Monday, July 28, 2008


I've been meaning to try Ichibei Japanese restaurant on Bank St. for a while now. It has a reputation for being very authentic and very excellent and was recommended to me by a reader. I did some scouting of restaurant review sites, though, and it actually had mixed reviews. So the other day Tracie and I, on one of our epic dates, had an early dinner there. It was much smaller than I had imagined, and had a welcoming, traditional feel. The waitress was dressed in kimono and brought us hot towels. So far so good! I wanted to try the Sukiyaki or something hot and non sushi as was recommended, but when there's sushi on the menu I just can't seem to order anything but! It's a problem. I know.

Tracie and I decided to share the sushi/sashimi combo at 43 dollars. Not cheap. It was beautifully presented and had my favorites, ika (squid) and the raw sweet shrimp with the head on (don't know the name). It was quite good, but I gotta say, I didn't think it was excellent. I've had salmon that melts in my mouth more, and I found the rice a bit chewy and dry. Just a bit.

I think i'll try Ichibei again one day and give the mains a try. Maybe that's their forte. But for the price, I think there are better places in Ottawa for sushi.

That's my report on Ichibei. I talk about sushi alot, eh?

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

I'm posting my very first picture! It's a weird one, I know. My camera is on its death bed, so Tracie took this photo for me at the Manx.

We all know the Manx (370 Elgin) has great pints and pub food, but the portions are outrageous! I had the Furlonger club and could only eat half of it. So the waitress crafted this cute leftover purse for me.
Hello Youth League!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

No More Nagina

The bad news is our beloved Nagina is gone. The good news is Bombay Dining is here and it's good! They've been open in Nagina's old spot at 217 Rideau for 2 weeks and I had the pleasure of tasting their lunch buffet yesterday.

Friends Emily and Jethro and I were looking for somewhere to eat in close proximity to the big LCBO and, looking for Nagina, we settled for Bombay Dining and sat down inside before realizing it was the same place. They've spruced up the interior just a bit and have a bigger buffet than Nagina did. There were no labels on the dishes, so I don't know what anything was called, but they had all the usual dishes: tandoori chicken, butter chicken, a chick pea thing, a vegetable thing, a zuchinni thing, pakoras...
My favorite thing and Emily's was a cardamom chicken dish with a greyish brown sauce which I've never seen anywhere else. It was delicious! In fact everything was. Everything was fresh and fragrant. It was lighter and more delicate than what you usually find at Indian buffet. And for only $9.95! (on weekends too!) Emily insisted, however, that I tell you their ice cream freezer was too cold and she couldn't work the scoop.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Back to Sushi

I just had a quick lunch at Sushigo in the market. They have a fridge full of sushi combos already packaged in plastic boxes for very enticing prices. But I opted for the more eco friendly option of ordering fresh and eating off a real plate. I ordered a salmon kamikaze roll and a dynamite roll (almost the same thing) and it came to 15 something, a few dollars more than the fridge combo I liked which had more variety and more pieces. Way to reward people for thinking of the environment.

So I sat at the front of the restaurant, feeling like a fish in a tank looking at and being looked at by tourists. The sushi was OK, sort of unelegant, unsubtle. Too much spicy mayo and cucumber. I'm not trashing Sushigo, It's pretty good for fast food sushi. Just get the stuff in the fridge. Next time though, I'll be back at good ol' Sushi Fresh.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Hippie Food

Here's a hidden gem for you. I was taken to this place for lunch by the young vegan cousin of my girlfriend visiting from Vancouver. I've known the market area for 7 years or so and never heard of Peace Garden, inside 47 Clarence. It's gotta be the hippiest place in town. And I love hippies!

On Canada day Kris and I ventured into the market to try to get food, not an easy feat. We were not in the mood to stand in line for an hour waiting to be seated somewhere and we were starting to get testy when Kris brilliantly thought to go to Peace Garden. We opened the door to the building and it was an oasis of calm. We both ordered Mother India's Thali Plate which consisted of a delicious dahl, Kashmiri curry, brown rice, a samosa or bonda and salad and chutneys. All vegetarian of course. Maybe vegan except for the yogurt and the lassis we had. The lassi was overpoweringly rosey tasting, but I'll give it another chance. The lady told me it was sort of an experiment and next time she'd add less rose. Weird.

So if you're looking for a quiet vegan friendly place in the market, with very fair prices, and a good selection of amazing looking salads, sandwiches, and Indian inspired stuff, I recommend Peace Garden. They'll be very, VERY happy to serve you.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008


Good Canada Day morning! It's very noisy here in lowertown, so I thought I'd get up and recall the dinner I had Sunday night with my very successful blogger friend, Tracie.

I am a lover of different cuisines from all countries. The only one I've had trouble with has been Korea. I was taken out for Korean food once in my university days by my teacher and he forced me to order bibimbap. I was put off by the fried egg and the vinegariness. It was just unappealing to the less adventurous me of 1999.

I am pleased to report that I've tried a couple more times recently and now I'm totally into Korean food! I've been to Alirang (Nelson, north of Rideau) twice now. The first time I had something with raw salmon over a bunch of stuff in a pot and stupidly ruined it by pouring the miso soup all over it. DUH! So that was unsuccessful. This time I decided to give bibimbap another go and I don't know if this is just a better restaurant than the one I tried in Toronto years ago, but I really enjoyed it. The fried egg integrated nicely with all the other stuff and it was just spicy enough and had some sweetness to offset the vinegariness which used to bother me.

I put my stamp of approval on Alirang. It's worth a trip just to see the neon jellyfish wall aquarium.