• Farm Boy, 50 Rideau St.
The Rideau Centre welcomed this popular specialty grocer in December. Situated in the space once occupied by the shopping centre’s food court, it is conveniently nestled between the LCBO and Shoppers Drug Mart on Level 1 (a wheelchair lift is available for shoppers with mobility issues).
Farm Boy is well known for its fresh produce, butcher quality meats and artisan cheese, as well as natural, organic and locally sourced foods. It also features its own line of products and Farm Boy Kitchen meals that are made from scratch without additives or preservatives. The broccoli kale, and split pea and ham soups are both worth trying!
OC Transpo commuters, mall shoppers and Market area dwellers are sure to be tempted by the “grab and go” options from the hot bar, and artisan pizza, stir fry and sushi stations. The store also boasts a new Fresh X-press station that offers grilled to order lunches and dinners for take-out or to enjoy in the small seating area near the entrance.
A few recommendations include “Rule the Roost” chicken sausages (1 of 16 varieties available that are all free of fillers and MSG); a pleasantly tart Lemon Garlic salad dressing which doubles nicely as a marinade, fresh salsa; and blue corn chips.
Open 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. from Monday to Saturday, and 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday.
• Ghandhi’s Village, 113 Mann Ave.
A recent dinner at the still-new South Indian restaurant at the south end of Sandy Hill was delicious, and much better-organized than our previous visits. We especially enjoyed our appetizers: crisp lentil fritters called parripu vada; and bondas, little fried patties of potato seasoned with fennel, drizzled with yogurt and served with chutney. The chicken dosai was also very good, possibly our favourite so far at a restaurant that has an unusually interesting selection of fillings for the large, crisp and addictive crepes. We were in and out in under two hours; perhaps a sign that the proprietor is finding his rhythm in the kitchen.
Open for lunch and dinner 6 days; closed Mondays. 613-569-2121.
• Moon Dog, 238 Laurier Ave. East
The veteran Sandy Hill pub has had an intriguing sign out front for several months now advertising Lebanese breakfast, so we dropped by to give it a try on a recent Sunday morning. Foul mudammas is a traditional dish of fava beans served throughout the Middle East. It is cooked to a tender and soupy consistency and seasoned with lemon and olive oil. The Moon Dog serves a bowl of these fragrant beans surrounded with a pretty array of sliced tomatoes, cucumber, red onion, peeled radishes and pickles and a side plate of fresh pita triangles. It was a zesty and healthful change from the usual North American breakfast restaurant, but I must admit to pinching a strip of my companion’s bacon, which was perfectly cooked, as were the eggs that came with it.
• Rideau Bakery, 384 Rideau St.
Possibly in response to the increasing selection of fancy focaccias and ciabattas to be found across the street in the bakery department at Loblaws, the counter at the Rideau Bakery has recently been displaying a basket of lovely artisanal-looking loaves with deeply scored crusts labelled “Everything Rye.” At $5.25 per loaf, this light rye bread is flecked with olives, rosemary and other seasonings and has a crisp, salty crust. It stays moist for days, and performs well as a base for an open faced sandwich, a companion to soup, or savoury toast with a plate of eggs.
• Gogiya Korean BBQ House, 470 Rideau St.
Just opened where Minglewood was located on Rideau St. is a new Korean grill, featuring an all-you-can-eat buffet. Open 11:30-3:00 and 5-9 p.m. Closed Tuesdays. Website: www.gogiyabbq.com.