Posts Tagged ‘shawarma’

Day Two in Ottawa was yet another culinary success. After dropping Greg off at the conference, I browsed through the shops and stalls at Byward Market and procured the following for a gourmet picnic:

1 loaf olive bread, The French Baker
1 wheel triple creme Brie, House of Cheese
$1 of wild boar and fig pate, House of Cheese
$5 of apricots, peaches, and blueberries, market stall
1 fig, Byward Fruit Market

We set up a small picnic outside the main conference site, complete with real plates and silverware procured from the hotel restaurant and a makeshift tablecloth, surely drawing the envy of many an economist. There aren’t too many places to eat right by campus, and we suspected that the majority of the other participants refueled at a nearby nondescript bar and grill type place with surely mediocre fare.
I spent the rest of the afternoon exploring Ottawa while Greg was off hearing Daron Acemoglu (of instrumental variable fame) present on political regimes and institutions. Highlights from my afternoon included the following: touring the Peace Tower at Parliament (the castle-like structure above); happening upon a Syrian protest; obtaining an invitation to an invitation-only Iranian event at the National Arts Center; sitting by the Rideau Canal spectating a family of ducks learn how to swim. Highlights from Greg’s afternoon included a lecture on binary choice models with endogenous regressors.
When we reconvened for the evening, we went off in an ultimately failed street meat tour, Ottawa edition — a quest to try a variety of shawarma vendors in Ottawa. Spoiled by our initial journey to Shawarma Palace, 45 minutes later and half a dozen shawarma locales visited, we decided to trek back to Shawarma Palace, a 20 minute walk away. And our appetites were surely rewarded! The amount of food offered was constrained only by the size of the plate with some allowed amount of spillover onto the tray — tabouleh, hummus, shawarma chicken, cardamom brown rice, pickled vegetables and fresh vegetables piled HIGH on our plate, and a bag of pita bread tossed on the side. In a nutshell, it was awesome. And our recommendation is the following — even if you’re starving and accompanied by a big appetite-ed companion, a split order of a shawarma plate will leave you satisfied.
And this mostly concludes our trip to Ottawa. Greg is presenting this morning on Labor Allocation and Productivity: Consequences of the 2010 Health Insurance Reform, and then we’re off to New Haven!

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Day One in Ottawa has been a fabulous adventure! I made a new friend Lee who is a self-proclaimed purveyor of perennials at Byward Market and was keeping an eye on me when I was approached by Mr. Homeless and Harmless. Lee and I discussed briefly afterwards, and I learned all about the homeless shelter down the street. Not bad for a morning of wandering…

Also, I had not one, but two (!) croissants for breakfast this morning. They were so flaky, so buttery, so delicious, and the second one way more so than the first! The first, Le Moulin de Provence, is newsworthy for its Obama cookies (shortbread cookie iced garishly with the Canadian flag) and financial naivete. (They took my USD at 1 to 1 with CAD!) The second bakery, Benny’s Bistro / The French Baker was adorable, with loaves and loaves of freshly baked bread and people walking in and out of a sort of hidden seating area in the back. I didn’t sit there because: 1) it was hidden, sort of, and 2) I wanted to maximize my people-watching potential by sitting up by the door.

Thirdly, I made another friend — a fortuitously Lebanese man — who was extremely helpful in my quest for the best shawarmain town. Shawarma Palace is a bit of a hike both from the University of Ottawa (where Greg was) and the hotel (where I was), but thankfully the Canadian Economic Association believes in long lunch breaks, and who were we to deny ourselves good Lebanese food recommended by a real Lebanese?!

Finally, our evening was spent making our own summer rolls at Sweet Art, a local Vietnamese restaurant specializing in European desserts. The waiter brought out a platter of summer roll ingredients (julienned carrots/cucumbers, sprigs of fresh mint and basil, sesame chicken and shrimp, and bean sprouts), a stack of dried rice paper, and a massive bowl of warm water to soak the rice paper in before wrapping. We’re definitely planning to have our own summer roll party sometime this summer, so stay tuned, and let us know if you’d like to be invited!

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