Sep 16

Milestones Pinecrest service could become a millstone.

Milestones Pinecrest Mall

A great place to mark life’s Milestones..
Since my last limerick, its been a long time!
So, it should be much easier to make these things rhyme
It’s a shame that Milestones is so far in the West
Its food’s above par, if not quite the best
Not to return would be a major crime!

I’m back… Did you miss me? This is the longest furlough that I have taken since starting this blog over 18 months ago now. It’s not that I stopped eating, I just have been otherwise occupied. As we make up for lost time, you will discover that a large part of time, we have been travelling from New York to the UK on to France and the Netherlands and finally back to Canada. Needless to say, we sampled the culinary delights of each of these destinations. It will take some time to get through the backlog of posts so please bear with us.

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Where we went: Living in the East End of Ottawa as we do, it is not too often that we get to sample the offerings of the many eating establishments West of  Bronson. On this particular occasion, we were returning from a trip to New York. We did not relish the thought of having to cook a meal after having driven for almost 7 hours and Milestones in the Pinecrest Mall had been on my wishlist for a long time, so we decided to kill two birds with one stone and stopped in. Although reservations are normally recommended, on this Thursday evening, they were clearly not necessary.  Although not exactly empty, there was plenty of room for a party of two.

What we ordered: It turn out that they had just switched to a new menu. Since the menu changes fairly frequently at this restaurant, you would be well-advised to peruse the menu online before venturing there. Although I do not usually begin my meal with a starter, since I have a reasonably small appetite, the rosted beet and watermelon salad caught my eye. To follow, I ordered sirloin steak with fries. Dorothy opted for the prime rib with garlic mashed potatoes.

What we got:

Things got off to a great start with the beet salad. It was simply exquisite. From there, things, for me at least, started to go downhill. When our main courses finally arrived, my steak, which I had ordered medium rare, was as grey as Stephen Harper’s hair and just as lifeless. When we could finally get someone’s attention, I sent it back. By the time it returned, Dorothy had virtually finished her own meal (which she enjoyed). When it finally did arrive, it would have been enjoyable had it been on time.

Worthy of note: First, I must note that although our server was friendly and personable, he was not very attentive. Towards the end of our meal, he apologized for his behaviour by blaming it on a large group who took much of his time. This was not a smart move. What did we care about his problems. He would have been better off handing us off to another server in this case. His tip was according to what we received. Dorothy was annoyed enough that she admonished our server for not offering some type of compensation for the tardy service and the overcooked steak. He subsequently return with a coupon for free appetizers on our next visit.

Summary

  • Positives: When the food was good, it was VERY good. I would go back for just the roasted beet and watermelon salad.
  • Negatives: Service was severely lacking. Not sure the price is justified, this is still a chain although an upscale one!
  • Recommendation: If you read other reviews as I did, you will find that inconsistency seems to be a problem, but the good definitely outweighs the bad!
 
Category Rating Explanation
Food Quality *** Variable
Price $$$$ A touch pricey!
Decor **** Nice Ambience
Service ** Disappointing
Overall Rating **** We’ll go again

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Frivolous Foodie Facts
Nature’s Viagra – One of the earliest known benefits of red beet is its use as an aphrodisiac during the Roman times. And it wasn’t all folklore as it has been found to contain high amounts of boron, which is directly related to the production of human sex hormones.
Getting in the mood – Beets contain betaine, a substance that relaxes the mind and is used in other forms to treat depression. It also contains tryptophan which is also found in chocolate and contributes to a sense of well being.

Milestones on Urbanspoon

Jun 30

Butcher Block in Plattsburgh may be the best in town!

Butcher Block Plattsburgh

Butcher Block may rate in Upper New York State!
If you find yourself in Plattsburgh there’s not a lot that’ll rock
So, don’t try too hard to find somewhere better than the Butcher Block
I can’t say it’s first class but neither is it third rate
And even if I didn’t love it, it’s pretty hard to hate
It’s fair to say that in this neighbourhood they probably have a lock 😉

Perhaps one day you will find yourself in Plattsburgh as I did recently and be wondering where you might go to get a decent bite to eat. Burlington, I myself had travelled from Ottawa and a friend was coming from Burlington, Vermont and Plattsburgh happened to be almost in the middle (of nowhere!) 😉 We had booked rooms at the La Quinta Inn & Suites, and it was also the first time that I had stayed at that particular chain. It came as the result of once more relying on Hotwire to get the best price on reasonable accommodations and yet again, it did not disappoint!

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Butcher Block is situated right accross the parking lot from the hotel,  so it was not hard to find. I had read a couple of reviews suggesting that it was one of the best places to eat. I neither had before nor do I now after the fact have anything in the area to compare it with, so I cannot comment on this particular pronouncement. However, if you check the box below this post, you will see that it has an 84% satisfaction rating with its recent patrons.

It seems that one of the main features of this particular restaurant is its all-you-can-eat salad bar and its selection of beef. I partook of both, opting for the prime rib. The salad bar was certainly not horrible by and means but neither was it exceptional. The prime rib was also served medium rare as ordered and was relatively tender and flavourful but it did not rank among the best that I have had. Perhaps one side effect of writing this blog is that I have become more critical and demanding and consider anything less than exceptional as mundane. I certainly would think that most would consider the Butcher Block an acceptable dining oasis in the wilds of  Upstate New York!

Butcher Block on Urbanspoon

Jun 10

Gloucester Centre East Side Marios is not my thing!

East Side Marios Gloucester Centre

East side Marios offers more sizzle than steak!
I must say that East Side Mario’s is not always our thing!
Though there are many others who its praises would sing
It’s true that the menu offers plenty to choose
Though often with quantity, its quality you lose
So Hey Budda Booom Budda Bing!

It is no coincidence that almost eighteen months after starting this blog, this is the first time that we are reviewing East Side Mario’s, even though there are two right in our neighbourhood. The one in the St. Laurent Shopping Centre has been there for a good many years and obviously has a loyal following. We first went there shortly after it first opened and then subsequently ate at one in Toronto a short while later. Neither of those experiences really blew us away and Dorothy is typically not a huge fan of Italian food in the first place, so we have not been tempted to revisit.
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Where we went: Sometimes it is agreeable to have visitors simply because they force us out of our normal rut of comfort zone. In truth, although there are many eating establishment where I would not choose to go, this is more out of habit than active dislike. There are so many places where we enjoy to eat or that remain on our wishlist that we are not inclined to go to others as a result. This is perhaps a rather lengthy diatribe to explain how we came to be eating at East Side Mario’s this particular evening.

What we ordered: Over the last couple of weeks, I have come to realize that one way in which I judge my own affinity for a given dining establishment relates to the difficulty, or lack of it, that I experience in selecting an item from the menu. If there are many items that vie for my attention and ultimate choice, I would intrinsically give this locale a higher rating. When perusing East Side Mario’s menu, although it is quite extensive, I did not find myself with a cornucopia of gastronomic alternatives. One of my own preconceptions about Italian food is that it tends to be heavy on the starch. Of course, one can always order a salad as I occasionally would but this evening I opted for scallops over pasta.

What we got: Bacon-wrapped scallops and pastaNow I must start off by saying that I am a huge fan of scallops and bacon and when my plate arrived at the table, it looked good enough to eat. However, as good as it looked, I was still disappointed because the taste did not match the appearance. It was simply bland. To add insult to injury, I didn’t find anything on the dessert menu to tickle my fancy either.

Worthy of note: East Side Mario’s did nothing specifically wrong on this visit or previous ones, I just come away with the feeling that this middle-of-the-road, family-style restaurant is not destined to ride high on my personal favourites list. Check out the Urbanspoon listing at the bottom of this post and you will note that (at time of posting), they are only running at a 60% approval rating which is somewhat low for an establishment of this type.

Summary

  • Positives: Good atmosphere and location.
  • Negatives: Food did not excite!
  • Recommendation: It may be to your liking but it is not to mine!
Category Rating Explanation
Food Quality ** Just average
Price $$$ moderate to high
Decor **** clean & bright
Service *** Normal
Overall Rating ** Not for me 🙁


 

Frivolous Foodie Facts
Still want to eat that scallop? Scallops with bright orange mantles are males. Those with brown to green mantles are females. The shell is decorated with many plants and animals. On the edge of the shell there are many little dots that are many simple eyes. When the eyes sense a change of light or danger, a scallop closes its shell.

East Side Mario's on Urbanspoon

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Jun 09

Perkins in Ottawa does a great breakfast all day long!

Perkins Family Restaurant at St. Laurent
Perkins provides perfectly proficient pancakes
At Perkins, its breakfast they really do right
You can eat it whenever, morning, noon or night.
And whether Regular or decaf, coffee’s always at hand
And their Choco French Silk pie is totally grand
Just don’t go expecting your food to be ‘lite’!
Did you miss me? I must admit that I have fallen way behind the eight ball in keeping up with my posts for the last couple of weeks. It’s not because we have not been dining out, it is because I have been busy doing other things on and off the Internet. As a consequence, I will now have to work fast to catch up.
Where we went: Recently, when friends were staying over from Toronto, we were looking for somewhere in Ottawa’s East End for a late-morning breakfast. Perkins at St. Laurent and Ogilvie/Coventry opposite St. Laurent Shopping Center was chosen as the perfect spot. It is somewhat surprising that Perkins has not chosen to open other locations in the National Capital area, since this one is almost always operating at or close to capacity. This day proved to be no exception.

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What we ordered: Well, obviously, we ordered breakfast. Since I only took pictures of my own meal, I cannot give you chapter and verse on what the others ordered with the exception of Ian who selected potato pancakes with which he was relatively content. For myself, since I have generally liked Perkins’ pancakes in the past, I chose the two egg  breakfast with peameal bacon and pancakes.

What we got: If you take a look at the photograph below, you may think that the bacon on the plate does not look like the peameal variety and you would be right. Of course, once we pointed out the error, they offered to make the switch but it took rather a long time for the replacement to arrive, by which time, I had almost completed my meal. The picture of the pancakes, on the other hand, really doesn’t do them justice, since they were much better tasting than they appear. Of the chain restaurants, Perkins would come close to the top of my list in consistent quality of their pancake offerings. Another plus, if you are a coffee drinker, is the limitless supply of hot regular or decaf coffee from the jug left at the table.
Worthy of note: If you have room, try their desserts, I can particularly recommend the French Silk Chocolate, Coconut and banana pies.
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Summary
  • Positives: Good food. Relatively fast service for a restaurant that is almost always busy.
  • Negatives: They use margarine rather than butter!
  • Recommendation: For all-day breakfast, this is probably your best bet
Category Rating Explanation
Food Quality *** Above average
Price $$$ Not cheap
Decor *** Reasonable
Service *** No complaints
Overall Rating *** Above average

Frivolous Foodie Facts
British Breakfast: One third of adults, in the United Kingdom, will have bacon and egg for breakfast at the weekend.

 

 

Perkins Restaurant & Bakery on Urbanspoon

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May 16

Bay Street Bistro in downtown Ottawa does a mean lunch buffet

Bay Street Bistro at Albert & Bay, Ottawa
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Piles of Pizza & Pasta for lunch at Bay Street Bistro
We recently had friends who stayed at the Suite Hotel at Albert and Bay
And They invited us for lunch that very same day.
We’d oft seen the Bay Street Bistro but had never been in.
But to have missed their buffet lunch would have been a true sin.
For so much pizza and pasta and salad, just so little to pay!
No-one could possibly say that there is not a great deal of choice of where to go and what to eat for lunch on a mid-week day in downtown Ottawa. When we recently had friends visiting from out of town and they asked us where we should go for our midday meal, we were stumped not for lack of choice but rather that there was too much to choose from. Since they were staying at the  Albert and Bay Suite Hotel, we decided to try out the Bay Street Bistro which is actually attached to the hotel itself. Right beside it is the Black Bear Pub and frankly, it was hard to tell where one ended and the other began.
Bay Street Bistro Bar
Where we went: We had not considered that it might be necessary to make a reservation, especially since we were deliberately eating early to avoid the noon-time throng. Nevertheless, our group of five was a cause for consternation on the part of the hostess, who seemed uncertain as to whether they could accommodate us. After some flustering, we were, however, shown to a table. We could perhaps have opted to sit outside, since it was a fairly nice day albeit a little blustery.
The buffet and Salad Bar
What we ordered: Even though we were indeed so early that they had not yet had time to stock the buffet, we all agreed that it was our best choice. It consisted of a salad bar complemented with pizza and three different types of pasta. I don’t recall whether the price was $7.95 or $8.95 but it was a bargain at either price.
What we got: Shortly after we made the decision to all take the buffet, we discovered why there had been uncertainty about seating us as masses of people started to pour in. We decided that it was likely one or more bus loads. Within minutes, they were swarming around the buffet like wasps on a jam jar. As fast as the kitchen could supply it, the pizza and pasta disappeared. Although very busy, we were still all able to find sufficient variety and quantity of food to be satisfied.
Pizza & PastaAlthough the plate pictured might seem like it’s a little sparse, this was my second or third run at the buffet/salad bar. The pasta primavera was probably my favourite item. The pizza was passable if not necessarily something to rave about. Everything was at least hot and/or fresh and there was no danger that food had been sitting around for hours as can sometimes be the case with buffets.
Worthy of note: For our first ever visit, this was a pleasant enough experience to encourage us to go back some evening to sample their regular menu. Our friends who had been staying in the hotel had dined in the restaurant the previous evening and been happy enough to recommend it for lunch the next day.
Summary
  • Positives: Hot, fresh and relatively tasty buffet. Very reasonably priced.
  • Negatives: Kitchen had trouble keeping the buffet stocked! This was quite likely a one-off situation due to a sudden influx of clientele.
  • Recommendation: I don’t often recommend buffets but this one gets a nod from me!
Category Rating Explanation
Food Quality *** Quite good
Price $$ Moderate
Decor *** Dark but pleasant
Service *** Pleasant & efficient
Overall Rating **** Recommended

Frivolous Foodie Facts
The word bistro may derive from the Russian (bystro) which means quickly. According to an urban legend, it entered the French language during the Russian occupation of Paris in 1815. Russian cossacks who wanted to be served quickly would shout “bystro.” However, this etymology is not accepted by several French linguists as there is, surprisingly, no occurrence of this word until the end of the 19th century.
Another version is that it is an abbreviation of bistrouille, a French term for brandy mixed with coffee
Bay Street Bistro on Urbanspoon
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May 10

Osceola Street Cafe in Stuart was good but not great!

Osceola Street Cafe in Stuart Florida

The Osceola Cafe was little more than okay!
My last time in Stuart on my very last day
We chose somewhere special: The Osceola Street Café
The reviews that we checked all said it was good,
Possibly the best in the entire neighbourhood!
Alas, for me it wasn’t much more than Okay….

I must admit that I have been more than a little tardy in getting this particular restaurant review posted. It was late February when we actually visited the establishment. Luckily I took a few notes and that combined with the photographs I took is enough to completely refresh my memory. We had left frequenting the Osceola Street Cafe in downtown Stuart until the very last evening of my trip to Florida’s Treasure Coast.
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Where we went: We had not gone earlier because my friend Mike had suffered a slight stomach ailment on the days previous and wanted to enjoy one of the most highly rated dining spots in the area. I must confess that walking down the street in short sleeves in mid-February is in and of itself a pleasant experience for a Canuck like myself. I don’t suspect that there were many Ottawans sitting on the sidewalk eating their meal on this same evening. From the exterior, as you can see in the shot above, the Osceola Cafe seems quite cozy. It was a bit of a surprise, then, when we ventured inside to find a large bustling open area, bustling with activity and a high noise level. Because the ceiling is very high and there are no dividing walls, it really seems a little more like a cafeteria than a cafe.

What we ordered: Because the place was so busy, even though it was a mid-week evening, it took a while for our server to make her way to the table and she seemed a little frazzled. I could not really fault her service in any particular way except to say that it was more reminiscent of a fast-food or family-style restaurant than a high-end one. I ordered a glass of Riesling, and Mike stuck to water since his stomach was still not quite yet back to its normal state.Iceberg lettuce wedge As a starter, Mike ordered a lettuce wedge, an item that is apparently quite popular in restaurants South of the Border (Canada/US that is). I can’t really say that it appealed to me, although I like lettuce right enough. It just seemed like it was thrown together haphazardly and drenched with artery-clogging dressing!

Fresh bread with herbed olive oil I was quite happy to sit and sip on my wine and snack on the fresh bread dunked in herbed olive oil. As it turned out, I would be grateful for that little something to snack on, since it was a substantial wait before our mains would be delivered to the table. Fortunately, Mike and I can always find something to talk about and I was not ravenously hungry or I might have been even more disappointed.Flank Steak

What we got: You can see from the picture on the left that the food is very well presented. This is one area where a higher-end restaurant makes its mark. Appearance and colour are important part of the overall experience, a fact that is often lost on the chain operations. According to Mike, his flank steak was to his liking.roast Duck Personally, I had opted for the duck, a perennial favourite of mine and a dish that tends to separate the chefs from the cooks. I have to say that in this area, Osceola Street Cafe did excel. The duck was superbly cooked (medium rare is my choice) and the accompanying glaze was a perfect complement.

Creme BruleeWorthy of note: I had saved some room for dessert, hoping that there would be something extra special on the menu. The only thing that really tickled my fancy was the creme brulee another regular choice for me. Again, the visual presentation is very good as you can see but the taste was only average. It did purport to have a special flavour, Irish Cream or something similar but it was not anything that really shone through.

Summary

  • Positives: Food presentation was good and taste was above average though not outstanding.
  • Negatives: Very noisy, which can really detract from one’s enjoyment of a special meal. Service was not of the calibre that one would expect from this class of restaurant.
  • Recommendation: Perhaps we chose the wrong evening. It was definitely not an unpleasant experience but neither was it top notch as various reviews had led us to expect. I would definitely like to give Osceola Street Cafe another opportunity to redeem itself.
 
Category Rating Explanation
Food Quality **** Above average
Price $$$$ Not inexpensive
Decor *** Nondescript
Service *** Too rushed
Overall Rating *** Room for improvement

 

Frivolous Foodie Facts
Osceola was born in Creek Country in Georgia about 1803, his father was a British trader and his mother the daughter of Creek chief. He was said to have had a European appearance because his grandfather was Scottish. He was sometimes called Powell, which was his white step-father’s name. His mother took him to northern Florida when he was very young and he grew up to become a leader of the Seminoles. He took the name Osceola from a black drink containing caffeine used in tribal ceremonies.

Osceola Street Cafe on Urbanspoon
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May 09

Planet Coffee in the Byward Market

Planet CoffeeThose readers familiar with Ottawa will know that the Byward Market is one of the most vibrant areas of the city. It also contains many of the top restaurants. While Planet Coffee may not exactly fall into that category, it certainly is a worthwhile change from Timmies or Starbucks. It is perhaps a little out of the way but being a little secluded actually adds to the overall ambiance. You can sit at the tables outside and watch the world go by.

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We had just feasted on Hookers Beavertails but had some time to spare so we decided to grab a coffee at Planet Coffee. Between us, we had a fair sampling of their beverages, ranging from Chai Latte and Cafe au Lait to hot chocolate. I cannot pretend to be a coffee or tea connoisseur so any judgement I might make here should be taken with a grain of salt (which is supposed to make the coffee taste better).

Since we did not sample either their sandwiches or goodies, I cannot attest to their quality but the drinks were all as good as one could expect and prices were in line with similar establishments. If you are on the Market and feeling thirsty, Planet Coffee deserves a try!

Planet Coffee on Urbanspoon

May 08

Hung Fatt: Chinese food without pizzaz in Gloucester

Hung Fatt Chinese Take OutWe have lived in Beacon Hill in Gloucester for almost 15 years now and as long as we can remember, the sign pictured on the left has been a fixture on Montreal Road and Laporte Street. The exterior of the unassuming building has barely changed either in all that time. However, there has been a major change in the last twelve months, since the previous owner retired last fall.
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The other day, on our way home from a lengthy outing, we decided that Moo Shu pork and mushroom egg drop soup were in order. Normally, we would pick up these items at Kung’s Palace next to Chahaya Malaysiacloser to Montreal Road and Blair. We were somewhat surprised to discover, however, that Kung’s Palace was apparently overrun by the Mongol Horde and now stands for lease. After some prevarication, we decided that we still wanted Chinese food, so we decided to give the new owners of Hung Fatt a chance to show us their stuff.

The first thing we noticed on entering the establishment was that some structural changes have been made and there are now four tables in the waiting area where one could sit and eat, though I don’t think that I would advise it. The menu, which you can find here, has barely changed, so no Moo Shu pork available. We selected Young Chow fried rice, lemon chicken and a third dish, Dai Dop Woey, A Combination of chicken, shrimp, and BBQ pork stir fried with assorted fresh Garden vegetables. Along with two bowls of mushroom eggdrop soup, our bill came to $40, which I found to be somewhat expensive. I have the impression that the new ownership has jacked the prices somewhat.

When we got home and opened up the food, two things were readily apparent: 1. The containers were chock-full and Hung Fatt had not scrimped on the meat and vegetables. 2. The food looked fresh and attractive. Unfortunately, the taste did not match the appearance. Not that we had any specific complaints, it was just all fairly bland. The lemon chicken was probably the best of the lot, since the breading was thin and the chicken was still moist and tender and the lemon sauce was finished with real slices of lemon. The mushroom eggdrop soup was also relatively good. The Young Chow fried rice and the Dai Dop Woey, however, were totally forgettable.

I know that we, as a family, tend to like our food on the spicy side. It may well be that the majority of people will find Hung Fatt’s food to be really good.
Hung Fatt on Urbanspoon
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May 06

Todrics Fine Dining is a well-hidden gem in Eastview

Todrics Fine Dining and Catering

You probably shouldn’t judge Todric’s by its exterior!
Now I’ll state at the outset that Todric’s isn’t cheap
but the food that you’ll get is top of the heap!
I would have picked lamb 3 ways cause that is my habit
But instead the Spring menu change offers 3 ways of Rabbit
So, I guess it’s not always good to look before you leap?!

Dorothy and I recently celebrated our 35th wedding anniversary, and I felt that we should do something a little out of the ordinary to mark the auspicious occasion. For our 30th we splurged at the Lac Leamy Hilton and blew $300+ for a meal. As a poor blogger, I did not feel that I could quite stretch the purse-strings that far in this instance and so decided to take advantage of one of the many Ottawa Daily Dining Deals available.
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Where we went: Recently, I had noticed that DealFind was offering a great deal on Todric’s Fine Dining and Catering. I have already used various of these offers and have yet to be disappointed, so I felt that this was a good chance to enjoy a good meal at a substantial discount. If I had not read about Todric’s on Urbanspoon, I would likely never have even been aware of its existence, since it is tucked away way at the bottom of MacArthur Road in Vanier just a couple of blocks down from the Loblaws Superstore. I should warn you that their parking lot only accommodates 4-6 cars and there is no street parking. There is, however, a public parking lot at the end of MacArthur on River Road. Since it was a Saturday evening, we took a chance and parked in the dentist office lot adjacent.
Todric's Pick-up Counter
I am not quite sure how to describe the interior of Todric’s. Certainly, from the exterior, you would not guess that this building housed a restaurant. Originally established in 2001, Todric’s would seem to have been primarily planned as a catering outlet and that the restaurant came as an afterthought. Whatever the case, the interior decor, whilst not unpleasant, is not exactly what one might expect in an upscale establishment but rather-more like a cafe.
Todrics House Sauvignon BlancWhat we ordered: As I often do, I had checked out Todric’s online and had discovered that several reviewers had raved about a dish called ‘Lamb 3 Ways’  and I was looking forward to this in particular, since lamb is one of my favourite meats. The menu is varied but not particularly extensive, so it did not take me long to realise that my preselected dish was no longer being offered and had instead been replaced with rabbit 3 ways. When we asked our server why the rabbit had replaced the lamb and he said it was because they had changed to a spring menu. Knowing that they prefer to use local suppliers and produce for their cuisine, I am seriously considering trapping and selling some of the neighbourhood bunnies, who seem to have both multiplied and become much bolder over the winter. Unfortunately, the rabbits can’t dine at Todrics so they are snacking on our tulips instead.

In any event, perhaps to spite our garden visitors, I opted for the rabbit, while Dorothy selected the flank steak. She chose the chilled avocado soup as a starter, while I decided to try the chef’s hors d’oeuvre plate sampler. We felt that it would be too much for us to consume an entire bottle of wine since one of us would have to drive home, so we each selected a glass of the house Sauvignon Blanc which was very pleasant.

What we got: The food here was very good. So much so that rather than put our pictures in-line as we normally do, we will put them in gallery format so that you can get a better look. The rabbit 3 ways was very good but I probably still would have preferred the lamb. Dorothy enjoyed her steak which was tender and cooked to her liking. We both found the selection of vegetables a nice complement and the banana or plantain chips served in place of potato, rice or pasta was a lighter but pleasant alternative. Since the mains were fairly substantial, we share the dessert sampler plate and both had specialty coffees (Dorothy cappuccino and myself Latte).

Worthy of note: Our total bill was almost $120 but we had a $45 but our total cost was $75 due to the DealFind coupon. It is really worthwhile to take advantage of the Ottawa Daily Dining Deals.

Summary

  • Positives: Really good food. Cozy and relaxing atmosphere ‘Far from the Madding Crowd’.
  • Negatives: Rather pricey! Hard to find if you don’t know the area.
  • Recommendation: A good spot for that special night out!
Category Rating Explanation
Food Quality **** Very good
Price $$$$ high but good value
Decor *** Not outstanding
Service ***** Friendly & knowledgeable
Overall Rating **** Recommended


Frivolous Foodie Facts
• Breeding Like Rabbits: The largest litter of baby rabbits is 24. It has happened twice. Once in 1978 and again in 1999.
• Floppy the bunny: The longest ears are 31.125 inches long. They belong to an American rabbit, Nipper’s Geronimo.
• Long live the bunny: The longest-lived rabbit was nearly 19 years old when he died.
• A giant grass grazer: meatiest bunny: 26 lbs., 7 oz.!

Todric's fine dining and catering on Urbanspoon
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May 04

Go 4 MooShu Pork & Crispy beef at New Dragon Chinese Buffet

New Dragon Chinese Buffet Montreal Road at Bathgate

New Dragon is not just the same old Chinese food!
Another Friday night in search of a Chinese buffet
Well, we knew that the New Dragon was not far away.
The buffet itself was like most of the rest
But food from the menu was really the best
Mooshu pork and the like we could eat all day!

Not wishing to sound like a broken record, I must once again reiterate my general dislike of buffet food in general. I won’t repeat my objections here because you will find them in any post under the tag buffet. I only bring this up because I have now found an obvious solution for myself and any of my readers who may feel the same way: Don’t eat the buffet, order from the menu instead.
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Now, in some cases, this may not be possible. At Ruby King in Orleans, for example, there simply is no menu. The buffet is the only option. Likewise for the Emerald Buffet in Eastview, though they do at least have a Mongolian Grill option where you can select fresh food and have it cooked while you wait. The problem for me in particular is that in our Supper Seven group, I am in the minority and, somewhat like the Liberal Party in the new parliament, often have a hard time making my opinion count. When buffet was suggested, I at least tried to steer the group to an untried (within the last few years at least) venue. 

Where we went: For those readers who know the area, the Dragon Restaurant has been a fixture on Montreal Road at Bathgate in Ottawa’s East End for as long as I can remember. I am not honestly sure if that location is still in what used to be Gloucester or not. From the outside, little seems to have changed over the years. Even as we stepped in the door, things looked pretty much the same. Glancing at the buffet, I might even have suspected that the food was the same that we could have seen on our last visit! Let’s face it, not much has changed in chinese buffets in the last few decades!

Typical Chinese Restaurant SetupWhat we ordered: Since our son, Ian, is staying with us for the summer, for the interim, the Supper Seven has once again become eight. It was an interesting division, since three of us, Dorothy, Ian and myself, ordered from the menu, while Norma, Gregory and the three girls opted for the buffet. We had been talking about ordering crispy beef and moo shu pork long before we even arrived at the restaurant, so it was a foregone conclusion that they would be part of our selection. To this we added a shrimp and vegetable dish along with steamed rice.

Moo Shu Pork Shrimp with cashews Crispy beef 

What we got: I can only say that we were very happy with our choices. We agreed that all three dishes were as good as any that we had tried in other locations. All three were hot and fresh. The crispy beef was especially good since it can sometimes be overcooked and a little tough as a result. Here, the crispness was still there but the beef underneath was still tender. Although the moo shu pork was only advertised to come with 6 pancakes, it was delivered with 8. At the end, we had enough left over to take home and make a lunch for two the next day.

Worthy of note: Even though we all ate our fill, we ended up with food to take home and yet our cost per person ordering from the menu was less than if we had chosen the buffet. It’s true that we did not have dessert which was included with the buffet but was not very enticing consisting mostly of ice cream and the typical rubber squares of cake. You may note that even the sign picture at the top of this post shows as the ‘ Dragon’ , the actual name is ‘New Dragon’  to reflect a recent change in ownership.

Summary

  • Positives: Food was excellent and reasonably priced.
  • Negatives: The buffet was just the ‘normal’ and although nobody complained, neither did anyone rave over it!
  • Recommendation: If you stick to ordering from the menu, this is definitely worth a visit!
Category Rating Explanation
Food Quality **** Way above average
Price $$ Moderate
Decor *** Typical for the genre
Service *** A little frosty
Overall Rating **** Above average


Frivolous Foodie Facts

•In a true Chinese meal, the last course is soup because it allows the roast duck entree to “swim” toward digestion.
• Ice cream first originated from the Chinese around 2000 BC!
• At one time, Chinese patriots hoped to rid themselves of hated foreign conquerors. To announce the time of an uprising, the patriots hid messages in moon cakes (Fortune Cookies).
Read more: http://wiki.answers.com/Q/What_are_some_interesting_facts_about_chinese_food#ixzz1LQAYYx6h

The New Dragon on Urbanspoon
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