Archive for November, 2012

3 Hot Alcoholic Drink Recipes to Warm Your Soul this December

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By Adam Slight

This weekend marks the 1st of December, which marks the coming of cold weather and snowy Ottawa streets and sidewalks among other things.

Luckily we have a remedy for you! Here are three hot alcoholic beverages sure to thaw your hearts and spirits.

Glühwein Royal (Mulled Wine):

This is a German/Austrian drink meant to warm you up after being in the cold. Apparently due to the warmth of the drink, the alcohol in the beverage is super-effective!

-          1 bottle of red wine

-          1 Lemon

-          1 Cinnamon stick

-          10 whole cloves

-          ¾ cup of white sugar

-          ¾ cup of water

Directions:

  1. Combine water, sugar, and cinnamon stick in a saucepan and bring to a simmer
  2. Cut lemon in half and squeeze juice into simmering water. Push cloves into lemon peel and place peel in simmering water. Simmer for until thick and syrupy.
  3. Add wine and heat until steaming. Remove lemon peels with cloves.

Serve hot in mugs or glasses preheated in warm water. (Cold glasses may break)

Blueberry Tea:

What may sound like a warm beverage to curl up with for an afternoon read is actually a boozy hot drink ideal for frigid nights.

Preparation is simple:

- 1 oz. Grand Marnier liqueur (any flavour)

- 1 oz. Amaretto liqueur

- Hot Orange pekoe tea made to taste

 Directions:

  1. Combine Grand Marnier and Amaretto in brandy snifter.
  2. Add tea

Buying flavoured liqueurs can modify this beverage in interesting ways.

Hot Toddy

The recipe for a hot toddy can vary greatly, especially if you grew up as a kid with hot toddies as a cold remedy with Irish grandparents like mine.

I will be sharing my Nana’s recipe:

-          1 can of Schweppes Ginger Ale

-          1 Lemon

-          1 Tablespoon of Honey

-          1 oz of Bourbon whiskey (much to the displeasure of my mom)

Directions:

  1. Pour ginger ale in a sauce pan and bring to simmer.
  2. Squeeze lemon juice into simmering ginger ale
  3. Stir honey into simmering mixture
  4. Add bourbon

Serve hot in a mug.

2013 OC Transpo Budget Ripe with Controversy

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By Adam Slight

OC Transpo has finalized its budget, presenting several controversies in the process.

For one, Ottawa’s public bus service is facing problems with their fleet of 177 Hybrid buses designed to save on fuel on start-and-stop routes. Unfortunately, the hybrid engines are wearing down, and OC Transpo is flirting with the idea of converting the entire fleet to diesel engines (which, to be fair, are only marginally less fuel efficient on higher-speed routes). Ultimately, they have increased their budget to experiment with this conversion in a handful of buses.

Another controversy: a 2.5% fare hike on public transit access that can be expected by July 1st. I guess passengers are footing the bill!

So what can we conclude with this information?

It’s time to get in the habit of walking, biking, jogging, skiing,  skating, skipping, or taking a rickshaw , or riding a horse/elephant/X-wing/dinosaur to school or work. Sound difficult? We’ve attached some images below to get you thinking!

 

10 Things to Love About Winter in Ottawa

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By Adam Slight

We decided to hit up Ottawa via Twitter and Facebook and ask what we love about Winter in our nation’s capital. Sure, it may be the second coldest capital city in the world when the white stuff starts falling, but that doesn’t mean you can’t embrace it. Here are ten things that Ottawa loves about winter!

Skating on the Rideau Canal

@TaniaFrechette: Skating on the canal

@GreenAppleFresh: Skating on the canal

@FoodiePrints: Carb refuel after skating on the canal

@Ottawa_events: Skating on the canal – and eating beavertails along the way

@CHEOHospital: Skating on the canal – with a helmet!

@kobayashimisa: skating on the canal

WarrenC: I can skate downtown from my place

GinaD: Skating down rideau canal!

VictoriaH: Beavertails and hot chocolate breaks while skating down the canal!

An overwhelming number of responses indicated the Rideau Canal as a major winter draw in Ottawa. What is there not to like about having the world’s largest outdoor skating rink at our doorsteps. If you’re as enterprising as WarrenC, you can even turn the canal into your winter commuting route, bypassing snowy roads and icy sidewalks entirely!

Skating Anywhere Else

VergilD: Playing hockey at the outdoor rink.

@StuntManStu: New Rink of Dreams, City Hall

@NHL_SENS: How about skating on the Rink of Dreams, @sensfoundation

@OttawaMag: Local rinks

The Rideau Canal can really steal the spotlight from other skating opportunities in our city. The Rink of Dreams, for example, opened last year at City Hall by Mayor Jim Watson, City Council, and the Sens Foundation is a great alternative to the Rideau Canal. The city also opens a number of rinks in public parks once the temperature is right. Who knows, you may even have a rink of your own in your backyard if you have the space. Regardless, skating seems to be an Ottawa favourite and frankly, we’re not surprised!

 

Winter Cuisine

@Carleton_U: Beavertails

@Apartment613: Warming up with bowls of Pho in Chinatown

@Ottawa_Events: Skating on the Canal – and eating beavertails along the way

@FoodiePrints: Carb refuel after a skate on the canal: either classic cinnamon sugar Beavertails or poutine pizza from House of Georgie’s

@OttawaMag: Winterbites

@BrianClarke__: Beavertails, Farmboy Apple Cider

@latwistedchef: Hot Apple Cider at @ChezEdgar !!!

VictoriaH: Beavertails and hot chocolate breaks while skating down the canal!

Winter seems to get our mouths salivating, mainly for one local favourite: Beavertails. This sugary Castorian treat is part of many Ottawans’ childhoods and goes hand in hand with many winter activities in Ottawa, including skating on the canal, and Winterlude. Of course, there are many alternatives that are just as good, including poutine pizza, Farmboy Apple Cider, and as Apartment 613 suggests, a nice hot bowl of Pho in Chinatown. As long as the food is warm, we’ll have some please!

 

Snow

@TheBlueCactus: Nightime after a fresh dumping of snow in the #bywardmarket — Photo opps at every corner!

@BrianClarke__: OC buses in the ditch

@TheLaffOttawa: I love seeing the snow on all the Christmas trees on York Street! It’s a winter wonderland! #winterinOttawa

@WhereOttawa: Snow-capped everything!

@MayfairTheatre: That styrofoam sound the snow makes under your feet on really cold days. (Oh, and watching movies.)

@AlgonquinColleg: The snow makes everything in the Capital glisten even more!

SimonK: Frostbite!

I don’t think we always realize how lucky we are to have snow in the winter. When a fresh layer of two-foot powder hits the ground, it enhances the wintery mood and enables us to take part in activities that just aren’t available just anywhere. If these Twitter users are any indication, it also makes for a beautiful sight in our city.

Outdoor Festivals and Events

@Max_Keeping: Bell Capital Cup

@Winterlude: Easy one! What we love is taking place from February 1 to 18, 2013. Any Idea? #winterlude #Ottawa

@FoodiePrints: Winterlude!

@InTheGlebe: The Glebe Spree! Simply shop in the Glebe this holiday season for a chance to win a $10,000 shopping spree!

Ottawa truly embraces winter, and nothing proves it more than our winter events and festivals. Winterlude was quick to hint to the obvious answer to our question, reminding us of the great times we have in February at the famous outdoor winter celebration. At Winterlude we can celebrate winter with sliding, ice sculpture contests, frozen mazes, and performances of every kind. Meanwhile Max Keeping relishes the Bell Capital Cup, the “Holy Grail of Minor Hockey.” If you can’t wait for these events, you can also win a chance to win a $10 000 shopping spree in the Glebe just by doing your Christmas shopping there.

Ottawa’s Wintery Beauty

@TheLaffOttawa: I love seeing the snow on all the Christmas trees on York Street! It’s a winter wonderland! #winterinOttawa

@LifeOfPieOttawa: Holiday lights downtown and on the Hill!

@RoughChopOttawa: The beauty

@FoodiePrints: Christmas lights around Parliament Hill…

@RwB_Rad: the instant feeling of warmth that pours over you when you make it indoors after being outside for too long. #chillycity

@Kobayashimisa: Cheap (but romantic) date nights! Checking out Christmas Lights Across Canada

DeekL: Stunning winter photos

Ottawa really knows how to make Winter look good (until about late February when we’re drowning in slush and dirty snow!) With coloured lights strung across our historical downtown skyline complimented by glistening snow and crisp winter air, it’s difficult to not like Winter in the capital, even just a little bit. Don’t forget to miss the Byward Market, which is beautiful at any time of the year, and the lights decorating the Parliament buildings, as suggested by @TheLaffOttawa and @FoodiePrints.

 

Outdoor Activities

@OttawaStart: Cross country skiing in the Greenbelt

@OttawaMag: Just 1? Feeding birds in Greenbelt, ski trails, local rinks, WinterBites!

@FraniePalaschuk: Make snow angels in the playground at school!

@Kobayashimisa: Going tobogganing

When winter descends upon the capital, a door of opportunity opens. Whether you enjoy sliding at Mooney’s Bay park, cross country skiing in the Greenbelt, or snowboarding at Mt. Tremblant, the Ottawa area is a paradise for the winter outdoors enthusiast.

Indoor Activities

 @WineOutLoud: Le Nordik!

@OmarElamam: indoor sports!

@OrnamentsBand: lots of shows to keep us all warm and toasty!

@MayfairTheatre: That styrofoam sound the snow makes under your feet on really cold days. (Oh, and watching movies.)

The cold weather and snow dumps not only open the door for outside opportunities but also lend a perfectly reasonable excuse to stay indoors all day long. Once you’re in hibernation mode, there are tons of indoor activities that you can indulge in– Endless movie marathons, tons of music shows at local venues, sports (if you can bring yourself to move), or Le Nordik spa as suggested by @WineOutLoud!

Running a Rickshaw in the Winter

This is our own addition to the list, but is definitely a favourite part of winter in Ottawa for us. Sure it’s minus 40 degrees out with a foot of snow on the streets, but that is just part of the fun. Several years ago we saw winter as a challenge to overcome, so our rickshaws hit the road in December, on New Years Eve, and in January/February. The snow made things ten times more difficult, but it also saw snowball fights between rickshaws, and bystanders pushing us up snowy hills as we struggled with passengers.

When Winter Ends

MKatherinaW: When it ends!

RobM: Nothing!!

MattR: That I’m not there

JasonG: Traffic. Pre heating my car, scraping my car. Being miserable, shovelling, being cold. The list goes on about all the stuff I love.

Hey! Winter isn’t for everyone. Dirty ice clings to your car, and the cold damp air cuts to your bone, leaving us to ask the inevitable question: Is it summer yet? Facebook users MKatherinaW, RobM, MattR, and JasonG are already asking!

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Thanks to everyone who participated! What did we miss? Tell us what you love about Ottawa in the Winter in the comments section below!

Ottawa’s New Biweekly Garbage Pickup: Recycling Motivation or Nuisance?

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By Brian Clarke

When I first got the piece of mail from the City of Ottawa stating that they were moving to a system of collecting garbage every second week, instead of every week, I was initially annoyed.  I understood the rationale – to encourage more recycling – but thought, “well, I already recycle, this is just a pain in the ass for me”.

Less than two months later, I’ve already come around to accept that this is a good change.  In fact, I’ve realized that I did not recycle  before, or at least not well.

Yeah, I put my cans and cardboard in appropriately coloured box, but I was often lax about it, not thinking twice if I mistakenly threw one in the garbage. Also, I never kept a compost or green bin, which this move to a two week pickup system has motivated me to start. I never realized how much of my garbage was food waste.

Now, thanks to my want to avoid having stinky garbage around the house for two whole weeks, I’ve been strict about what goes where. And I’ve realized that if I recycle properly, I shouldn’t fill a garbage bag in less than two weeks.

So, the City of Ottawa has at least been successful in one case with this move to biweekly garbage pickup. But am I an isolated case, or are more citizens of Ottawa taking recycling more seriously now that they can’t afford to just let everything accumulate in the garbage?

What are your thoughts on this move? Please share your opinions in the comments below. 

 

 

What’s Happening in Ottawa This Week? (November 26-December 2, 2012)

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It’s a lighter week this week in Ottawa.  With a limited selection of events, be sure to check out our weekly Ottawa agenda. Nevertheless, here is what’s happening in Ottawa this week:

Wednesday, November 28th

Music and Beyond November Wine Auction

Thursday, November 29th

Roaring Twenties Cocktail Party

Friday, November 30th

GOOD2GO’s Annual Benefit for Children At Risk

Hintonburg Public House Movember Fundraiser

Saturday, December 1st

Ottawa Tea Festival

Hintonburg Public House Movember Fundraiser

5 Facts About Justin Bieber to Prepare You for Tonight’s Concert in Ottawa

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By Adam Slight

Many of you are probably hitting up the Biebs tonight at Scotia Bank Place. We thought we would fill you in on a little background info about the guy to prep you for the concert.

His Heart is Broken

Justin Bieber and long time beau Selena Gomez totally broke up a few weeks ago. Gomez supposedly made the move because Bieber was a needy boyfriend, and they had competing work schedules. Sad Bieber goes :(

He Has a Sensitive Tummy

Watch this video.

Justin Beiber runs out on stage to perform a song, barfs all over the stage and runs away. Having second thoughts about those front-row tickets?

There Isn’t a Crazed Gunman Outside His LA Home

If you haven’t heard of “swatting,” it’s a pretty terrible prank where people call in a fake 9/11 call that warrants a swat team showing up at your home. Apparently last month Bieber got “swatted.” Somebody called 9/11 and told them that a crazed gunman was waiting outside of Justin Bieber’s home. When the SWAT team arrived to answer the call, Bieber’s security staff let the SWAT team into his home to ensure it was clear of danger.

He Doesn’t Have Cancer

In an elaborate prank, the hacker group Anonymous created an image of a fake tweet sent by E! that Justin Bieber had been diagnosed with cancer and that fans were shaving their hair in solidarity.

And thus, #baldforbeiber was born, seeing teeny-bopper Bieber fans shaving their hair to support their idol, who was entirely cancer-free.

He’s a Bit Racist

Earlier this year Bieber claimed that because he’s part native or “Inuit or something” that he could get free gasoline in Canada. The Congress of Native Peoples were not happy with this ignorantly racist remark, responding that comments like Bieber’s “promotes the misconception that we [the native community] are somehow getting a free ride.” After this turn of events, the Internet was tearing Bieber up so badly that the Congress of Native Peoples actually asked people to take it easy on him.

 

 

 

3 Places to Enjoy a Dram of Scotch in Ottawa

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By Brian Clarke

I’ve recently taking a good liking to scotch.  I don’t know if it’s my taste buds becoming more sophisticated as I get older or an unconscious desire to appear classy or masculine (probably the latter!), but nevertheless, it has led me to search out a few local spots that specialize in scotch and provide scotch tastings.

Here are four places I have found that offer a good selection of scotch:

Highlander Pub

Located just outside the Byward Market, and across the street from the Rideau Center, the Highlander is probably Ottawa’s most convenient, well-known and popular scotch bar.  As the name suggests, it is a pub specializing in Scottish food and drink – which unquestionably must include some scotch.

In fact, I have registered for a scotch tasting at the Highlander in early December (any other Carleton alumni who read this blog, I encourage you to come so we can meet!).  I will certainly share my (amateur) experiences via another blog post shortly afterwards.

The Manx

This cozy little pub on Elgin Street has the perfect atmosphere for drinking a glass of scotch. If I had to describe the atmosphere, I’d say it’s ‘relaxed’ and ‘musky’ – two words that go great with scotch! They have a good drink menu, that also includes many other types of whiskeys.

Black Bear Pub

This is another Scottish themed pub, located in the Albert and Bay Suite hotel.  So, if you’re a scotch drinker visiting Ottawa. you now what hotel to stay at! They boast a menu of nearly 50 types of scotches, which are the perfect complement to a relaxing vacation.

What are some other options for a good dram of scotch in Ottawa?

3 Ideas for Healthy Fast Food in Ottawa

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By Brian Clarke

We’ve all been in this situation: we are out running errands, having a hectic day, and to top it all off we’re hungry.  You don’t have time to stop and get a good, full healthy meal and you didn’t think to bring something with you.  Skipping lunch isn’t an option because you’re already grumpy.

It seems like fast food is the only way to go.

However, fast food doesn’t always have to be a deal breaker for your healthy lifestyle.  While, obviously a home-cooked meal is better, there are some “healthy enough” options.  Here are three ideas:

Burritos

You could go to Burrito Burracho in the Market, or Mucho Burrito at South Keys or in the West End, but whichever you choose, a burrito is a great option for a filling and healthy lunch.  As long as you avoid the processed cheese and sour cream, you’re burrito is essentially filled with veggies, meat, guacamole, rice and beans.  And at Mucho Burrito, you can also get burrito salad bowls and cut out the tortilla if you’re following a grain-free or low carb diet.

Sandwiches

I’m not talking about a cheap, pre-made, wrapped sandwich with processed toppings, but a good, home-style sandwich topped with freshly sliced meats, and fresh vegetables.  You can check out this previous article we’ve written on places to get such a sandwich.  It’s the classic option for a healthy-ish fast food lunch!

Sushi

Sushi has become the new ‘thing’ over the past decade.  While there’s tons of great sit down sushi restaurants in town, there is an equal number of good take-out places.  And while it might be more expensive than some other options, it certainly meats the healthy requirement.  And when your food doesn’t need to be cooked, well, that’s about as fast as the food gets!

What are some other ideas that you like for a healthy fast food meal?

 

 

 

Should We Be Happy or Embarrassed About City’s Lift on Street Meat Ban?

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By Adam Slight

Watching the press and city council deliberate, and discuss, and praise the City of Ottawa’s recent decision to allow street meat vendors to operate in the city just has me just shaking my head.

This move to allow street cuisine to exist in our city is being heralded as a forward-minded move by our city’s government. I just find it a bit embarrassing. I’m not embarrassed that our city is now allowed to embrace a foodie craze that swept the world only like a decade ago, I’m embarrassed that it has taken so long—and that there is still discussions about how to regulate this enterprise.

For years we watched other cities enjoy fish tacos, gourmet burgers, and juicy sausage dogs,

This is what happens when you wait too long…

produced in trendy trucks by talented chefs located on their very streets. Meanwhile, Ottawa turned down these culinary entrepreneurs for fear of discouraging business from local restaurants (which is a myth!). As I operated my rickshaw in the summer, I would frequently (to my embarrassment) break the news to inquiring tourists that there is no street meat in the Byward Market. Just recently the city has eased off on their ban, to much fanfare from the media.

If I was in charge, I would be passing these bylaws as quietly as possible so that the rest of the world doesn’t realize that we’ve been so slow on the draw.

The next item on the City of Ottawa’s agenda? Should Tamagotchis be allowed in schools…?

Stay tuned!

What’s Happening in Ottawa This Week (November 19-25, 2012)

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With only a month left until Christmas, holiday events are getting more and more popular in Ottawa.  Here’s what’s happening this week:

Tuesday, November 20th

Cocktail Crawl Social Club

Thursday, November 22nd

Ottawa Nujazz Festival

Friday, November 23rd

Ottawa Nujazz Festival (ongoing)

Saturday, November 24th

Christmas Craft Show

Carleton Place Santa Claus Parade

Sunday, November 25th

Christmas Craft Show

Wedding, Fashion and Lifestyle Show