One of the major benefits of the Ottawa Foodie Challenge (beyond the amazing prizes and supporting the Ottawa Food Bank) is the ability for participants to explore all sorts of delicious destinations, some known and some new. We had to use Google for a few of the challenge list items as the answers weren’t quite obvious – and the destinations were complete unknowns (at least to Andy and I). I’m going to highlight a few here:
Mitla: Located at 62 Barrette St (in Vanier), the sooner I get back here, the better. Open for less than a year, the smells coming out of this restaurant (and what I saw on a patron’s plate) have been in the forefront of my mind for days. I am a huge fan of authentic, delicious Mexican food and I can’t wait to try more from this teeny tiny Vanier eatery. The staff were so kind and patient with us while we took photos of everything from the patterned windows to the “authentic Mexican garb” to their mason jar full of epazote.
The Nutty Greek: a small bakery, located at 490 Rochester St (but facing Beech St) with delicious pastries and treats. We tried the loukoumades which are basically small donut-like balls. We had the traditional ones, coated in honey but they have a variety of flavours for you to try. They are freshly cooked and take a few minute to prepare – but the wait is worth it!
The Albion Rooms: this clue was particularly difficult to decipher as neither my partner nor I knew of the Albion Rooms. Searching on Google finally led us to this newly opened restaurant where the challenge consisted of peeling quail’s eggs. The location and menu are both intriguing, therefore a repeat visit (when I have time to enjoy) are on the cards. This restaurant is located at 33 Nicholas St, near the Arts Court.
Beech St Burger: located at 40 Beech St, just beside the Nutty Greek bakery. I am always willing to try a new and delicious burger and based on the smells in this restaurant I definitely need to return. The free burger coupons that they handed out to Ottawa Foodie Challenge participants will also help to encourage repeat visitors – this is something I’m surprise that more restaurants/food purveyors didn’t do. The people who sign up for the OFC are, for lack of a better term, foodies who will share their discoveries and have a tendency to eat out a lot. Encouraging repeat visitors would only make sense from a marketing perspective!
I keep myself up to date on the Ottawa foodie scene so I knew most of the clues or could make an educated guess. There were a number of places we visited where I have yet to visit for a meal or a drink, but the four described above were all completely new to me. I love to watch Ottawa’s food scene change and evolve as I believe that it helps us to become a world-class city… and not the boring city as some may believe in Toronto!