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Photo from The Red Lion on Facebook

Foodie Friday: Mealshare and The Red Lion turn dining out into helping out

By Nickie Shobeiry on May 12, 2017

On Wednesday May 10, I had the pleasure of attending ‘Tonight for Tomorrow’ – an event hosted by Mealshare, held at The Red Lion Public House. Mealshare is on a mission to end youth hunger, and have already given out more than one million meals. That night, every dollar spent on dinner meant two dollars were going towards growing this incredible organisation. Tantalizing your taste-buds and ensuring food security – what better reason to eat out?

Traditionally grand yet cosy, The Red Lion is my new favourite pub. Arriving in the afternoon, I walked past the sunny patio, and saddled into a booth with a few friends. Menus in hand, we poured over the rich pickings of food – Texan burgers, Maple Dijon Nutty Fruit salads, Loaded Potato Wedge Stacks. Everything looked positively mouth-watering.

One of my friends went for a classic – the poutine. A hearty portion of fresh-cut potato wedges came layered with St. Albert cheese, with a hot house gravy and scallions. I mused over the Tuna Tataki Salad, knowing that Mariam Zohouri, Mealshare Ottawa’s community leader, was a big fan (pepper-crusted seared tuna with rice vermicelli – who can blame her?). In the end, the Bacon and Gouda burger won my heart – an 8 oz patty, grilled to medium and topped with all kinds of mushroom-and-Jalapeno goodness. For a side, I chose the crisp garden salad. Luckily, my friend who ordered the same burger chose the fries, and I embraced my inner food-thief.

For dessert, my friends and I shared a peanut butter and chocolate cake. Immaculately displayed, it came with chocolate sauce, mint leaves and blackberries. After a moment’s admiration, we dove in. It was just the right amount of chocolatey richness, cut with a salty peanut flavour.

Over the course of the day, Mayor Jim Watson stopped by to learn more about Mealshare’s work. Councillor Tim Tierney also visited, along with councillors Catherine McKenney and Mathieu Fleury, showing their support for Mealshare and the community. Doing the same was host of Daytime Ottawa, Dylan Black, social media influencer Chantal Sakisian, and Capital Foodie blogger, Mathieu Beausoleil.

The Red Lion was already jolly, but by the time the live music began, it became a buzzing party. Jean-Francois Asselin provided acoustic sounds, covering favourites from Shakira to Ed Sheeran. Enthused by Mealshare’s mantra to turn our dining out into helping out, my friends and I ordered another round of food: the Spicy Thai Chicken Bites (a blissful sweet-and-spicy mix), and Salt and Pepper Calamari (deliciously tender and lightly-favoured Loligo squid).

‘Tonight for Tomorrow’ did something incredible – it brought together friends and strangers to celebrate good food, all while helping out youths in need. If you didn’t make it on Wednesday, fret not; there are plenty of Mealshare partner restaurants across Ottawa to suit all tastes: Beckta, Petit Bill’s Bistro, Art-Is-In Bakery and Pure Kitchen – and of course, The Red Lion Public House.

So, don’t just take my word for it – go explore Mealshare for yourselves!

The Red Lion Public House is located at 47 Clarence Street in the Byward Market. You can also follow them on Instagram or Twitter. For more about Mealshare, check out their website.