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Tuesday, August 2, 2011

NOM NOM: Japanese Village

Keep you eyes peeled on Laurier St. in DT Ottawa, or you'll miss the tiny sign! Tucked away in the basement of an office building close to Elgin, the Japanese Village is a must to check out. Great for families, couples, or friends, JV can accommodate all occasions. I was introduced in college by a girlfriend of mine and was immediately addicted to the infamous sesame sauce that is served with the some of the dishes. Ive been back a few times since with newbies like I once was, due to my ranting and raving about how good the food is. Heck, I'd even bring my grandparents, whose idea of "different" cuisine is a Chinese buffet, here.

There are plenty of things on the menu, like sushi and such, but to get the best experience, order from the first part of the menu. Depending on the meat you choose, these plates range from $18- $26. It can be pricey depending on what you get, but the $ is worth it in my opinion. How many other restaurants in Ottawa do you get dinner and a fire show? Yes, they do the big flame thing, complete with making the shrimp dance. I went with the steak. You have your choice of Squid, Salmon, Steak, Chicken, etc. They all come with miso soup, and a small salad with a delicious sesame vinaigrette. As the chef prepares your meat and vegetables, you also get ginger sauce (I think) and the AMAZING sesame sauce (Both pictured above). Lastly, you get a small bowl of rice and some stir-fried bean sprouts. Enough food to leave you and your taste buds satisfied.

Aside from the great food, the entertaining chefs make it stand out. They are funny, make your food dance, and sometimes flip it onto your plate!

Friday, July 8, 2011

NOMNOM: Jabulani Vineyard and Winery

I was fortunate enough to tag along with my friend Kris (Of Mexican Night fame) and my DB to Jabulani Vineyard and Winery, located in Richmond Ontario, just off of Dwyer Hill Road. Being new to the world of good wine, this was a great learning experience that I would recommend to any foodie, or person who wants to explore what little old Ottawa and area has to offer.

The owners, Tom and Janet Moul introduced me to six different wines ranging from $13-17; 4 white, and 2 reds. I fell for two of the whites immediately. Frontenac Gris and Vidal was dubbed the "Girly Wine". Made with Canada's Ice Wine Vidal grape, it was light and refreshing. Tom said it was a perfect wine for "the girls" to sip on a lazy summer afternoon. He was right, although most of the men loved it as much for girly!

The one I took to a little more was the Frontenac Gris & Un-oaked Chardonnay sur Lie. It went down smooth when perfectly chilled and had a great fruity-pineapple flavor that really stood out to me.

As a white wine lover, I was hesitant to try the reds, but seeing as I was at a Vineyard, it seemed to be the best time to experiment. Marquette, Cabernet Sauvignon & Cabernet Franc was a red I really enjoyed with my steak dinner. Maybe it was the dark chocolate finish?

While I am certainly not a sommelier, the Jabulani Website has great in depth notes, if you are curious.

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Saturday, June 25, 2011

NOMNOM: Organic

Continuing from my last post, here are some thoughts on my newest venture to Market Organics. I originally went to find more natural chocolate since cutting back on refined sugar is somewhat of a resolution Ive been meaning to work on. This is what I ended up with. Go in for one, come out with more...isn't that always the case? Damn you, clever marketing! Feel free to tweet me if you have any recommendations on other products. I'm always eager to try new things :)

Oskri Coconut Bar in Mango
Halal, Kosher, Vegan, Gluten Free, Lactose Free.

Moist Coconut flavor, with a wave of a sharp mango bite..slightly perfume-y almost. Certainly gives a boost of flavor, but I'm not sure it's a flavor I would be able to deal with eating an entire bar in one sitting. The aftertaste, however was a nice subtle coconut flavor. I got this for my boyfriend, but found out after he doesn't like coconut (Go figure! haha). I don't normally like mango, but figured I would give it a try. Good as a snacking an alternative to a chocolate bar. Although this mango one wasn't my favorite, I will try the other ones to see if that bite is evident in all of them. Only 3 Ingredients: Coconut/Rice Syrup/Mango.

Krisda Natural Soda
Canadian Made.Comes in Blood Orange, Black Cherry, Root Beer and Cola. Gluten/calorie/sugar free.

Sweetened with Stevia and "Erythritol" which doesn't affect blood sugar, cause bloating, or tooth decay like regular soda can. BONUS! has 20% DV of Vitamins A,C, & E. Released to the public in April of this year. I tried Black Cherry, and Blood Orange. This is the stuff that made me come back twice in one day. Just enough flavor and sweetness with a smooth, light fruit flavor. Certainly not as sugary and artificial as mainstream pop. The only downside I noticed was a very slight aspartame-like aftertaste. But, it wasn't strong enough for me to dislike it. I'm not a huge soda fan, but this is a nice change. If you can get your hands on it, TRY IT!

Green and Black's Organic Chocolate
70% Dark Chocolate. Sweetened with Cane Sugar.

The whole reason I went to Market Organics in the first place! No taste difference between this and a regular dark chocolate bar although this has better-for-you cane sugar. Slight bitter taste as anticipated, but the soft liquid mint center balanced it out nicely. Although it has 17g of sugar per 6 piece serving, there is 7% DV of Iron and 3g of Protein. The company makes quite a few other flavors. I have yet to try the milk chocolate with sea salt..Mmm

Thursday, June 23, 2011

NOMNOM: Market Organic Review

The past few years in terms of my adventures in food have been a great experience. Growing up in a small town outside of Ottawa in a "meat and potato" kind of family didn't exactly give me access to international tastes or a bounty of healthy alternatives. From this, you can understand that a term like "Organic" was alien. Luckily, during a stint as a gourmet food shop employee, I came across Kiju Organic Lemonade. I was hooked.

A few months ago a few people highly recommended a place called "Market Organics" on York Street. Ive been there a few times now and will certainly go back. Set up like a small grocery store, MO is very clean and organized into semi regular aisles. Plenty of space to browse and explore the "all natural" side of life. Besides fresh vegetables, take home meals, and bulk grains/nuts/mixes, there is an extensive health supply section, freezer aisle, and "junk" food corner. The staff probably thought I was a little crazy showing up twice in one day for an AMAZING soda I am slightly addicted to now. More about that in my next post.

So far, I've tried Puffin Peanut Butter cereal, the infamous Kiju Juices, and some organic vegetables in addition to my next posts' products.

Lastly, if your looking for a change in your bath/beauty products, try Dr. Bronner's fair trade Magic Soaps. The bottles come in three sizes and in an array of blends. Made with organic oils, Ive tried the Tea Tree for my body, and Peppermint for my face as a pick-me-up in the morning.

Ok, Ok, I'm rambling... bottom line: If you like organic, or are curious about it, do yourself a favor and check this place out!

Monday, June 13, 2011

NOM NOM: 4 Ingredient Summer Salad

A friend who was allergic to pretty much everything made this one night a few summers ago. The best part about this salad is that it's a nice change from lettuce and you can customize it however you like. Try different colored peppers, zucchini instead of cucumber, or your favorite kind of tomato. This serves 3-4 as a side.

What You Need:

- 3 Roma Tomatoes
- 1 English Cucumber
- 1 Medium Green Pepper
- Kraft Greek w/Feta and Oregano Salad Dressing

What To Do:

1. Cube the vegetables into bite size pieces.
2. Toss with salad dressing in large bowl

...I don't even think that second step was necessary, haha.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

NOM NOM: Jalapeno Poppers

I was given a link to this awesome website called Gina's Skinny Recipes and came across a healthier, cheaper, and in my opinion BETTER version of Jalapeno Poppers. I dare you to eat just one!

**This recipe was adapted from

What You Need:
- 9 to 12 Jalapeno Poppers
- Half a 250g container of Light Cream Cheese or if you can find it, Cream Cheese with Chives. I found a good one at Farm Boy
- 1/2 cup Shredded Cheddar Cheese or White Cheddar
- 2-3 Beaten Egg Whites
-2 Tbs Minced Green Onion (Skip if you have it already in the cream cheese)
-1/2 cup Panko Bread Crumbs
-Dash Garlic Powder, Chili Pepper, and Black Pepper to taste

What To Do:
1. Preheat oven to 375 and cover a baking sheet with tin foil.

2. In one bowl, combine cheeses, and green onion. In another bowl, mix spices and bread crumbs. Shake up a bit before using as the spices will settle.

3. Wearing gloves if needed, split jalapenos lengthwise, removing stem. Hollow out and remove seeds. If you like it a little hotter, keep some seeds.

4. Fill Jalapenos with cheese mixture, spreading flat.

5. Beat the egg whites in a small shallow bowl..use three if you plan on using all 12 peppers. Place the bread crumb mix bowl beside this one, and the baking sheet beside that. Less mess!

6. Coat the peppers in the egg, then roll in the bread crumbs and place on the baking sheet.

Do this until all are done. Bake for 20-30 minutes or until the tops are brown and the cheese is bubbly. Serve hot.

NOM NOM: Mini Photo Montage

A few weeks ago I visited the Lansdowne Farmers Market for the first time. I had been meaning to for a while now, but just never got the chance. I will certainly be going back! Although smaller than I thought, they had great variety in the types of foods. Among the fruit and veggie stands, there were specialty meat vendors, (Think Elk, Bison, etc) flowers, a band, Art-Is-In Bread, and DELISH foods to go. Below are some of the goodies I couldn't pass by. Art-Is-In Olive Bread...if you can get your hands on some of any their will never go back. I used to work at a catering/food store and we had sandwiches made with their bread..HUGE hit. Incredible fresh Lemonade...watched the girl press it by hand..not too watery, sour, or sweet..just perfect. It seems the people who were at this stand were a family of four. Nice to see the love of food carry on. At the same stand as the lemonade, I picked up grilled sweet potato spears with garlic dipping sauce. If your a sucker for sweet potato spears like I am, try this the next time you fire up your BBQ as a side dish..or main..I won't judge. My DB and his sister also got some authentic Indian food that was in another stand. If your in the Ottawa area this summer, check the farmers market out. While the one in the Byward Market is where most people go, you wont be disappointed by this one.