A tasty catch Breakfast at Chouquette

December 17, 2014

It’s silly that it’s taken me so many months to share such a gem – but here it is! Now that we are living in Rockhampton, I can only daydream of having delicious French pastries again soon!

Founded and managed by Lara Sample, Chouquette opened in 2006… I didn’t visit until 2014, what a shame! At least we got a few visits in before moving away.

With the skills of French-born and trained bakers and pastry chefs, alongside Australian staff, Chouquette consistently produces authentic and high quality delights. It’s easy to see why customers return again and again.

In 2013, Chouquette’s sister business, Crust & Co, opened in Wilston as a wholesale business that also caters to the public. If you know me, then I’ve definitely told you how much we love Crust & Co! Chouquette is no different, with the bonus of more options and atmosphere!

The small bakery in New Farm opens at 6:30am Weds-Sunday. Get in early for the best selection of goodies, as well as a seat! There are a handle of seats indoors and a few more outside on the sidewalk. Definitely not a place to set up shop and study for the day, but a bite to eat and catch up with friends is perfect! You will also notice a consistent stream of customers come in for take away goodies through out the day.

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The variety makes the selection process difficult. Do I want cakes? Or pastries? Or bread? It often ends with, “I’ll have a bit of everything!”

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Service has always been fantastic and one of the few opportunities I’ve had to hear and speak French since moving to Australia!

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Prices are definitely on the higher side than what I’m used to, especially compared to back in Canada. But once in a while is definitely worth it 😉

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One of my favourite breakfast options are their filled baguettes! Fresh, delicious, crispy baguette with a variety of toppings. They are max $9.00 and one of my favourites is salami, provolone, basil, lettuce and tomato.

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We love all the pastries, although haven’t had the opportunity to try many of their cakes yet.

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Here a few yums!

Mille feuille – good cream but the pastry is a little too dark.

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Canele – beautiful and tasty! Although the ones we’ve had at Macarons et Madeleines in Ottawa will always be the best!

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Good coffees

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And of course, can’t forget to mention the good company! 😉

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Definitely worth a visit, I know I’ll be coming back when I have the chance!

Chouquette Patisserie & Café on Urbanspoon

DHAL: July 27, 2014

Had a late start today!

Wasn’t until midday that my sister and I headed out. Today’s plan: Visit Newcastle Island. How? A 10 minute ferry ride that costs only $9 return.

Some sights along our walk to the ferry dock

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Revealed itself during the low tide

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Liked the reflection in the water

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Beautiful day with lots of boats in the water

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Didn’t take long until we got to Newcastle Island!

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A really beautiful island with lots of nice walking trails (approx 8km around the perimeter of the island), areas for picnics and places to swim. Click HERE for more information about the island.

Some photos during our hike!

One of the views off the island

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Christmas colours!

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Jenni’s not so much a big fan of hiking, so got bored a little too quickly

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Hello!

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Crystal tree droppings

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Lots of easy to walk trails

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More water and boats!

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Took a rest by the beach, and a selfie!

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Lots of pretty views

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And lots of people watching 🙂

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You could easily spend the whole day on Newcastle Island, but we had important things to do. Mainly: Buy Nanaimo bars and yummy pastries to eat before the shops closed.

After a few hours, we said farewell and hopped on the ferry back.

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Looking back towards Nanaimo

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From there, we proceeded to Mon Petit Choux Cafe & Bakery to pick up a few goodies for later this evening.

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We then headed back down to the water to enjoy a delicious late lunch/early dinner at Troller’s Fish & Chips. I got halibut and my sister got salmon, it came with fries, coleslaw & tartare sauce. The fish was delightful, such light and crispy batter, went great with the tartare sauce. The fries were good as well, but the coleslaw was so warm! We couldn’t tell if it was because of the temperature, but the coleslaw seemed to have iceberg lettuce in it as well, definitely not as good as it could’ve been.

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We called it an early day after eating and decided to head back to my place. Instead, we decided to watch some of our classic favourite movies: Freaky Friday and White Chicks. Don’t laugh, it was good fun! 😛

Selfie on the way home!

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For dinner (and an early birthday celebration), we had delicious pastries from Mon Petit Choux. Top left is a Marjolaine, originally invented by French chef Fernand Point – combining almond & hazelnut meringue layers with chocolate buttercream. Bottom is an Earl Grey Chocolate Mousse, which lost a bit of its shape in the heat during the walk home but retained all of its deliciousness. And lastly, a berry custard danish – yum! To top all of that off, we also nibbled on a Nanaimo Bar – so rich we couldn’t finish a slice together but certainly yummy!

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A fun weekend hanging out with my sister, a little sad that she will be leaving me tomorrow! 😦

Yummy delights at Macarons et Madeleines

December 18, 2013

I finally had the opportunity to visit my sister and brother’s favourite bakery in Ottawa – Macarons et Madeleines – a beautiful, warm and cozy home bakery tucked away in Chinatown that specializes in French pastries.

A semi-detached house, the first things that greet you as you enter: delicious aromas of freshly baked goods and Stephan Ethier’s friendly welcome.

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As it is a business run out of their home, Macarons et Madeleines does not have space for customers to sit down and eat, however, that doesn’t mean that their atmosphere is lacking in any way.

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A price list and guest book are set up in the foyer, Christmas decor lines the small yet spacious room, even a lovely wood fireplace.

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Looks like there should be a cat around, but we didn’t get to meet him/her!

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Macarons et Madeleines offers a small selection of approximately 10 pastries on a regular basis. For macarons, only a few flavours are chosen and made each week, many of them creative adventures suggested by customers. In addition, there are others (like the chocolate almond croissant) available only on the weekends. They are also very happy to work with you to create any custom orders you might have, which is great!

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Stephan is a very friendly and extremely passionate patissier (read his biography here). He was more than happy to thoroughly explain the story and work behind the pastries, provide any tips and answer any questions. I did not have a chance to chat with his wife that day, but my sister tells me she is lovely and also just as friendly.

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After a bit of a chat and being given some information on everything available, it was difficult not to get everything to try!

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Christmas macaron flavours available were: pistachio-cinnamon (red), hot chocolate with marshmallow (white), and eggnog with rum (yellow) – we bought 2 of each to share ($2/each). Our favourite was the pistachio-cinnamon, having the most vibrant flavours of the 3, as well as great colour for the holiday season!

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Since we’ve never had a Cannele Bordelais ($3) before, we had to try. A small striated cylinder with a crispy carmelised crust and a soft custard inside – rich, creamy and delicious!

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Croissant ($1.75) – flaky and tender, easily one of the best ones we’ve ever had!

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Pain au chocolate/Chocolate croissant ($2.50) – even better than the regular croissant because of its smooth, creamy, chocolate centre, mmm!

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Apple turnover/Chausson aux pommes ($2.50) – most unique one we’ve tried as it is made with a velvety home made apple puree filling. I love apple+cinnamon, this one definitely did not last long.

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We also got a Brioche Parisienne ($1.25) which was very nice as well!

Macarons et Madeleines offers delicious French pastries Wednesday to Sunday starting at 7am until quantities last. Definitely worth a special visit, I promise you will not be disappointed! Not only will you be warmly received into the home of one of the most passionate pastry chefs, you will surely leave with amazing treats that will leave you pining for more!

Macarons et Madeleines on Urbanspoon

Long overdue catch up with Sareda at Art Is In!

December 14, 2013

By long overdue, I mean three years. Really.

Needless to say, it was great to see her and finally catch up. So much can happen in such little time, you easily don’t realize it until actually sitting down and having a chat.

For lunch, Sareda chose Art Is In Boulangerie. What a delight! And thanks again for the treat my dear!

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Unit #112 of the industrial loading bay at City Centre Ave, Art Is In has a very unique atmosphere. You walk through a black door to be greeted by high ceilings, minimal decor, shared seating in a large open space. And surprisingly, it’s very warm, inviting and cosy.

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Being first time visitors, we appreciated that there wasn’t too much of a line when we arrived shortly after 12pm on a Saturday. We had the opportunity to ask questions regarding what was available and take a moment longer to make up our minds. I really liked how there was an employee taking our ‘hot food’ orders while we waited in line. By the time we got to the front of the line, ordered any additional pastries, breads, or other items from the bakery, paid and sat down at a table, the food took only a few more moments to arrive.

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We both decided on a sandwich and a pastry.

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Sareda chose the Thai chicken with apple, curry mayo, and havarti sandwich ($10.95)

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I got the Buttermilk brined chicken caesar sandwich ($10.95, tender chicken pieces with bacon, havarti, tomatoes, arugula and our homemade Caesar dressing. Served on our Dynamite Cheddar, jalapeno & chive bread).

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Both sandwiches were delicious, served such amazing crusty bread and filled with fresh vegetables and flavourful meat – yum! Although they were great, they are not the biggest sandwiches and I wish for the price, they came with a small side. Even if it was just a few greens.

For dessert, a danish with lemon curd and berries (I believe) for Sareda

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And a Chocolate Almond Croissant ($2.95) for me!

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Again, both extremely tasty! We each saved half to share with Sareda’s partner, Calvin, later.

We were definitely impressed with our first visit and left making plans to each come back in the future, yay!

December 17, 2013

And so, when Mike came up to Ottawa, I took him there for lunch!

He couldn’t pass up the same sandwich I got last time and ordered the chicken caesar, along with a coffee.

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We also bought 2 pastries to try:

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Sticky Bun with Pecans, Raisin & Caramel ($3.25). Delicious but extremely rich, especially as it is not technically a bun but more of a croissant. It is quite sweet, although the caramel is hardened, would’ve been nicer if it was slightly warmed!

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And the Maple Dipped Old Fashioned Potato Donut ($3.25). The donut had very lovely texture but otherwise quite bland, which is not technically a bad thing depending on what you are looking for! Or it could be because our taste buds were overwhelmed by the sticky bun 😛

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❤ him!

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During the second visit, there were a few minor things I noticed that could be improved.

Although I don’t drink, directions for where to get self-serve coffee would be useful. There was confusion as nothing was labelled and wasn’t sure if the big dispensers contained other beverages like tea or hot chocolate.

Additionally, you are given pastries you order at the cash to take back to your table. Hot foods arrive when they are ready. However, there is no self-serve cutlery for those who would like to enjoy their pastries first or while they wait. A stash cutlery where the self-serve drinks are would be great and save the trouble of bothering an employee! 🙂

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Otherwise, the food is delicious on many levels. The atmosphere is great with a variety of clientele including families, elderly couples, and those on break from work. Turnover is quick and although it was quite busy both times I’ve visited, we never had trouble finding space to share and dine with others. Service is quick and friendly. My only regret is not buying some fresh loaves of bread to go! I guess that means I will just have to return soon… 😀

Art Is in Bakery on Urbanspoon

Last day in Ottawa with the family

January 03, 2013

Today was my last full day in Ottawa and it turned out to very full and busy!

We invited my grandparents and my cousin Janet to lunch at Play (as you can tell by now, I really like that place). Most people had never been there before and I thought it would be a good experience.

We had reservations for 12pm and asked specifically to be seated upstairs because I find it nicer. 😉

Once everyone arrived, it took us a while but we eventually decided on our 2 dishes each. There were a number of repeats at our table, including the hanger steak, sweetbreads, Walleye, scallops and clam linguine

My brother, grandpa and I had sweetbreads (thymus of a calf/lamb) for the first time. Unfortunately, it’s not on the current menu so I can’t give the full dish description. I didn’t know what to expect and I’m glad I can say I’ve tried something new, although I didn’t love it. The taste and texture was a mix of really soft chicken plus mild liver (and I don’t like liver, unless it’s pate). The blend of flavours was good though!

My mom and grandpa ordered the scallops / cider / cauliflower / raisin / bacon / brussels, which were quite tasty, although I don’t have a picture of them. 😦

My grandma and sister ordered the Walleye / chorizo / beans / grapefruit / fennel / brown butter. Like myself the other day, they found the dish too bitter and the beans too crunchy for their taste.

My mom and Janet had the little neck clams / linguine / parmesan / chili / soffritto /garlic. The portion was enormous, but apparently the dish was just way too bland. Very disappointing!

My grandma and brother got the frog legs / polenta / truffle / eggplant / radicchio / caper. I think both were underwhelmed with the dish, especially my brother who wished he had chosen something else.

Janet and I also got the grilled hanger steak / mushroom / frites / aioli. Yum! Unlike Mike’s steak from the other day, this one was super tasty and I was really glad I chose this dish.

Lastly, my sister’s second dish was the beef slider / cabbage / bacon / cream cheese / matchsticks. I don’t think she fully enjoyed this dish, especially because there was a spread similar to tuna on her beef slider. The matchsticks were also not as good as having actual frites.

It was still a fun experience though!

For dessert, we went back into Byward Market for baked goods at Moulin de Provence – one of my favourite bakeries in Ottawa and also home of the famous Obama cookies.

Doesn’t this amazing selection make your mouth water? And all for such good prices too!

“I don’t know what I’m doing!”

Trying to smile with food in her mouth…

We walked through the market before saying good bye to our grandparents who were going home first.

The rest of us went shopping at Rideau Mall for a while until our stomachs had enough room for… Beavertails! For those who don’t know, they are delicious fried dough pastries, a Canadian treat! Waiting in line for our order…

Some shots in the market as we wait…

Mmm! I got the Kilaloe Sunrise – which is the classic cinnamon & sugar beavertail with a spritz of lemon juice – delicious!

We didn’t get home til after 5pm, which is when my cousin Flora, invited us to go skating with her siblings. There’s an outdoor rink outside City Hall called the Rink of Dreams, that is apparently gorgeous at night. How could I say no? Janet went home to grab her skates and belongings since she planned to stay over. We would meet her at the rink instead. My sister also decided that it would be a good idea to invite the rest of our other cousins to come over afterwards for my last night in town.

The cousins who went skating!

Some footage of the pretty Rink of Dreams and of my sister falling! 😀

Heading home!

The cousins came over shortly after we got back from skating. We had a few good solid hours of boardgames, food and laughs. Thank you so much for coming guys! I hope we do it again soon!

I stayed up late to finish packing, but finally called it a night and went to bed around 3am!

FYI: On the day I left Ottawa, 40cm/16″ of snow (should be more since some melted and compacted) had fallen!

Photo #259: Macaron Fail

November 13, 2012

Christine Q was over to make macarons today but sadly, they failed horribly. 😦 Haha! So rather than let our lemon curd filling go to waste, we put together some lemon puff tarts instead. Next time, we will succeed!

 

Photo #87: Almost a Taste of Home

May 25, 2012

As a kid growing up in Ottawa, Canada – BeaverTails were always a traditional treat to look forward to, especially during the wintertime while skating on the Rideau Canal.

A long time craving has led me to try and make them myself. The dough isn’t exactly the same – but they’re pretty tasty!

For those who don’t know – BeaverTails are a Canadian treat that first started in Ottawa. They’re fried pastries that have been individually hand stretched to resemble a beaver’s tail and topped with various condiments – the traditional one being cinnamon & sugar. My favourite is the Killaloe Sunrise – which is cinnamon and sugar with a spritz of lemon juice.

And the Rideau Canal is a man-made waterway that connects the city of Ottawa to the city of Kingston. It is the oldest continuously operated canal system in North America, and in 2007 it was registered as a UNESCO World Heritage Site (thanks Wiki!). In the winter, a portion of the canal is drained and becomes the world’s largest outdoor skating of approximately 8km. My absolute favourite activity during the winter – skating on the Rideau Canal!