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Review: Mukut Indian Restaurant

610 Rideau St, Ottawa – (613) 789-2220 – Website

Mukut 1

Date of Visit: July 9, 2013

I had made a note of two Indian restaurants I wished to try on my most recent visit to Ottawa, both of which of which lie within a block of each other on Rideau Street. Unfortunately, the first of these, Passage to India, appeared to be closed for good when I checked it out but, undaunted, I proceeded on to Mukut instead… Read more

Five-Spice Cabbage Salad

5 Spice Cabbage 1

This little dish is really an amalgam of culinary techniques but it is very Bengali in spirit given the use of the five-spice blend, known as Panch Phoron, used for the final tempering. I actually made this as a quick side-dish for a spicy seafood curry a few days ago but I thought I reproduce it again so that you can see how it is done… Read more

Review: Peter Devine’s Irish Pub

73 Clarence St, Ottawa – (613) 562-0674 – Website

Peter Devine 1

Date of Visit: July 11, 2013

For lunch on this particular occasion, I had sat myself on the patio of a nearby Vietnamese restaurant but, after perusing a singularly uninspiring menu, and finding the outdoor dining far too hot, I wandered up the street to this place where the patio was nicely shaded and not too busy. I didn’t know it right away, but Peter Devine’s is actually part of the same establishment as the Heart and Crown situated right next door, although, as my waiter informed me, their menus are somewhat different… Read more

Foodstuff: Basil Paste in a Tube – Gourmet Garden™ Brand

Basil in a Tube 1

Back in October of last year, I featured a commercially produced Lemongrass Paste in a Tube by the same manufacturer as the Basil Paste you see pictured above. I am afraid I wasn’t very kind in my review of the Lemongrass as I found it a little insipid and a pretty poor substitute for the fresh article. This product, on the other hand, is far better and one I have found very useful indeed… Read more

Review: Café Indochine

105 Clarence St, Ottawa – (613) 241-6378

Cafe Indochine 1

Date of Visit: July 11, 2013

I ate at this tiny restaurant with my wife around ten years ago although I didn’t recognize it until I had a peek inside and saw the same, shot-gun narrow little eatery divided into an upper and lower floor with just a few tables on each. I hadn’t especially planned on Vietnamese cuisine for supper on this particular occasion but after a quick perusal of the menu I decided to give the place a second try… Read more

Rajasthani Roti

Rajasthani Roti 1

Some months ago, I featured a simple basic Indian flatbread known as Roti. This more complex version, more specifically a form of Paratha, allows me to illustrate the use of two basic ingredients, Besan and Ajowan Seed, that we took a look at recently. The recipe here, although a bit of an improvisation, is one that would likely be quite at home in the North-East Indian state of Rajasthan, especially since that particular corner of the country is by far the greatest producer of the flavorful Ajowan Seed… Read more

Review- Stella Osteria

1 Clarence St, Ottawa – (613) 241-2200 – Website

Stella Osteria 1

Date of Visit: July 7, 2013

I have passed by this place numerous times on forays through Byward Market but it has usually been full. I was actually on my way to have lunch at the Blue Cactus Bar and Grill (which is affiliated with this place), when I was drawn by the pleasant patio here. The lunch menu is rather abbreviated, consisting of a small number of appetizers and salads, some pasta selections, as well as pizza and a house burger, but there are also a few more substantial entrees including a strip-loin steak and Chicken Parmigiano. The dinner menu, which I asked to look at, was substantially the same, although there were a few additional seafood dishes, including an interesting paella. Fortunately, I was in the mood, on this very hot day, for something simple and the house burger sounded about right for lunch… Read more

Spice: Korean Chili Threads

Korean Chili Shreds 1

The pretty shreds of dried chili you see pictured above are commonly (and almost exclusively) used in Korean cuisine where they are often included in Kimchi preparations, both for their flavor and their attractive appearance. Indeed, beyond the basic spice function, this culinary item is handy to have on hand as a useful and versatile visual enhancer for all sorts of dishes… Read more

Review: Wei’s noodle house

726 Somerset St W, Ottawa – (613) 230-6815

Wei's Noodle House 1

Date of Visit:  July 7, 2013

On a shopping trip to Ottawa’s Chinatown one Monday afternoon, I planned to hit Ju Xiang Yuan to sample a few appetizers but, unfortunately, it turned out that they are not open on that particular day of the week. Instead, I happened to spy Wei’s Noodle House, which I have never noticed before and which , I think, may be relatively new. I wasn’t especially in the mood for a large, filling noodle meal by any means but I figured they must have a few other things on the menu and decided to give the place a try… Read more

Chicken-Fried Steak

Chicken-fried Steak 1

If you have never heard of a ‘Chicken-fried Steak’ before, you may quite likely be as mystified as I was when I came across it for the first time. For the uninitiated, this particular culinary delicacy, originating in the American South, consists of a steak that is battered, or breaded, and then deep-fried (or pan-fried in lots of fat) much the same way as is Southern-fried Chicken.

My first, and thus far only, experience with this dish was at a roadside restaurant in Virginia during a road-trip to Florida my wife and I undertook a year or so before we were married. It was served, as I recall, with some sort of potato (whether mashed or fried I can no longer say) and a veggie of some sort. It was also topped with a creamy, white gravy that is more or less traditional in the south. The steak, I thought was pretty decent, but I really didn’t care for the gravy at all and, for this experiment, I think I will give that particular addition a miss… Read more

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