And Now, The Gouda Life

Kelly Brisson (a.k.a. The Gouda Life) was supposed to be my nemesis.

We were two of three finalists for Tourism Richmond’s 365 Days of Dining job in 2012, and after months of campaigning for the position, we met when she flew to Richmond from Ottawa for our final round of interviews.  She was a stranger to me, an insanely-talented threat, and she must be taken down!


Upon meeting, we were buds.  I mean instantly.  A mutual love of food and talking (talking, talking, talking) obliterated any chance of us being anything else.  Kelly was unbelievably supportive during my year of writing in Richmond, and as soon as Dana and I started FEAST, we rejoiced at our impending reunion in our nation’s capital!

This woman knows the Ottawa food scene like no other, and we fell into her trusted hands, willing to follow her anywhere.  She first led us to The Manx, a popular pub, arts venue, and underground brunch spot. 

It’s literally underground, in a basement, and on Sundays its patrons are shoulder to shoulder, happily curing hangovers.  The Manx serves up comfort food, with big spoonfuls of buttery, green onion-y mashed potatoes instead of hash browns.  I paired my buttery po-tats with a fried egg sandwich, and felt incredibly pleased with life.

Next we headed over to the Ottawa Farmers’ Market, held each weekend at Brewer Park.  It’s a large and well-supported market, and we started by visiting Roots and Shoots’ stall.  It’s owned by friends of ours, and we’ll be writing about a visit to their farm in a few days! 

Next we wandered over to meet THE Pascale of Pascale’s All Natural Ice Cream.  I genuinely believe this woman is made entirely of sunshine, and after meeting her, you’ll understand what I mean. 

She’s the nicest, and her ice cream is the best.  Just look at her flavours:

After sampling many, we took a pint each of the Dark Chocolate & Sea Salt and Honey Lavender Chevre.  I could not believe how wickedly good her chevre ice cream was.

All ice cream should include goat cheese.  All ice cream should include goat cheese.  Say it with me now.

The market had various events going on, including a vendor salsa competition and heirloom tomato tasting. 

We bought plenty of fruit and vegetables to cook up at my friend Caylee’s, then headed to Kelly’s for a pint and a pretzel-rolling session.  My favourite kind of Sunday afternoon.

Kelly is continually updating her blog with recipes and photography that will make you want to hug your computer screen/drool on your keyboard, and that day she was experimenting with a recipe for za’atar pretzels. 

Now, here’s something I bet you didn’t know about me: eight years ago, I worked at an Auntie Anne’s Pretzel Shop in the Castle Mall in Norwich, England.  I was on a university exchange, needed some money if I wanted to travel, donned the blue apron and cap, and learned how to roll soft pretzels.  Ooooh how many I rolled.  I never really thought the skill would come in handy, but lo and behold, out it came in Kelly’s kitchen.  Like riding a bike, really. 

Here’s the result of our pretzel-rolling afternoon.  More on our time with The Gouda Life and Ottawa to come.