Friday, June 20, 2008

Ottawa Dragonboat Race Festival: Day One

Rideau Canal

This is our 2nd year at the Ottawa Dragonboat Festival - we spent a very busy weekend there last year (it's not a music festival, so we weren't sure how it would go), and they called us a couple of weeks before the festival this year, saying they'd received word that a grant they'd applied for to fund our return visit had just been approved so could we please come again? My Man was hesitant to accept, since it was my birthday weekend, but the Photographer's wife (the Designer) was free to come along and spend some time playing with me while the two of them worked the festival - so, voilĂ ! A road trip!

We drove up Friday morning, and had reservations at a new Ottawa restaurant for dinner that night. Murray Street: Kitchen | Charcuterie | Wine Bar (are there sweeter words in the English language than charcuterie and wine bar?) had opened its doors just that Monday, and we were looking forward to our visit very much. We were not disappointed!

The menu was double-sided, with one side listing charcuterie and cheese, and the other side featuring the appetizers, salads and main courses. We started with a selection of meat and cheese from the charcuterie page, which came prettily arranged on a large board, accompanied by some pickles and home-made melba toast. We also ordered a wonderful cocktail of watermelon and cucumber juice with vodka. Most refreshing!

The Designer and I, post-cocktail..

We then all shared the Murray Street's interpretation of poutine, made with spaetzle instead of french fries, and topped with duck gravy and local cheese curds. The portion size was just right - not overwhelmingly large - even between the four of us, all you really wanted was just enough to get a feel for the taste of it (which was delightful - the duck gravy is a stroke of genius)!

For our mains, the Designer and my Man decided on the pork, while the Photographer and I each ordered the fish and "chip" - three kinds of fish (pickerel, halibut and tuna) served over a long, rectangular potato pancake. The tuna was slightly overdone, but otherwise the dish was delicious - again, the portion size was perfect.

For dessert, I returned to the cheese menu - a lovely wedge of 7 yr old cheddar which made the inside of my mouth go all tingly.

The others split a deconstructed lemon meringue pie - and seemed to enjoy it very much!

We rolled ourselves back to the hotel, which was only a short walk away, through the quiet downtown Ottawa streets. As we walked, we noticed the setups on Spark Street for Ribfest, also taking place that weekend.....more on that anon.