Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Dinner at the Works on Bank Street, December 14, 2004.

Well, it certainly has been a while since I posted here. But it's time to start again - and I think this time I am going to try and be more consistent. I love going out for food. And this is a good way to diarize my life as well.

So - the Works - I heard about it from one of my colleagues, who loves burgers (what a guy). It used to be a place called Bumpers - a bit of a divey bar where we saw Casey Comeau and the Halfmilers play quite often. I picked it mostly because I know burgers are one of the few meat meals I can handle since becoming pregnant.

The transition was incredible. I couldn't believe how much space there is. I think most of the space that seemed new was the space in the back for the kitchen - I never saw that. They kept the little nook off to the back where the stage used to be.

My hubby and I sat up near the front. It felt a little jammed in, but surprisingly, I didn't feel like I was eavesdropping on the conversations of the tables nearby. The place was pretty busy too, despite the fact we were there fairly late (around 8 pm).

They sat us quite quickly and handed us a menu. What a selection! I never knew you could put peanut butter and cream cheese (or was it sour cream) on a burger. I think there had to be 50 different kinds of burgers. I was also pleased to see that they have a way of donating back to the community via their Bluesfest burger. It always warms my heart to do business with local companies that care like that.

I played it pretty safe and ordered the McWorks burger -- standard lettuce, tomato and cheese. My hubby went for the teriyaki burger. We both ordered the chipotle sauce as the side to our fries. The waitress said it was the best one.

It took a while for the burgers to arrive, but we had been warned about that, so we enjoyed the drinks they served in the 2 cup measuring glasses (ah, the gimmick). To feel healthy, I had a raspberry pineapple juice. My hubby also had beer.

When the burgers came, we mowed down on them pretty quickly. They were good. 8 ounces of meat - still a little juicy. We both chose the wholewheat bun--again, an attempt to be healthy. I don't typically eat that much meat, but I came pretty close to finishing it. I left a somewhat rare part near the end.

After we were done, we paid the bill and they gave us a Works buck - good for our next meal after January 15th. I would definitely go back. I loved the atmosphere -- old, young, friends and families, students and professionals. It was clean, it was funky -- the whole thing is very well put together. I might even be adventurous next time and try one of the more wacky burgers.

Tuesday, July 20, 2004

The Barley Mow, Kanata

I go to the Barley Mow every Friday for lunch with work colleagues. They were there on opening day 5 years ago and they have been going ever since.

Now that it's been almost 2 years I've been going to the Mow -as it is affectionately know as by the regulars - every Friday, I have a list of things I really like about the place:

- Lori: She's the smiley blond featured in one of the articles about the Mow. I can't say enough good things about her. She provides stellar friendly service - and probably everyone else who works there follows her example.
- the daily menu board: After two years, you are bound to have tried everything on the menu, with varying degrees of success. The daily menu board gives everyone a chance to experiment with ingredients on hand. Most times I opt for this.
- they way they provide the service: each table is not assigned a particular waitress. Rather, they have this cool system where everyone does rounds and watches all the tables. They know who has ordered drinks (the coasters will be on the tables) and lunch is brought to you by whoever is free. There may be other finer intracacies than that, but as a customer, it's just great to know that you can count on them all.

I've also been to the Barley Mow on Bank Street, but I find it just doesn't have the same atmosphere. Maybe it has a lot to do with the fact that my colleagues have established the very friendly relationship that comes with being long time regulars (how many other customers does Lisa invite to tip cows?). I think that it also has to do with the space - the Bank Street Mow feels very cramped.

In any case, whether you eat off the regular menu or you try their daily specials, the staff at the Kanata Barley Mow definitely make me feel welcome there any time!!

Sunday, June 20, 2004

Sushi 88, Somerset Street, Ottawa - June 17, 2004

Hubby and I stopped in here for a quick bite on our way home from one of the pre-election debates.

Small, bright, and clean, they offered an interesting selection of sushi, sashimi and other Japanese restaurant standards.

We started out with a Japanese beer, and a water. Typically I order tea, but it was a warm night. The tropical sushi (avocado, salmon and pineapple) caught our eye so we ordered that along with a batch of shrimp and veggie tempura.

Service was a bit slow - my guess was that the waiter/owner was a casualty of a high tech layoff who hasn't quite got the gist of reading customer signals. But he was very friendly and accomodating.

The food was good - although I still don't understand why people tempura raw onions - I know it's cheap and it balances out the overall cost of the veggies, but if they aren't eaten, isn't it a waste?

(and I know this restaurant cares about that, because he gave us the option of not having rice if we were not going to eat it)

They also included some unidentifiable vegetable (daikon root?) that was very tough and bland, even with the tempura batter.

Overall cost, however, was reasonable. I'd go back.