Executive Chef Amos Jarbeau and Sous Chef Ian Sunstrum wonder what to serve for tonight's special. Instead of looking in the cooler, they walk across the street to the local butcher and check out the available whole cuts of meat. Afterward, the duo heads toward the street corner, where a Roots and Shoots farm stand displays freshly picked organic produce. It's a typical day for the chefs, who continually tailor Main Street Cellar Wine Bar's menu to what's in season and what's local.
To enhance the nuances of the changing dishes, Main Street's four sommeliers—who include owners Paul Paton and Kim Burns—recommend vintages from a continually evolving wine list that spans regions from France to British Columbia. Paton and Burns play upon guests’ senses within a home built in the 1880s, where a varying decor of exposed brick walls, gleaming wood accents, and cushy black leather chairs with tufted backs creates different feels in each room. But Main Street's most popular space is its casual back courtyard, where diners enjoy seclusion from the main road and Ottawa's cutthroat paparazzi.
Chefs at Crepe Delicious swirl paper-thin layers of batter onto their piping-hot crepe griddles, perfuming the air with the enticing aroma. Shortly after, the cooks lift away delectable crepes ready to be stuffed with savoury ingredients. The crepes themselves weigh in at only about 130 calories each with just 3.5 grams of fat, but they sate appetites during any meal.
Two Monkeys serves up house-made soups, snacks, and pastries alongside a drink menu of organic, fair-trade coffee and around 36 types of tea. Start a day of spelunking in the local cheddar caves with a café au lait brewed from fresh, locally roasted coffee ($2.10 and up) and a warm breakfast sandwich ($3.95), or make a midday meal out of the homemade soup-and-sandwich combo ($8.45). Two Monkeys is a kid-friendly eatery, so tired and cranky tots can be tamed into submission with a grilled cheese sandwich ($2.95) or mini bear paw ($0.75) while their guardian fire fighters sip one of the multitudinous flavours of bagged or loose-leaf tea ($1.65 and up).
Reggina Pastry rises up decadent edible art, baking each of its meticulous morsels from scratch. Smother appetites in delicate pastries such as the cannoli ($2.75) or an artistically arranged fruit tart ($3.50) to sate sweet teeth better than any ganache-flavoured fluoride treatment. Tiramisu rolls ($3.25), rum balls ($2.50), and éclairs ($2.75) encapsulate spherical deliciousness, and a slice of the bakery's specialty cakes ($3) and cheesecakes ($3.50) slake even the fussiest of forks. Under the cover of dough, chocolate chips, raisins, and peanut butter make their respective homes in scratch-made cookies before retiring to belly timeshares ($0.95 small, $1.75 large). Biscotti is available in bulk, bequeathing a festive crunch to any family celebration, from an uncle's pastry-school graduation to a mother's acceptance of meringue as its own essential food group ($22.95/kg).
For more than 80 years, Rideau Bakery's expert kneaders have drawn upon traditional Ukrainian recipes to craft kosher breads and pastries, such as cupcakes in a variety of flavours. Bakers whip batches of chocolate and vanilla cupcake batter and can swirl them together into a tantalizing marbled confection. Red velvet cupcakes don a towering crown of chocolate or vanilla frosting garnished with a flurry of festive sprinkles. Treats are ready for nibbling within 72 hours after phoning in orders or relaying them via Morse code smoke signals.
The light fare experts at Friend's Coffee serve up a cafe menu pairing free-trade, organic coffee with house-made sandwiches, salads, and breakfast offerings. For breakfast, fingers pull apart a fluffy muffin served with a small coffee ($2.99), and mouths wake up and shout lines from their favourite cartoons between bites of egg, cheese, and bacon, all sandwiched between an english muffin and washed down with caffeinated sips from a small coffee ($3.49). Teeth can also opt to break from breakfast and sink into a variety of Italian-style Paninis ($4.51) before foraging through over 55 kinds of salads ($4.42–$6.64) and soups ($2.50–$3.50) and Halal options that treat palates to an array of multicultural flavours. Customers drink, munch, and chat inside Friend's Coffee's casual dining area, where eclectic artwork peers down from the walls and diners lounge in cushioned chairs as they coax jolly lost Santas from a fireplace.