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Despite the bits of green poking through the ground and the almost teeshirt weather, we’re still a ways off from cucumber season and being able to make our own dills. Which meant I had to placate my prodigious pickle pining with a grocery store jar. To justify said purchase (and immediate pickle consumption), a tuna salad sandwich was the only sensible lunch option upon returning from the supermarket.

Tuna salad was the perfect excuse to make mayo!
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Part of the long weekend was spent in Ottawa, during which, unsurprisingly, there existed a repeated theme of food. Easter dinner with the boy’s family included: a creamy broco-cran salad, a lettuce salad with uber sharp red onions, spiced butternut squash soup, turkey (served with a nutty pecan stuffing), clove-studded ham, vegetarian quiche, sweet potatoes, apple pie, cherry-apple pie, lemon meringue pie. (!!)

Onwards, post dinner adventures: brief catch-ups with friends, meeting of the fiancée, cigars on the rooftop of a 20-something story building. And then? Someone wanted shawarma. Do you know how difficult it is to find a joint that is open on the Sunday night/Monday morning of the Easter long weekend? Scouring downtown Ottawa shortly after 1am, we finally landed on the corner of Elgin & Gladstone. Marroush International is a very moderate joint, with a very nutsy balding and mustache wearing owner. Entertaining. Random. And “full service” entails a dramatic unwrapping of your sandwich, complete with the rip-plus-toss-with-a-flair of the foil covering. All in a farcically sexual (but so very unsexy) manner. I was trying to parse the expression on the face of a North Bay-er: was she creeped/shocked/entertained/laughing/etc? I didn’t order anything myself, but snuck a bite (or two or three) of the boy’s sandwich. Thumbs up from him.

After sleeping off the randomness, we met with an old friend of the boy’s for lunch. It seems that cross-city franchises have different expectations at their various locations. The boy, when in Winnipeg last summer, had positive remarks regarding drinks and cocktails at Moxie’s. I, on the other hand, encountered a version in Toronto (the one at Fairview mall) that left me wanting much, much more. If memory serves me, I had ordered the soup/sandwich combo – my soup was tepid, and my club sandwich was lacking bacon and tomatoes. Due to my preconceived notions of Moxie’s nation-wide, I had to do a slight double take this past Monday: we walked into a modern looking venue that was large and two-storied, with an open kitchen (though the fake wood-fire oven was disappointing), and attractive waitstaff. I soon discovered tjat the washrooms were just as trendy (I’m a fan of the tiled trough sink). Then, the food. For what it was, it certainly surpassed my expectations (the fries did, however, leave me parched for the remainder of the afternoon). I ordered the portobelo baguette-sandwich, and the boy and friend seemed to find their respective steak sandwiches just dandy (open-faced steak sandwich, which was the special of the day, and greek salad steak wrap).Back in Montreal, the snagged turkey leftovers (now sitting prettily in the freezer), hopefully imply that we’ll finally get around to making a savoury, curry pie.

Says the girl behind the bar: “Are you guys from Montreal?”

Me: “Yeah, we study here.”
Girl: “Just to let you know, the prices don’t include tip.”

First of all, Casa del Popolo had no more bocconcini, tofu, or pita. Meaning 4 of the 9 sandwiches that they offered could not be made. And after that snide and presumptuous remark, did she really think that we’d be inclined to tip more? (whatever happened to tipping-on-the-table?) I was almost tempted to ask for change from the 6$ I left, for the 5$ sandwich. Too bad the service was terrible – because the sandwich was stellar (“miel madness”: chèvre, honey, red peppers, lettuce & tomatoes on pumpernickel).