CONTEST: Win $100 from The Body Shop! **CONTEST CLOSED**

UPDATE: The winner of this contest has been chosen! Thank you to all who entered. http://inanutshell.ca/2012/09/27/announcing-the-winner-of-the-body-shops-tea-tree-contest/

Last month, in collaboration with The Body Shop, inanutshell was pleased to run an awesome contest for $100 in Cruelty-Free Make-Up. Our winner, Sheralee Huot, was sent a beautiful basket courtesy of The Body Shop, just for commenting on the post and engaging with us using social media.

We’re back at it again, and this time, we’re focusing on skin care! Reduce the size of large, congested pores and get make-up ready, matte skin with The Body Shop’s new Tea Tree Pore Minimizer. Inanutshell is offering you a chance to win a Community Fair Trade Tea Tree prize pack from The Body Shop, valued at more than $100! 

When I worked for The Body Shop years ago, their Tea Tree line was one of the best skin care lines that available. Fast forward 6 years, and it’s only gotten better. Personally, tea tree oil has saved my skin on more than one occasion, a miracle worker when dealing with acne break-outs and pesky pimples.

So, want to win this awesome prize pack? 

This time around, we’re asking you to get connected with The Body Shop Canada using social media! Either like them on Facebook or follow them on Twitter, and send us the link showing that you’ve done it. You can send us the link by commenting on this post or sending us an e-mail at inanutshellca@gmail.com.

(And, while you’re at it, you might as well like US and follow US on both sites too!)

Contest entries will be accepted until Sunday September 23, 2012. Good luck!!

Barbour, baby.

As some of our readers may know, my mother and her mother and her mother before her have all been descendants of the British Empire. In other words, I’m from England. Not just from England  but from South Shields: a tiny town of seaside fare, simple pleasures and small town nature. But South Shields has made a name for itself in a brand that has yet to entirely penetrate North America. This brand is known as Barbour.

Born in 1894 in South Sheilds by John Barbour, its classic wax jackets are still manufactured in the flagship shop located in Simonside. Described as bringing “wit, grit and glamour to its beautifully functional clothing”, it is surprising that Barbour hasn’t been the next big thing in Canada. Designed to reflect the countryside, the huntsman and the outdoorsy type, this clothing (and particularly their jackets) are a potential staple of the Canadian wardrobe, for both men and women.

Despite it’s meager beginnings, Barbour has really found its niche in hipster Britain, with many indie folk donning the garments, sporting national pride and shunning Burberry’s elitism. One U.K. journalist put the Barbour trend simply,

“Barbour is succeeding where Burberry went wrong by inviting everyone to wear one of its jackets rather than vainly trying to limit them to just an elite few.” – Lanre Bakare

And that’s exactly what Barbour offers: accessible, high fashion. And what’s more is that, I think, Barbour is a perfect match to Canadiana. Our lifestyles encourage this type of style and it surprises me that more Canadians haven’t adopted the trend. Although, Canada has been known for being slightly behind the times once or twice…

When first spotted as a fashion statement almost 20 years ago, Barbour went from the farmside to the high streets when Princess Diana sported a rainproof Barbour in the 80’s. Since then, Barbour took the back burner until more recently when celebrities (and monumental fashion movers) such as Alexa Chung, Olivia Palermo and Kate Middleton were spotted wearing the rain proof fashion statements….

In a nutshell, here’s hoping Canada can catch on to a practical and fashionable brand, fit for fall, spring and Canadian style.

10 rules of social media etiquette

From an early age, the various forms of social etiquette are drilled into our heads: Say please and thank you. Don’t chew with your mouth open. The list goes on and on.

But when it comes to etiquette of the social media sphere that now inhabits our daily lives, we are relative newborns and some of us just haven’t quite figured it out yet. Not to fear, after perusing multiple blogs, online forums and magazines, I have compiled 10 of the most outrageous social media faux pas and how to best avoid these breaches of social media etiquette.

1. It’s social media, NOT solo media: The first and probably most important courtesy while firing up twitter, facebook, instagram and anything else under our gigantic social media umbrella is to remember the essence of what you are doing. Social is the first word in this new age catch phrase “social media”. Avoid the solo conversations with yourself over your various platforms. Avoid being a glory seeker. The purpose of this new tool we have been granted is to  facilitate connections and dialogue with other people, businesses and brands. No one wants to read/see/retweet a monologue of your life’s inconsequential details.

2.Communication: Ultimately, Social Media is a tool for connecting and communicating on our vast and glorious information highway. Thousands upon thousands of people are able to access the content you share on social media platforms; therefore, the things you share should be said/posted/tweeted eloquently. There is nothing worse than reading someone’s facebook status that is littered with short forms (“lol” “nvm” “brb”). If you’re communicating a sentiment, a whereabout, a passion,  please do it clearly. Cut out the MSN lingo, unless your 140 characters is running out quickly. That is the ONLY time an “lol” is acceptable. Maybe.

3. Instagram foodies: As the self-proclaimed foodie of inanutshell, this  particular social media no-no tugs at my heart, but simply cannot be ignored.

Simply put: STOP POSTING PHOTOS OF YOUR BORING FOOD.

I love food. I live, breathe, read, talk about and photograph food. Does everybody want to see a series of photos of your scrambled eggs and toast? Probably not. Not even if it has a valencia hue to it. No body cares. Stop doing it.

4. The Pity Seeker: Fall is around the corner, which also means that flu season is riding its tail coats. Nothing upsets and disgusts me more than reading facebook statuses about how bedridden, snot-drenched and congested you are. Stay in bed. Watch a flick. Drink some chicken noodle soup. But for the love of god, sickies, stay off facebook.

5. Vain hashtags: You may think you’re great. Your mom may think you’re great. But announcing this to the world through the use of #vainhashtags is embarrassing. If you think you are beautiful enough to use any of the following hashtags you should probably close your twitter account and delete all of your facebook friends to save them from rolling their eyes at your own vanity: #fitgirlproblems #hotgirlproblems #malemodelclub #handsomeandiknowit #toohotformyowngood

6. Awkward selfies: Unfortunately, this social media faux pas extends over every single social media platform. To my dismay, it seems that wherever I turn, someone has posted a sexy smoulder on instagram, a look at me in my bikini twitpic or a duckface facebook profile picture. It is awkward to see these self portraits and then imagine how much time you might have wasted staring at the camera, in your  very own hand, to get the perfect, awakrd selfy. It makes the entire social media world squirmish. Enough said.

7. Personal Problems: Much like my distaste for knowing the read on your body temperature, I also don’t want to know about your lastest bad break-up, fight with your bestie or over all negative nancy attitude. This will immediately garner you an unfriend on any/all social media sites. Positivity is key and reading about how much of an asshole Kevin is for cheating on you with your best friend does not uplift my mood nor make me want to continue following your saga of a life.

8. The unwelcome hashtag: I LOVE a good hashtag. I think they can be the best online vessel for communicating a sense of wit or humour. With that said, hashtags should be used in moderation. An entire tweet composed of hashtags makes me anxious. Much worse is to see hashtags used all over pinterest and instagram, but the facebook offenders are the worst by far. Basically equating twitter with facebook, these offenders will litter the interweb with usually boring, uncreative hash tags, what some would call: #hashtaghappy. Moderation my friends.

9. Careless users: By all means, use social media to share and engage with friends and followers, but under no circumstance should you  ever share or retweet something that you haven’t either read or researched yourself. Social media carelessness can result in an array of problems from recieveing negative feedback to losing followers and a diminished network. Make sure to do a background check, even if it’s brief, before you retweet or share something that mayh not accurately reflect your personal views.

10. Share the Love: The last thing and possibly the most important rule of social media etiquette is sharing the love. If someone retweets or shares your social media content you should feel inclined to return the favour. And even if you don’t feel that way, you should still do it. It is a basic courtesy, the way that social media is meant to operate and, in the long run, will garner you a wider networking circle.

In a nutshell, these simple rules will keep you out of social media trouble and keep your followers and friends happy!

Five Friends…

Five nuts in January 2010

TGIF, nuts! As you’ll note from our “About Us” section – us five gals are very rarely in the same vicinity, which is one of the most wonderful perks of having this blog. It rounds us together when highways, commitments and life’s funny complications make it difficult to do so otherwise, sometimes for months at a time.

Have you heard about the project below? If you have two, five or seven best friends – it sounds like it would be such a neat idea. Similar to how the five of us will someday look back at (while still writing for it, of course) in a nutshell‘s archived posts to reminisce and laugh at the observations we made during this very transient and amusing period of our young adult lives – these guys chose to do so by taking the same goofy photo, at the same place, over the course of 30 years.

Think you’d try it? If you already have, send them to us – we’d love to see and hear your story!

Check this out: Five Friends Take The Same Group Photo for 30 years

Chef’s Night: great expections, poor execution

The corner of Richmond and Churchill Avenue. Somerset and O’connor. Bronson and Gladstone. These are the intersections of the up and coming dining scene in Ottawa. And when I say up and coming, I should truly rephrase and say: these are the intersections that will see Ottawa’s foodies through to the next wave of exceptional dining. The nation’s capital has been knocked down, teased, bullied for its lack luster dining culture. But when you really think about what the city has to offer, it doesn’t fall short of amazing, at least in the gustatory field. Exceptional dining is available at our fingertips and with places like Union and gezellig prepared to uphold the precedent, I don’t see that changing anytime soon. For that reason, whenever I attend chef’s night at Oz Kafe, I expect to be treated to the truly exceptional, exemplary displays of cuisine that Ottawa has to offer. I’ve written about Chef’s night many times before, simply because the experience is such a unique one. It’s not often that you are treated to the city’s creme de la creme, course apres course, for $25. It’s a steal and usually, something that each diner leaves raving about.

Except this time.

The last chef’s  featured Twitch (Michael Portigal) from Whalesbone Oyster House who has upheld an incredible reputation in the Ottawa dining scene. A few month’s ago, Chef’s night was graced with Twitch’s presence  and included a full blown decadence of the odds and ends of an animal (Spare Parts); it was a night that took every foodie for mouthwatering ride. This time, however, the meal fell short for most of the foodies that attended. The first course set each diner up for disaster. Because to start a four course meal with the best dish and progressively allow deteriorated dishes to hit the tables made each palette cringe.

I’m really sad to tear down a meal that had so much potential, but when push comes to shove, sometimes a tough critic provides perspective. It was evident that the meal was thoughtful and aimed to take a stab at creativity, but 3 of the 4 dishes sadly missed the mark.

         {Mushu Pork tongue with buckwheat pancakes, seaweed and watermelon}

Course #1: This was the stand out of the night, setting up the experience with a reasonably high standard. Although the buckwheat pancake was slightly dry, the hoisin allowed this minor fault to be pushed to the sidelines and the course was well received.

{Cured Mackerel, kimchi, taro gnocchi, oyster sauce}

Course #2: Mackerel dish was tasty, colourful and well executed although the stodgy gnocchi did not lend a helping hand to the dish. The kimchi kept the dish zippy, especially with an extremely oily poisson like mackerel.

 

{Chamomile, lamb, mint, strawberries and pistachio}

Course #3: Unfortunately this is where we hit rock bottom, with a dish that required far better integration of sweetness and acid. The lamb, despite this cut usually being well cooked, was cooked beyond repair. Scattered strawberries for that punch of sweetness was uninspiring.

{Sesame crostini, semi-fredo, beets, honey}

Course#4: I appreciate the innovation of this dish and understand what was meant to be accomplished. The charred flavour of the  sesame crostini paired with a savoury puree of beets had the intention of creating the perception of sweetness while integrating a smokiness to the dish. Without cloying on the palette by integrating this smokey element, the dish still was poorly executed due to the severe flavour of the not-quite-ripe-enough beets.

In a nutshell, a let down for most, but many will turn a blind eye to this disappointment and continue, rightfully, to praise one of Ottawa’s most revered chefs.

 

Food Pairings: the weird and the wonderful

“White wine with fish. Red wine with meat.”

Invoke the modern gastronome and you will find this philosophy is archaic, dated and limiting. No longer are we bound by the confines of what 1980’s etiquette dictated to our parents. Instead, we are free to explore food and the astounding matches found in wine (and beer and spirits).  From general observation, it appears that white wine has the upper hand in the world of food and wine pairings; however, and surprisingly to some, beer and spirits play their role equally as well.

In the goal of pairing food and (let’s use the sweeping term of) beverage, there are 3 C’s that will uphold usually very well: Cut, Complement, Contrast.

If your pairing achieves one of these, you’ve likely found a match made in gustatory heaven.

As many of our readers will know by now, I have been tediously pursuing the Sommelier certification and although this reads to many as “wine connoisseur”, it also requires some leg work in the field of beer and spirits. So below I have included a few of the obscure pairings that I’ve learned about and that are, in my opinion, definitely weird, wonderful and worth a whirl.

CUT

Right off the bat, lets dispel the belief of red wine with meat. Instead, ho hum, a white wine on the sweeter side of things (also known as: off dry). This particular dish requires a wine, high in acid but also balanced by residual sugar, that will cut through the fatty film and texture of pork belly.

COMPLEMENT

I know you are probably cringing as you look upon a glass of smokey scotch side by side a slab of salmon sushi. I was cringing too as I tasted this pairing with a group of (also cringing) well trained individuals. I was utterly surprised by the ability of each item to echo but not overwhelm the flavour of its partner. Many brands of scotch will uphold a smokey quality which delicately emphasizes the smoke of a salmon roll.

CONTRAST

This pairing may come as less of a surprise, as stouts and porters have long been paired with oysters. But, to be honest, I had never tried or even heard of this pairing. The idea is that the saline and slimy texture of the oyster will by contrasted by a dry and creamy Irish Stout. It works, although this weird and wonderful pairing may not be for everyone.

In a nutshell, the world of food and drink knows no bounds as to what can ultimately please your palate. So on this Friday eve, stretch your appetite and try something unexpected. A little exploration (and some guts at that) will undoubtedly lead you to a full tummy and dancing taste buds.

Midday Musings

In need of a little midday distraction? Well just like Katie’s divorce lawyer, I’m here to save the day! Behold, midday musings in a nutshell.

American Apparel, more vintage than ever
Thankfully, American Apparel is not in the news for the usual underage teen advertising issue. Quite the contrary in fact. Meet Jacky, a grey-haired granny with great style and youthful beauty. Discovered on the streets of NYC, she’s the newest face of AA’s Basics campaign, and while I’m not a fan of the brand per se, I do enjoy this concept.

Toronto Foodie, on a budget?
This Friday, July 6, marks the beginning of Summerlicious, the fabulous two-week event that allows the regular joe or jane to dine at the city’s finest restaurants, with a fixed menu and affordable price. If you’ve been saving up for a dreamy meal at the latest hotspot, take advantage of this genius event and be sure to make a reservation! Toronto Life has compiled a list of best bets from the 181 participating restaurants.

Closet Confidential
If you’re feeling really confident about your closet right now, I trust that what I’m about to show you will reverse that feeling entirely. Whitney Port’s closet. Need I say more?

Diane Fever
The Chanel Fall 2012 Couture show took place in Paris yesterday, and if we’ve learned anything from past seasons, all anyone wants to know is…what did Diane Kruger wear?
The answer, below.

Diane Kruger and Joshua Jackson at Chanel Fall 2012 Couture

Five planks of wood, a few nails and some paint – Ta da!

Craft-tastic
Sometimes those summer paychecks deserve only to be spent on weekend getaways, afternoon drinks and nights on the town – but our homes need some loving too! Enter the do-it-yourself fad. If you’re looking to release your crafty side this weekend, browse the best DIY sites on the web for inspiration:

PS I made this
Honestly WTF
DIY Network
Park and Cube

 

 

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Dear Mama

Mothers hold their children’s hands for a short while, but their hearts forever.  ~Author Unknown

Mother’s Day is Sunday.

And no, it’s not a Hallmark holiday created by greedy floral companies looking to cash in on the cream of their “May flowers” crop. It’s a day to truly honour those remarkably special women, who never cease to amaze, drop everything in an instant, or fail to come up with the perfect advice. It’s a day where “Thank You” really just doesn’t seem enough for the  most special people on the planet: our moms.

Kaylee & Dee

Speaking in very general terms, I know many women in their twenties have that epiphany moment where they realize just how much our mothers have not simply done for us, but devoted and sacrificed. All the while being patient, poised and impossibly preoccupied.

Sometimes I look back and wonder just how she did it. All of it. And hope I will one day be half the mother she is.

As inanutshell approaches its one year anniversary, I don’t think the timing could be any more perfect for this post. Because, like every lopsided science project, talent show performance, first day on the job and crazy new idea– our moms have played such a supportive and encouraging role for us and this blog we’ve come to love.

Meghan & Darla.

From helping us write our intro, to leaving us hilarious comments, sharing with coworkers, “liking” our Facebook updates (how trendy, Mom!) and most of all, being avid readers – they’ve never missed a moment to let us know that they’re all proud of their favourite (and only!) daughters.

Kate & Jackie

So here’s a big “Thank You more than words can say” from these five nuts, and really for all Mom’s out there, because truly what job is more important and what person more pivotal? And luckily, we are now old enough to appreciate that.

If you haven’t already planned what you’re getting your leading lady this Sunday here are a few tips.

Catherine & Louise

All tried, tested and true:

1)      Afternoon Tea
Obviously stealing this idea from our resident half-Brit, Kate, I treated my Mom to Afternoon Tea at the Château Laurier, in Ottawa, one year and it was one of the most enjoyable afternoons I’ve ever had. For $30 at the capital’s most elegant hotel, you get a choice of delicious tea, Victorian Scones w/ Devonshire cream and an array of tasty finger sandwiches. Sound a little too prim and proper? It’s really quite lovely.  Doing something out of the ordinary like this will definitely leave a special imprint on both of your memories. Not to mention it sets the scene for a great catch-up sesh. I highly doubt there’s any room left on the reso list for THIS Mother’s Day, but giving your Mom an IOU (and actually following through!) is a great plan if you still haven’t picked anything up.
In Toronto: Windsor Arms Hotel gets a great review
In Montreal: Fairmont Queen Elisabeth has a similar set up to the Chateau Laurier (AND it’s only $25)

2) Nordik Spa / any spa
It’s not the first time I’ve raved up Nordik Spa on nutshell. It is admittedly my favourite place to go in all of Ottawa. Well, it’s not exactly in Ottawa, but you get the idea. Located only a 10 minute drive from downtown in Chelsea, it is THE destination for ultimate relaxation. I actually prefer to go in the winter when running from sauna to hot tub includes a chilly jaunt through snow surrounded paths. But, for the over-worked momma it’s a “knock-it-out-of-the-park” kind of gift. Just make sure to go during the day, it’s more of a couple’s scene at night – and let me tell you, it’s not just the baths that get steamy.
Access to the baths is $45, so you’re looking at minimum $100 for the day. It also offers a wide range of other spa services from massages to body treatments (if you’re a baller). The restaurant is deliciously yummy too.
Although I can’t rave enough about Nordik, let’s be serious. Any sort of spa day for you & Mom would be a huge hit. Who doesn’t like getting pampered? I’ll answer that, no one.
Scandinavian spa near Toronto: Blue Mountain, similar in price to Nordik (2 hours outside TO, South Georgian Bay)
In Montreal: Scandinave, same company as above, in Vieux-Montréal

3) Nice Meal
It’s safe to say, most of the nuts are pretty big foodies. That might be why I love bringing my parents to new restaurants on celebratory occasions. It’s a classic way to treat someone and it’s always well appreciated. But, one year for Mother’s Day I decided to have my parents over to my place and cook up a huge spread for them, my boyfriend and I. Granted, this was a few years ago and was probably all the more impressive given that my mom probably had no idea I even knew how to cook – at all. But, I could tell by the huge smile plastered on her face for the entirety of the afternoon that she was impressed. Not just by the meal, but all the trouble I went to in preparing it. Nothing says you care like slaving away in the kitchen, and we all know how much our Mom’s have done that for us.

4) Pandora
As you can see, I like giving “activity” gifts. Not just for Mom but any person I care about and want to spend time with. It becomes especially important to me with my mother, however, because the hectic life that comes with being a young professional and part-time party animal means I really don’t see my Mom enough. But, if you’re going for something material, a Pandora bracelet is probably the perfect gift. Not only is it jewelry, which is obviously always a hit, but it’s personal. I bought my mom a Pandora bracelet for Christmas and my brother and I were both able to give her little charms that were significant and meaningful. Plus, you can stop worrying about what to get her for her birthday and Christmas for the next decade until her bracelet is full. It’s the charm bracelet of the 21st century and makes a lot less noise than the old fashioned ones. Hallelujah.

5) Breakfast in bed
I think most of us can automatically cross this off the list, since we do not live in our parents homes. But, seeing as this is a Mother’s Day post, I just could not bear to leave it off. For years and years Mother’s Day meant waking up early, forcing mom to stay in bed and my brothers and I marching one by one up the stairs to deliver plates of delicious breakfast foods, courtesy of my Dad. So, this one is not really for the gals but more for all prospective fathers out there. As much as my Mom probably appreciated the attention and having us all clamber onto her bed in an attempt to spoil (and not annoy) her, it’s a memory I love and will keep with me for all time.

Happy early Mother’s Day, Mommies.

50 Shades of Cray

And by “cray”, I mean that this book is filled to the brim with crazy, passionate and erotic literature that has thousands flocking to the stands to grab themselves a copy.

Hand behind the pen

Erika Leonard James began her career as an author writing online fan fiction for Twilight aficionados. In fact, her best selling trilogy series, 50 Shades of Grey, was originally based in the vampire love story of Bella Swan and Edward. James had always wanted to write books that captivated wide audiences, but put her writing on hold as she raised a family and worked as T.V. producer in West London. After realizing that her erotic Twilight fan fiction had the potential to grow into something much larger, James finally took the plunge and put her pen to paper.

The Plot

The first instalment of the trilogy begins with Anastasia Steele, the soon-to-be-graduate of Washington State University, finding herself in a mildly uncomfortable situation. Her roommate, Kate, is sick and cannot attend the coveted interview with billionaire Christian Grey. Acting as any best friend would, Anastasia agrees to fumble through the interview to get some material for Kate to work with for the school newspaper. Upon her meeting with Mr. Grey, Anastasia begins to recognize the previously extinguished coal of desire that rests within her and the inevitable transpires. But the road of love and lust is convoluted and multifaceted with Christian Grey. His world is a world of particular sexual taste, not limited to, but primarily involving BDSM. The inexperienced Anastasia is then faced with conflicting forces:  her sub-conscious (her voice of reason), telling her that this man will never be able to reciprocate her love and her inner-goddess (her voice of desire) who is desperate to engage in previously uncharted sexual territory. Their tumultuous relationship unfolds and takes the reader into an unfamiliar world where sexual fantasy meets reality.

Why all the buzz?

There have been countless pieces of sexual literary precedents, so what is the novelty of 50 Shades of Grey? Its following could be linked to the novel’s revelation of a sexually alternative lifestyle that has long gone undisclosed. But as E.L. James’ trilogy finds prominent displays in Chapters and other bookstores, North American culture is quickly becoming familiarized with alternative sexuality. 50 Shades of Grey challenges preconceived notions about sexuality and BDSM relationships. Aside from the social impact, the book is juicy. It’s sexy , and although it is no literary masterpiece,  many people around the globe just can’t put it down as they read through scenes like this:

 “Before I know it, he’s got both of my hands in his vice-like grip above my head, and he’s pinning me to the wall using his lips … His other hand grabs my hair and yanks down, bringing my face up, and his lips are on mine … My tongue tentatively strokes his and joins his in a slow, erotic dance … His erection is against my belly.” (Page 78)

Or this. . .

“Sitting beside me, he gently pulls my sweatpants down. Up and down like a whores’ drawers, my subconscious remarks bitterly. In my head, I tell her where to go. Christian squirts baby oil into his hand and then rubs my behind with careful tenderness—from makeup remover to soothing balm for a spanked ass, who would have thought it was such a versatile liquid.” (277)

Or this. . .

“He sighs, slides in beside me, and pulls me into his arms. Careful not to touch my stinging behind, we are spooning again. He kisses me softly beside my ear.” (366)

Controversy

Positioned in the heart of debate, 50 Shades of Grey has garnered severe criticism and is following in the footsteps of many sexually explicit narratives like Tropic of Cancer, Madame Bovary and Lolita. The aforementioned have suffered alike under the public eye of scrutiny and it appears that even texts of 21st century are not exempt. 50 Shades of Grey may be topping best-seller lists, but you won’t necessarily be able to find it in your local library. Specifically in the U.S. many libraries are choosing not to stock the books or to pull it from their shelves deeming the text sexually explicit and inappropriate material. But like anything that is denied, desire and demand for the object augments- which is exactly what has happened with E.L. James’ forbidden fruit.

P.S. On a lighter note, take a peek at Ellen’s hilarious reading of 50 Shades

Conquering Caesar: Canada’s cocktail

As in a nutshell’s resident nightlife correspondent, I feel as though that automatically makes me our Caesar expert as well. List off all the “hangover cures” you want – Advil, Gatorade, Big Mac, four litres of water, shower, quick run, slap in the face – while all are tried, tested and true, nothing does it for me like a cold and delicious Caesar. Extra spicy, of course.

In the good ol’ days when all the nuts lived in one place, after any big night out you could bet your first born that we’d be slothed around a brunch table, Caesar’s in one hand, head in the other.

So, it seemed a little too perfect when we were contacted by Mott’s Clamato to meet with Caesar expert Clint Pattemore to unlock the secret behind Ottawa’s best Caeser.

Over a delicious lunch at Murray Street restaurant we were treated to great food and two rounds of spectacular cocktails (yes, I returned to work afterwards. Sadly). What makes their Caesar the talk of the town? Homemade clamato juice, garlic, chipotle peppers and a secret ingredient – savoury spice. Not to mention it came with a celery stick topped with cheese whiz (!!!!!). If you’re into the traditional taste this one may not be your favourite but it’s smoky undertones definitely makes it a drink to remember.

Created in 1969, in Calgary by a man by the name of Walter Chell, the Caesar has now officially been named “Canada’s cocktail”. Right up there with poutine, smoked meat and Tim Horton’s, it’s true that whenever I’ve been away from the homeland I catch myself wanting, needing and craving the taste of that familiar and perfect combination. Not to mention, that irresistible spicy bean.

When asked why the Caesar has managed to climb it’s way to Canadian glory, Clint had what I consider to be the perfect response – it’s versatile. People can customize it to fit their particular taste. How true.

Bad balance.

And given our nation’s tendency to accommodate, how Canadian.

For Clint, whose job is basically to travel around the country promoting the drink –  (ummm, hello. Are you hiring?) he says the perfect mix is all about balance. No ingredient should overpower the rest – even spice.

He particularly liked it when I asked him if he’s a “mild or wild” kind of guy. Didn’t realize the nuts coined that term, but if Canada’s Caesar EXPERT had never heard it, I guess we did. Copyright.

Looking out for my Toronto home girls I asked what he considers to be Toronto’s best Caesar. Looks like Kaylee and Jess will have to try out a little place called Finn’s of Temple. Their wide variety of Caesar options means almost anyone could find something to suit their style. And get this, they have a VEGAN one. Somewhere Jess is doing a summersault.

Kate likes hers with pickle juice. And a side of hand.

For me personally, I consider Fresco’s Bistro Italiano on Elgin to have Ottawa’s best. But, as a spice lover their horseradish addition is what has me sold. 10fourteen also has a Caesar that will allow you to finish it off in about 5 seconds flat. Secret ingredient there? Fresh cucumber juice. Holy hannah, delicious. But, if you’re looking for the real deal hangover Caesar, head to Lieutenants Pump. $10 for a mason jar, complete with 3 shots of alcohol? … “We’ll all have one, thanks.”

However, aside from all the Caesar talk, perhaps the biggest lesson I learned amid lots of laughs with Mr. Pattemore, was his fun fact about tequila. Clearly doing his research on the nutshell girls (we love the stuff), he filled me in that tequila made with 100 per cent Agave is actually the healthiest thing you can drink.

Really not helping me cut down on the partying with tips like that, Clint.

Now, if you’ll excuse me I have a date with Canada’s favourite cocktail and some good friends. Happy drinking.