By late May, we’d already had some steamy weekends, perfect for an alfresco brunch before the day heats up or a takeout dinner to help keep the kitchen cool. Enjoy the summer, everyone, and please share stories of your favourite Sandy Hill food experiences firstname.lastname@example.org
Champa Thai, 193 King Edward Ave.
This long time takeout place in Lowertown has been taken over by the folks who own Wandee, a popular Thai place in Little Italy. The Champa Thai menu features a splendid selection of noodle dishes, for anyone who’d like to branch out a bit from Pad Thai. The sweet, creamy coconut sauce that flavours the chicken and egg noodles in the Khao Soi is quite addictive!
Kazbah, 221Rideau St.
It’s fun to see that Kaz Kitchen, the interesting corner store and takeout kitchen on Guigues Avenue, has taken over the little kiosk that looks out over Rideau Street on the ground level of Mavericks Bar. It’s open Thursdays through Saturdays from 9 p.m. to 3 a.m., so that musicians, their fans and lucky passersby can satisfy their midnight cravings. The menu is short but substantial. The luscious Cuban Melt sandwich is a weighty edifice of tender shreds of pork and paper-thin slices of ham held together with plenty of oozy cheese. The grilled chorizo sausage on naan bread with chili-lime coleslaw looks fantastic, and will doubtless be luring me out some evening after dark.
Working Title, 330 Laurier Ave. East
The stacks of boeuf bourguignon and potato gratin to go are gradually disappearing from the freezer at Working Title. The summer menu will be appearing soon, and by the time this issue of IMAGE goes to press, their barbecue will probably be up and running. The patio continues to be one of the prettiest places in the neighbourhood to enjoy a summer day, and a recent brunch there was truly pleasant. Eggs Benedict were perfectly poached to order and nestled on top of delectable rounds of maple-glazed fennel sausage. Avocado toast was made with the excellent multigrain bread from the Working Title bakery and featured the same beautifully poached eggs. Both plates benefitted from a green salad brightened up with the extra zing of a few roasted cherry tomatoes.
Purely Dates, 103 Mann Ave.
The hours (11:00-5:00, closed Monday) have finally become more predictable at this little shop, but the stock continues to offer surprises. Along with the sweet and tender dates that are their core merchandise, one can now find all sorts of nuts, dried fruits and spices, as well as Algerian biscuits, condiments and other products. There is also a growing selection of pastries and flatbreads, some of which come from Montreal. For me, though, it’s the chocolate-covered dates, stuffed with a pecan or an almond, that are the ultimate treat; the dark chocolate, fruity date and rich, crunchy nut make a wonderful combination.