Category Archives: Happenings

Juno Awards: All about the Eats

IMG_2929An edited version of this post also appeared in APT613. Music and food are universal unifiers. Whether or not individual palates synchronise we agree that both bring us together. So it is no surprise that the organizers of the JUNO Awards Gala dinner held this Saturday April 1st at the Shaw Centre in Ottawa pulled out all the stops to ensure the luminaries of Canada’s music scene have a memorable and pleasurable evening.

Shaw Centre’s Executive Sous-Chef Jennifer Sands and team bring all the flavourful IMG_2873goodness blending haute contemporary cuisine to an exquisitely comforting menu. Chef Sands, JUNO Awards CEO and President Allan Reid, and Sam Roberts did a fantastic and entertaining job showcasing the food, drink and the JUNO experience at last week’s media tasting.

IMG_2910Starting us off was a duck and chutney crostini; cured and smoked duck breast hugging a nest of caramelized Macintosh apples. The salty and sweet paired beautifully to the Steam Whistle Pilsner that cut through any potentially heavy duck aftertaste.

A lightly breaded goat cheese croquette – gluten free, as was the whole menu – served with a beet root and spinach salad on a savoury pumpkin seed pesto will delight diners with its fragrantly healthy and rich flavours. Jackson-Triggs complemented the salad winningly to a crisp and zingy Sauvignon-Blanc.

The piece de resistance is undoubtedly the 48 hour marinated low cooked Wellington IMG_2916County short rib beef nestled with a creamy polenta and butternut puree alongside only just-cooked heirloom carrots and beans. As Chef Sands aptly stated, “Slow and low makes the perfect decadence.” This meal is the foodie equivalent to a heartfelt cuddle. Del Rollo of Jackson-Triggs selected a fruity and warm Merlot 2015 that ignited the savoury depth of the entrée nicely.

IMG_2882It remains to be seen if following that feast JUNO guests will be able to tackle dessert. If they do however they are in for a creamy chocolaty treat as the final course of hot chocolate cheesecake with hidden chocolate ganache hits the table. Let me tell you it is worth it even if all you can manage is a bites of the richness with the beautifully light and refreshing raspberries sat on top. For those that can’t get enough of a good sweet Chef Sands has you covered tucking in a delicious marshmallow meringue shard.

A taste of the menu and a taste of the JUNO experience was beautifully served up by six times JUNO award winner and all around stand-up guy Sam Roberts who spoke to the camaraderie and quality of the evening where musicians come together for a rare evening amongst their own. APT613 was thrilled to get a taste of the menu and the JUNO experience.

 

 

 

 

Common Eatery: Offers uncommonly good fare

Town and Oz were followed by El Camino, Datsun then Pure and Whalesbone opened branches; Elgin street is experiencing a full-on foodie renaissance and it’s latest contender comes in the arrival of new-to-Ottawa gem Common Eatery.

Common EnMasse

enMasse adorns a wall of Common Eatery

The restaurant, which opened several weeks ago, is part of wider collective aptly named Common that includes the Common Concept Shop next door, Le Petit Salon and the Eatery itself only opens in the evening to operate as Morning Owl coffee during the day. The thinking here is an inclusive destination experience and what a pleasure to amble over to browse fashions between courses.

The Eatery fronted by a glass wall overlooking the pedestrian-favorite strip is casual urban-chic with impressively simple design details.  Polished teak chairs flank long shared tables, a bar runs down one side of the restaurant with brushed gold stools from which you can watch mixologists and chefs work their craft. White walls are minimally adorned by internationally renown graffiti artists enMasse (wow!) while oversized wheel-lights hang heavily overhead creating an relaxed loft cum resto effect. Even the well appointed toilets get some clever art that carries the ambiance gracefully throughout.

To the fare: skillfully constructed drinks, paired with a delicate yet ferociously flavoursome menu served at a price point reflective of Montreal and Toronto rather than Ottawa’s frequently overvalued offerings.

Common Some Ting Lemonade

Some Ting Lemonade & elegant teak seating

The cocktails ($9-13) are creative, colourful and complex.  With quality ingredients and skilled staff a well mixed, artistically presented concoction is assured.  There is a range of beers and ciders from $5-$8, a limited yet reasonable wine list and a flute of Veuve Cliquot (hurrah) is an absolute snip at $8.

The menu’s shared dishes are handsomely presented as much a treat to the eyes as to the palate. The varied flavours include seafood offerings, Asian bites, a Caribbean salad, southern vs Korean ribs and a fantastically artistic tenderloin.

Common Wontons

Flashed Wontons

Firm favourites around our table include the vegan Flashed Wontons ($6) –large stuffed wontons with a rich even meaty texture – a lovely and generous shared starter. The Toke salad ($8) offers a burst of fresh flavours with jicama fragrantly sweetened by mango and peppered nappa enhanced with a chilli-ginger vinaigrette and topped with crisp wontons and nuts – conclusion: we could eat a salad bowl full of this outstanding dish, we’ll be back for more and

Common Toke

Toke Salad

surely trying to recreate a version at home.

Squid Ink Ravioli ($12) gets full marks for presentation but was one of the less overwhelming plates with the lobster filling needing greater seasoning however the Crab Cakes ($11) were a resounding win making this late 90’s dish a new star for 2016 in Ottawa. Each delicately fried bite was rich with luxurious crab meat and the accompanying aromatically flavoured mayo a perfect complement. The Scotch-Egg ($6) light, gooey and topped with chorizo was one of the best I have had in the capital. A meaty challenge, the 2-Way Ribs ($12) pitted Louisiana vs Korea in double-header that will delight any carnivore.

Common Ravioli

Squid Ink Ravioli

If this first visit is anything to go by –  and we will be back to ensure the extraordinary quality and price point remain – then rest assured that Common Eatery is uncommonly brilliant and an outstanding choice for a quality evening.

 

 

 

Common Eatery
380 Elgin Street
Monday – Sunday 5PM-Late

 

Fringe 2016: AborAmor

Join Ottawa Stilt Union (OSU) on the Tabaret Hall lawn at Ottawa University for a wordless play cum acrobatic-dance performance that features comedy, love, stilt walking, an accordion player and a towering tree.

ArborAmor1

You’ve likely seen OSU at countless Ottawa events including Canada Day Celebrations as they stride athletically around events engaging with the crowds and delighting kids but they a troupe with many talents; most notably producing quality plays – bilingual and unspoken – hosting the monthly “Youppi Club” at varying central venues across the capital, and delivering acrobatic and stilt walking classes.

AborAmor as the name suggests plays on the themes of romance and nature as two tango dancers struggle to expand their duet to a threesome. Will jealousy rule the day or can love win out? Get yourself down to the lawn of University of Ottawa’s Tabaret Hall for this Ottawa Fringe outdoor performance suitable to all ages, engage with the performers and be enchanted by the whimsy of OSU and AborAmour.

Note as well as a 6PM performance on Friday there are two matinee performances on the weekend perfect for children of all ages.

Ottawa Fringe Festival 2016
ArborAmor
Tabaret Lawn, 550 Cumberland at Laurier/Wilbrod
30 minutes |Comedy | Play/Dance |Family
Friday June 24, 6PM
Saturday June 25, 2PM
Sunday June 26, 3:30PM

Eye Spy: Yoga in the Hood

A local complement to ‘yoga on the Hill”, Sandy Hill is now fortunately funky and excited to welcome “yoga in the Hood”!

yoga on taberet

Yoga on Tabaret lawn – photo courtesy Twitter.com/uOttawa

The weekly Monday noon hour class is held outdoor on Tabaret Hall lawn hosted by the wonderfully skilled practitioners at Elevate Yoga on Elgin St.

Classes are hosted by a variety of teachers so you can expect a different challenge and focus at each session. Here is a link to the full schedule.  Hopefully these free sessions will bring new converts, provide a quick practice for the dedicated and reawaken the passion in some who have simply not kept their practice up.

To borrow Elevate’s Twitter hashtag, #GetBentDoYoga. See you locally on the lawn.

Cantares at the NAC: A Latin Jazz Journey with Claudia Salguero

An edited version of this review was published by Apt613.ca

Our Apartment 613 contributor caught up with musician and visual artist Claudia Salguero in the run up to Cantares, her 6th annual Latin Jazz concert at the National Arts Centre.

A collaborative multi-cultural effort, Salguero will present a range of hand-picked Latin Jazz songs and be joined on stage by 10 musicians from nine different countries including: Peru, Colombia, Canada, Mexico, Chili, Brazil, Great Britain, Togo and the US.

Claudia-Salguero-Latin-Jazz-3

Salguero and musicians in concert

A traveller herself, Salguero hails from Columbia making Ottawa her home since 2001 while “never forgetting her roots.” Speaking of Bogota, Salguero shared “We grew up dancing and listening to music. We have it in our blood” and it is this gift, her love of Latin Jazz, that will be showcased at her concert.

Her expansive artistic scope and embrace of cultural diversity has guided Salguero’s curation of the program. Audiences can expect music beyond the familiar salsa and merengue strains and look forward to romantically emotive boleros, explore the African and Spanish roots of Latin Jazz and take in Latin-styled interpretations of North American jazz classics.  “It is not all Latin American music. I love old jazz and you will hear universally familiar classics interpreted in a Latin America style. “

“I sing songs that have meaning to me and that transport me.” Salguero has hand-picked compositions that deeply moved her, that are rich in emotions and that steeped in cultural history.

And it isn’t simply the music that elevates this performance but the dialogue that Salguero brings as she expounds on the compositions; their origin, the instruments on stage and her personal interpretations of the songs. “Though I sing mostly in Spanish I explain every song, what is happening in the narrative and why it touches me.” As the instruments change with the songs it provides a further opportunity to engage the accompanying musicians in the dialogue and deepen the experience for audiences as countries of origin and meanings are explored.

“Every song is different from the last. People like that and the interaction and conversations with the musicians on stage.” said Salguero, “Many people share that they come to the concert with an expectation of Latin American music and leave with a new and fuller understanding of the music, the countries, the instruments and the stories.”

Salguero is flattered by the interest and attendance at her concerts which are frequently sold-out and the opportunity it provides for her and the other musicians.  As such, a portion the proceeds are donated to further the advancement of artistic talents back in Bogota.  Salguero has always selected a foundation to donate to and for a 2nd year the proceeds will go to Casa Taller Las Moyas, a charity in the impoverished Barrio San Luis that promotes and teaches music, art, cooking and other skills to underprivileged children.

“We chose this charity as it mirrors my outreach as an artist here in Ottawa. I work in different communities to bring the artistic experience to low income children and neighbourhoods.  My projects are often about creating art objects, be it a mural or piece of visual art, with the idea that “art creates a better society.” Participants learn about equipment, techniques and produce a tangible work that is a lasting part of their community. This outreach is about empowerment and belonging while learning a skill that hopefully leads to further work.  When I visited Casa Taller Las Moyas, saw their work and the impact they were having on these children the fit was obvious.

Cantares” Salguero summarises, “is a professional, polished and elegant night of Latin Jazz” with the added bonus of a musical and educational resonance that crosses borders.

Claudia Salguero – CANTARES
May 28, 2016
NAC – Studio

Local Yoga class breathes focus in to Sandy Hill

The Monday night Hatha yoga class led by Sandy Hill resident Christine Aubry, offers a boutique experience in the neighbourhood. With less than 10 attendees per class, the weekly session provides a relaxing and intimate experience that centres and starts the week off perfectly.
Aubry

Christine Aubry

The beginner/intermediate level hour-long class takes place every Monday at 7:30 in the beautifully renovated “coach house”, The Bettye Hyde Early Learning Centre, at 43 Blackburn Ave (corner of Osgoode). There are currently 2 spots available for the hour-long class which runs to June 13th.

Designed for adults of all ages and experience levels students range from those who have never tried yoga to the more experienced practitioners looking for further motivation to get their mat out.  Aubry designed the sessions to focus on the many benefits of yoga including; increased strength and flexibility, improved posture, improved sleep, stress and anxiety reduction, improved digestion and more.  
Christine Aubry has been practicing yoga for 15 years and obtained her teaching certificate with another Sandy Hiller – Forrest Yoga teacher Louise Cameron (who trained with Ana Forrest).
Can’t make this class but interested in private or future classes? Visit Aubry’s Facebook page www.facebook.com/ChristineAubryYoga/ or reach her via email at
Le cours de yoga, pour débutants et intermédiaires, se déroulera principalement en anglais, mais Christine est parfaitement bilingue et heureuse de traduire au besoin.

Adàwe – a bridge connecting communities

Friday Dec 4th at 1PM the new pedestrian and cycling bridge spanning the Rideau River between Strathcona Park and River Road opens.

Adawe

Adàwe, meaning to trade, provides a vital and necessary link connecting communities and businesses; reclaiming a part of Ottawa’s history on the site where historically practical residents built a boardwalk passage.

Adawe predecessor

The Adàwe crossing eliminates the unnecessarily long detour for walkers and cyclists by providing a crossing points in-between the car-centric Cummings bridge and isolated MUP train bridge.

This is a hopeful sign of change in Ottawa where modal-share infrastructure investment is, even in record years, woefully inadequate and the destitute to vehicular road investment.

Adàwe transforms Riverain and Strathcona parks from end-points to passage-ways providing a commuter route for many.  The beauty of this route reclaims the river, encourages the practical use of parks, promotes mobility and builds interaction between communities via a purposeful people-place in the heart of urban nature.

Congratulations to all that brought this vision to reality!