Articles Tagged ‘Byward Market’

MOST WANTED: The Ottawa Fluevog

Photo by Luther Caverly

The Ottawa Fluevog. Photo by Luther Caverly

When celebrated Canadian shoe designer John Fluevog opens his first boutique in the national capital, one style is sure to sell out fast. The Ottawa shoe (above) is sensible and sophisticated, with an ankle strap and a short heel. Only 30 pairs will be made — and they’re available only in the new ByWard Market store at William and George streets. And to make the scramble just a little nuttier, that store opens its doors on Canada Day. Serious shoe lovers and city devotees, mark your calendars.

$270. 61 William St.
613-241-3202, fluevog.com

 

SHOP TALK: Profiling two sets of crafty duos — with retail stores in ByWard Market and Almonte

Shop Talk is written by OM senior editor Dayanti Karunaratne and Sarah Fischer, OM account executive and fashion maven.

At SHOP TALK, we’re always keeping an eye out for beautiful things — all the better if said products are made locally and support the chasing of a creative dream.

Sometimes this means connecting with vendors at craft sales; other times, it means watching the changing ownership of retail real estate. Lately, we’ve been seeing these two aspects come together as local crafters put down stakes and open their doors at permanent retail locations.

The Tin Barn Market during one of its pop-up shops last year. Desa Photography.

Later this month (March 16 to be specific), Tin Barn Market will open its doors in Almonte. As the name suggests, the store started out in 2011 as a flea market in a tin barn.

It was the brain child of Errin Stone, whose career in retail communications included a vision for her own smaller, independent shop featuring re-used and re-purposed goods.

It soon garnered the attention of Vicki Veenstra, a local set designer and artist who herself harboured a certain “store fantasy.” The two quickly became partners, hosting three pop-up shops before eventually deciding to set up a permanent store. The Almonte location was a given, as both reside in the area and the town itself has a youthful, creative energy.

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WEEKLY LUNCH PICK: For ByWard Market dwellers, the ‘Lunch Box’ at Social

The Lunch Box: On this day, a fine pea soup, an open-faced spicy beef sandwich, and a small green salad

Blessed with great bones, handsome lines and a very fine address, Social has been fitting the bill for many occasions for over a decade.

But it can be unpredictable — under-performing one meal, one month, and then razzle dazzling another. That’s its little issue, its capriciousness, and one that — notwithstanding its bones and lines and very fine address — tends to keep it off the list of the city’s finest.

I tend to like Social for lunch. You often bump into a parliamentarian in a back booth hunched over papers. And when the winter sun is out full blast, a table by the tall tall windows can be a pretty swell place to bask.

I’m here to check Social’s new-to-me ‘Lunch Box’ — soup, salad, and the sandwich of the day.

It took 40 minutes to arrive — the server was working alone, her colleague ill, the room busy, one table of four men all ordering cappuccinos, damn them. When the Lunch Box did show up, though, it was really very nice: a fine pea soup with a bit of creamy finish, an open faced spicy beef sandwich, the meat slow cooked and tender, a small green salad. It didn’t rock my world, but it was tasty enough and for the price, was a solid deal.

Cost: $14.

Social, 537 Sussex Dr., 613-789-7355.

WEEKLY LUNCH PICK: The Courtyard Restaurant serves up fish and chips. Who knew?

Catch of the day: Anne DesBrisay waxes poetic over The Courtyard Resto's fish and chips, describing a beer batter that crunches, crackles, and oozes — in a good way

Here’s the question for all you competent cooks out there: hands up which of you makes fish and chips at home?  Exactly. Of course you don’t.

It’s dangerous work, messy to clean up if executed stovetop, and a pain to push aside the fondue sets and pasta machine to haul out the deep fat fryer from the back of the lowest cupboard.

Much more sensible to go out.

And many do: every faithful Friday to the local pub or fish market café for a basket of fish and chips (in my case, the Whalesbone Sammich is often the fish of choice). But who thinks to head to The Courtyard Restaurant when craving a chipper?

Not I. Until last Friday. But newish executive chef Murray Wilson is a Brit, you see — he took over the top toque job when Michael Hay moved to Back Lane Café — and alongside his lunch menu of mostly posh things like wild mushroom risotto with truffle oil and pan seared steelhead trout bathed in beurre blanc, there is the entry “English fish ‘n chips”. Other than the fact it costs $16, it is properly old school.

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THE INSIDER: Renée Lévesque closes two Ottawa locations in advance of new, larger lifestyle boutique

Shop Talk is written by OM senior editor Dayanti Karunaratne and Sarah Fischer, OM account executive and fashion maven.

Choker with amber pendant, Renée Lévesque, $159. Ann dress, $238, from BCBGMaxazria, Rideau Centre, 50 Rideau St., www.bcbg.com.

Over the holidays, we noticed the tell-tale paper covering the windows at the Renée Lévesque store on Wellington. The shop, the jeweller’s second location, only opened a few years ago, could it be she was pulling the plug already? Upon further investigation, we learnt that her downtown store had also closed; only her Montreal boutique remained.

We have adored her elaborate accessories for years, enjoyed her careful eye for clothing (she began selling cute, affordable dresses and shoes in 2009), and always appreciated her fun, helpful staff. And we lauded her as one of Ottawa’s best jewellery designers in a fashion feature less than a year ago. We began to fear that another independent retailer had given up on little Ottawa.

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WEEKLY LUNCH PICK: Warm up with seafood laksa at Sidedoor

Comfort in a bowl: Though it was more a shrimp soup than the promised seafood, DesBrisay enjoyed Sidedoor's seafood laksa, complimenting the chef on the ccomfortingly complex flavour of the coconut broth.

By Anne DesBrisay

I had been meaning to check out Sidedoor’s new lunch service for some time now. Particularly since it is no longer new. But when it first opened for the noon crowd, last December, it was big news for a little time, and it reminded me of memorable lunches at its big brother restaurant, just around the corner.

Restaurant E18hteen used to be my go-to for out of town guests in need of a satisfying lunch in a signature setting. The food (then orchestrated by chef Matthew Carmichael) was of a very high quality, the service was impeccable and the place simply gorgeous.

But E18hteen stopped its noon service a few years ago because nobody came. I think nobody came because lunch was pretty expensive and $$$$ lunches in a government town sobered with austerity were a thing of the past.

These days, the reliably-good downtown restaurants busy at noon tend to offer weekday specials, designed to get you in and out, well fed, and for not much. (Play Food & Wine’s any-two-small-plates-for-twenty-bucks formula comes to mind.)

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WEEKLY LUNCH PICK: Mexican tortilla soup at the Market’s new taqueria, Corazon de Maiz

It looks like a bad hair day but it tastes like a party in a bowl — warm and crunchy; creamy and cool.

By Shawna Wagman

Who would’ve thought it would still be soup weather in June? But with all of these cool, damp days, I can think of nothing better than a bowl of Mexican tortilla soup. In fact, this soup is so sunny and festive to look at and fun and interesting to eat, it might be considered in lieu of prescription mood enhancers. It is also like tuning into the “greatest hits” of Mexican cooking: there’s a bit of everything in there.

The base begins as a light chicken and tomato stock enhanced with smoky chipotle peppers and a popular Mexican herb called epazote. Assembled to order, you’ll find a generous amount of full-flavour diced white chicken within — enough to call this a complete meal (though it’s intended as a starter). The meat has been marinated with rosemary, basil, lemon, and mango juices along with various seasonings and spices.

The soup is then adorned with long crispy fried strips of corn tortilla that poke out in every direction from the hot broth like a bad hair day. Next, it gets a dollop of queso fresco (like a mild feta), a squirt of homemade crema (similar to sour cream), some diced ripe avocado, and the relatively mild pasilla pepper as a final garnish. Eating the soup becomes an interactive spoon sport. The rules and the texture change as the chips soften and thicken the soup. The chiles work their magic and the flavours marry as the cheese and cream add richness to the broth.

Mariana Torio (the chef) and Erick Igari, a couple from Mexico City, run the tiny taqueria that popped up in the Byward Market building about seven months ago. They give the bustling food counter a dose of warmth and character in spite of its steam tray table of taco fillings and tourist-trap surroundings. The brightly coloured table cloths and bar stools add lots of sunny appeal as well.

Tacos seems to be the food darling of the moment, but I’d advocate for a tortilla soup takeover!

Cost: $4 plus tax

Corazon de Maiz, 55 By Ward Market, 613-244-1661.


 

20 Best Neighbourhoods: Appealing to the DINKs

Best Neighbourhoods: DINKs

ByWard Market: If you dream of living in a city that never sleeps, this is as close as you’ll get in O-town

DINKs were possibly the hardest group to classify. For every couple sans kids that fits the yuppie paradigm — lattes, yoga, art galleries, and posh restaurants — there are countless others who would rather be hiking, woodworking, or watching the complete works of Jim Carrey on DVD than at the symphony. For the purposes of this article, I focused on central neighbourhoods where DINKs’ extra disposable income could buy easy access to urban pleasures — even if they rarely take advantage of them.

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OPENING SOON! Brothers Beer Bistro in the ByWard Market

The "Brothers" behind the bar in the construction zone: (l-r) Nick Ringuette, chef Darren Flowers, Patrick Asselin

Let’s get the answer to “brothers” question out of the way: co-owners of the soon-to-open Brothers Beer Bistro are not biologically brothers. Patrick Asselin and Nick Ringuette are brothers in the ‘best buddies’ sense of the word. It’s the nickname they have for each other. And upon meeting them for the first time, it’s easy to see why they are friends. They are both warm, charming, fun-loving guys… with matching facial hair. The kind of brothers everyone needs.

Apparently Asselin’s bushy beard is the result of a promise he made (and perhaps now regrets) when he signed the lease for 366 Dalhousie St. that he wouldn’t shave until the 75-seat ByWard Market bistro opens later this month. Ringuette, the self-described “laid-back one,”  keeps his beard tidy while he works his final shifts at The Black Thorn where he has been a beloved bartender for the last six years. “I’m not a crazy mixologist, not a flare guy,” he says, “My thing is that I want everyone to feel like they are in my basement bar.”

So the name “Brothers” stuck because these guys really wanted to emphasize the importance of having a fun new social hangout spot where everyone feels like one of the family. “We want to bring back that social aspect of being out on the town,” says Asselin who practiced the art of hospitality most recently as service  manager at Play Food & Wine, “Instead of seeing people in restaurants on their phones and texting, we want to go back to people talking and interacting.”

When I stopped by last week, the gas had just been hooked up and chef Darren Flowers, the third “brother,” was eager to get in the kitchen to work on his menu. Flowers, who was most recently Steve Wall’s sous-chef at Luxe Bistro and previously at the Whalesbone, says he’ll be incorporating beer into all of the food — either as the braising or brining liquid or in other ways (beer vinegar, beer mayo, pickling with hops, bread made with spent malt from the brewing process). Even desserts will feature beer — Flowers plans to make his own beer ice cream.

Check out their facebook page for updates on Brother’s opening date.

Brothers Beer Bistro366 Dalhousie St., 613-282-9452. 

 


WEEKLY LUNCH PICK: Sampling the Sampler Plate at Sausage Kitchen

Anne DesBrisay describes the Sampler Plate as "quite brown, a bit messy, very tasty — and there’s enough of it to fill me for a week."

By Anne DesBrisay

In the queue in front of me they know exactly what they want and the line moves in obedient fashion at a good clip. The woman directly ahead of me, with whom I had been chatting, orders her weekly indulgence, a Falscher Hase (slabs cut from a loaf of pork and beef bound with eggs, tucked in a bun). She tells me it’s a chomp down memory lane for her, harkening back to her days as a Munich grad student, forever hungry, forever broke.

The Sausage Kitchen server working the lunch line overhears my questions about this Munich meatloaf and before I can say Menschenskind I have a fat forkful of the thing suspended in front of my nose. “Here, try it!” It’s probably three bites worth, but I manage to pop the entire generous hunk of it and am accordingly chewingly mute by the time it’s my turn at the counter. All I can do is nod as she points to the items that go in The Sampler Plate.

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