Our appetite had been building up appropriately and for me, the escargots in a garlic-white wine sauce were just the thing to warm up the palate. After this tasty appetizer I followed up with a Mediterranean salad of baby greens with goat cheese and a citrus vinaigrette. Manny came over and persuaded us to try the Pacific rim seared tuna with a pepper crust in a sweet teriyaki sauce, accompanied by shaved ginger and a wasabi mayonnaise. A delicate and tasty treat.
Pacific rim seared tuna
We even had a chance to meet the chef himself. Executive chef Neil Baker told us about himself and we found out that we had a true cosmopolitan world traveler in front of us.
As the child of diplomatic parents, Neil was born in Singapore and has also lived in Barbados, Kenya and Thailand. He’s run restaurants in Toronto, Vancouver, Los Angeles, New York City and now Ottawa. Needless to say, Neil is going to be my next contact for an interview about this international lifestyle.
Neil also made a couple of interesting comments about global cuisine. He mentioned that the same culinary themes reappear across the globe. Chinese fried rice is essentially the same as Jambalaya which is essentially the same as Biryani, with a slightly different mix of spices thrown in. And the world’s most popular cuisines are those based on the dishes of poor people.
Neil insisted that we have dessert and we had Bananas Foster, which is a mouthwatering concoction of flambéed bananas with caramelized sugar and rum and some vanilla icecream thrown in with a twist of cinnamon on top. I was going to stay away from dessert, but Bananas Foster totally corrupted me. I wasn’t going to worry about the extra calories since we are going to go skating on the Rideau Canal tomorrow anyways.
At 10:30 every Friday and Saturday night Fat Tuesdays serves up the dueling pianos, a live show where the audience can request their favourite songs from two piano players. Today unfortunately the second piano player was significantly delayed, and given our packed schedule for Saturday, we were unable to stick around for the second piano player to show up. But virtuoso no. 1 played his heart out and really got the crowd going. The place was packed and everybody was in a great mood.
So, it’s just past midnight now and I am looking forward to another action-packed day tomorrow: some skating on the Rideau Canal (to work off that delicious banana dessert), watching the famous Bedzzz Races on Dow’s Lake and then the Fire and Ice Culinary demonstrations at Confederation Park right across from our hotel.
It is definitely time to get some rest for a big day and hit the hay……
View of the historic ByWard Market area