Ottawa Get Away: Day One


Ah yes, Ottawa. Beautiful Ottawa. My second favourite City.
I was lucky to spend a year and a half living and working in Ottawa in the mid 1990s and do truly adore the City.

G and I met up with Blee at YYZ Friday morning and flew up to Ottawa for a weekend escape of eating, shopping, touring and, yes, Ottawa Senators Stanley Cup playoff watching.

Please note: I am and remain a loyal Leaf fan but seeing Ottawa is in the hunt for Lord Stanley’s Cup, and, seeing that I dislike most things associated with California [the Anaheim Ducks included; heavy cab sabs and Catalina Island excluded] … well … when in Rome ….

Our thanks, of course, to ‘Opa’ (Blee’s cousin) and her hubby, ‘Gyros’, for bussing us about, and allowing us to crash in their uberfine home. Neither are Greek I must add but this is a wee inside joke as G kept thinking ‘Gyros’ was?!

Friday we spent lazily in Westboro, shopping, and stopping for lunch at the wonderful Wellington Gastropub, which was recommended by the powers-that-be at Beckta, which was where we spent a fantastic 2 and a half hours eating on Friday night.

1) The Wellington Gastropub …. mmmmm; 2) ‘Opa’ & Blee

3) Blee’s salad … the beets were great; 4) Blee’s dessert (why am I taking pictures of Blee’s food???)

Beckta was outstanding! Great pick Opa! G and I had chef Michael Moffat’s 5-course tasting menu with wine pairs by Stephen Beckta, the restaurant’s owner. It was a wonderful meal. To boot, it was obscenely affordable … dinner for 2, all 5-courses with wine pairings, a cheese course we threw in along with a glass of sherry for moi, tax and tip came to $350.00. Brilliant!

5) Beckta: Go!

While we did not take pictures during dinner, our courses were:

  • Amuse bouche: a fiddlehead soup, served chilled
  • 1st course: prawns (whole prawns which you could eat entirely, shell and all) served on a red pepper, red onion, green onion and mango caviar salad topped with a citrus soy dressing. Wine was a Peller Estate viognier. Very good but the addition of the green onion overpowered the prawn and certainly the wine. Once I removed the green onion, it worked very well.
  • 2nd course: seared digby scallops, baked tomato, smoky bacon, pearl onions with a bacon foam. Wine was an Austrian gruner. This course was interesting, the wine solo was not very good but outstanding when paired with the scallops. A winner!
  • 3rd course: Chinese five spice braised beef tenderloin which had then been stuffed, with marscapone, into ravioli topped with a red pepper and chili oil sauce. Wine was a French gamay (grenache). This, after the duck confit ravioli we made at Oscar dinner 06 and Rob Feenie’s to-die-for squash & mascarpone ravioli with truffle butter at Lumiere, was OUTSTANDING!
  • Palette cleaser: a lime and ginger sorbet served in a champagne glass with a blackberry then topped with Elderberry water. Brilliant; simply, utterly brilliant.
  • 4th course: bison, which, for the life of me, I cannot remember anything served with it?!. Blame the wine! Wine was a gorgeous South African shiraz. The wine was perfect but the bison was not cooked well (a little tough).
  • Cheese tray: six wonderfully unctious cheeses including a wonderful regional French variety called soumaintrain (similar to epoisses) and the always wonderful Abbaye Saint-Benoît-du-Lac Benedictine blue. I had a glass of sherry with this, which was great, but sadly I cannot remember what it was.
  • Dessert: a luscious raspberry mousse covered with pure chocolate and served with a raspberry sorbert. Wine was a Cave Springs Cabernet Select Late Harvest ’05 ice wine. This course also worked exceptionally well.

Further Ottawa adventures – of a decidedly chillier note – can be found here.

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