Fortunately, the weather these days makes it pleasant to get out and explore, so there’s also something to be said for just heading out the door for an eating adventure. Please share stories of your favourite Sandy Hill food experiences with firstname.lastname@example.org
It’s getting to be hard to keep up with the province’s rules around food sales, and the clever strategies our neighbourhood shops and eateries have developed to keep up. By the time this column appears, the eating-out landscape will probably have undergone many changes, so be sure to call ahead or check online if you want to visit a favourite business.
The Best of Byward
Early in the pandemic Byward Fruit, Sasloves Meat, Lapointe Fish and International House of Cheese banded together to fill their clients’ grocery needs. We could send an order by email to one of these businesses and include items from the others, and everything could be paid for and picked up or delivered at once. This service has proved popular, and can now be accessed via an online ordering platform at bestofbyward.com. If you’re not ready to return to pre-COVID shopping practices, or if you’ve just learned to love having your groceries delivered, check out this website where you can browse, order, pay and select your pickup or delivery time. As an added bonus, Maverick’s Donuts are available here too!
The Bridge Public House, 1 Donald St.: The Rideau Sports Centre is putting aside questions of seating arrangements and capacity for now, and has set up a barbecue right outside its front entrance. From 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily they are luring passersby to stop for a beverage or a bite to eat, which can be consumed at picnic tables on the grounds or taken away to home or the surrounding parks. Word has it that their burgers are huge, and the potato salad and coleslaw are top notch.
Cadena Spanish Restaurant and Tapas Bar, 323 Somerset St. East: Grab ’N Go Empanadas . . . Highly Addictive! says the sandwich board outside Cadena. At $3.95-$5.50, these turnovers really are a tasty and filling snack, with tender pastry and generous fillings. The chicken version is stuffed with moist chunks of white meat, and the veggie filling is packed with a variety of colourful morsels, black beans and greens. There are also lots of more substantial items on the menu, such as the succulent and creamy Spanish-style shrimp or the lively pasta with salsa espanola. For a really celebratory treat, assemble a small (public health-approved) group of friends and order up a stunning paella.
No Forks Given, 191 Somerset St. East: There’s a new burger place in the premises of La Maison at Somerset and King Edward. It’s a little hard to spot, as the former sign is still in place, but the neighbourhood seems to know about it: on any given day at lunchtime you’ll find a little crowd of people waiting to pick up their orders. The brief wait is worth it; the burgers are fat and tasty, and the onion rings are outstanding, with a very crisp batter covering generous slices of sweet, tender onion. Strangely, given their name, they gave me a fork. None was needed.
Purely Dates, 103 Mann Ave.: There is a very limited inventory at this new shop, but it’s well worth a visit. Plump Algerian dates are available, pitted or on their stems, along with date syrup and date sugar. The shop also sells gift boxes of dates stuffed with nuts or dipped in very good chocolate for a special treat. At home, we’ve learned to love making a quick, festive and just-sweet-enough dessert with pitted dates, a dab of soft cheese and a pecan or walnut half. The hours at Purely Dates seem to be a little erratic, but late afternoon is a good time to try, or call ahead at 613-252-8380.