Coming Up: A Taste of the Arctic

My lunch break yesterday was a departure from my regular sandwich or salad. Instead, I sampled pitsi and maktaaq and tuttuminiq quaq.

…Intrigued? Then you might want to check out A Taste of the Arctic! (That’s dried Arctic char, beluga skin, and raw caribou, if you were wondering.)

taste of the arctic previewAs I munched on (more than a few) pieces of candied Arctic char, I watched as meat was expertly  sliced with sharp ulus, traditional Inuit made blades, and learned more about Inuit culinary customs (apparently the eye of the fish is a treat that people fight over!).

Bannock, the quintessential bread, was the only food on offer that was familiar to me, but I was pleasantly surprised by all the new things I tried. One of the ulu-yielding women drew similarities between the raw fish and meat we were eating and Asian sushi, something that doesn’t seem so unfamiliar. Raw, smoked, dried, candied, or frozen, it was neat to see fish and meat prepared in so many ways on one table. (The most traditional way being “pulled straight out of the water and served” I was told — talk about catch of the day.)james bay (3 of 3)

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Ottawa’s First Underground Chef’s Market a Success!

Sold out and bursting at the seams with delicious creations, Ottawa’s First Underground Chef’s Market was a definite success!

Sold out -- their pupusas were popular!

Sold out — their pupusas were popular!

There was a long wait at the bar, and some confusion when lines at different vendors criss-crossed, but overall there was an excited buzz in the Ottawa Convention Centre as market-goers tasted what local chefs had to dish out. With everything from duck confit sliders to chocolate sushi on offer I didn’t get a chance to taste everything, but I put in a good effort, and what I did taste was delicious (somewhat surprisingly, my favourite discovery of the night might have been these raw organic truffles…). The vendors I spoke to were all very enthusiastic; for many of them it was their first time selling their dishes at a public event, but there were also chefs from established restaurants as well as one of my favourite street vendors on hand.
Confit pork belly, smoked bacon & a pierogi from Mitch's Pork Station -- a delicious trio.

Confit pork belly, smoked bacon & a pierogi from Mitch’s Pork Station — a delicious trio.

YumTown City's "Carpet Steak" sandwich with a deep fried oyster on good.

YumTown City’s “Carpet Steak” sandwich with a deep fried oyster on top…so good.

Chocolate sushi from Chef Tex Cuisine (with pop rocks on top!), and decadent cake truffles from Curly's Cravings

Chocolate sushi from Chef Tex Cuisine (with pop rocks on top!), and decadent cake truffles from Curly’s Cravings

The event organizers, Privé Food Thought, are already busy planning their next event: a Noodlefest on February 22nd. Check out their website and Facebook page if you want to keep up with what’s happening in the new year. If you’re interested in becoming a vendor, you can get more information and register here.

I feel like the food & drink scene in Ottawa has been getting quite a bit of hype lately, and I love it! Looking forward to tasting what’s next! xo

Ottawa’s First Underground Chef’s Market

privefoodthoughtFoodies get ready, on November 30th there’s a new culinary event in town: the city’s first Underground Chef’s Market.

The event is being organized by a new start-up, Privé Food Thought, whose goal is to produce and promote culinary-related events in the city. The Underground Chef’s Market will be made up of professional chefs as well as passionate home cooks. Featured will be dishes from over twenty vendors who were picked based on their application’s flavour, presentation, and uniqueness. The aim is a street food-type feel, so that market-goers can have tastes of everything from Spanish tapas to Sicilian snacks and Asian fusion as they explore the vendors set up in the Ottawa Convention Centre.

The organizers say they want to bring this event to the capital to “rebrand the city’s food scene”. By promoting independent cooks and businesses, they are hoping to provide a platform for emerging vendors to get a feel for the public’s response to their dishes, and at the same time will introduce Ottawa to new local chefs and flavours. The aim is to run the Underground Market a few times a year.

What can you expect to eat? Privé Food Thought has shared glimpses of the diversity to be featured: duck popcorn, chipotle waffles, gourmet donuts and Salvadoran papusas are just a few of the dishes set to tantalize your taste buds. A DJ will be on hand to spin some tunes and artwork by local artists will also be showcased. Tickets are $10 in advance, each dish will cost between $1-10, and there will be a cash bar inside (the event is 19+). Intrigued? Come out at the end of the month to taste these creations while they’re above ground!

And there’s more to come –follow Privé to find out what they have in store for 2014….
Bon appétit and see you November 30th! undergroundmarket