Monday, July 29, 2013

Ottawa food scene is booming!

Ottawa food! I feel like I've been eating out a lot lately. Like too much. But loving it, don't get me wrong. I know, I know, first world problem! It was a friend's birthday so a bunch of us went out to dinner at a restaurant that is getting a lot of buzz in Ottawa called "Supply and Demand". The other bonus about it is that my friend Shannon Smithers (@one80design) did the design for the restaurant. She did an awesome job. Beautiful space! I am not going to lie, the menu was a little intimidating for me. I feel like I am pretty informed and cultured but this menu made me feel like a bit of a dummy. I am ashamed to admit that I could've used a glossary for some of the terms on the menu. Yikes. How uncooth! (is that how you even spell it?) I ordered what I knew. I got some oysters on the half shell. Three different kinds from three different places. It came with a red wine vinagrette, a pickle juice and fresh horseradish. Two were small, one a biggie! The big oysters gross me out a bit because I don't want to chew too much. Even though I like oysters the texture freaks me out a tiny bit if it's in my mouth for too long. There was mention that oysters are an aphrodisiac. I don't know if that's a myth but I think if anyone's willing to put something like an oyster in their mouth they are game for many things - ie. sexually. Get it?
I got the Kale salad as my main. It had a caper vinagrette, manchego cheese and bacon. It was DELICIOUS. The manchego looked like snow on top of fresh kale generously doused in a flavourful, garlicky dressing and with a nice, good quality bacon. Excellent and healthy!
My sister ordered the albacore tuna crudo with lemon truffle oil, puffed rice and young cilantro. Crudo means raw. (I googled it) Holy crap this tuna was insanely good. Really! I would never have tried it because, like I said, didn't know what crudo was and I don't like truffle oil. At least I thought I didn't. I guess I do if it's used the right way. The puffed rice tasted nutty and was the perfect compliment to the tuna. I wouldn't have known it was rice if you hadn't told me. I didn't know rice could taste like that with that kind of texture.
I split two desserts with my sister. We got a cream puff with raspberry curd, liquid cheesecake and fudge glaze. It was amazing! So fresh and bursting with tart and sweet flavours. The other was a meringue with strawberry, rhubard, and cream. It sounds and looked weird but it was really really tasty. Lighter than the cream puff but similar in terms of tangy and sweet. It was the kind of dessert that, even though you might be full you could keep eating because it was light but full of flavour. A fun bonus to the night was that the Montreal Chef, Chuck Hughes (of Food Network fame) was there with some friends to have a meal. My sister is a huge fan so I asked him if he'd take a picture with us. He was very sweet, down to earth and seemed genuinely interested in chatting with us. Although who wouldn't be like that if two charming Grant sisters came up gushing about you and wanting to take a photo with you??? He was in town for a book signing and was on his way for his last of several meals that day to El Comino on Elgin Street. He told us that Ottawa's food scene is booming and he's super impressed with it.
Supply and Demand is the kind of restaurant that I will go back to with confidence to order the unknown because you can just tell they are exceptional at whatever they do. Everything was outstanding. It's easy to be intimidated by a menu when you have never tried some of the items or even know what some of the words mean. Sigh. Embarassing. BUT if you know the restaurant is really good it's less scary and delicious. A delicious risk (good name for a restaurant. Or maybe you don't want 'risk' in the name of your restaurant, even if it is delicious). Coincidentally, I happen to find myself at Elcomino's taco take out window for a quick lunch today. I'm talking quick. My sister treated me to a $4.00 taco! $4.00! So inexpensive. Mcdonalds is probably more expensive and not exceptional, with sustainable fish and fresh creative ingredients. I got the crispy fish taco. It was really really good. It's always an accomplishment in my books if you can fry something and it's not heavy. It was light, with avocado some kind of creamy sauce, radish and not shy with the jalapenos! I can't wait to go there for a full, sit down meal!

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