Last night, at work, I served a gentleman who was visiting Ottawa from the West coast. After he had indulged in a decadent meal and smacked his lips with a glass of Muscat de Beaumes, he asked me if I knew of any other good restaurants in the city worthy of his time while in Ottawa. I shared with him a few hot spots of notoriety and, as if meaning to slap all Ottawan foodies across the face, he declared that Ottawa, “seems to lack destinations for exciting dining experiences”.
So it goes, the impenetrable desire that residents and tourists alike share, to bash the national capital. I was hard pressed to not retort with a quip stating his lack of ability to sift through the government-city sands. In other words, “Well sir, there are many exciting places, it just takes a local to point you in the right direction.”
Biting. My. Tongue.
All that to say, I began thinking about some of the more exciting things I have done in the city over the past few weeks and specifically, those things that have involved food or dining or anything of that nature. Looking back over the events of the last week, I found that Ottawa is nothing short of a good time, with good food and people to go along with it.
On Wednesday, June 22nd Sparks Street, the strip home to Ribfest each year, drew flocks of people toward the intoxicating scent of BBQ. The nuts ventured out to see what all the buzz (and smoke) was about and despite the weather threatening with thunderstorms, we found Ribfest to alive and well and delicious. The festival was thriving for the entire 5 days, with a few of the nuts acting as repeat offenders. Our first stop of the festival happened upon the Texas Outlaw ribbers. A spicy yet sweet bbq sauce made these fall-off-the-bone ribs one of our favourites. A stroll to a nearby lemonade stand was exactly what we needed to top the night off. Not a horrible way to start out a summer eve.
Not long after Rib fest, the Ottawa chapter of the nuts found themselves a shucking good time, inhaling the scent of sea salt and beer at Oyster fest. This was our maiden voyage to Oyster fest and the nuts were not quite sure what to expect. From around the block we could here some snappy tunes zig-zagging across the air waves and from the moment we entered the oyster pen, it was evident that everyone was there to have a good time. The sailor jerry’s snow cones, as stiff as they were, had the crowd swaying to and fro with an overall merriment. The oysters were delicious delicacies, a first again for some of the nuts. And oh, the cod burgers. Served piping hot, they were exactly what the crowd was calling for as we made the most of it in the cold rain. An eccentric fire show took place on the roof of the the Whalesbone supply store. It could have been the S&M outfits of the fire dancers or the show itself, but everyone seemed to be amused. With over 6000 oysters being shucked, an Ottawa Chef duel, great music and entertainment Ottawa’s 6th annual Oyster Fest was one for the books and made for an “exciting dining experience” to say the least.
In a nutshell, the past week and the weeks to come will see Ottawa brimming with events that elicit excitement.