I am a foodie. I love variety; taking my time with new flavours; talking about subtle spices, textures, and depths; discovering artist-chefs; and trying to determine just how that particular combination of tastes might be re-created. And am pretty sure I have my parents to thank for that.
(Thanks, Mom and Dad!)
|Mom & Dad, Sissy & me. 1968|
As a child, I was teeny and completely uninterested in eating. Probably afraid I might starve, my folks insisted that I not only try a huge variety of foods, but clean my plate, even when one bite of cold asparagus stared at me as I sat alone through an entire episode of Little House on the Prairie. Eventually I choked down the offending morsel and joined my family in the play room. Thank goodness, it did get easier. And I learned to savor asparagus.
|David & me. 1983 (Thank you, too, D!)|
Fast forward to my early-twenties, post-university, San Francisco Bay Area... A dear beau, earning tons of under-the-table construction cash, spoiled me rotten with his favourite activity: gourmet dining. The freshest seafood, California produce, Napa Valley wine, and Bay Area chefs... there was a blissful plethora to choose from. My taste-buds came alive. And I’ve never looked back.
|Wayno prepares something delicious|
with our chickens' eggs
Another leap forward in time... My wasbund and I, together for eighteen years, ate like royalty. He was a fabulous chef, and ran a number of wonderful Western Washington kitchens, including ours. Silly though it was, I was intimidated by his skills, and avoided preparing meals. However, as we used to quip: “Nobody likes to come home from work and go back to work,” so we dined out often. We talked food and flavours in delightful detail, as did most of our family and friends, and as I assumed everyone did.
|Pierre cuts a turn on Lac Rheaume. 1979|
Across the continent, my dear Pierre was living in Quebec and Ontario, the eldest son in a traditional French Canadian family. His mom was a trained Cordon Bleu cook, and his childhood meals sounded deliciously rich and saucy. But Pierre was on the move. Football, downhill ski-jumping, competitive water skiing, and partying were his passions.
Food was, and remains, sustenance.
To be clear: Pierre loves good food. And he’s fine with ok food. Often he’s even alright with absolutely boring, just-fill-the-stomach food, the kind that I have to work to get over. Perhaps most surprising to me is he can eat the exact same food every day and be perfectly content. It’s actually a trait I admire, but cannot imagine emulating. It would be like turning my entire world beige.
|Fourth giant batch of chicken & sausage gumbo:|
my sweetie's every-day lunch
As I may have stated once or twice, I am the luckiest woman on the planet. Although Pierre eats to live, as opposed to living to eat, he does enjoy -- perhaps even crave -- adventures.
With me as the main cook at home, he’s willing to consume my kitchen experiments—he’s actually my greatest fan—and is a good sport and wonderful company when trying new restaurants... even if all he really wants is a burger (no-onion-no-pickle-no-cheese-no-bacon) and fries.
In the midst of this seemingly never-ending winter, we decided to spice things up.
We live, you see, rather near the trendy restaurant-dense neighbourhood of Wellington / Westboro. So, Pierre proposed that, over the next few months, we visit and review previously untested eating establishments.
|Just a couple of places to explore|
We started last week -- not at the place we'd planned -- and I'll share that first experience within the next couple of days.
I hope you enjoy our upcoming (possibly diverging? :) ) perspectives on Ottawa’s west-end eateries. If nothing else, it's bound to be delicious!