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    Ottawa, ON
  1. So there was an old thread...I wonder how I missed it? Oh well, thanks for all the feedback. I personally don't really feel a need to break pasta but that was always how it was done in my family. Probably just a tradition that started when no sizeable pot was available.
  2. I've heard plenty of times that when cooking dried pasta you should never break the pasta prior to putting it in the pot. Is there any logical reason for this? I've searched the Internet and found references to "Don't do it!" but nothing that gives any rationale. Every other piece of advice regarding cooking pasta makes sense, and I would assume that after millions (billions?) of people cooking pasta for hundreds of years the conventional wisdom would be true. Can anyone prove or disprove this theory?
  3. Well, I can't offer any recommendations of my own (I'm another out-of-towner heading to the Open), but I can confirm that Don Pepe's is miles away from the tennis.
  4. mcsheffrey


    Whalesbone is very small, so with 10-12 people I would certainly call ahead to make sure that they can accomodate you. Meditheo and Au Claire de Lune have both made way for other restaurants (including Stella, mentioned by mkjr). The one with the large patio is probably Empire Grill. I know there are some people that enjoy it for drinks, but their food is nothing special and I've sworn off the place after 2 horrible experiences with snobby service there. The Black Tomato is still around and is still pretty good. Personally, I would go for the Black Cat Cafe, also in the Market. Maybe a little less inventive, but the food is always tasty and they have a fantastic patio at the rear in a quiet cobblestone courtyard. Vineyards! Yes, that is an excellent little wine bar. A little too dark for a nice summer evening, but especially when they have their live jazz setup going, it can be a fantastic spot to lose a couple of hours. Another great subterranean hangout is The Manx pub on Elgin St. They've got Ottawa's best on-tap beer selection (almost entirely Ontario & Quebec microbrews) and a fairly inventive food menu. It is small though, so it'd be tough to fit in a large group on a weekend night.
  5. mcsheffrey


    Your intuitions are pretty much exactly right. Kinki is definitely a sushi-fusion place...and not an especially great one in my opinion. Social serves some good food, but is better known for it's late night upscale party scene (which is pretty good). I'm not a big fan of e18hteen myself, although there are others who do like it. I've heard good things about Luxe and Stella but haven't been myself. If I were to choose from your list, I would certainly choose Domus. The food there is always superb. If your options extend beyond what's on the list I'd also recommend Beckta (which I give a slight edge over Domus), and Perspectives restaurant at the Brookstreet Hotel in Kanata (possibly too far away). Beckta is similar to Domus in many ways, offering slightly more modern uses of local ingredients, whereas the food at Perspectives is more southeast Asian (the chef formerly worked in this part of the world). Vittoria Trattoria is still good, but I wouldn't call it great and it's certainly not in the same league as these other places. Although, they do have a very extensive wine list. As for wines, I can say that I've been happy at the places I recommend, but I'm really no expert in this area. Beckta is owned by a former sommelier so I'm assuming that it would meet your needs.
  6. I've done it myself a couple of times but I found that the microwave doesn't manage to heat evenly throughout the glass. You need to stir it really well to make sure that you don't get one warm sip followed by a cold one (ugh). If you do that the wine seems to be ok, but I agree with Fat Guy that a proper taste test with all variables controlled for would be required to come to a conclusion. I certainly wouldn't have enough faith to subject a really nice wine to this treatment.
  7. Even worse, incorrectly repronouncing words I've pronounced correctly (generally happens with bruschetta): "I'd like an order of broos-ketta to start" "Broo-shetta? Sure."
  8. Assuming that everything will be done faster if you just turn up the heat on every burner...I mean, more flame equals a quicker meal, right? Even worse is assuming that I might be slightly mad for thinking that it could possibly affect the taste of the food.
  9. I think there's too much focus here on the cost side of the equation. There are two components to determining prices and demand is probably the bigger factor here. The amount of disposable income that people are willing to dedicate towards cocktails in a place like New York or LA is much higher than in the past. As wages have risen quickly across the top-end of the spectrum there are far more people willing to pay top dollar for a night out. As long as those people are out there, club and lounge owners have no reason to drop their prices. The best analogy that I can think of is sports fans who think that ticket prices are high because athletes get paid a lot. The surprise comes when a salary cap is imposed and there's little to no effect on ticket prices. It's the fact that people are willing to pay $50 for a 'cheap seat' that causes it to be priced that way. Same goes for $15 martinis.
  10. In Canada it's mostly the American chains, but we've also got our own equivalents plus a few extras: Harvey's - Burgers Mr Sub - Subway equivalent Pizza Pizza La Belle Province - Poutine (explained above) There's also lots of local fast-food restaurants that are mostly dependent on local tastes and, especially, which ethnic groups live in the area. Here in Ottawa we've got a ton of shawarma and pho shops, but little else. In Toronto you'll find just about anything.
  11. My favourite restaurant in Ottawa is Beckta and I think many people would agree. I haven't been since they recently changed their chef, but some friends have tried it and assured me that the quality has not suffered. As mentioned by others, Domus is another excellent choice. For Thai food, I find that there isn't too much variation in quality across Ottawa, it's all pretty good. I generally frequent Siam Bistro in the west end as it's near to me, but Siam Kitchen to the south is also very good and Khao Thai in the Byward Market has the additional bonus of good location and decor (although the portions are a little small). The only one that I would avoid is Coriander Thai because of its inconsistency and small portions. With regards to Japanese, Ottawa is not a great place to be. The only place that I would recommend is Suisha Gardens, which has a menu that goes beyond just sushi and the done to a reasonably high standard. Enjoy your visit!
  12. mcsheffrey

    Raw Eggs in Beer

    On HBO's The Wire I saw an episode where the dockworkers are drinking beer with eggs cracked into them as breakfast. I shuddered at the thought then....and I haven't changed my opinion since.
  13. I remember showing up for the first time expecting something along the lines of Schwartz's. I and my 3 friends had put off eating for an hour just so that we could save ourselves for Ben's....boy were we disappointed. The lack of effort really showed. It was an institution though, the tacky decor was actually the one saving grace in my eyes.
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