While I am extremely grateful to be employed, cubicle life keeps me from enjoying much of the morning sunlight. After March’s daylight savings time change, the sun rises as I hop out of bed to start my morning routine. After taking a crowded bus to the office, one of my cube’s walls butts up against the windows, effectively blocking the sun.
It being sunny this Good Friday, what do you think my better half and I did to enjoy it? We took the opportunity to wander from the beginning of the Wellington Village to the end of the Westboro Village. We ate at our favourite restaurant for breakfast. We stopped by the local butcher’s to set aside something for tomorrow’s dinner. We picked up some sweets for Easter. And, we checked out a newly opened purveyor of artisanal meats and ice cream.
First off, we checked to see if Aroma Meze had opened its doors. I have heard good things about its downtown location, so I have been faithful about checking each week.
Bunny for Easter:
This year’s new year resolution is to visit our local butcher’s, Saslove’s (1333 Wellington Street), more often. Today, that’s where we purchased a whole rabbit. For Easter, I decided to forgo the more traditional lamb or turkey and chose to serve the Easter Bunn..er rabbit. The staff at Sasloves found the idea somewhat disturbing, but not at all uncommon. Of the 3 fresh rabbits in the case, we chose one at random, paid for it ($20.62 before taxes), and asked to set it aside for pickup later on that afternoon.
Breakfast at John’s:
Jenn and I can’t say enough good things about John’s (1365 Wellington Street). To us, it is “hands down” the best place for breakfast in Ottawa. It’s lunch isn’t too shabby either, but breakfast was extended today past 11:00 am to accommodate those of us who slept in.
This time around, we sat at the bar and chatted with longtime restaurant owner John, whose young granddaughter was visiting the restaurant. Jenn had her regular, the 2 egg breakfast: scrambled eggs; sausages, not bacon; and dry toast with jam. Me, I asked the waitress for whatever she had just served one of the booths across from us. It turned out to be the breakfast club.
It tasted as good as it looked, with wonderful textural and flavour contrasts. Its bottom layer had melted shredded cheddar. Its top, a thin spread of real mayonnaise to protect the toasted bread from the tomatoes. There was plenty of bright tomato, crisp lettuce, fried egg, and salty bacon in every bite. A hallmark of breakfast at Johns, the home fries were not at all greasy. They were however seasoned with paprika and made to order. The beans, on the other hand, more than likely came from a can. I’m not holding the beans against the meal. It was wonderful and filling.
During our meal, John told us that his restaurant is “famous” in Ottawa for its club sandwiches. After re-thumbing through the menu, we discovered that John’s serves a long list of club sandwiches, all on platters for $9.95 each. Having thoroughly enjoyed my breakfast club, I can understand why patrons would like John’s club sandwiches. The next time I dine at John’s, it’s going to be for lunch and I’m ordering the smoked meat club. There is also a tuna club, ham club, chicken club, turkey club, and much more.
The Loeb in the Wellington Village had announced its renovations weeks in advance. Apparently, after Metro’s purchase of Loeb from the former Provigo a decade ago and Loeb becoming a subsidiary of A&P in 2006, Metro has decided to include all stores under its banner. Already, the Loeb website has been subsumed by Metro’s. Jenn and I surmise that the scheduled renovations at Loeb are to add the Metro branding to the store itself.
With the sheer number of Easter chocolates in the stores, it is difficult not to pass an easter weekend with sweets. As such, Jenn and I stopped by Truffle Treasures (314 Richmond Road). There, we picked up something to taunt the bunny with ($6.95) and some hand made candy chews ($0.65 each), one lime and the other lemon.
While I have read that the truffles are of “contentious” quality, the candy chews were pleasant, not cloying sweet and gently flavoured with citrus.
Next: Wesboro’s newest foodie destination
Having read about it in the Ottawa Citizen last week, I was excited to visit the Piggy Market. According to its profile, it is a butcher shop, a local food store, a caterer, and purveyor of ice-cream. If you think this an odd combination, go visit the store at 400 Winston Avenue, just off of Richmond Road.
There, you will find that its owners, Pascale Berthiaume, Dave Neil, and Warren Sutherland, have opened a foodie’s paradise of a “general store”, selling everything from classic charcuterie and artisanal meats to preserves and premium ice-cream. All goods are locally sourced, most within “100 miles” of Ottawa. Everything is made fresh and with care. Best of all, Dave (don’t call him “sir”) Neil and Pascale Berthiaume are enthusiastic about their products and extremely friendly.
Berthiaume makes high quality ice cream with real cream and natural flavourings like vanilla from vanilla beans, which she is proud to show off along side her Italian-made stainless steel ice cream makers. When she’s not making ice cream, she happily doles out samples and answers questions, even those from a wide-eyed and slightly giddy writer of foodiePrints.
Hers is not Philadelphia-style ice cream. The half litre containers that bear Berthiame’s name and likeness contain ice cream that is made with eggs. This means that the ice cream is rich, carries flavours well, and has a very slow melting profile. This is full flavored ice cream the way the French and the Italians like it. It is not aerated like supermarket ice creams, heavy not light on the tongue. Jenn and I sampled vanilla and malted chocolate flavours. Without exaggeration, we were relegated to giggly children, tasting ice cream for the first time. Damn, it’s good!
Jenn and I dropped a tenner for a tub of Passion Fruit Ice Cream to spring on friends this weekend.
Next time, we’re torn between vanilla or the salted caramel. We may end up buying both…
Neil, former sous chef from the Sweetgrass Aborginal Bistro, fills his display cases with mouth watering products. When we visited, he was doling out pulled pork in plastic containers. He fills his display cases with delicacies that those of us who enjoy charcuterie can only read about.
What caught my eye were the cured meats, freshly made sausages, and duck confit. Now that I think about it, his duck confit looked like the “real thing”, dry cured duck legs that were slowly cooked in fat and left to cool. How do I know? They’re not individually plastic wrapped and sport a thick layer of duck fat. That does it! I’m going to pick up a pair for dinner tomorrow!
All-in-all, I think the day was well spent!
Business Cards follow after the jump.
John’s Quick Lunch (formerly: and Pizza)
1365 Wellington Street
Saslove’s Meat Market
1333 Wellington Street
314 Richmond Road
400 Winston Avenue
Pascale’s All Natural Premium Ice Cream
Sold at the Piggy Market
Tags: breakfast, Pascale's Ice Cream, Piggy Market, Saslove's, Wellington Village, Westboro