Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Lift-off Eludes Banzini

Number 8 and I had dinner here yesterday. We'd heard great things about the wood-fired pizza, but we were let down faster than an ornithopter with a broken wing.

I had trouble finding an appealing pizza on the menu. I went with the pork option. See those pinkish splotches? Applesauce.  Number 8 picked the more traditional-sounding sausage option, That's Amore. Unfortunately, we both found our choices to be bland and undercooked. Raw onion bits. No merging of flavors. Not enough sauce.

Decor was a lot of shiny black lacquer.  Felt more like I was sitting in a strip club than a wood-fired pizza place.

The "order and pay first" approach felt weird at dinner, but I suspect if the food was better, nobody would complain about this.

The thing that saves Banzini is the cheesecake. If I were queen of the universe (and you know how I like to dress-up in a toga and crown) these little morsels of ambrosia would be delivered to my table by doves and I would eat them and nothing else while being serenaded by caged sirens and entertained by terpsichorean Orion slave girls. 

But, dear readers, please see what the rest of Ottawa has to say:

The Flying Banzini on Urbanspoon

Thursday, 12 December 2013


The food at Pressed has its own unique personality. When Myers and Briggs popped in for a wild boar sandwich, onlookers say it was after exactly four bites that the ladies threw their psychometric questionnaire out the window, admitting that they are complete and utter frauds. 
The food is made with care. But the cynic in me has to ask, is Pressed trying to be different at the expense of being really truly deep-down good? Do I want to eat this pickled bean, or am I just doing it to be cool? Would the leathery sweet potato chips be more comforting as familiar shoestring fries? Am I a philistine for asking that out loud?

In my half-dozen visits, the service has ranged between delightfully personal (hello there!) to raggishly grumpy. And is my latte supposed to have gunk in the bottom? A lot has been said about Pressed already. Praise for the eclectic menu of waffle brunches, sandwiches, dinner plates, fancy coffees and other beverages. Words like hipster get thrown around rather freely.

And, yeah, the decor is a little value village hipster chic, but the church-pew and recycled school desk seating is not so uncomfortable that you can't crank through 10 pages of your novel before your butt goes numb.  And yet, despite my whiny musings, I think Pressed is terrific. It has that certain something, like when you meet a guy and he has a few quirks, like he lives with his mom and has adult-onset acne, but you know he's going to be your boyfriend anyway.

Dear readers, I leave you to judge. Here is what the rest of Ottawa has to say:

Pressed on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

Bread & Sons Bakery

All signs point to me hating this place, but I love it. I can't help myself.

It's the best thing ever when you go in the morning, and the hazulnet spelt cookies aren't out on the shelf yet, so you ask for one, but you are warned they are too soft to carry, but you get one anyway, and you put a bite in your mouth, and its warm gooey awesomeness increases your certainty that you aren't just some random Turing test subject:

And the pizza. Oh my (non-existent) god. Never has vegetarian food been so yummy and satisfying. That I love this pizza so much makes me wonder if I should also open my mind to other previously-unthought-of possibilities like lesbian sex and ear candeling (the answers are maybe, and no, never).

The one place where B&Ss breaks down for me is in the breakfast sandwich department. Sorry, but my breakfast sandwiches must include bacon. The crumby croissant stuffed with hard boiled egg does nothing for me.

But, dear readers, please check out what the rest of Ottawa has to say:

Bread and Sons on Urbanspoon

Sunday, 1 December 2013

Fox and the Feather: Headed for Retro Chic in, oh, wait, Never

Looking for a nice casual meal? Haven't been out for dinner since 1993? This is the place for you.

We were originally headed for Burgers on Main, when our caravan got waylaid by bandits and we had to change course. We took refuge at the Fox and the Feather. It's a pub right? There will be burgers. How bad could it be?

You know that apologetic look some employees get when they know their boss is a dick and they are forced to implement stupid corporate policies? Like no free pop refills? That was our server.  Two bacon cheeseburgers, deep-fried pickles, two glasses of coke, two glasses of wine came to 73 dollars including tip.  For limp salad. Plastic packets of condiments.

Here is a brief list of things I wish I'd purchased, rather this meal:

But Ana, that doesn't seem so bad, you might be thinking. Ok, ok. Let me tell you about the other patrons.

To our back was a table of men from out-of-town. One guy asked a lot of questions about the food. What's better, the chicken parm or the steak? Dude. Spoiler 1: the waitress won't give you her number no matter what you order. Spoiler 2: they're both going to taste like despair.

To our front was a married couple who had clearly given up. They didn't speak to each other the whole meal. He was on his phone. She fussed with a three-year-old who was wearing her pajamas. Made me wish I'd come in mine. 

To our side were a couple of frumpy after-work civil servants showing a lot of cleavage haloed by So. Many. Pearls.

Maybe the upstairs is better. I hear good things about a certain corner table. Maybe there's not so much dark wood and maybe those chunky glass candle holders were too heavy to bring up the steps. Maybe upstairs you don't feel so much like you're in a former Red Lobster or Holiday Inn dining room from the 80s.

Anyways, here's what the rest of Ottawa has to say:

Fox and Feather Pub on Urbanspoon

Sunday, 24 November 2013

Two Oceans 2012 Chardonnay: Great Value

This 10 dollar wine is considered a great value by Wine Align. It was my original target, the day I was led widely astray by this Astrolabe monstrosity.

As you know dear readers, I am no wine expert. My palate is as undisciplined as a teenager being raised by hippies in biosphere 3.  So please forgive me when I admit I didn't like this wine.

Certainly, it has a flavour almost as deep and complex as the hateful Astrolabe, but at only half the cost. But if my instinct after drinking half a glass is to add some Perrier, then I have to ask, is there a problem with me or a problem with the wine?

Yeah, I also think the problem is me. Not sure I'm going to succeed at this whole "be more grown up about my drinking" thing.

Next time, I'll move off Chardonnay but try to stick to the same price point. 

Saturday, 23 November 2013

Hey Summerhays, is that a new Haircut?

Summerhays has completed their exterior upgrade. It's an improvement, but somehow they still manage to look like a former car dealership.

Don't get me wrong. In no way am I slagging one of my favorite weekend breakfast places. The huevos rancheros has its own level in my personal food pyramid. 

Service is good, food is better than you would expect, and the ambiance is comfortable. Patrons range from university students recovering after a night of drinking, blue collar guys on break, and families of all sorts. This is a place you can bring your elderly parent when you spring them from the old folks home, or, if you must, your screaming, greasy children.

Thankfully, Summerhays offers a separate seating area near the bar where you are less likely to run into the elderly or the infantile. You may however see lonely men having a morning drink at the bar, or if you are luckier, one of yoga-pant clad waitresses taking her break next to the coffee pots.

Dear readers, I admit I was concerned when I saw Summerhays covered with the blue construction tarp over the summer. Now that the results are unveiled I'm relieved that the essence of the place hasn't changed. And yet, I have to ask, doesn't getting a new haircut make you want to trim the pubes as well?

The spit and polish on the outside is nice, by why not fix the seats held together with duck tape or replace the tire tread art in the dining room?

See what the rest of Ottawa has to say:

Summerhays Bar & Grill on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Is Polyamory for Wine Racks a Thing?

Dear readers, as you may know, I've decided to be more grown up about my wine consumption. This requires me to procure a wine rack. And, to have wine in the house in unopened bottles. Could be a challenge, true, but my immediate issue is how to pick one of these fabulous options: