Sweet Maple Syrup!

8 Apr IMG_1052

This weekend was what seemed like the first real weekend of spring. We finally got some nice weather, meaning there was some sun, it was above freezing and there wasn’t a snow storm. Since the weather was nicer than it had been we decided we needed to get out of the house and have some fun in the great outdoors and maybe grab a bite to eat. Around here (eastern Ontario and western Quebec) this time of year is all about the maple syrup. When we get temperatures that are above freezing during the day and below freezing in the night, the sap in maple trees starts to flow and it’s time to turn it into syrup.

IMG_1051Canada is famous for our maple syrup. So famous that the maple leaf is on our national flag, you can buy it as a souvenir in most Canadian airports and it makes the news when a large amount of maple syrup is stolen. (Great Canadian Maple HeistMost people think about putting maple syrup on pancakes, which is delicious but there are so many other uses. You can use it to flavour coffee, make maple butter, in baking, on oatmeal and in so many other ways. Not only does maple syrup taste great, it also brings back fond memories of sticky breakfast with friends and family.

IMG_1049This past Sunday, Sarah and I decided to go out to Proux Farm, where they have a sugar shack. A sugar shack is always located in a forest and is where a lot of syrup is made. Maple syrup is made by drilling into the trunk of a maple tree and placing a tap. As the syrup moves from the roots of the tree to the top, some of it flows down the tap and into a waiting bucket. The sap is then boiled until enough water has evaporated to make it into syrup. It’s amazing how much sap is needed, for 1 litre of syrup; you need 20 to 50 litres of sap.
IMG_1050At Proux Sugar Shack, you can see the sap being collected, sap being turned into syrup and get a meal at the buffet. Sarah and I took advantage of the buffet to douse our food in lots of syrup. The food at the buffet was pretty good, nothing amazing but the whole experience is worth the $20 per adult price. If you do decide to go for the buffet, be prepared for a wait and for there to be a ton of children. By the time we were leaving the line just to be seated was at least 40 minutes long. My favourite part of the morning is when we got the maple syrup snow taffy. This is when hot syrup is poured onto cold snow and then wrapped around a popsicle stick. If you’ve never had one of these sweet treats, you need to head out to your closest sugar shack and give it a try!

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Mobile Seafood

19 Mar IMG_0988

Last year Ottawa was bitten by the food truck craze. City Hall finally released a limited number of permits for some new food trucks. Having worked in the east end of Ottawa for the last couple of years I’ve only had the chance to try a couple. I’ve already posted about Relish Food Truck, Stone Soup Foodworks and Bite This if you want to read a little about some of the other trucks in Ottawa. Now that I am working downtown, I am looking forward to trying a bunch more.

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I’ve already convinced some of my new colleagues to brave the weather and walk down to Ad Mare. Ad Mare is located at Slater and O’Connor, which is super convenient / dangerous for me because I work less than 5 minutes away. The day that we went it was super cold out but there was still a line, so you know the food has to be good.

Ad Mare specializes in seafood. In the past there menu has included items like crab grilled cheese sammy, shrimp po’boys, fish tacos and fish & chips. Once a week they have lobster day, which is the day we went to Ad Mare, lucky for us.

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On the menu that day there was lobster mac n cheese, lobster rolls, lobster poutine, fish tacos and fish & chips. By the time we got there the lobster mac n cheese was already sold out, so I got the lobster poutine. It was delicious! The lobster poutine was hand cut chips topped with butter poached lobster, cheese curds and gravy. When I originally ordered it, I was afraid that there wasn’t going to be a lot of lobster, I was happy to get lots of lobster, claw meat and tail meat. It was super tasty. It was a little pricy compared to other poutines but I’ve never had another poutine with lobster. I will definitely be back to Ad Mare, probably more than once. If you’re in the downtown core Ad Mare is a must try. If you’re coming from outside the downtown core, pick a nice day so you can enjoy a meal outside.

You can find Ad Mare on:

Facebook – www.facebook.com/AdMareSeafood
Twitter - twitter.com/ad_mare
Web - admareseafood.com

Ad Mare on Urbanspoon

Soup for the Community

14 Mar IMG_0983

IMG_0983Whenever I go to a restaurant I never think to order soup. I always want to get something that I can’t make at home, either because I don’t know where to get the ingredients or because I don’t have the skill to create the dish. After trying five soups from some of Ottawa’s top restaurants, I will be ordering soup a lot more often. This weekend was the annual Great Bowls of Fire event, hosted by the Ottawa Guild of Potters. This is the third time I’ve been to Great Bowls of Fire, 2010, 2012 and 2014. You can find my pervious posts about the event HERE and HERE.

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My new bowl!

Great Bowls of Fire is a unique event here in Ottawa. For the price of your ticket, $45 this year, you get to choose a handcrafted bowl and then enjoy soup from some of Ottawa’s top restaurants. Held in the Glebe Community Centre, the atmosphere of the event is warm and inviting. Hundreds of people fill the main hall and eat family style, so you get to meet new friends and run into old friends every year. This year there were ten restaurants showcasing some of the best soup I’ve ever had. What really makes the night for me, other than the soup, is knowing that the event is raising money for the Ottawa Food Bank.

It’s great to see local restaurants supporting the community. Great Bowls of Fire is only one example of restaurants making a difference in the community. There are lots unsung heroes in the Ottawa’s culinary world. Restaurants in Ottawa are selling t-shirts to raise money for local charities, hosting their own events where proceeds go back to the community, providing food to fundraising events and are even helping teach people how to cook. If you see a restaurant at the next fundraising event you’re at, make sure to take note and think about supporting them the next time you’re going out.

I want to give a huge shout out to all the amazing restaurants that took part in this year’s Great Bowls of Fire. Thanks for the awesome soup and I can’t wait to visit your restaurant!

If you’re inspired to give back to the community after reading this post think about giving to the Ottawa Food Bank, you can get more information HERE. Or help me raise money for Right to Play, you can read more about my efforts HERE.

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