Articles by: Quame Scott

Bayshore E-style

December 27, 2011 4:03 pm
Bayshore E-style

It’s no secret that holiday shopping is a crazy and hectic venture. It has become a combat sport as people squeeze through racks and shelves trying to find the perfect gift at an affordable price. Even though there are many of us who love the adventure of shopping, there is quite a few who dread the experience of wandering through crowded malls.

The folks at Bayshore Shopping Centre had this in mind this Holiday season when they unveiled E-STYLE, a new virtual shopping service designed to revolutionize the holiday retail experience.

Let one of Bayshore's little elves help you with your shopping needs. Photo: Q3 Studio

The Bayshore E-Style service is a mobile virtual shopping application that shoppers can utilize on the go. The application will do the bulk of your shopping before you set foot in a retail store. Offering gift solutions for any age, gender and price range plus a list of the stores where to pick up your holiday goodies. The details are then delivered right to the shopper’s inbox or mobile device.

This cutting edge service is sponsored by hi-tech business magnate Sir Terry Matthews, who was also in attendance of its launch in November at Bayshore. The event also launched the E-Style Lounge, a chic set up on the main floor of the mall, equipped with E-Stylists and iPads to assist patrons with their shopping list, needs and desires.

There is no doubt that in this techno-savvy era, many will find this new service quite useful and engaging.

Although the main Christmas shopping madness is behind us, this wonderful service can still provide you with gift ideas for those extra-nice people still outstanding on your list. For more details see: http://www.bayshoreshoppingcentre.com/en/estyle

An Evening of Couture

December 2, 2011 10:54 am
An Evening of Couture

Over the past 15 years, McCaffrey Haute Couture has been making a name for itself at home and abroad in large part thanks to its innovative bridal designs. Each dress is precisely crafted and made in Canada using the finest silks, laces and accents. The company is very excited to unveil new custom collections of couture evening dresses. These feature components which are delicate and luxurious, often paired with Swarovski crystal beading, delicate feathers and French lace. These laces are the same as those sourced from the House of Alexander McQueen for the wedding dress for the Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton. www.mccaffreyhautecouture.com

Strapless, evening version. Photos: Q3 Studios

 

Cleo Dress. Photo: Q3 Studios

LEFT: Gennie Dress RIGHT: Orphelie Dress. Photo: Q3 Studios

Around Town: Absinth Cafe

November 23, 2011 8:42 am
Around Town: Absinth Cafe
Named after the anise-flavoured drink that was made popular by French artist and writers in the late 1800s, Absinthe Café has a well-deserved reputation for its die-hard loyalty to local farmers from Eastern Ontario and Western Quebec, since opening its doors in 2003. It’s one of the first few restaurants that sought to partner with local farmers. Using their home grown ingredients to create sophisticated, modern organic dishes. Tantalizing their patrons with rich and bold flavours in a menu that changes every day.

So with all this in mind we headed down to the Westboro restaurant to see for ourselves what this French-inspired bistro had to offer.

A gentle speaking manager greeted and guided us into a welcoming decor. With cozy brown leather chairs, solid wood tables, dim wall lighting and candles highlighting the large mural on the back wall, the atmosphere was inviting and unpretentious.  It is actually a perfect setting to tuck into dinner.

One of the many delicacies at Absinth Cafe

We were first served the House Cured Arctic Char Gravlax, Potato Salad with Chipotle Mayo, which is normally a part of the cafe’s famous Seafood Trio. This appetizer was an exquisite blend that melted in our mouths. The chipotle beautifully blended with the slight zesty flavors of the salad and the seasoning of the char, rousing our taste buds. The Butternut Squash with Chives came next, continuing the intriguing dance of the palette with a rich and creamy texture topped off with sweetness of the chives. For the main course we had the Seared Tuna with Coconut Foam on a Melon Salad, which played a scrumptious carnival melody to our appetites with its presentation and taste. Topping off our dining waltz was the delicately sweet Dessert Sampler, tasty bites of Chocolate Fondant, Lemon Tart, Profiterole and Crème Brulée.

When I hear everyone singing praises and complimenting a particular restaurant, I enter with great expectations. Not always do I walk away with the same opinion, but in the case of Absinthe Café, it definitely lives up to the hype.

Absinthe Café 1208 Wellington Street West

Tel: (613) 761-1138  www.absinthecafe.ca

Restaurant Review: FRATELLI’S

November 17, 2011 3:01 pm
Restaurant Review: FRATELLI’S

There are various restaurant hubs in Ottawa: Byward Market, Elgin St., Richmond Rd. (Westboro), Preston St. (Little Italy), Somerset St. (China Town), Bank St. (The Glebe), just to name a few. Some of these locales come with a deep history and have a strong reputation which they seek to maintain by offering unique and great tasting restaurants. Recently I decided to visit the Westboro area. This busy little area offers a wide variety of restaurants, pubs, cafes and tea houses which is sure to satisfy and intrigue the appetite of its suburban surroundings.

Fratelli’s was the restaurant of choice for this particular outing. This contemporary Italian fine dining restaurant was established in 1996 in the Glebe and has since added three other locations across the city. Fratelli is Italian for ‘brothers’, which aptly reflects the owners Robert and Richard Valente, and since opening their doors, have worked tirelessly to keep the atmosphere of their restaurants like a neighborhood trattoria.

Arugula Salad. Photos by Q3 Studio

Walking into this bustling, lively but yet cozy restaurant I instantly felt as if I was among family and friends. The rustic decor with hints of modern elements, along with the numerous black and white photography on the walls exhibited the perfect combination of the present and yesteryear. The manager quickly came to greet me as I settled in.

Feeling at home, I decided to sample at least one item from each section of the menu which had all the Italian classics – anti-pasta, soups, pastas, chicken, veal, seafood entrees, and of course, pizza. I thoroughly enjoyed all of my orders which were rich in taste and flavor and truly Italian. However there were some particular culinary delights that really left their mark, such as the light and tantalizing arugula salad which came with grape tomato, toasted pecans, tossed with balsamic reduction and topped with shaved parmigiano.

Anti-pasta. Photos by Q3 Studios

With gentle encouragement from the manager, I also tried carpaccio for the first time. This plate of raw angus beef tenderloin, capers, dijon mayo, shaved parmigiano was tender and surprisingly exquisite. FInally, I ordered their signature dessert. The sweetly irresistible warm nutella cake came with creamy bacio gelato, frozen sugar dusted cranberries, topped with English cream. Absolutely delightful!

In sum, despite the stigma of chain restaurants, Fratelli’s unique style maintains their reputation of “customers first” and savory food… making any guest feel like an Italian for at least a couple of hours.

For more information:

http://www.fratelli.ca/

Westboro Location

309 Richmond Rd.

Tel: 613-722-6772

 

OLM Photo Gallery: Kirk Franklin Brings Gospel Sound to Bluesfest

July 13, 2011 8:57 am
OLM Photo Gallery: Kirk Franklin Brings Gospel Sound to Bluesfest

The Ottawa Bluesfest has been a hit for years, drawing crowds from all over the world. One of the key factors for this is the organizer’s ability to cater to the musical tastes of its varied patrons by offering performances from a wide selection of musicians and artists from around the world. One example of the Ottawa Bluesfest’s dedication to its patrons is the World Gospel Jam. This stage gives patrons a taste of the roots of many successful and famous blues musicians, while showcasing prominent gospel artists. This year’s main act for the World Gospel Jam was top gospel artist and Grammy Award winner Kirk Franklin. The anticipation and excitement for his performance drew crowds from Montreal and as far as Toronto. And without a doubt, he delivered in true boot stomping, revolutionary Kirk Franklin style.

*All photos by OLM Photographer Quame Scott of Q3 Studio.


Thai Coconut

July 12, 2011 10:38 am
Thai Coconut

Tucked away behind a high-rise condo building on Prince of Wales Drive near Meadowlands is the restaurant Thai Coconut.

The space was previously occupied by another restaurant called Oriental Palace. It can be a very daunting task to open a restaurant in a space previously occupied by another especially if that previous restaurant offered a similar cuisine. Thai Coconut had a lot to prove to local die-hard lovers of Asian cuisine.

The setting is simple yet spacious, comfortable and attractive and the service was very friendly.

Our orders came quickly and we were surprised by the generous portion size. As we took our first bite, we were hooked. With fresh natural ingredients and a wonderful blend of Thai spices, the food was simply amazing. We ordered the Yum Ma-Muang (Mango Salad) and the signature dish, Thai Coconut Chicken. The mango salad was a delicious blend of fresh mango, noodles, carrots, cashews and tender well-spiced chicken. This dish (also available with shrimp) had a tantalizing balance of softness, sweetness and peppery spice, but it was their signature dish that scored a homerun. A large plate with small chunks of chicken in red curry and coconut milk sauce. The chicken was crispy on the outside but surprisingly tender inside. Served with a large bowl of rice, this dish was deceivingly spicy. At first bite you don’t feel the heat but then it quickly mounts. Thankfully, our attentive server kept our water glasses full.

This hidden gem convinced us to come back not only because the food is delicious and the service friendly, but also because the price is hard to beat. The restaurant also offers a lunch buffet, which was music to our ears.

Thai Coconut, 1390 Prince of Wales Drive
located in the Chateau Royale office building
(613) 225-1238 www.thaicoconut.ca

Giggling Jerks

May 25, 2011 9:41 am
Giggling Jerks

Aiming to be a classy Caribbean style restaurant, co-owners and brothers Devin and Dylan McLeod opened the doors of Giggling Jerks in August 2010, with the help of restaurant consultant and celebrity chef David Adjey. (Adjey’s work with the McLeods was even featured on THE OPENER, a reality show by the celebrity chef  that airs on Food Network Canada.)

Located at 332 Wilbrod Street in Sandy Hill, traditionally known as the U of O “student ghetto”, the McLeod brothers seek to bring a new perspective to this neighbourhood, which is now budding with families and couples. However, I can only say that despite their best efforts, the Giggling Jerks is still in the embryonic stage of being a “classy” restaurant. Heading to the restroom, customers are met with remnants of the renovation project that hadn’t been packed away or thrown out. Furthermore, there was a cold wintry draft that seeped in through the walls.

Being from Jamaica myself, I was a bit apprehensive about the menu because not everyone can cook a Caribbean dish but I was not to be disappointed. These brothers put a lot work in getting the right Caribbean flavours and tastes. My first order was the Slash & Burn Snapper, which was a Caribbean twist on the traditional English fish and chips. The fish came in a mouth-watering well-flavored batter mix with cornmeal, served with sweet potato fries. I then tried their signature dish, the Jerk Chicken. A deeply flavoured juicy half chicken was presented on a steaming bed of traditional Caribbean rice and peas, accentuated with fresh sauteed collard greens. A sizzling dish with moist, tender and correctly seasoned meat had me for a moment feeling right at home. (For those interested in non-Caribbean dishes, the menu also includes fare such as quesadillas, nachos and turkey club wraps.)

While the Giggling Jerks may still have a few kinks to iron out, they are on the right track. Or as we Jamaicans like to say “Dem ah come to come.”

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