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dinner

A Taste of Ottawa: The Capital’s Signature Dishes

BeaverTails, shawarma, poutine, perhaps pho. The capital isn’t lacking for acclaimed fast-food options. But stop for a minute and take your taste imaginings to a higher plane. What restaurant dishes are Ottawa classics?

These are unique to a particular dining room, and beloved by legions of fans who extol their virtues far and wide. Signature dishes might be innovative and complex, but they could just as easily be simple. Nevertheless, they have two things in common: they’re instantly cherished and nearly impossible for the chef to remove from the menu.

Any debate over a definitive list could last well into the night, so we’ll just start here with six picks.

Les Fougères’ Duck Confit

783 rte. 105, Chelsea, Quebec, 819-827-8942, fougeres.com

Chef Charles Part’s duck confit is legendary. Little wonder, since the chef-owner has been refining it for upwards of two decades. It boasts a skin that’s deliciously crisp, and the accompanying potato galette is always perfection.

Benny’s Bistro Salmon Gravlax

119 Murray St., 613-789-6797, frenchbaker.ca/reservations

Benny’s Bistro has been serving up “French fast food done right” for years. Its house-made salmon gravlax is a thing of beauty, with an oozy sunny-side-up egg, a warm fingerling potato salad, and olive tapenade on the side.

Mariposa Farm’s Foie Gras

6468 County Road 17, Plantagenet, 613-673-5881, mariposa-duck.on.ca

This farm’s ethical farming practices produce tons of delightful goodies, but none quite as delicious (or coveted) as the duck foie gras.

The SmoQue Shack’s BBQ Chicken

129 York St., 613-789-4245, smoqueshack.com

There’s barbecue and there’s the way chicken’s done in Kentucky: a spicy rub, a sugar and honey brine, and an apple wood smoke. The SmoQue Shack’s secret sauce? A bourbon glaze with hints of vanilla.

Absinthe’s Steak Frites

1208 Wellington St. W., 613-761-1138, absinthecafe.ca

Absinthe sees a large and devoted following for chef-owner Patrick Garland’s steak frites. Its marinated hanger steak paired with hot fries is a don’t-you-dare-take-it-off-the-menu staple.

Allium’s Banoffee Pie

87 Holland Ave., 613-792-1313, alliumrestaurant.com

This yummy pie has a graham cracker crust filled with layers of creamy toffee, sliced banana, and heaps of whipped cream, all topped with chocolate shavings.

Halloween Events Calgary

By HANNA DEEVES

Ghouls Night Out at Heritage Park. Photo Courtesy of Heritage Park

October is full of Halloween events for all ages here in Calgary. Whether you’re in it for the spooks, the costumes, or the candies, there is sure to be something for everyone. (more…)

8 Steakhouses with More Than Just Sizzle

Lower Dining Room

The luxe dining room at Harbour Sixty.

  1. The Shore Club, one of the city’s newest steakhouses, is located in the heart of the entertainment district, close to venues such as Roy Thomson Hall and the TIFF Bell Lightbox. Along with classic cuts like New York strip loin, bone-in rib steak and filet mignon, there’s a full seafood menu, with stuffed rainbow trout and salmon Wellington. 155 Wellington St. W., 416-351-3311.
  2. Ruth Fertel, founder of the international Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse chain, credited the success of her steaks as much to their sound and smell as to their taste. That’s why steaks at Ruth’s are cooked at nearly 1,000°C, served on an incredibly hot plate and doused with a tablespoon of sizzle-inducing butter before they leave the kitchen. They’re also thick enough to serve two people. 145 Richmond St. W., 416-955-1455.
  3. Morton’s, a Texas-based steakhouse chain, has a modern ambience but still delivers a proper old-school steak—not to mention an impressive number of side dishes, including sautéed broccoli florets, creamed corn, bacon and onion macaroni and cheese, and Parmesan and truffle matchstick fries. 4 Avenue Rd., 416-925-0648.
  4. STK mixes the vibe of a modern restaurant with that of an exclusive nightclub—it even has a live DJ. Along with dry-aged steaks, STK offers some unique drink concoctions, with names like Cucumber Stiletto, Carroted Away and Strawberry Cobbler. 135 Yorkville Ave., 416-613-9660.
  5. At Hy’s Steakhouse, dark mahogany walls and furniture, rich carpets and intimate lighting complement the high quality 28-day-aged Canadian beef. Traditional dishes share a menu with modern fare, including a Dungeness crab cake and a tropical shrimp salad sandwich. 120 Adelaide St. W., 416-364-6600.
  6. Harbour Sixty is seconds from the Air Canada Centre, so don’t be surprised to see a Maple Leaf or two whenever they’re in town. Located in the century-old Habour Commission building, it offers classic fare and has a seafood menu to rival its steaks, with beluga caviar, a daily selection of fresh oysters and a seafood tower with steamed lobster, king crab legs, jumbo black tiger shrimp and oysters. 60 Harbour St., 416-777-2111.
  7. Barberian’s Steak House is one of the oldest steakhouses in Toronto, dating back to 1959. Sitting in the dinning room, you get the impression little has changed since then. Barberian’s butchers and ages all its steaks in-house. Be sure to ask for a tour of the must-be-seen-to-be-believed wine cellar. 7 Elm St., 416-597-0335.
  8. Dine like one of the wealthy entrepreneurs of Toronto past at the Keg Mansion, located in a gothic home once owned by legendary philanthropist Hart Massey. The Keg Steakhouse and Bar is known for its affordable quality and comfortable atmosphere, and that’s still true in its slightly fancier variation here. Pro tip: don’t skip the mashed potatoes. 515 Jarvis St., 416-964-6609.

June Hot Dining

By Janice Hudson

PATIO PERFECTION

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• Catch some rays on the rooftop patio at Your Father’s Moustache on Spring Garden Road. The fun and lively space has beer aplenty on tap, including three signature brews from the RockBottom Brewpub downstairs.
• Downtown, head to The Maxwell’s Plum on Grafton Street for a cold pint on the sunny patio. The landmark bar has the city’s largest selection of draft beer, including top selections from Maritime craft breweries like Halifax’s Garrison Brewing and Cape Breton’s Big Spruce.
• For fabulous views of Halifax harbour, check out Gahan House in the Historic Properties. This popular Prince Edward Island brewpub recently opened its first Nova Scotia location, serving its own line of handcrafted beers. Try the Beach Chair lager for a refreshing summer sip.

Editor’s Choice

Steak9246Two downtown restaurants have once again earned the prestigious CAA/AAA Four Diamond Award.
Recognized for the eighth year in a row, Onyx on Argyle Street is a sleek resto bar showcasing local ingredients in delicious globally inspired recipes. Cut Steakhouse on Lower Water Street has received the award every
year since opening in 2008. The menu boasts premium beef (dry-aged and butchered on-site) with
an artful wine list and inventive sides.

 

 

VEGGIES FIRST

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• A leader in Halifax’s emerging vegan scene, Envie touts a menu of hearty meals like vegan ribs, grilled cheese and indulgent raw desserts. Catering to dietary restrictions, the menu is 90 per cent gluten free. Find the stylish restaurant on the corner of Agricola and Charles streets in the North End.
• In the West End on Windsor Street, Wild Leek has made-from-scratch vegan comfort food. Chef Kirsten Haggart whips up recipes like mac’n cheese, seitan sandwich, and the popular coconutbacon “CBLT.” Wash it down with a fresh-squeezed juice and save room for gourmet cupcake.

 

CREATIVE CORNERSTONEGio-Tea--024---Version-2

Downtown at Gio on
Market Street, Chef Bee Choo
Char gives traditional recipes
an inventive new twist. Her
delicious version of poutine
includes fried polenta fingers
topped with duck confit, red
wine jus and blue “Cheez
Whiz.” Open for lunch and
dinner, Gio has a sommelierchosen
wine list plus creative cocktails and martinis.

 

SLICE OF SUCCESS

_MG_4104Specializing in wood-fired pizza, Morris East won bronze in the non-traditional category at the recent International Pizza Expo in Las Vegas. Its Nova Scotia-inspired winning pie featured pears poached in Blomidon Estate Baco Noir and prosciutto from Halifax’s Ratinaud Charcuterie. Visit in downtown Halifax on Morris Street and in Bedford on Larry Uteck Boulevard.

8 Ideas for Shoulder Season Fun

By Where Staff

Although the Canadian Rockies is a fantastic destination year round, we admit, sometimes the weather doesn’t cooperate when we want to ski or hike. Don’t let shoulder season conditions get you down! Here are some ways to ensure fun times, any time of year.

Photo: Banff Gondola

Photo: Banff Gondola

(more…)

Hot Dining: Not Your Average Grill

Located in the Lord Elgin Hotel, Grill 41 is open daily.

Located in the stately Lord Elgin Hotel, Grill 41’s name pays homage to the year the hotel was built (1941). The vibe inside is warm yet refined (but not too refined, the lounge offers flat screen TVs and there’s some interesting people watching to be had on Elgin Street). Open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, the menus offer traditional choices as well as unique items, such as crispy duck with savoury crepes, Canadian cheddar mac and cheese, and a to-die-for banana bread pudding. 100 Elgin St., 613-569-2126.

One Day, Three Meals: Charlottetown, PEI

© Tourism PEI

By Cynthia Dennis

Breakfast

Casa Mia Café, 131 Queen Street [map]

If you’re not quite feeling the greasy diner, but you’re not exactly on the yogurt-and-granola train, Casa Mia Café in downtown Charlottetown is where you’ll find hearty, healthy flavours in dishes like potato pancakes with ham, cheddar and green onion or the full country breakfast with local sausage and house-recipe potato hash. Owned and operated by a husband-and-wife team, Casa Mia is one of the only joints in town serving a proper latte or cappuccino to accompany your traditional breakfast with an upscale twist. Big tables and Wi-Fi are added perks. Spread out, relax and, for the love of Pete, order a side of potatoes made with caramelized onions.

(more…)

Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner: Windsor, Ontario

Taloola Café

By Waheeda Harris

Breakfast

Bring your appetite to The Lumberjack, a friendly spot tempting diners with country breakfasts, omelettes, sweet offerings from the Sugar Shack or the make no decisions option with the specials – the Timber Special offers a bite of everything – eggs, bacon or ham, flapjacks or French toast, home fries and toast. With a bottomless cup of coffee, a stop here will make a morning even better.

The Lumberjack, 475 Tecumseh Road East, Windsor ON 519-254-5538

Lunch

Healthy, organic, fair trade and tasty – these words are the mantra of Taloola Café, located near the historic Walkerville neighbourhood. Whether it’s one of the hearty grilled sandwiches, rice bowls, or small  plates featuring a mini antipasti selections of cheese, dip and raw veggies, from ominivore to vegan, anyone can find several options to satisfy midday cravings on this comprehensive menu. And if gluten, sugar or dairy are diet enemies, not to worry there are sweet options made just for you too.

Taloola Café, 396 Devonshire Road, Windsor ON 519-254-6652

Dinner

Locals will encourage a visit to Via Italia, a Windsor nabe dedicated to all things Italian. Indulge in antipasti, primi and secondi with Nico Chefs Nick Politi and Joseph Graziano who focus on culinary traditions from Calabria and Sicily. Selected imported ingredients and several house specialities are must haves, such as grilled squid with arugula, radicchio and mixed greens or house-made gnocchi with ricotta, asiago, mozzarella and parmesan cream  – bellisimo!

Nico Ristorante, 851 Windsor Street, East Windsor ON 519-255-7428

Hot Dining: Pretty in Pink

Pink Elephant Thai. Photo by KK Law

You don’t need rose-coloured glasses to appreciate Pink Elephant Thai, an aptly named, decidedly modern, magenta-wrapped downtown spot that yields a mouth-watering range of Thai specialties from its upstairs open kitchen. Before dinner, check out the cocktail action from a (pink) stool at the downstairs bar. Menu highlights range from barbecued squid with chilli dipping sauce to deep-fried soft tofu to a delicious “Three Princesses” trio of dessert sticky rice. Don’t miss the daily soup-and-small-plate happy hour from 3 to 5 p.m.—Tim Pawsey

Hot Dining: Great Brunch Spot

Jak's Kitchen has a variety of tasty, fresh brunch dishes.

Anyone who loves brunch (and really, who doesn’t?) should make a stop at Jak’s Kitchen. This isn’t your average pancakes-and-eggs joint though: open Tuesday to Sunday, this restaurant offers a variety of tasty, unique breakfast and lunch dishes daily. Some favourites include the C’est Bon omelette (smoked salmon, goat cheese, arugula, and spinach), banana bread French toast, and the Croque Monsieur (capicola, gruyere, and diablo sauce). Even better, it’s a great bang for your buck, with dishes ranging from $7 to $13. Also open for dinner. 479 Bronson Ave., 613-230-2088.

Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner: Stratford, Ontario

Photo by Mandeep Flora

Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner is our series highlighting the best local restaurants across Canada. Today we are featuring top restaurant picks in Stratford, in southwestern Ontario, known for its picturesque streets, Shakespeare festival and modern-day Romeo, Justin Bieber.

Have a tip for your city? Let us know on Twitter or on Facebook.

By Waheeda Harris

Breakfast

Despite this resto’s moniker, the first meal of the day can be savoury and sweet at Let Them Eat Cake. Choose from a multitude of options such as the de rigeur eggs and toast, eggs benedict, waffles, pancakes or Stratford scrambles to make sure you get protein, carbs, vitamins and minerals in one bite. Head over to the town’s main street, Ontario Street, pick up a Balzac’s Coffee and stroll the strip of boutiques and galleries.

Let Them Eat Cake, 23 Albert Street, Stratford, 519-508-2253

Lunch

For the midday break, choose from the sustainable and tasty fish and seafood options at Simple Fish and Chips. From the traditional battered halibut or haddock, diners can also choose from Ontario lake yellow perch and lake pickerel, lobster risotto, mac ‘n’ cheese, pot pie or halibut dishes inspired by spicy Indian, Thai or Jamaican influences. Walking along the Avon River and admiring the swans will be a perfect post-lunch afternoon excursion.

Simple Fish and Chips, 118 Downie Street, Stratford, 519-275-0400

Dinner

Reward yourself before or after a visit to the Stratford Festival with a sumptuous meal at this modern French bistro. The daily menu reflects the seasonal offerings of Perth County and the inventiveness of Chef Aaron Linley, and the pretty interior and excellent service is sure to put any diner at ease. Save room for a sweet treat to finish the meal, made in-house by Chef Bronwyn Linley (Aaron’s wife).

Bijou, 105 Erie Street, Stratford, 519-273-5000

Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner: Sherbrooke, Quebec

Photo by Michel Gagnon

Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner is our series highlighting the best local restaurants across Canada. Today we are featuring top restaurant picks in Sherbrooke, Quebec, which is a two hour drive east of Montreal.

Have a tip for your city? Let us know on Twitter or on Facebook.

By Waheeda Harris

Breakfast

The first meal of the day starts with all the right fixings at Eggsfruits – from café au lait and smoothies to bagels and eggs a multitude of ways, this cafe will help fuel your day of wandering the streets. Walk off breakfast with a tour of the Sherbrooke’s 11 fresco murals, which celebrate the city’s history and citizens.

Eggsfruits, 4200 King Ouest Sherbrooke AC 819-562-8686

Lunch

Savour the European way to dine with a table on Restaurant Le Bouchon‘s terrasse, or when the temps turn cooler, a spot near the window in the light-filled modern dining room. The contemporary French menu includes favourites such as bavette de boeuf or pork filet with citron and Dijon, but those in the know will order confit du canard, a regional specialty. Finish with a dessert plate with selections from Fromagerie de la Gare, a well-known local cheese boutique.

Restaurant Le Bouchon,  107 Rue Frontenac, Sherbrooke QC 819-566-0876

Dinner

Fine dining and exploration go hand in hand on The Orford Express, a refurbished train that takes guests from Sherbrooke to Magog and back, as they experience a four course dinner, a video and audio history of the area, live music and the opportunity for an after-dinner stroll by the Magog waterfront. Quebecois hospitality make this a memorable dinner on the rails through the Eastern Townships.

The Orford Express, Marche de la Gare, 806 Place de la Gare Sherbrooke QC 819-575-8081