Saturday morning, I had the pleasure to join my dear friend Dai on a ‘Foodie’s Walk’ in Centretown. This walk was one of the many walks this past weekends as part of an organization called Jane’s Walk. In memory and honour of Jane Jacobs, who was an urbanist, activitist and writer of community togetherness and the necessity of neighbourhood appreciation, these walks started in Toronto in 2007 and in Ottawa and many other Canadian cities in 2008. The schedule in Ottawa included 59 walking tours in the Ottawa-Gatineau region, some in French and some in English. Various areas of interest included gardens, nature, landscape, building, facilities and in my case, food. Please click here to see the full schedule of what was offered this past weekend. This event is held one weekend at this time every year so note it in your calendars and look for it again next year.
Dai and her husband Mark have lived in the Ottawa Centretown neighbourhood for thirty years. There are a multitude of local stores that they wanted to share with the walking group, the first one being Whalebone Sustainable Oyster & Fish Supply, at 504a Kent Street.
Dai introduced the participants to one of the employees who gave us a background talk about Whalesbone. It is the region’s only supplier of 100 percent sustainable seafood. This location has its own in-house smokehouse and we were all given a chance to try a sample of their smoked trout. Absolutely delicious. Whalesbone also does catering as well.
This location also had a cozy lunch counter for sandwiches, chowder and other delights. Not only do they supply sustainable seafood to many restaurants in the region but it is open to the public as well. I bought some smoked salmon to take home however, there were many other smoked fishes, such as Arctic char, mackerel, tuna, and other delights. I will return again for lunch and take-out in the near future. Our next stop around the corner at 564 Gladstone Avenue was The Red Apron.
Ingredients are bought from local farmers, producers and small family enterprises in Eastern Ontario and Western Quebec. This wonderful shoppe has a wide variety of frozen and fresh prepared foods, prepares meals on order (check out their weekly menu here) and a delivery service. A yummy bakery: we were greeted with freshly made gingersnap cookies upon arrival and got to check out the stores a while to take inventory of their wares and perhaps plan a visit again in the near future. Don’t overlook their prepared lunch menu and coffee bar.
Directly across the street at 573 Gladstone Avenue was the True Loaf Bread Company which is a family-run bakery with daily offerings of wholesome breads.Their latest breads were displayed in the front counters: baguettes, seeded loaves and a huge country bread.In another display case was a raisin and chai spice loaf (which I bought to try out), braided egg bread and a delicious aromatic olive and rosemary crusty bread. One was cut up and we all got to sample a slice. The owners pride themselves in their local and organic flours and all the ‘love’ they put into baking every loaf; different loaves are available on different days of the week. Check out their breads here.
Our last stop on the same block was the Olympia Market at 590 Gladstone Avenue. Mr. Chaudhary is a butcher who has been in the meat business for over 40 years. There is no packaged meat for sale; you can order on the spot or call in your order ahead and he custom cuts every order from the meats in the back cooler. He only carries local meat and chicken and prides himself in his customized service. Truly an honour to get to know such a gentleman.
Living in the West End of Ottawa, I do not get to know specialty stores in the downtown area. I now look forward to frequenting these establishments on a regular basis. Thank you, Jane’s Walk and my friend, Dai.