I have friends who refuse to use plastic bags, others who would rather share a car with complete strangers than have one for their own convenience, those who don’t buy the user-friendly Pampers diapers but instead use cloth, and a few who dream of living off the grid and being completely self-sustainable. I took a tiny step toward decreasing my carbon footprint recently by beginning to order produce from Ottawa Organics and Natural Foods. And it’s only the tip of the iceberg in terms of options available to Ottawa residents when it comes to sustainable living.
For those who ever eat out, there are a slew of local restaurants that are members of Savour Ottawa. Their membership certifies that they, at the very minimum, purchase at least 15% of their food costs or $25,000 directly from local farmers. Here are are a few – some of the best, in my opinion! – who have sought out that local food status:
“Farmers and artisanal food makers adorn the pages of their menu as if it were an agricultural tabloid depicting the “who’s who” of the local Ottawa restaurant food scene.” (Murray Street Kitchen, Wine & Charcuterie)
I learned a few important things during my dinner at Murray Street: First off, I don’t think you can ever go wrong with a charcuterie board. Among many delectable choices of three cheeses and two meats ($35) are the Kielbassa, Smoked Ham, Tete a Papineau and Avonlea clothbound cheddar.
Second, always try the poutine – even if it’s not made by average standards. Constructed from hand-cut spatzle, duck confit, savoury beast gravy, and La Folle goat cheese curds, Murray Street provides an interesting take on a Canadian staple and is truly worth trying.
Third, beets are a delicious superfood, and it’s no different for the kohira beets offered here. If that isn’t healthy enough for you, they also come with crispy kale, sunflower seeds, 1608 cheese, maple soy and extra virgin Ontario sunflower oil vinaigrette. At this point I was on my way to filling my gastrointestinal tract to the max, but it’s impossible to resist a Southern inspired item; Ain’t no Thang…but a Murray Street duck wing & in-house espresso BBQ sauce.
Murray Street is located at 110 Murray Street in the market. They are open 7 days a week. For more info, click here. To make a reservation, please call: 613-562-7244.
“The food is as Canadian as the soil it’s grown in.” (The Albion Rooms)
Here too, I began my dinner with the charcuterie and cheese menu ($9 each or $24 for a board of three). Two undoubtedly interesting items on the menu is foie from the well-known Mariposa Duck Farm and Monk Produced Blue Benedictine cheese from Quebec. Another highlight was the elk burger, from another reputable farm, The Elk Ranch. It’s made with an elk patty, Seed to Sausage bacon, lettuce, tomato, and cheddar, along with roasted shallot aioli thrice chips.
This dining area, along with a lounge, are nestled into a corner of the Novotel Hotel in the market, and whether you stop by for a snack and a fun take on “barcraft” (setting new standards for cocktails in the capital) or a complete, filling, sustainable dinner, you won’t be disappointed.
The Albion Rooms is located at 33 Nicholas Street. They are open from 11 am to close everyday. For more info, click here. For reservations, please call 613-760-4771.
“Sheila Whyte has been called a “locavore pioneer” by the Washington Post, and her business spends their money on local food from May through October, as well as promoting their food and farmers on their menus.” (Thyme & Again)
In addition to regular items like sandwiches, desserts, and larger entrées to bring home, Thyme & Again features menus that change by the season. It’s really like healthy fast food, with one of my favourites being the taco chicken quesadilla, made with jack cheese, salsa, and sour cream.
Thyme & Again is located at 1255 Wellington Street West. The catering department is open Mon – Fri from 9am – 5pm. The food shop is open everyday. For hours and more info, click here.