The darkest days of the year are almost here. It’s time to console ourselves with robust flavours shared with family and friends. Please share your favourite Sandy Hill food experiences with firstname.lastname@example.org
Maybe, like me, you recently read a story in the New York Times about a shipment of Japanese Kit Kat bars with exotic flavours that was hijacked in California and never reached its destination in New Jersey. After reading it, I found myself wondering if Kit Kats flavoured like melon or matcha tea could be found here in Sandy Hill. It turns out that the Mergi Shop, at 382 Rideau St., and the Asian Mart, at 242 Rideau St., both stock Kit Kats with fillings I never dreamt of: chestnut! caramel pudding! orange and chocolate! There are other familiar snack brands with unfamiliar tastes at these shops, such as salt and pepper shrimp Lay’s potato chips, and Frito-Lay avocado and cream cheese corn chips. It’s a cheap thrill to browse the aisles of these stores, and you just might find your new favourite treat, or at least some novel stocking stuffers.
Bamm’s Snack Shack,
74 Coburg St.
Do you feel a sense of nostalgia for some café of your youth, maybe a place with a whimsical colour scheme and mismatched thrift store mugs? You’ll enjoy a visit to Bamm’s, a family-run neighbourhood café across from MacDonald Gardens Park. The hamburgers are handcrafted and grilled with just the right amount of char, and the soups are hearty. There’s brunch once a month, with flavours that include unexpected memories of childhood (Dorito bread, anyone?) There’s a sociable vibe between the owners and their regular patrons, and there are enormous and colourful doughnuts on Thursdays and Fridays.
10 Daly Ave.
The Ottawa Art Gallery has one of the most attractive dining spaces in our neighbourhood, and it was sad to see it go quiet and empty during the pandemic. Now, happily, it’s coming back to life, with a modest but lively menu of lunch and snack choices. On a recent visit we enjoyed the light and frothy cauliflower and broccoli soup with a few huge, crunchy and delicious croutons that appeared to have been made from day-old croissants; a crisp green salad with a house-made dressing flavoured with tarragon; and a piri-piri chicken sandwich that was big enough to share.
Pie Central Bakery,
305 Rideau St.
If you’re looking for fresh, savoury and affordable snacks for a crowd, check out the mini pies from the Lebanese flatbread bakery on the ground floor of the Theo building. They are just the right size for a hand-held treat, and come with a range of toppings for $10.00-$12.00 per dozen. We have especially enjoyed the spinach with cheese and the chicken with cheese, both flecked with just the right amount of golden brown after a turn or two through Pie Central’s beautiful round oven. One is a snack; three are a light meal.