Monday, July 22, 2013

Summer loving: Sporadic posts until September

Readers of this site will have noticed that I have been an infrequent blogger these past couple of months. After trying to juggle family commitments, work and summer fun, it has became clear that I cannot focus on this blog at the moment. Nevertheless, I do plan to publish the occasional post, and to come back with regular posts in September after labour day.  In the meantime, enjoy your summer!

Monday, July 15, 2013

Blogging Chefs: Recipes from the local blogosphere

Photo by miamism courtesy of Flickr
(Creative Commons)

I was hoping to publish this yesterday for a Recipe Sunday post but other commitments got in the way.  Now that I have a few moments, however, here are some culinary suggestions by area bloggers.


Looking for a fun way to start your day?  Try these banana pancakes from Tea for Two Sisters.

Lunch / Dinner and Drinks

Gastronomy and Life's Other Pleasures cooks up yummy BBQ foil pack potatoes.

Food Gypsy can teach you how to whip up a muhammara red pepper dip.

After the Kids Leave has a chilled avocado soup recipe that can cool a hot summer day.

Speaking about beating the summer heat, Pep In Your Step shares the secret for making a super fruit pomegranate smoothie.

Barrhaven Bits has another thirst quenching suggestion with a recipe for punch.


Bacon Avec Bacon explains how to make the delicious sounding Andes mint chocolate chunk ice cream.

Culinarilyinclined has a post on how to prepare a blueberry tart.

Double Trouble Kitchen Edition offers tips for baking a flourless chocolate hazelnut cake.

If you like your sweet to be gluten free, you should check out the National Capital Vegetarian Association post on gluten-free donuts.

La Cuisine d'Hélène has a post on the delicious sounding fruit parfait with maple syrup.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Cycling in Ottawa

Photo by Urban Commuter courtesy of Flickr
(Creative Commons)

It's summertime, which means that people are happily pedaling outside on their bicycles.  To celebrate Ottawa's great cycling culture here are some bike-related posts from area bloggers.

Citizens for Safe Cycling (CSC) celebrate the 40,000 bicycle that was parked at Bluesfest.  In a second post, the CSC blog notes marking mistakes on the bicycle lane near the Museum of Civilization

Modal Mom has a long post on the debate at City Council to convert Main street into a complete street.  "Main Street is one of the first major street reconstructions in Ottawa where the preferred design includes a segregated cycletrack, an upgrade to standard width sidewalks and a reduced vehicle lane capacity in the rush hours to prevent rampant speeding in the off-peak hours," the post begins, before offering a detailed overview of the recent debate on the proposed project that took place at the city's Transportation Committee.

Finally, Green Living Ottawa has some links for different bike-related info in our city.  While the aim of the post was to advertise a new documentary called Bike City, Great City, which was screened earlier this week at the Mayfair Theatre, the post is still worth reading for its links.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Book Review Friday: Junk food, horror and young adult fiction

Photo by KellBailey courtesy of Flickr
(Creative Commons)

Here are some book reviews taken from the local blogosphere.  Enjoy and happy summer reading!

Health and Nutrition

Weight Matters gives two thumbs up to Salt Sugar Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us by Michael Moss.  "Pulitzer Prize winning investigative journalist Michael Moss has laid out the foundation and blueprints of the inevitable future raft of class action lawsuits targeting the food industry for knowingly and scientifically designing products that encourage their over-consumption despite their known and well understood risks," reads the review. "As for my endorsement - simply put - if you eat food you should read this book."


Ottawa horror writer Mandy DeGeit gives a glowing review of Cannibal Fat Camp by Mark C. Scioneaux and David C. Hayes.  Here is a synopsis from Mandy's post:
Miles Landish has a “huge” problem. Miles loves food. He eats when he’s hungry and eats when he’s not. Aside from the excess weight and health problems, his love of food has made him a social outcast. His appetite is so severe he can’t control himself if he knows there’s food around. When the high school principal catches Miles in a not-so-flattering moment amidst a trail of stolen lunches, Miles is referred to a doctor who sells Miles on the idea of attending a fat camp called Camp Tum Tum.
At first glance Camp Tum Tum is like all other fat camps. Every camper is overweight, subjected to controlled calories, lots of exercise and in Camp Tum Tum’s case, complete seclusion on an island.
Lose weight or lose weight, there are no other options here. At least until the counsellors are found dead, leaving the campers in charge. The only thing on their starving minds is: “LET’S EAT!”
How many hours do people read a day in different countries?

Interesting post from the Ottawa Sun column The Bookworm that answers this question.

Young Adult Fiction

As usual, readers of young adult novels have several posts to look at.  A Glass of Wine gives mixed reviews to Splintered by A.G. Howard, i.e. the characters are hard to relate to, while everything else is quite good.

Feeling a Little Bookish recommends Wild Awake by Hilary T. Smith. "[T]his book is anything but lighthearted," says the post. "It actually deals with mental illness and a young girl's descent into an episode. Kiri is a young pianist who is left home alone for a few weeks. One of her first nights alone she receives a call from a stranger saying that he has her dead sister's items for her."  This call starts a chain of events that takes Kiri on a tailspin.

Emilie's Book World also has good things to say about When You Were Here by Daisy Whitney, a novel about a young man named Danny whose mother dies.  "When he gets a letter from his mom's property manager in Tokyo, where she had been going for treatment, it shows a side of his mother he never knew," explains the review.  "So, with no other sense of direction, Danny travels to Tokyo to connect with his mother's memory and make sense of her final months, which seemed filled with more joy than Danny ever knew."

Kelsey's Cluttered Bookshelf gives two thumbs down to Life’s a Witch by Brittany Geragotelis.  "I received this book for reviewing purposes, and I thank the publishers for the opportunity but I really couldn’t get through it at all. I am not going to read the next book," says the review. 

Lost at Midnight Reviews was more upbeat, calling That Summer by Sarah Dessen "awesome."

Friday, July 5, 2013

Food trucks, restaurants and coffee shops

Photo of Play food & wine, 1 York Street,
by Lazy Artist courtesy of Flickr
(Creative Commons)

Looking for a new place to eat out? Fear not, as the list below reveals what local foodie bloggers are writing about area eating establishments.

Food Trucks

Ottawa has recently seen several food trucks take to the streets of our lovely city. To help decide which trucks to eat from, Gastronomy and Life's Other Pleasures has a couple of reviews worth reading.  The first is of Bonita’s Cantina, one of the new food trucks that recently hit the streets of Ottawa.  (The truck is based at 250 City Centre Ave.). Based on the review, it sounds like the Mexican-flavoured stand still has some things to work out:
Overall, I was not as impressed as I wanted to be.  I had ordered soft tacos but got hard tacos .... The fish (a white fish) was good, but it just wasn’t great.  Same for the beef, which, resembled chili and wasn’t exactly what I was expecting.... [Nevertheless], I will be back .... The truck has only been open a short while, so there is always some kinks that have to be worked out while getting an operation organized and ready to run at its best."
The second review described what is was like to eat from the Stone Soup Foodworks. According to the review:
Their menu was very small ... consisting of only 3 kinds of tacos, one soup (which was organic dahl that day) and a home made iced green tea drink. I opted for two tacos as this is their signature menu item that I had heard so much about.
The first was the adobo chicken taco with organic slaw, jalapeños and cilantro, which was delicious! It had such a great flavour but was not too spicy. The second was the Korean beef taco with local and organic kimchi, daikon and black sesame seeds. Wow! This taco blew me away: it packed a huge punch of flavour and a kick of spice, and it was fantastic....

I am definitely going to try and track down this delightful food truck again to try some more of their fantastic tacos!

For those looking for a sit down eatery, Peter Hum, the food critic at the Ottawa Citizen, gives a positive review of The Albion Room inside the Novotel hotel at 33 Nicholas.  "If more hotel restaurants were like the Albion Rooms, which opened in April in the Novotel Ottawa Hotel, I would not have such a dim view of them," he writes.

In a second post, Hum gave a mixed review to the Lost Canadian Smokehouse & Grill at 1675 Tenth Line Rd. in Orléans.  "As uneven as the eating was at the Lost Canadian was, I’m glad to have found it," writes Hum. "I’ll hope for improvements on some dishes, and sporadically crave a biscuit and gravy and some deep-fried candy, even if they will require a week of raw food to offset them.

Food Gypsy, meanwhile, has a good post on Le Bostaurus at 61 Rue Principale in Aylmer.  Initially the restaurant was so-so, suffering from a bad case of Opening-itus. (Read the review to learn about this annoying "disease" that afflicts many new food establishments).  Fortunately, the restaurant got better with time and now is well worth the visit.

Coffee Houses

For coffee drinkers, the local blogosphere has some tips on where to grab a cup of java and have something to eat. Capital Dining gives a good review of Morning Owl at 583 Rochester St., stating that their panini is a, "sandwich to brighten a rainy day, enjoyed fully and thoroughly in a great little place with a very fine fridge.

For its part, the great foodie blog If Music be the Food of Love, Play On gives a positive review to The Ministry of Coffee at 279 Elgin Street, which opened up on June 8, right across the street from the Boko Bakery.  "I have another coffee shop to add to my list of top shops in Ottawa," reads the post.

second review by If Music be the Food recommends the coffee shop Café qui pense, located at 204 Main Street.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Some art-related blogs

Photo by yooperann courtesy of Flickr
(Creative Commons)

Readers of this site will know that I love photography, and that I try to mention as many local photo-blogs as possible. One genre that I have not covered very much, however, are blogs by area artists and/or online sites that discuss art.  As such, below is a list of some local art blogs that are worth checking out.

Terre Sauvage is a Canadian and Aboriginal art blog written by Amy Prouty, an undergraduate art history student. According to her online profile, Amy was born in Oshawa, grew up in Muskoka, and now resides in Ottawa’s Chinatown neighbourhood.  Her blog is a fantastic source of information for anyone who wants to expand their knowledge of Canada's art scene.

A mouse-shaped cloud is a tumblr site that contains an eclectic amount of artsy material.  There does not seem to be a specific focus like Terre Sauvage, but the site is worth visiting as it contains a lot of links to very interesting work.

Another great blog is TheheARTbeatgal.  Due to my busy schedule, I have not been able to follow this site very much.  (Ditto for other art related blogs in the city).  However, I plan to change this, as one of my goals this summer is to start expanding beyond photography and paying closer attention to area artists.

Finally, while surfing the Ottawa blogosphere I came across a couple of blogs by local artists that I have never seen before.  I look forward to exploring the work of Mique Michelle and Brad McOuat in future online surf sessions.