New Kid on the Block

January 22, 2009

Play

Play Stephen Beckta’s new wine and cheese shop on Sussex Drive is now scheduled to open on January 30th. (One month behind schedule but who’s counting?).

Man of the dayWatch history live over lunch at one of these Ottawa hangouts, and try your best not to let those feelings of “why can’t we have one of those” (inspirational politician, not handsome black man) seep through. The musical prelude starts at 10, the official stuff at noon. All the cool kids will be tuning into BET’s extensive coverage which will go from 6am to 3pm on January 20th, 2009.

1. East African Restaurant
The Rideau Street restaurant will have a big screen TV and ethiopian food. What more could you ask for?

2. James Street Pub
Ask your server to turn off the curling tournament on one of the Bar’s 20 TVs, and salt your fries with tears.

3. Why not watch it at D’arcy Mcgee’s and join in on Parliamentary Hill gossip about the new President?

4. Other suggestions?

An old poster for Disco Bongo

An old poster for Disco Bingo

Humphrey’s on Bank St. may be in the midst of an identity crisis: family restaurant on the outside, cocktail lounge on the inside. By becoming the new venue of Spins and Needles popular Disco Bingo night, the Glebe eatery may be making a move to assert itself as the latter.

Granny gambling is enjoying a new cachet as part of the same movement that has seen knitting circles and ugly sweaters become trendy. S&N puts a twist on the original by adding 70s and 80s music and whimsical prizes: Kraft Dinner, packages of Ramen noodles, disco balls, strings of lollipop, a New Year’s Resolution file fax, etc. A lack of reverence for tradition was also evident in the shapes players had to form in order to get their paws on the loot, as crosses and diagonals replaced the standard horizontal and vertical lines.

The monthly event outgrew the Shanghai restaurant on Somerset and will be making Humphrey’s its perminent home. The cost is $5 for the first two cards, and $1 for each card afterwards. Definitely worth a visit next February 6 if you feel like shaking to the Eurithmics while taking a shot at winning a pack of shot glasses.

HOT Wine Buy at the LCBO

January 18, 2009

yellow-jerseyOften times folks scoff at how much wine costs us here at the LCBO – when south of the border you are paying about half for exactly the same product. This week however, the LCBO is offering a crazy deal on what I think is a decent wine.

Yellow Jersey wines, a Merlot, Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc are all going for a crazy low $5.95.

I recently bought out the supply at one LCBO, but judging from their website there are still a few bottles scattered across the city. I drank (not alone…) a couple bottles of the Pinot Noir on Friday while playing a rousing game of Puerto Rico and found that at the price point the wine was simple, easy-to-drink and matched well with the House of Georgie’s Pizza we also ordered.

Last night I had a bottle of the Chardonnay with a dinner of scallops and risotto and found it to be a bit tangy, but perfectly drinkable. It was nice and crisp and would go well with a variety of take-out options and I imagine would nicely cut the spice of a curry.

If you find some buy it.

The Best Poutine In Town

January 7, 2009

poutine
I have a confession to make. I don’t eat meat but I can’t stay away from poutine. Yes, I know it usually – the best ones at least – comes with beef gravy. And even if it doesn’t, then it usually has gelatin and anyone who professes to be a herbivore should probably stay away from concoctions made with grind up bones. I just can’t help it. I love poutine.

Here’s my top five faves:

1. New York Fries’ Poutine. What? Are you complaining that I’m giving a food court option? I truly love it’s deep dark beef gravy. Yum. Even better with mayonnaise and some of NYF’s california spices. Watch out though, according to calorie count the small size has 710 calories. (!) $3.95
2. The Standard’s Poutine: Real cheese curds and spicy peppery gravy are what make this poutine great. Consistency can be a problem –which for $8 a dish should be fixed.
3. Elgin Street Freehouse : The Freehouse used to offer a wonderful poutine with blue cheese, deep dark gravy and wild mushrooms. Why it escaped from the menu is beyond me and they should bring it back. Bring it back! $9.
4. Elgin Street Dinner’s Poutine: Delicious. But the fries could use a bit of help – why are they so small? And at $7.99 it’s getting a bit pricy. Try asking for a small version. At $5 a pop it’s a much better deal and you won’t fill ill from your poutine adventure.
5. Wedge’s Plus: This poutine makes the grade only because Wedge’s delivers. Not to try unless you are desperately seeking Quebec’s national dish. The wedges are good but there are no curds and the gravy is pretty weak.

What no chip wagon? You’re right, it should be there but I haven’t found one that blows me away yet. Prove me wrong.

NEIGHBOURHOOD NEWS 2

January 6, 2009

Another Elgin restaurant is breaking the law. Across the street from Oz Kafé, The Standard comitted its own liquor faux pas and is now closed until January 9th.
The crime? Serving liquor after hours.

Are Elgin Street restaurants worst than others? Or is the city cracking down? 2007 saw Fesco Bistro also closed for bad behaviour during the Senators’ playoff run.

What to do ‘til Winterlude?

December 27, 2008

During the warmer months Ottawa is infested with fests: Jazz Fest, Blues Fest, Fringe Fest, Tulip Fest. The cold seems to kill off both the city’s mosquito population and its revelry, at least until the aptly named Winterlude roles around in February. As a consequence, us poor Ottawans are left to entertain ourselves for most of the winter season. In order to help you out, Apartment 613 will post a number of suggestions for do-it-yourself fun until Winterlude begins or we get bored and run out of ideas.

A cup of Joe at the Wild Oat.
A cup of Joe at the Wild Oat.
Idea 1: Coffee Crawl
Grab a friend or a magazine and spend a couple of hours getting legally high by downing four or five espressos in a row, each at a different location. Better yet, bring a pen and paper and report back on your favourite spot to Apartment 613. Elgin and the Market have an excellent assortment of Coffee shops and bakeries in close proximity to each other, but my favourite route is Francesco’s, the Wild Oat, Nicastro’s, Bridgehead and Morola’s, all within three blocks of each other in the Glebe. There’s also a Starbucks, Second Cup, French Baker, and Timothy’s in the area, making the neighbourhood one of the most caffeinated place in the National Capital Region.