Recently I was in Ottawa, Canada for a blogging conference. The weekend was busy networking and didn’t leave much time for sight-seeing. A girl cannot go to Ottawa during PoutineFest and not hit the town, even for a day trip in Ottawa.
Initially upon my arrival the hotel restaurant was closed which was disappointing. I had been up at travelling since 3 am CST having last eaten a bagel via the Tim Hortons drive through on my way to the airport. My business partner, Julie of SoberJulie, and I decided to take a cab to a nearby restaurant called Le Bostaurus and were so glad we did. We may not have been able to make our way to PoutineFest, due to time constraints, but we weren’t leaving Ottawa without a platter of poutine.
We knew our time was limited but having researched the area and asking around about the best places to visit with limited sight-seeing time, we decided to make our way to the ByWard Market, known for their amazing food choices, unique shopping and historic architecture in the area. The area was bustling with people music and scents of food drifting through the air. It was the perfect choice.
Upon our walk, we walked by several unique shops until my friend, Kristen of My 3 Little Kittens, spotted kitty adorned clothing in the window of Milk and we weren’t leaving until she had it in had. Inside this trendy little shop I found rings, clothing and other unique items that I knew my teen daughters would have gone haywire over, my pocketbook not so much.
What we really had on our mind was food, tasty, tasty food. One of my clients recommended Navarra Restaurant. We hadn’t researched the restaurant ahead and weren’t sure what to expect but were pleasantly surprised by the menu made up of tapas inspired by flavours of Mexico and Spain. Navarra’s chef, Rene Rodriguez, won Top Chef Canada Season 4. It’s no wonder with the flavours and presentations we had the pleasure of experiencing.
A photo posted by Julie Elsdon-Height (@soberjulie) on
Prior to our tapas order, we were presented with this sampling of Amuse Bouche, Risotto Chorizo. We wanted to keep room for dessert and decided to keep it light with:
- Crab & Avocado Salad – grapefruit,-serrano chile aguachile, dried mango, black sesame ash, radish, lime, mint
- Taco de Chicharron in a Jar – avocado, buffalo mozza, pulverized corn, salsa mexicana, Mexican chorizo, pickled calabaza
- Prosciutto – baguette, basil, prosciutto, mozzarella, tomato
Our tapas choices were visually stunning and equally as full of flavour for the palette. I personally tried the Crab salad, not sure what to expect. If you like crab, the texture is interesting but the combination of flavours works on so many levels. If you are looking for a culinary experience in Ottawa, I recommend trying Navarra.
Remember my mention earlier of dessert? The plan was to grab a famous BeaverTail but along our way there we happened upon this adorable cupcake bakery, The Cupcake Lounge. With a bakery entirely made up of cupcakes, how could it be wrong; just look at those cupcake options. We each chose something different, mine was Rhubarb Strawberry which was moist with subtle flavour and packed with the sweet punch of icing. Just say YES to cupcakes; you can thank me later.
You didn’t think because we had cupcakes that we would skip the BeaverTail pastries, did you? Absolutely not. The staff at BeaverTails were very friendly and offered far too many topping choices. There isn’t such a thing but it was hard to choose what delicious topping we wanted to try. We decided on the classic Cinnamon Sugar BeaverTail; warm pastry with cinnamon sugar practically melting in your mouth. I really don’t think I need to expand except to say if you are in Ottawa, you must try a BeaverTail.
By this time the short walk from our BeaverTails experience was just what we needed on a full stomach. We came upon the historic area of the Château Laurier Hotel, Rideau Canal, National War Memorial and Parliament Hill. It was a bit surreal to be on site of where the shootings took place in October of last year. Tragic. The area was rich in history from the beginning of construction; it’s an important mark in history today as it was then.
A lovely shot of the Rideu Canal #Ottawa this evening #travel A photo posted by Julie Elsdon-Height (@soberjulie) on
Unfortunately night was falling which limited the amount of quality photos I could take but I thought this picture above at Parliament Hill turned out well. I’ve added the one below to show you what really goes on behind the scenes of a travel blogger. It’s all fun and games until somebody pulls out the cannon.
These buildings are darkened with age, copper roofs now green but years of history can be seen in a picture. If only the walls could talk, what stories we would hear beyond those published in history books.
Darkness had fallen so we made our way back to the hotel for a short sleep before goodbyes to my business partner, good blogging friends and airport departures took place. If you’re short on sight-seeing time in Ottawa, all you need is a few hours to make your way around the beautiful and rich area of the ByWard Market. For the foodies, be prepared to loosen your belt.