Articles Tagged ‘fish’

ARTFUL BLOGGER: A revealing fish tale at the Canadian Museum of Nature

By Paul Gessell

There is a new year-long exhibition at the Canadian Museum of Nature that is a perfect marriage of science and art.

The show is called Beneath the Surface: X-rays of Arctic Fish. First of all, museum personnel arranged fish specimens in such a manner that they looked alive and ready to swim away. Then x-rays were taken and the resulting images on a black background were enlarged and placed into back-lit light boxes. Sixteen of these images can be found in the museum’s basement Stone Wall Gallery.

The results are spectacular from both an aesthetic and scientific point of view. The images are ghostly and totally mesmerizing works of art. They are also, to scientists, very revealing in that they clearly show the bone structure of the x-rayed fish and such other important details as the fishes’ stomach contents. Knowing who eats what in the Arctic Ocean is a valuable tool to understand the entire eco-system.

Boa dragonfish . Photo by

Check out the little fish inside this boa dragonfish. Photo by Noel Alfonso/Roger Bull, Canadian Museum of Nature.

One image is of a fierce boa dragonfish, its huge mouth wide open. The dragonfish has just swallowed whole and headfirst some other smaller fish, whose skeleton is clearly visible inside the larger fish.

And there is a shot of a Greenland halibut chasing some much smaller glacier lanternfish. Us humans, of course, chase the halibut, the Greenland variety being a particular delicacy.

This is an exhibition that should wow the kids and interest the science-minded members of the family.

The Canadian Museum of Nature is renowned for its research into Arctic fish. Some museum scientists are preparing what will be the first authoritative guide to Canada’s 217 species of Arctic fish. Greenland already has a guide of its own.

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WHERE TO SAMPLE ‘FAIR FISH': 5 ideas from Ottawa Magazine’s 2013 Eating & Drinking Guide

Eating & Drinking Guide is a food lover’s bible for everything local, with 80+ pages of restaurant, wine, food shop, and kitchen store recommendations. Look for it on newsstands or order it here.

Finding Fair Fish: Ottawa Magazine food writer Anne DesBrisay looks for shops where you can be sure the swimmers you buy are fished or farmed in an ecologically sustainable manner — and happen to taste good.

1. Whalesbone Sustainable Oyster and Fish Supply and The Whalesbone Oyster House
Both wholesale and retail, the shop (purveyors of the best fish sammiches in town) and the little oyster house have made sustainable swimmers sexy. 504 Kent St., 613-231-3474; 430 Bank St., 613-231-8569.

Wellington Wholesale Seafood. Photography by Amelia Johnston

2. Wellington Wholesale Seafood
A relative newcomer to the fair-fish supply, this seafood spot is found in Hintonburg and is focused mostly on wholesale, but there’s always stuff on ice for the gal off the street. Norwegian salmon, Arctic char, Patagonian shrimp, day-boat scallops, sushi-grade yellowfin tuna. 1105 Wellington St. W., 613-759-4141.

3. Wilfrid’s
The elegant dining room at the Fairmont Château Laurier has always been ahead of its time in terms of showcasing local and Canadian product, and its commitment to its Ocean Wise certification is just as leading-edge. 1 Rideau St., 613-241-1414.

4. Restaurant E18hteen/ Social
Two ByWard Market beauties, sister restaurants, both with strong kitchens and Ocean Wise stamps dotting their menus. Try the signature lacquered B.C. black cod at E18hteen or the crispy-skinned trout with black garlic purée at Social. 18 York St, 613-244-1188; 537 Sussex Dr., 613-789-7355.

5. Juniper Kitchen & Wine Bar
Devoted to serving sustainable seafood from waters as close to home as landlocked Ottawa can muster. Chef-owners Norm Aitken and Peter Robblee’s “campfired” Arctic char with beet sauce is spectacular. 245 Richmond Rd., 613-728-0220.

Photography by Amelia Johnston


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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WEEKENDER: Roadtrippin’ to Perth, getting hot at HOPE, fishing with the fam, and more ways to heat up your weekend

If your kids loved Night at the Museum, then the Cumberland Heritage Village Museum and Vintage Stock Theatre have just the event for them. Twice a month in July and August, visitors will be able to wander through the museum’s buildings and listen to stories of adventure told by the theatre’s interpreters. Unfortunately, Ben Stiller will not be in attendance. Every other Thursday at 6 p.m., beginning Thursday, July 12. $7, seniors and students $5, families $18. Cumberland Heritage Village Museum, 2940 Old Montreal Rd., Cumberland,

The latest at SAW Video: a six-part American film showcase that includes screenings, artist talks, and a masterclass, all free of charge. The films are diverse (drama, animation, documentary, experimental) but all speak from the margins of society and promote independence. Keep an eye out for the names of the young artists showcased — they’re bound to become innovators in American cinema. Friday, July 13, to Saturday, July 21. SAW Courtyard, 67 Nicholas St.,

The Classic Theatre Festival kicks off this weekened just an hour away in Perth. Photo by T.H. Wall.

The Perth Classic Theatre Festival is back for another season, opening with a quirky romantic comedy. Two for the Seesaw is a Tony award-winning play that hilariously tells a love story set in 1950s New York City. Fun fact: Henry Fonda and Anne Bancroft starred in the original version. Previews on Friday, July 13 at 8 p.m., and Saturday, July 14 at 2 p.m. Opening Saturday, July 14 at 8 p.m. $24 previews, $30 regular season, $21 youth. Mason Theatre, 13 Victoria St., Perth,

For 30 years now, H.O.P.E. has been bringing local volleyball players, Canadian musicians, and philanthropists of all stripes together for one huge event every summer. This year’s tournament will see thousands of players compete on 80 courts to raise money for seven local charities. If live entertainment by Mother Mother, illScarlett, and Treble Charger is just a bonus, it’s a pretty exciting one. Saturday, July 14. Registration for teams is closed, but get in on the fun by watching teams duke it out and rocking out in your down time. $20 advance ticket or $25 at the door. Mooney’s Bay Beach, Riverside Dr. and Hog’s Back Rd.,

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WEEKLY LUNCH PICK: Upgrade your brown bag lunch at Whalesbone Fish Supply

Gorgeous chunks of smoked swordfish make this a transcendent brown bag sandwich.

So, school’s back in session and the lunch-packing grind is ramping up again. While you may be tying yourself in knots to come up with the perfect litterless, unscented, nut-free, nutritionally sound, picky-palate-proof lunch for the kids, at least you can find comfort in knowing there’s a brown bag lunch with your name on it on Kent Street.

The Whalesbone fish supply/warehouse (not to be confused with the restaurant on Bank Street) offers three different sandwiches each day (in two sizes) featuring their delicious sustainable stuff from the sea or lake. If this was a different kind of city, this is the kind of food you’d get from one of those hipster-driven, drool-inducing food trucks that seem to have taken over the Food Network this season.

So squint when you stroll into the Whalesbone shop and try and imagine this as the Whalesbone-mobile (I’m sure they’d come up with something with a double entendre). Step up to the “window” and order off the blackboard. Last week there was breaded halibut, fried haddock and … drumroll please … smoked swordfish with caramelized onions and caper aioli. I thought their smoked tuna was the single most delicious thing I’d eaten in a sandwich … now I’m not so sure.

A few minor quibbles: too many capers and too much jalapeno Tabasco — I love the zippy flavours, but these ones, sloppily applied, started to overpower the sweet, smoky, beautiful flavour of the fish. The bun wasn’t as fresh as I would’ve liked, either. And it would be nice to see an ingredient list for the side containers of coleslaw and potato salad sitting in the bottom of the beverage fridge.

Not that I’m checking anyone’s homework.

Oh, and peanut butter cookies are available for dessert. There’s another thing you’ll never see in a kid’s brown bag.

Whalesbone Sustainable Oyster & Fish Supply, 514 Kent St. 613-231-3474.

Takeaway Brownbag lunch: Tuesday- Saturday, 11 a.m. – 2 p.m.

WEEKLY LUNCH PICK: Discover Le Resto’s traditional British fish ‘n’ chips

Homemade "chipped potatoes," minted mushy pea, and tartar sauce adorn light, crispy Nova Scotia cod

The Place: Tucked into a little strip mall in Chelsea, Quebec,  Le Resto is an endearing cross between country diner and neighbourhood bistro. It is also the brainchild of Line Boyer and James Hargreaves, the boisterous local food-loving couple behind the Boucanerie Chelsea Smokehouse, the artisan seafood smoking facility and retail shop that happens to be located just up the road.

The Deal: The menu here benefits from the use of the freshest local ingredients and all the hard work that happens at the Smokehouse to create such delicacies as silky gravlax, sweet smoked mussels and scallops, hot smoked salmon, and maple syrup- and sherry-saturated salmon jerky.

The Crowd: Local fish and seafood fans as well as day-trippin’ visitors to the Gatineau Hills. Kids are not only welcome but doted upon by charming servers who offer up magnetic drawing boards and Dr. Seuss’s Green Eggs and Ham.

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101 Tastes To Try Before You Die

Two months, dozens of meals, hundreds of taste tests, and one order of braised veal sweetbreads later, we’re thrilled to reveal Ottawa Magazine’s first 101 Tastes list. We took a spectacular culinary stroll through the capital region, stopping to taste all that caught our fancy along the way. The only parameters? From bread to honey and burfi to rendang, the food and drink that made the cut had to be either made in Ottawa, unique to Ottawa, or hard to find elsewhere. Bon appétit!

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