Tasty noms with Kyle MacNeill

at The Urban Element, Ottawa

Meena Peruvemba (CanWEA), Kyle MacNeill and Derek Lim Soo (GE) prepare the veggies at The Urban Element

The CanWEA board, and as many staff who could make it, went to The Urban Element last night for a team-building dinner. I usually shy away from team building things (I’ve have too many There is no I in team sessions, to which I usually respond, “Yes, but there is me, and also meat, so I think that says something”) but this one was good.

The Urban Element isn’t your average resto. You prepare and cook your own dinner, with the direct supervision of chef Kyle MacNeill and his assistants. Now it helps a lot that they’ve chosen very fine ingredients, and measured them out just so, and also have a properly set up kitchen and utensils, but we had to do the mixing, marinading and cooking.

What we made:

  • Grilled romain caesar salad
  • Kerr Farms flatiron steaks with asparagus and Yukon gold potatoes with rosemary butter
  • Toasted saffron couscous with chick peas, cashews, tomatoes and sweet peppers
  • Crispy fennel flatbread
  • Chocolate praline tart with frangelico sauce

It was good; very good. Really amazingly good. Great atmosphere and a very pleasant evening.

the awfully nice people on the 95 bus

This is a small posting of thanks to the folks on the OCTranspo 95 Orleans bus who put up with my cluelessness and large luggage on the very busy rush hour transit. I got to Ottawa station quicker than any taxi, and for only $3. I’m a fairly seasoned TTC rider, and you wouldn’t see that kind of friendliness at this time of day in Toronto.

surely I’m not alone … ?

Ottawa VIA Rail station has a circular spiral ramp that leads down from the concourse to the platform level. It has a smooth channel for a handrail which looks perfect for racing marbles or toy cars down.
Surely I’m not the only person who has ever wanted to do this? It looks so inviting!

a few loose tools on the workbench

Lee Valley make and sell good (if doggedly non-metric) woodworking tools. It would seem, though, that LV proprietor Leonard Lee has a rather unhealthy problem with Canada Post: postalproblem.ca.

His lengthy letters and full page ads in the Ottawa Citizen have an Incensed of Tunbridge Wells quality to them. It might be an idea to start hiding the sharp things when Leonard’s around.

Welcome to Big Turtle Country

We stopped in Madoc on Highway 7 last night for refreshments, and there in the Tim Hortons car park was a huge turtle. With its snake-like neck, thick bowed legs and saurian tail, it looked like an animated gothic footstool.

Just a little down the road, there was another similarly-szied beastie. I wonder if they were calling to one another? Maybe the voice of the turtle is heard in our land.

and the groundhog shall lie down with the cat

groundhog_cat.jpg
A sign of peace, or something, at the Parliament Hill Cat Sanctuary in Ottawa. We went up with Paul and Caroline. We stayed at the Auberge des Artes again. We ate too much. It was good.

back from ottawa

Just back from an anniversary trip to Ottawa. It’s the least “Capital City” capital city I know. Things we did:

  • Stayed at the Auberge des Artes (104 Guigues Ave [pronounced “gig”, if you’re having difficulty getting a taxi driver to get you there], tel: 613 562 0909). We stayed there when we were on our reconnaisance trip to Canada back in easter 2001, and it’s still great. Pierre’s whole wheat/buckwheat crpes are the best!
  • Catherine was actively sold a pair of shoes at Lou’s Boot Corner in the Byward market. I haven’t seen salesmanship like that in a long time.
  • Ate too much, too many times at Zak’s Diner.
  • Went to the national gallery, where they have a whale skeleton made entirely from lawn chairs.
  • Walked to Qubec over the Alexandra bridge.