Ottawa – Pure Kitchen

Looking for something super tasty without the guilt? Well then Pure Kitchen is the place for you. This veggie/vegan restaurant is one of the yummiest places I’ve been to in Canada, the food was so fresh and made me feel so satisfyingly full feeling. Rather than the sluggish full feeling you get after going to a pizzeria or a burger joint.

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Pure Kitchen Ottawa – Vegan & Veggie restaurant

I know you mightn’t think a veggie/vegan restaurant is for you but trust me on this one, it is so good I have gone twice this week.

The first time I went I had the ‘Neatball’ Sub which was called ‘The Righteous’ on the menu. The veggie ‘neatballs’ were covered in marinara sauce and served on a ciabatta with the option of fries or a side salad. I ditched the top half of the ciabatta and got the side salad instead of the fries. If you are looking for more tips on how to make ‘cleaner’ choices when eating out be sure to check out my post 10 Step Guide to #FitSpo Dining. The second time I went I got the ‘Splendid’ sweet potato and quinoa burger, it was so yummy but not as filling as the ‘Righteous’.

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Righteous ‘meatball’ sub with a garden salad
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‘Splendid’ sweet potato and quinoa burger with a side salad (warning, it’s a bit spicy)

My friend got the Falafel wrap which is called the ‘Peaceful’ on the menu the first time we were there. It too looked so yummy, she also loved the almond milk hot chocolate (which was pink for some reason, but none the less delicious). The second time we went she got ‘The Liberty’ which was buffalo deep fried cauliflower wrap. She loved both but we both agreed that ‘The Liberty’ was nicer than the falafel wrap.

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‘Peaceful’ Falafel Wrap with half and half
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‘The Liberty’ buffalo deep fried cauliflower

There are two restaurants in Ottawa, I went to the Elgin Street location. It is really modern and bright, perfect for the dull Canadian winter days. They also have a take-away bar which you can get juices and coffees to go. I got the ‘flush’ juice to go which I drank the following morning, it still tasted super fresh a day later. According to their website they do both juice detox programmes and catering so if that is something you are looking for check out their website @ Pure Kitchen Ottawa.

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Pure, nourishing food for the way we live today, always fresh and always evolving

We finished our meal with a salted caramel almond tart, which was small to share, would have preferred a full tart to myself (being the fatty that I am). The second time we were there the lady serving us very kindly gave us a Homemade Dark Chocolate Peanut butter cup. Super rich, yet super delicious. Fun fact they also do cocktails, which I will be back to try.

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Salted Caramel almond tart

Food:                   8/10

Atmosphere:    7/10

Price:                  $12 – $18 CAD (Main courses)

This place is totally down my alley, I absolutely love it and will be back. I would definitely recommend Pure Kitchen Ottawa to a friend.

The Girl on the Go xx

Ottawa in 1 day

Ottawa isn’t a  big place but if you are in Canada and passing by you should see the capital. If you are traveling against the clock or simply don’t want to spend very long there, here are some of the must sees and dos in Ottawa that can be done in 1 day:

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Alexandra Bridge, Ottawa

1) Breakfast in the ByWard market – The Byward market is Ottawa’s hotspot for restaurants, bars and clubs. It is one of the more lively areas in Ottawa. If you have a sweet tooth like me, go and get your breakfast in Cacao 70. Their menu is filled with a huge range of hot chocolates, waffles, crepes, chocolate pizza, chocolate fondue aaaaand there are a few things for the boring non chocolate lovers. 

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Cacao 70, ByWard Market, Ottawa

2) Major’s Hill Park & Nepean Point – From the Byward market, walk up the steps at the end of York Street to Major’s Hill Park. If you look to your right you will see the statue. Follow the path, cross the road and make your way up to the statue. On a nice day you get amazing views of  Québec, The Ottawa River, The Parliament and Alexandra Bridge. (Great Picture opportunity).

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View from Nepean Point, Ottawa

3) Go get a coffee or gelato in Mantovani 1946 – This Italian café does the most amazing homemade gelato and little tea cakes. They have lovely big couches where you can sit and drink coffee and eat your gelato. 

4) Fairmont Chateau Laurier – Head back through the market towards the Fairmont Chateau Laurier. This is the hotel I recently had Afternoon Tea (which was super yummy) – Check out the review here.  Less importantly, guests such as King George VI and Queen Elizabeth stayed here on their trip to Canada.

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Afternoon Tea at the Fairmont Chateau Laurier, Ottawa

5) Parliament – The Parliament buildings are right beside the Fairmont Chateau Laurier, they are so beautiful and have stunning views of The Ottawa River. We didn’t do it but you can get free tours of the building and even go and sit in on Parliament meetings. To get your tickets, you have to go directly across the street to a building with a big question mark on it. Here they will tell you about what times the tours are on and all of the information you will need. So don’t walk up to realise you have to walk back down to get your tickets.

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Parliment Buildings, Ottawa

6) Go grab some lunch – There are some cool places to eat around centre town, one being Good Eats on Albert street (closes at 2pm), see review here. If that isn’t what you are looking for you are sure to find something you will like on Spark street. Spark Street is a pedestrianised street that runs through Centretown. Or you can check out Pure Kitchen, it is definitely my favourite place to eat in Ottawa. Check out the review: Ottawa Series – Pure Kitchen.

7) Walk along/ skate on the Canal – (depending on the time of year). The canal isn’t always open for skating during the winter, so it is best to take the opportunity if you get one. Just because it is open one day doesn’t mean it will be open the next it all depends on the weather. If it is closed the walk along it is lovely too.

8) Hop in an Uber and go and get some donuts – Suzy Q’s Donuts are a blessing to this earth. These freshly made donuts come in numerous flavours such as Maple Bacon, Salty Caramel, Boston Creme and Carrot cake. The shop is located a bit out of the city (6 min uber ride – maybe walkable from Centre town in summer) but they are definitely worth the trip.

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Suzy Q’s Doughnuts, Ottawa

9) The Glebe – The Glebe is an area just outside the city centre. It is about a 40 – 50 min walk from the centre or only a short 7 dollar uber. The Glebe is home to loads of quirky shops and restaurants as well as a huge Whole Foods Store and Cineplex VIP cinema. I recently went to this ‘adult only’ VIP theatre for the first time and oh my… it was revolutionary. These theatres have big black leather seats that could fit at least one and a half of me. Not only that but you can order food and drinks to your seat. As I said, revolutionary.

10) Get yourself some dinner – I have done many restaurant reviews on places in Ottawa, such as Ottawa Series – La BottegaOttawa Series – Vittoria Trattoria. So check them out and see if there is anything you fancy (Click on images below for details).

11) Hit the Market – Head back down to the Byward Market, (especially on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays) to some of the cool bars and clubs.

I hope this has been able to help squeeze a short but sweet trip to Ottawa into your plans. Honestly you don’t need more than two days to be able to see everything that it has to offer.

The Girl on the Go xx

 

Ottawa – Afternoon Tea at the Fairmont Chateau Laurier

How did you spend your Valentines Day? I spent mine sipping fancy tea and being treated like a princess in Ottawa’s Fairmont Chateau Laurier hotel.

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How cute are these little cakes and sandwiches

For many of you, afternoon tea might seem like over-priced leaves in boiling water and sandwiches the size of your index finger. I get that – that’s exactly what I thought too before my mum got a voucher for Afternoon tea for two in The Shelbourne hotel in Dublin and brought me.

Afternoon Tea is much more than what is presented to you on the little tower. It is an unique, intimate experience where you feel like you have stepped out of the real world, away from technology, into a world where you can spend quality time with friends and family.

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Anyway, back to my experience at the Fairmont Chateau Laurier. We were brought into the lounge and sat in massive armchairs. It was different to the one I had had before, there were two courses. We were given a few little sandwiches and then the tea and the cake stand came after. THE WORLD’S BIGGEST MISTAKE, although it seems like you don’t get very much everything is super rich so COME WITH AN EMPTY STOMACH.

The tea cart was amazing, I had never seen one before. It was wheeled around with all of the teas on it. You were allowed smell the teas and see which you would like and the server gave you your tea-pot there and then.

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‘What tea do you wa…. (pose for crazy woman taking picture of me) nt’

The sandwiches were nicer than the ones I had in the Shelbourne but the cakes in the Shelbourne were nicer than Fairmont. Overall it was close to a tie between the two places. It is such an amazing treat for a special occasion and in my opinion is worth the money you spend if you aren’t doing it very often. Great idea for a present.

Food:                     7.5/10

Atmosphere:        8/10

Price:                    50CAD (including taxes and charges, excluding tip)

Want to see more on Ottawa? Check out some of my other posts Ottawa Series – Pure KitchenOttawa in 1 dayOttawa Series – Vittoria TrattoriaOttawa Series – Good Eats and Ottawa Series – La Bottega.

The Girl on the Go xx

Igloofest Montréal – What to expect

Planning a trip to Montréal’s Igloofest but don’t know what to expect? That’s how I felt last week before I went. I didn’t know what to bring, what to wear or what it would be like. So I decided to share my newly found ‘Igloofest Wisdom’ with you guys!

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Here is a list of a few (7 to be exact) pointers and advice for your trip to Igloofest. Hopefully, by the end of this post you won’t feel as clueless as I did.

Layer up: When I was there I saw a lot of people that I assume forgot the fact it was winter… in Canada. If you are cold you just won’t enjoy it at all.Simple as.

Dress code: You can wear whatever you want, before I went myself and my friend looked up videos and saw that people dressed up, so we decided to do the whole ‘festival girl’ look with glitter and bright clothing etc. It wasn’t until the last minute that we panicked a bit, wondering if we would look silly, but when we got there no one cared. Some people were dressed up, some weren’t. It’s just a matter of personal preference. We had so much fun going to Dollarama (€ shop in Ireland) and buying loads of funny costumes and close to 100 pounds of glitter. (Warning, if you weren’t aware glitter goes everywhere and is a nightmare to clean up – but worth it)

Lanyard: When you get into the crowd up close to the stage it is so crowded that if you drop something you can kiss it goodbye, as it will be trampled into the ground, not to mention the ground is about 3cms of muck. That being said I would recommend getting a lanyard for your phone, it also means that you have your phone close by to take loads of pictures. Another one for your phone, make sure it’s fully charged. It is easy to get split up from your friends.

Bring cash: When I was there the queue for the cash machines were really long and I heard they had high charges. So bring cash and save yourself from the charges and spend more time enjoying the night.

Buy an Igloofest hat: Keep between 16&22CAD to buy an Igloofest hat, they are really big at the festival, every second person has one. I got one and I haven’t taken it off since I have got home, it is a really nice memento and a great way to rub in all your friends faces you were there (That was a joke – but not really).

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Mud-proof shoes: I mentioned in another point how muddy the place is, well that wasn’t an exaggeration. I wore boots and they were filthy by the time I got home, luckily mine were leather so were easy enough to clean. Whereas my friend wore runners, and not only did she get them so dirty her feet were also frozen compared to us in our boots.

Pre-book tickets: (if possible) Not only does it save you time on the night, (not having to buy tickets at the ticket booth and then join the long queue) but it can also save you money. There was a group of five of us so there is a special group deal online for big groups so be sure to check online before you go.

Hope you enjoy it, it is such a surreal experience dancing at a festival while it is snowing! Maybe I just find this so cool because I’m Irish and don’t see snow very often.

The Girl on the Go xx

 

Ottawa – Vittoria Trattoria

Hands down my favourite restaurant in Ottawa so far, and going one time isn’t enough! There was too much on the menu that I wanted to try that I’m going to have to go back.

The staff were so genuinely friendly and would come over regularly to check up on things (massive brownie points in my book) as well as being really accommodating for my dietary needs.

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We got the mussels to share as a starter, we opted for the curried mussels as a bit of an experiment and oh my gosh they were divine. The portion was huge and even though we were both starving after finishing half I was pretty full already. They came with bread which was amazing dipped into the sauce at the end. The actual mussels were quite small, I’m not sure if they are all a bit small in Canada in comparison to European ones. Despite them being on the small side they were so fresh and tasty.

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I ordered the ‘Pescatore’ – a seafood fettuccine and my friend Faye ordered a pizza, when our food arrived we realised they had given us the wrong pizza. A normal human mistake, the staff dealt with the situation in an extremely professional manner. They took my food back to the kitchen to keep it warm while they made a new pizza for Faye. They apologised profusely and returned with a fresh pizza and my dish steaming hot.

Faye adored her pizza, there was a generous amount of toppings and delicious thin base. I also really enjoyed my dish, there was lots of fish and a good portion but I felt the sauce was a bit bland.

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We got the house wine, it was okay, I wasn’t a huge fan but everyone has a different taste in wine. It was also quite pricey.

The atmosphere and the decor was authentic, candle-lit and intimate. There was an upstairs and a downstairs so there was loads of room. We went on a Monday night and I was surprised how busy it was, so be sure to book!

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I absolutely loved my overall experience here and although it is a bit more pricey I think it is really worth it for a special occasion or if you love a good Italian.

Food:                     8.5/10

Atmosphere:         8/10

Price:                     16$ – 39$CAD (Main Courses)

The Girl on the Go xx

 

 

Ottawa – La Bottega

I recently visited ‘La Bottega’ in Ottawa’s buzzy Byward market. Most people would simply walk by it as it looks like an Italian food market. However, in the back, there is a little restaurant that seats no more than 20 people and a build your own sandwich bar. Not to mention lots of fresh authentic cheeses, breads and antipasti.

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We went on a Saturday around noon and were surprised to see the back of the quaint food market come alive with people eating in the intimate restaurant and others hurrying around collecting fresh and authentic groceries. We waited eight minutes for a table. The staff were extremely friendly so we didn’t mind the wait (rude waiting staff is my pet hate!). As we waited we watched a queue form for the takeaway sandwiches which were all prepared on homemade bread. On my list to go back and try one.

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The menu had lots of options ranging from salads to pizzas, all at reasonable prices. We both decided to go with the veal cannelloni (pictured below). It was a perfect size lunch portion for someone who is hungry. We both found it really tasty, the ingredients felt fresh, however, the tomato sauce was a bit plain, and the food wasn’t very hot when we got it. Having said that we both really enjoyed our meals and were extremely happy with the service.

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I will advise you to bring an extra layer. We were sitting at the back of the restaurant so towards the end of our meal we got quite cold.

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Food:                       7.5/10

Atmosphere:        8/10

Price:                       9/10

Let me know what you think if you get a chance to try it!

The Girl on the Go xx

Ottawa – Good Eats

The reviews on TripAdvisor made this little place hard to ignore, with 4.5 stars I decided to make my way across town in the freezing January weather. I am so glad to inform you all that it was most definitely worth it – however next time I would consider the bus option (close to Kent bus stop), as its Business district location makes it less accessible to regular tourists.

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Does this place remind anyone else of the house from the movie ‘Up’?

If you like fresh food this is the place to go, our sandwiches were made with the freshest homemade breads and wraps, with unique filling choices. The sandwiches were all made to order which to me is always a good sign. We both loved our choices however, I felt the bread I got with my sandwich was a bit overpowering, the amount of it took away from the gorgeous filling. Next time I will definitely opt for the wrap option.

Left: Blackened chicken, Sriracha mayo, grilled red onion, roasted red peppers and greens. 8.5 CAD  

Right: Slow-cooked pork, Balsamic BBQ sauce, pickled celery, fresh cucumber, and greens. 8.5 CAD

The soup of the day was potato and leek, it was very different to what we are used to in Ireland. It was very thick, but did a good job in heating us up. In total, the sandwich and the little pot of soup cost us 12CAD.

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Small. Cozy. Simple.

As you can see the decor is extremely simple and casual which coincides with it’s ‘eat everything out of a takeaway container’ approach. However, at busy times the tables can be a bit grubby from other people’s mess.

Food:                           8/10

Atmosphere:            6/10

Price:                          8.5$CAD (Sandwiches)

The Girl on the Go xx