Last Sunday, the foodiePrints team was coming off a tumultuous week, one that saw a group of independent food bloggers help promote and cover a first-of-its-kind chefs’ event and fundraiser in Ottawa. We were part of that group. The event would crystallize the discord between food bloggers and the food editors of several local print publications, one newspaper in particular.
This was the battered state two members of foodiePrints would attend the inaugural Ottawa Indie Blogger Brunch at The Imperial (329 Bank Street), organized by the talented Ming Wu. Ming is the photographer behind the Blurasis, Ming Wu Photos, and PhotogMusic blogs. Ming’s Photogmusic blog was recently nominated in CBC Radio 3’s Search Light Competition for Canada’s Best Music Website. If you have seen photography of any of the local indie music scene in the past couple years, you have seen Ming’s work.
It was at the Imperial (@ImperialOttawa) Jenn and I would find inspiration again, the eatery a time capsule of memorabilia from when its location and those of the adjoining businesses were the Imperial Theatre.
The Imperial’s food philosophy involves home-cooked meals from scratch, food without additives, and whole ingredients, locally supplied. The menu changes often and includes both vegetarian and vegan options. The Ottawa Citizen’s Gay Cook referred to The Imperial as a gastro diner in 2009. Indeed, The Imperial serves diner fare, sandwiches, pizzas, pastas, and soups. Only, the interior is mostly wood finishing, wood paneling, and darkly stained furniture.
But, it was neither the eatery nor its food we found inspiring. It was the company. Including ourselves, fifteen independent bloggers attended, everyone passionate about their respective subjects: food, fashion, film, music, visual art, and culture.
- Apartment 613
- Cook without Books
- Love K
- Peter Henderson
- Pop Champagne
- Samantha Everts
- Sheltered Girl Meets World
- VeraFying The Area
- World Famous Music
Like us, they blog part time.
There were graduate students. There were freelancers who write for OpenFile Ottawa, a hub of hyper-local investigative journalism. There were music promoters. There was an amateur film maker.
What we all had in common was our taking time outside of our professional lives to create content to be shared. We discussed setting blog goals, blog platforms for different applications, launching a blog, diversifying readership, and establishing a posting schedule. The subjects of effective post lengths, value-add from including multimedia, and social networking tools came up. Most of all, we learned about the vibrant personalities behind the various blogs.
We drew on each others energies. It was difficult to dwell on negative sentiments in the company of so many creative people.
Brunch itself was…what it was. Sundays at the Imperial, only the brunch menu is available. It has three options: “Meat Lovers’ Delight”, “The Vegetarian”, and “Vegan Blueberry Pancakes.”
I ordered the Vegetarian ($11.75).
I was served two generous wedges of bread pudding, made from bread, sweet potato, eggs, goat cheese, sun dried tomato, pesto and red onion. They were accompanied by deep fried potatoes, toast, and a tomato with baked beans cooked into it.
Jenn had the meat lover’s delight (also $11.75).
She was served 2 over scrambled eggs, two hard rashers of griddled bacon, grilled ham, and a dry pattie of house sausage. Hers also came with deep fried potatoes, toast, and a tomato with baked beans cooked into it.
Everything was served lukewarm. I saw similar looks on the attendees’ faces around me. But, everyone at the table chose to think positively. These were value-oriented plates.
Still, I was served three larger portions of starch, three and a half if you include the baked beans. It left me lethargic. Jenn likewise found her plate enormous.
Total: $27.27 (including a soft drink ($2.00) and coffee ($1.77), not including tip or taxes)
In the end, we met new people. We learned some new things about blogging. We were full. It was a early Sunday afternoon well spent.
Jenn and I look forward to the next brunch.
329 Bank Street