Tag Archive | Ottawa

Brunching @Next

I am not a lover of all things Brunch, but when done right, I am quite the fan. NEXT, a fantastic restaurant located in Stittsville, does brunch right. Since our last visit, they have changed their menu and are now only offering The Board, which is the yummiest idea ever. The Board is essentially a tasting extravaganza of all the good parts of brunch (pancakes, eggs, bacon) and a few of Next’s amazing dinner menu items (General Blackie’s chicken, mussels, steak). They also throw in a couple of desserts for good measure.

Brunch Menu @ NEXT

Brunch Menu @ NEXT

I like sharing with my husband because he lets me hog the things I love best, and doesn’t even complain. I can tell you right now, the pancakes and dark chocolate mousse do not get shared equally. You may want to negotiate a similar deal before your visit.

I love the idea of tasting all of the different options, even though sometimes it is weird to follow up a bite of banana pancake, with some kimchi. It is like a buffet, where you get to sample everything, all small portions, prepared perfectly and brought right to your table. My highlights are the aforementioned banana pancakes and dark chocolate mousse. They are both so good! The mussels and steak are also really yummy. One of my favourite items on the dinner menu is General Blackie’s chicken so I am always delighted to see it on the brunch board too. My husband loves the steak tartare and we *may* have a tug of war over the last strip of bacon. All of this to say, if you are looking for a really good and different brunch – you need to get out and try NEXT.

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The Board in action

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Cupcakes

I went to a birthday party a year ago and someone had bought cupcakes that my kids could eat, egg-free and nut-free.  Usually when someone says that we are very grateful that they went to all the effort, but also a little skeptical because they usually don’t taste great.  My kids bit into these cupcakes and their eyes lit up – they tasted amazing!

My husband and I were curious, we are definitely pickier than they are.  I asked where they were from and the hostess told us the place she got them from was Thimblecakes on Bank Street.  I checked out their website and was amazed to find out that they were a completely egg-free nut-free bakery.  Wow!  Kind of like my dream bakery.

We were having a party ourselves so my husband and I headed down and bought six different flavours of cupcakes and tried them all.  The chocolate based ones were all amazing.  Very moist and light and rich in flavour.  The vanilla based ones are okay but a bit heavier and not as moist.  We bought a bunch for the party and the guests loved them.

Now I have a place to go to when I want to surprise my kids with a sweet treat, but don’t feel like baking!  My favourites are the red velvet and chocolate love.  The kids also love the viva puff and birthday cake ones.  They also make gluten free cupcakes, which are very good.  Thank you Thimblecakes for changing my life!!!

Swimming Registration

When my daughter was 2 I remember speaking with my neighbour in early September about registering her for swimming lessons.  My neighbour looked at me like I was a crazy woman and told me that registration started mid-August.  I kind of rolled my eyes and thought yeah, there is no way it is full for 2 year olds already.  I went home and called and found out that it was indeed full.  I did a little more research and learned that the only way to get your kids in swimming lessons in Ottawa is to stay up until midnight the first day of registration and beat the rush.  So for years this is what I have done.

Today is the first day for swimming registration for Spring/Summer, so last night I was up until midnight getting both kids registered.  It is hard to believe that by March 11, you will already be too late to get your kids into any lessons.  It is really a crazy system.  If you don’t have a computer, you can do it over the phone as well.  It is like trying to get tickets for the Elton John/Billy Joel concert, but not nearly as rewarding when you finally get through.

Last night, I was able to get through pretty quickly.  I started the registration process but then got kicked out because the server was too busy.  Major panic ensued as I tried to get back in.  When finally I did, I logged back in right away and it had saved my incomplete transactions so I was very relieved.  I finished it all up and they were registered.  My girlfriend however, had not yet gotten in so I was able to get in A THIRD TIME and get her children registered as well.  We both were ecstatic!  We won the lottery!  Our kids can learn how to swim!  What an insane system.  And to add to it, we get to do it all again on Wednesday night for summer camp registration :-).