Tag Archives: Ottawa

Dosa! Excellent Veggie Street Fare

Sigh. Another incredible early fall day in Ottawa. Time to take advantage and hit up another food truck. I hope I will steel my nerves and visit them during the winter months but I can’t promise. We certainly have enjoyed them this summer when weather and time permits. Added bonus is that they are one type of resto where we can bring a pooch and Josie is quickly becoming a seasoned food truck gourmand.

Dosa is located at the SW corner of Dundonald Park at Lyon and Somerset streets. So far this is one of the best located trucks, at least by this diner’s point of view. Buy lunch and settle in on a bench or at a table in the dappled shade of pretty Dundonald Park, open to dogs on leash. The Dosa Inc. truck has a QR code on the back and you can scan it with your phone and a menu will pop up to peruse while you wait.

Dosa 1The truck had no line today, but many patrons were already chowing down in the park when we arrived after noon. Service is fast, friendly and helpful. And had never served a dog before. Dosa, a vegetarian staple from the south of India, combines rice and lentil batter to form a large, thin crepe. The crepe is served with a variety (13 choices at Dosa) of meat-free fillings. Each dosa comes with a lightly spiced stew, called sambar, a cooling chutney and a good scatter of thin, crisp, well-made plantain chips. According to Wikipedia, “Sambar is a vegetable stew or chowder based on a broth made with tamarind and pigeon peas”. Dosa Inc’s version, thin and very mild heat-wise also has some eggplant. The chutney, nothing like the bottled mango chutney most of us are familiar with, tastes blandly of coconut and I found to be ideal when paired with the mild spice of the dosa.

Dosa 2Josie decides on a breakfast dosa, spinach, fried egg and cheese with no sides. Rob got the #3, a classic Masala Dosa, filled with potatoes, vegetables and spices and I ordered a dosa stuffed with sweet red cabbage, spiced mushrooms and cheese. We choose to eat our dosas with a fork and knife but it could easily be rolled and eaten by hand. My dosa #7, the Gooey Gouzenko, had nice texture provided by the cabbage. The mushrooms added spice and a mild , pleasant heat. I assume the cheese was paneer. A little more cheese would have been nice, but overall, it was quite filling and a really nice change to a sandwich or a chip truck for the Ottawa lunch crew.

Dosa 4Rob’s masala dosa was full of a classic Indian potato and vegetable mixture. The potatoes were perfectly cooked and not mushy. The dosa doesn’t give you impression of eating carb-on-carb, perhaps because of the the lentils in the pancake or the texture of the extra vegetables. Dosa 8While yellow with spice, it had a very mild heat. A home-made hot sauce was available at the truck for those with more adventurous tastes, but if you’re wary of spicy food, you can eat at Dosa without a concern.

Dosa 6Josie gobbled her dosa, licked her lips and then begged for plantain chips. A dog of few words, Josie heartily endorses the Dosa truck as a great addition to Ottawa’s street food scene. Dosas are both vegetarian and gluten-free.

Dosa 9$25 for 3 dosas, one canned drink and one mango lassie. Note: Josie’s dosa was discounted $2 because we asked that they not include the sides. We were refunded the cost of one dosa because I had emailed Jake about not being there on time yesterday at lunch. The refund is not reflected in the price quoted here.

 

 

Atelier: June 17th, 2011

This is our fourth visit to Ottawa’s Atelier. Tonight we are celebrating our youngest daughter’s 20th birthday and Atelier is her restaurant of choice. I am taking this as a sign that I raised her right. As in our previous visits, Atelier never fails to surprise, delight, educate and provide an incredible dining experience. Prices have gone up since our last visit. $95 per person for a 12 course meal (previously grossly under priced in my view at $75) and $60 (previously $55) for the wine pairings which are surprising, sometimes daring, always spot on, and come with a knowledgeable sommelier who pours with a heavy hand.

Without further ado, here is the menu and wine pairings for June 17th, 2011

Bread with salted crust and butter served in a tube

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pork and Beans (Amuse)
Pork collar, fava bean puree, young basil, Swiss chard, sous-vide egg yolk and Gouda creme sphere. This is a very pretty Spring dish. The pork is tender and succulent and the Gouda creme sphere was a nice surprise. We thought it was a quail egg until it popped with creamy goodness.

 

 

 

 

Spot Prawns paired with Kum Bok Ju Hwa Rang Junmai Daiginjo Sake (Korea)
These were BC spot prawns with an Asian flair, plated with sorrel mayonnaise, delicious ball of sweet, refreshing cucumber jelly, soy-marinated cucumber, chickpea croquette, salmon roe, edamame and Thai purple basil. The biggest surprise of this dish was the sake pairing. Of the four of us dining tonight, none of us really enjoys sake. This Korean sake however was drinkable even on its own. It had a bite at the finish but none of the alcohol harshness that is typical of sake. Quite lovely and complimented the delicate prawns. Kudos to the sommelier on this choice – definitely a delightful surprise.

 

 

Modernist High Tea paired with 2009 Studert-Prüm Wehlener Sonnenuhr Reisling Kabinett (Mosel, Germany)
Earl Grey tea smoked salmon, tomato jam, lemon curd, Earl Grey tea jelly. The powdered salmon was truly amazing, with fresh flavour, excellent texture and smoke.

 

 

 

 

Spruce with a P paired with NV Villa Rubini Vino Spumante di Ribolla Gialla (Friuli, Italy)
Pea and parsley soup, with birch syrup meringue, Spruce beer foam, fresh peas tossed in truffle oil, and nitro corn noodles. This dish arrived composed in a bowl at the table and the gorgeous, green chilled broth was poured over the components. The icy cold noodles were a surprise as were the lightly truffled peas. Sweet, herbal, and cold with good crunchy textures and earthy flavour from the truffle. Lots going on in this soup and it paired well with the cold, crisp Spumante with its green apple accents. A favorite course on the night with all four of us.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Johnny Cash paired with 2008 Hidden Bench Rosomel Vineyard Fumé Blanc (Niagara, Canada)
This dish was probably the most delightful visually and conceptually this evening. This plating was completely black including the slate tile as serving dish. There were other surprises that fooled the eye, including lemon jelly, dyed black with squid ink. The halibut cheeks were meaty and perfectly cooked, the ribbon of fermented black garlic was tasy and the ramp was a nice accent.

 

 

The Cure paired with 2010 Astrolabe Sauvignon Blanc (Marlborough, New Zealand)
Cured mackerel and fennel three ways. The mackerel was surprisingly delicate and the dish was one of the prettiest of the evening, decorated with floral edibles, pink hibiscus foam, thinly sliced radish and roasted red pepper sauce.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Floating Fruit (palate cleanser)
This dish was a favorite on the evening. Sous-vide cooked pineapple, curried caviar for heat, star anise for a little hint of sweet. Lime leaf folded and clipped to the spoon provided a pleasant citrus aromatic.

 

 

 

 

Asparaganza paired with 2009 Vignobles des Doms Côtes du Rhône (Rhône, France)
Smoked duck served rare, morels, fried shallot, garlic scapes and purple Jerusalem artichokes. This dish was my personal favorite of the evening. The duck was heavenly and perfectly complemented with an old world red, with notes of leather and tannin.

Wagyu paired with 2004 Bodegas Altanza Reserva Selección (Rioja, Spain)
USA Wagyu beef, flatiron cut, rare with pine nuts and honey mushrooms, bone marrow gnocchi, and a 1/4 of the most delicate, sweet, baby turnip. Very nice with the mature red from Spain. A favorite on the evening for two of our guests.

iCup paired with 2007 De Bortoli Noble One Botrytis Semillion (New South Wales, Australia)
Passion fruit ice dome over a red velvet and white cake with tonka bean marshmallow goo.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rhubarb & Co. paired with NV Kourtaki Muscat (Samos, Greece)
Paper thin unripe, green strawberries were surprisingly sweet and pretty on  the plate. The Greek Muscat was very nice. A very good Muscat.

Frozen Shattered Cupcake for the Birthday Girl. The Atelier birthday tradition is to bring a cupcake to the table and submerge it in liquid nitrogen to freeze it instantly. A birthday wish is made and then the cupcake is smashed to smithereens by the back of a spoon.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cappuccino and Lulupop, A frozen, creamy fruit pop on a stick.

 

Piggy Market

We start every Saturday morning’s weekly marketing excursion at Piggy Market. We have been doing this for over a year. When we first started visiting Piggy Market, they were a medium-sized space with little product. The product they did have kept us coming back. Initially, they offered artisanal pork products, Art-Is-In bread and Pascal’s homemade ice creams. Slowly they added local cheeses, milk, butter, organic produce, maple syrup, and homemade pickles. What keeps us coming back is never knowing what we will find in the main showcase and the quality, preservative-free offerings. It seems like the powers that be at Piggy cook whatever pleases them – what they want to eat: duck and lentil soup, Jamaican patties, to-die-for mac and cheese, chorizo, duck rilletes, brined turkeys at Christmas, bbq sauces, spit-roasted whole chickens, roasts of  beef and pork sliced on the spot for lunch meat, Berkshire pork ribs, spicy baked beans, homemade hamburger patties.

They have a small freezer section with meat pies, lasagna, sausages and frozen organic vegetables from Bryson Farms. They also carry some fresh organic produce from Bryson. You can usually score some heirloom beets or fingerlings until supplies run out and they always have a good supply of peashoots and microgreens. There is never tons of anything so you better get there early.

 

Great sausages from the basic to the exotic.
Monday's in-house bread

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Terrific Burgers - we're hooked!
Always a surprise in store for us.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I dropped by this this week to talk to Dave Neil, one of Piggy’s owners and a familiar face every time we visit. Dave was kind enough to take some time out of his very hectic schedule to pose for some pics and answer a few questions. His business partner Warren came out to say hi and get in a pic or two as well. Piggy Market came to be in 2008 and has been at its current location since 2009 where they expect to be for at least the next three years. Being tucked away on a quiet side street off of busy Richmond Rd. in Westboro adds to the stumbled upon pleasure that is Piggy. The market started with a love of charcuterie and has developed into quality take home products and meals. Charcuterie is the foundation and mainstay of the business which Dave hopes will come to be known as the premiere artisanal delicatessen in the city.

 

Dave Neil and Warren Sutherland, co-founders.

Piggy Market has a staff of seven and all of its members contribute on a weekly basis with ideas about new offerings. This weekly rotation allows the offerings to be fresh and simplifies ordering. Always on hand are the items that sell well, but if you call ahead with a special order, they are very accommodating. The staff are constantly trying new things and this keeps their long hours fun and interesting.

The deli has a commitment to fresh, local, seasonal product. A common and much welcomed theme in new restaurants and markets. What makes Piggy’s approach different? Piggy is committed to the head to toe, or snout to tail approach when using an animal. No waste if possible. Pork is obviously a first love but they also prepare deer, lamb and wild boar, and apply the head to toe approach. Currently they do bring in beef for burgers, roasting and Jamaican patties but don’t have the space for a whole animal. Another feature Dave feels is unique to Piggy is that he knows where every ingredient they use comes from and who made it or grew it. Today he was showing me some beautiful Jamaican escallions, with their flower buds still intact. Similar to green onions and a basic in Jamaican cooking, they had a local grower, Jambican, procure seed and grow them for Piggy. They will find their way into Jamaican patties and burgers, and a few other things I am sure.

Showing us Jamaican escallions
Piggy Market's local farms and providers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What excites Dave most about Piggy Market? The seasons! Right now asparagus (excellent this year) and rhubarb have his attention. Rhubarb is going into sour cream cakes and bbq sauces and maybe muffins if he can find the time. The market also hopes to start bottling bbq sauce, make their own pickles and sauerkraut, offer more selection on their sandwich board, make their own mustards and mayo, and add to the small but well thought out collection of books for food lovers. Piggy is also taking on a more professional look with a new logo currently in development. Gone will be the realistic pig, but none of the authenticity of the food or the grassroots feel of the place. Dave doesn’t refer to the people who frequent his shop as customers. “I like to think of them as food enthusiasts and friends we haven’t met yet. We are all about community.” Look for Dave and the gang serving up burgers and sausage (they will be any thing but ordinary) at Dragonboatfest, Folkfest and Beau’s Beer Octoberfest this summer.

 

Pascale's Ice Cream - Unique and delicious.
Large variety of local cheeses.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The ever popular Art-Is-In bread is sold at the counter and used for sandwiches.  Art-Is-In does not bake on Mondays. The Piggy staff has added  bread baking to their repertoire because they do not sell day old bread. Today’s offerings were cornbread and an amazing looking yogurt sourdough among others. Where do they get the time? They also bake cookies, scones and excellent hamburger buns. Twelve hour days, seven days a week helps. Dave admits to taking Tuesdays off, but then admits that he spends a lot of his day off shopping for the business and working at whatever needs doing.

Recently they have added sandwiches to their offerings. Drop in for lunch and pick up some rare, oven-roasted beef for the week ahead,  a bottle of milk from a local dairy, a pint of Pascal’s salted caramel ice cream, some sausages for tonight’s dinner on the BBQ and hope, just maybe, dare to hope they have some mac and cheese left.

 

House-made prosciutto.
Warren's Burger using Art-Is-In Cheddar-jalapeno loaf as a bun, with heirloom tomato, purple onion and classic toppings, with spiced grilled corn. A wonderful dinner al fresco.