almost day-trip to ottawa

i was in ottawa friday evening and saturday morning: i had a presentation to do for work, and then i hung out with a friend of mine and her boyfriend, who lives in downtown ottawa, right next to the byward market, and therefore, right next to a bunch of restaurants, cafés, etc.


my friend and i had breakfast at the empire grill. the menu seemed good (they have a breakfast poutine, and red velvet pancakes!). i had the classic (eggs, bacon, potatoes, toast & preserves), my friend had the granola with fruits.

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i enjoyed my breakfast. the service wasn’t great though: they forgot my toasts & preserves, and when i asked for the toasts, i got toasted, non-buttered bread. no preserves. i wasn’t very impressed.

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but the bacon… omg their bacon was awesome!

the location was nice: we ate on the terrasse, the weather was great, and the noise level from the street was rather low (it was so much better than eating on a terrasse on st-denis in montreal, there were so few cars passing by!).

Empire Grill
47 Clarence Street

afterwards, i finaly got to check out the cupcake lounge, which my friend had told me about at least a year ago. we talked a bit with the woman at the counter: she asked me if there were cupcake shops in montreal, and which was the « weirdest » flavor i had tried (so far, i’d say maple-bacon. i gotta expand on the « weird » cupcake flavors!).

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their nice counter

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the key lime cupcakes

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the lemon-coco cupcakes

they have a weekly menu: their classic flavors are there everyday, and their other flavors are on a schedule. well, i was in luck, the flavors i wanted to try were available! i took 4 cupcakes to go: strawberry, lemon-coco, key lime (the woman at the counter pointed it out to me, i can’t believe i had missed seeing a LIME flavored cupcake :D) and maple-bacon.

the icing got smushed on my way back to montreal, unfortunately. i couldn’t take as many pictures as i would’ve liked of them. oh well, i’ll have to go back ;)

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the 2 that were the least damaged: lemon-coco and strawberry.

the strawberry one was very good. very moist, with a nice strawberry flavor to it. the icing had tiny bits of strawberry in it.

the maple-bacon one was good too. there were bacon bits IN the cupcake AND the icing. it was pure bacony-maple-y goodness!

the lemon-coco was good. good texture, moist, the toasted coconut on top was great. the cupcake itself could’ve been more lemony (i know, i’m a lemon fanatic, there’s never enough…).

the key lime was good. just a hint of lime in the cupcake, the icing had just the right amount of cream cheese in it (i’m not a big fan of cream cheese icings, but this one was really good!). again, i would’ve liked more lime in the cupcake/icing.

their other flavors that i’d like to try: ginger-lemon, apple dulce de leche, almond raspberry, carrot, espresso and hazelnut chocolate.

they are slightly bigger than the montreal cupcakes i’ve had so far, and they had just a bit too much icing for my taste, but those are minor details. i’ll definitely go back on my next visit :) i recommend them very much, especially for their flavor variety!

The Cupcake Lounge
6 Byward Market Square (corner Clarence)

afterwards, i made a stop at the french baker / le boulanger français, for macarons.

they had plenty of pastries and desserts to choose from, as well as some local products. i found a rhubarb-ginger jam, from the moss berry farm. (i’ll update this post once i’ve tried it.) (update 20.5.2012: the jam is really good. not too sweet, good texture, great taste!)

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they had hazelnut, vanilla, raspberry and pistachio macarons. i took a pistachio and a raspberry to go, along with my jam. the total was expensive (my friend was telling me that each macaron costs 3$(!), and that they’re a bit bigger than the montreal ones). sorry to say, but i found them to be about the same size. and they didn’t seem very fresh either: they were rather dry and chewy. the pistachio one tasted good, but the raspberry was too sweet, and not raspberry enough. i found they were not worth the price.

The French Baker
119 Murray Street
801 Bank Street

i left soon after. i had wanted to have dinner at café indochine (105 clarence street). my friend said they were good. she also recommended saigon (85 clarence street). those will be for another visit.

in a fun coincidence, many other friends were visiting ottawa last weekend. one of them went to thimblecakes (369 bank street), to get cupcakes for a bay shower. i’ll have to ask her how they were :)

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