Social Serves Ottawa Food

Social Restaurant and Lounge Social Restaurant and Lounge

We in Ottawa routinely break the cardinal rule for polite conversation. Topics such as sex, religion and politics (especially politics), pop-up in almost any available forum, from the bus stop to the dining table. Lately, two subjects dominate, the weather and “in defense of our fair city.” Spring has sprung, but Mother Nature has deemed herself too inconvenienced to raise temperatures. “Ottawa is not boring!” Amateur filmmaker and Toronto-expat Amen Jafri produced, directed, and recently released a crowd-funded documentary that considers why celebrated Maclean’s columnist Allan Fotherham deemed Ottawa “The City that Fun Forgot,” “Coma... | Continue reading article

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Homecookin’: Some Snapshots From My Kitchen

Shin of Beef Pot Roast Shin of Beef Pot Roast

The Ides of March have come to pass with many things food gracing our social medial channels. Ottawa keeps demonstrating there is good eating to be had. Food entrepreneurs continue to fill out the spectrum of dining options from low to high-end. Locals just have to have an open mind and look around. Personally, I’ve been cooking of late without plating anything for the tripod-mounted camera, soft box, or speedlites. So, it’s time to resurrect our “relatively wordless” post format (not to be confused with the more meaningful “bunch-of-stuff” format) and share some snapshots from... | Continue reading article

Twice Blessed: Essence Catering Partners with Sarah J’s Cupcakes for Winning Chocolate Combo

Chocolate and Cherries from Essence Catering Chocolate and Cherries from Essence Catering

Last Saturday, the Centurion Conference & Event Centre (170 Colonnade Road) saw the 10th annual Carefor Chocolate Competition come to pass. There were 400 attendees. Eight local establishments submitted sweet confections for the competition: last year’s “Judge’s Choice” winner Essence Catering (430 Parkdale Avenue), Fratelli Restaurants, Hilton Garden Inn (2400 Alert Road), Les Fougeres (783 Route 105, Chelsea), National Arts Centre (53 Elgin Street), The Joy of Gluten Free (250 Greenbank Road), Todric’s Restaurant and Catering (10 McArthur Avenue), and Truffle Treasures (314 Richmond Road). Chef Jason Laurin of Essence Catering teamed up with Sarah... | Continue reading article

Cooking with Cream for Dairy Goodness 100% Canadian Milk: Mac ‘n Cheese

Deep Fried Mac 'n Cheese Deep Fried Mac 'n Cheese

With just days left before winter officially comes to an end, Ottawa remains frigid. Pools of melted snow ice over when the sun sets. Thanks to daylight savings time, darkness falls an hour later. Once tall snowbanks recede from the sidewalks. But, many dwindle, darkening and showing off trapped dirt and grit. The odd glove reveals itself, released from icy imprisonment. It seems the cursed rodent we ascribed meteorological powers was right. The groundhog saw its shadow. Six weeks of bundling ourselves up in Canada Goose jackets, NHL toques, official Team Canada-branded Olympic mitts, hand... | Continue reading article

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Casual Fridays at the National Arts Centre: Giveaway #2 #NACOFridays

Rosemary and Monforte Cheese Polenta with Shaved Smoked Lamb Sirloin Rosemary and Monforte Cheese Polenta with Shaved Smoked Lamb Sirloin

My Ottawa includes music. I’m rather taken with food and drink these days, but there was a time when I studied piano like many impressionable youths. I remember the technique: scales and arpeggios; chords; ear training; and exercises for improving “independence of fingering.” There was sight-reading. There was theory. There were lessons, concerts, exams, and competitions. While I developed some proficiency, I hated every second of it. But, I developed a healthy respect for those who choose music as their vocation. It is somewhat ironic I would marry someone who teaches piano. Both my wife... | Continue reading article

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Noodle Noodles Rah Rah Rah: Noodlefest Aftermath

Barbecued Duck Ramen by Jonny Korecki Barbecued Duck Ramen by Jonny Korecki

What can I say about a noodlefest I bought tickets to attend ($10/person), but ended up working at as a volunteer hand for one of its vendors, Tarek Hassan of Gongfu Bao? Well, the venue’s kitchen at the Ottawa Convention Centre is enormous. A paragon of cleanliness, the gleam from well-cared-for stainless steal surfaces blinded me. The centre’s executive chef, Geoffrey Morden, was also very patient, working with Sip ‘N Slurp’s vendors to prep, heat, and assemble dishes for event-goers. His fryolater station was particularly popular. It saw hundreds of spring rolls and churros. Pots... | Continue reading article

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Bunch of Stuff: Ottawa Start’s “Essential,” Navarra in Eat On/Eat Out, and Cardamom and Cloves Opens

Navarra Restaurant Navarra Restaurant

Ottawa Start’s “Essential” Earlier this month, we discovered the source for community-oriented news and events in Ottawa released its annual round-up of “essential blogs.” And, we were on it. 9. foodiePrints There are so many great food blogs in Ottawa. I really like Don, Jenn and Claire’s blog because they are so excited about finding great food in Ottawa, at restaurants, grocery stores, markets, food trucks, or wherever else they happen to be. For years, founder Glen Gower’s OttawaStart.com had a “b-list,” second-string blogs that made great resources, but were only borderline “essential.” For years,... | Continue reading article

Noodles Noodles Rah Rah Rah: A Little Noodling and a Noodlefest

Bowl of Noodles Anyone? Bowl of Noodles Anyone?

Last November, founder Roy Abourgeili approached us to promote and attend Privé Food Thought‘s inaugural event, “Ottawa’s Underground Chef’s Market.” Suffice it to say, I was dubious. Originally, Abourgeili’s descriptions and the associated marketing brought back memories of “Taboo Eats” and its ill-fated “My Neighbourhood Bites” series of “amateur”-cooking competitions. Taboo Eats met its abrupt end at the beginning of 2013. That is, despite a handful of events being held during the fall of 2012. We participated in one of the Taboo Eats events, a pair of home cooks wanting to showcase one of our... | Continue reading article