at the Blue Nile. Co-owner TsedayKassa makes her vegetable sambussas with thinly rolled yeast dough, filling them with curried sweet onions, lentils, and green beans. Deep-fried, these deeply golden turnovers are soft and delicate. Once tried, you’ll never forget them. $1.50. Blue Nile, 577 Gladstone Ave., 613-321-0774.

10.  Za’atar pie

Breakfast? Lunch? “Sit here anytime, and you’ll see how many people come in for manakishbi’lza’atar,” says Mohamad Farhat, manager of Aladdin Bakery’s Carling Avenue location. From breakfast to suppertime, za’atar pita is the ultimate quick fix. Za’atar, an earthy Middle Eastern spice mixture, includes thyme, sesame seeds, and sumac. Add olives, tomatoes, and onions to your pie. Eat like a queen for a shade under $3. Aladdin Bakery, 1801 Carling Ave., 613-728-5331; 1020 St. Laurent Blvd., 613-742-4244.

11. The Skinny Kitty

Vegetarians can finally get their (faux) meat-on-a-stick fix. The familiar, is-it-really-meat-free Yves tofu hotdog is dipped in house-made corn-dog batter, which is flecked with herbs to offer that perfect, sinful mix of deep-fried salty goodness. $5.50. Hintonburger, 1096 Wellington St. W., 613-724-4676.~SP

DesBrisay Dines

DESBRISAY DINES: Beau’s Patio For Beer Cuisine

Anne DesBrisay is the restaurant critic for Ottawa Magazine. She has been writing about food and restaurants in Ottawa-Gatineau for 25 years and is the author of three bestselling books on dining out. She is head judge for Gold Medal Plates and a member of the judging panel at the Canadian Culinary Championships.

Photo by Anne DesBrisay

Photo by Anne DesBrisay

As we bask in the final weeks of summer, it seems a bit mean to be telling you about a fabulous patio, this one in Vankleek Hill. But I believe Beau’s weekend-only front terrace, shaded and rustic, will stay open through the fall, when the hops that grow up the support pillars will be full and lush and bushy, the cones ready to harvest. That’s worth seeing. Smelling too. Though it might give you a bit of a thirst. Fortunately, there’s beer, all of it Beau’s, and all of it five bucks a glass.

Photo by Anne DesBrisay

Bruce Wood with the patio team. Photo by Anne DesBrisay

Brewery Chef Bruce Wood has devised a menu of grazing friendly food, to pair with the certified organic Beau’s beers. Or with his Beau’s brewed iced tea. Always a sandwich on Nat’s Bread; always a plate of charcuterie and cheeses with house pickles, olives, and mustards; always a salad of some description. And then, well, there could be fish cakes, or grilled sausages on pickled cabbage, smoked tofu, a plate of dips and pita.

I was particularly taken with the terrine and housemade beer mustard, the caponata and feta tzatziki, the fattouche salad with sumac-pickled onion, the wee oatmeal crackers fashioned with Beau’s spent grains.

And for dessert, a berry square on beer shortcrust, or gingerbread made with Tom Beer. Check out Beau’s Brewery’s Facebook page for weekly menu.

Photo by Anne DesBrisay

Photo by Anne DesBrisay


And later in the season (what a good thing I’m late with this post!), on October 2nd and 3rd, Beau’s annual Oktoberfest on the Vankleek Hill fairgrounds.

Patio hours: Friday, noon to 6pm, Saturday and Sunday, 11:30 am to 5pm. Holiday Mondays.

10 Terry Fox Drive, Vankleek Hill, ON


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CITY BITES: A Gourmet Guide to Ottawa’s Cheap Eats Scene

This article first appeared in the Summer 2015 issue of Ottawa Magazine.

It’s always fun, always evolving. We’re talking about the cheap-eats scene. One day you might opt for an exquisite banh mi sandwich, the next you’re craving a meatball sub. In this, Ottawa Magazine’s gourmet guide to all that is tasty and economical, we eat our way around town, noshing on all manner of well-priced sandwiches, stews, and sweets to bring you our 43 finds. To round out the top 50, we called on seven discerning chefs to reveal their cheap eats of choice. At these prices, you can’t afford not to eat out.
By Cindy Deachman (CD) and Anne DesBrisay (AD), bolstered by staff picks (SP) and chef suggestions

Photo by

The Cheesus Crust Almighty starts things off. Photo by Christian Lalonde

1. Cheesus Crust Almighty

If you don’t get struck down for blasphemy first, you may still keel over eating the Cheesus Crust Almighty, The Joint’s unique and “mysterious” take on a grilled cheese sandwich. They take mac ’n’ cheese, roll it in a “secret ingredient” (Cinnamon Toast Crunch?), plunge it into the fryer, then “slam” it into a grilled cheese sandwich. This heavenly combo gobsmacks the palate with a jumble of salty, sweet, tangy sensations — the latter if you choose to dunk the sandwich into the accompanying house-made Bollywood sauce (think butter chicken gravy sans chicken). It would be “criminal” not to include a side of deep-fried Britney pickle spears. $7–$10.The Joint, 352 Preston St., 613-656-5849. ~SP

2. Hot chicken sandwich

Hot chicken sandwich from WIlf & Ada's. Illustration by Jeff Kulak

Hot chicken sandwich from WIlf & Ada’s. Illustration by Jeff Kulak

A long-running tradition on the corner, Ada’s Diner morphed into Wilf& Ada’s last year and serves diner classics with a twist — they’re made from scratch. We’re big fans of the hot chicken sandwich, a pile of moist pulled chicken on a root-vegetable mash, piled on house-made bread and smothered with full-flavoured onion gravy, well peppered and well made. Served with good fries and arugula salad.The taste of the 2015 diner? Bring it on! $14.50. Wilf& Ada’s, 510 Bank St., 613-231-7959. ~AD

3. Square Pizza Slices

Centretowners know that the best slice isn’t sitting under a heat lamp at a chain pizza joint. It’s made to order in a humble pizzeria that has anchored the Somerset strip from Bank to Bronson for 15 years. Pavarazzi offers white or herbed-flecked dough, and one order gives you two four-inch squares of satisfying ’za, which is usually plenty. But if you’re soaking up a night of beer swilling, go for two. Leftovers make perfect hangover food. From $3.Pavarazzi, 491 Somerset St. W., 613-233-2320. ~SP

Hung Sum shrimp dumplings. Illustration by Jeff Kulak.

Hung Sum shrimp dumplings. Illustration by Jeff Kulak.

4. Deep-fried shrimp dumplings

Hanbiao Lin learned the high cuisine of dim sum as an apprentice in his native Canton. So if you want the genuine article, visit Hung Sum, which Lin owns with his wife, May Lee. His shrimp dumplings are beauts. The crisp exterior of the deep-fried wonton yields to a sweet filling of shrimp and pork. And as for the feathery-light frilled edge — oh! $4.25 for three dumplings. Hung Sum, 870 Somerset St. W.,
613-238-8828. ~CD