Palestinian food is not just found on the streets of the Old City of Jerusalem with the ka’ak (sesame) bread sellers and stalls selling za’atar chicken and mana’eesh (za’atar and sesame bread), but in the home too; in the kitchens all across the country, where families cook and eat together every day, in a way that generations before them have always done.
Palestine on a Plate is a tribute to family, cooking, and home—old recipes created with love that brings people together in appreciation of the beauty of this rich heritage. Immerse yourself in the stories and culture of Palestine through the food in this book.
You quite literally have to enter the side door to get into Sidedoor Contemporary Kitchen + Bar. Pretty cheeky. Once inside it’s rather expansive. An open-air patio this way to your left, a groovy bar thataway to your right and a mutli-level restaurant straightaway.Consistently noted as one of Ottawa’s finest eateries, Sidedoor is an Asian-fusion restaurant celebrated for two very distinct dishes that are seldom associated with Asia or with fancy-pants dining: tacos and donuts. Although, as we were about to discover, these two dishes have been cleverly brought to inspired levels.It’s essential to remember that the food at Sidedoor is tapas-style, is meant for sharing and is portioned accordingly. The tacos are quite mini, actually. Two bitefulls and it’s over. But it’s not always about how big things are. In this case, the emphasis is on flavour. We sampled the spicy beef, Korean pulled-pork and the Bajan crispy fish tacos. Arranged on soft corn tortillas, they are at once flavourful, delicious, tender, juicy, messy, sinful, dreamy and triumphant. Our personal favourite was the spicy beef tacos with just enough heat and a rightful amount of cool radish and avocado toppings.
Next up, we went for the Coconut-poached halibut. The buttery and tender fish was topped with mango, Thai basil and fresh chili giving every bite an elegant and complex mix of fresh, spicy and sweet.
Finally dessert time had arrived. I’ve never had donuts at a sit-down restaurant, but I was ready. Bring on the white chocolate mint and the white chocolate with cranberry mini donuts. Served pipping hot, they were light and airy with a sweet thin glaze. Easy to eat and share, they were very much worth the wait. I can see myself becoming obsessionally passionate about these swoon-worthy creations.
One thing I observed as the restaurant passed from buzzy happy hour to more serious dinner service, the space retained an almost serene atmosphere, a calmness that can only be described as a pleasure to the senses. We were able to have a conversation without resorting to hollering at each other. Very refreshing.
As for the food, it belongs in rarefied circles. Sidedoor’s chef Jonathan Korecki has been able to elevate the lowly donut and taco and make them so good that they transcend mere adjectives. Having now dined there, regular appearance on the “best-of-the-best lists” come as no surprise. Consider this food blogger’s taste buds amazed. My dreams are now occupied with tacos and donuts!
Korean pulled-pork taco
Spicy beef taco
Spicy prawn taco
Green papaya salad
Duck leg confit w/ red apple curry, crispy shallots and mint
Saying goodbye is the worst but often made easier by good food and cool people. It was time to bid adieu to some longtime well-loved colleagues. A backyard BBQ on a perfect autumn day was in order. Not much more to say here except that topping off ribs with gourmet doughnuts was genius. Thanks Suzy Q Doughnuts. And so long dear friends. Goodbye is not forever.
Once in a while you come across something so intoxicating, so glorious that you feel the need to tell the world what you’ve found. Well run and tell the universe about Suzy Q Doughnuts. Please!
You don’t understand. These doughnuts are utterly sublime and delectable. Suffice it to say that they are the best doughnuts I have ever had the pleasure of savouring. Light and delicate, fluffy, not greasy and never too sweet. Perfection, really. These are the type of doughnuts that inspire cravings, addictions and obsessions.
New gournet creations are popping up all the time. Pomegranate White Chocolate. S’mores. Blue Van Fruit Loop. Maple Bacon. Run of the mill factory made doughnuts, these are not.
Perhaps it’s obvious from my superlative heavy, overt rantings that I’ve gotten worked up over some doughnuts. But when somebody is this great at what they do, I get excited. And I want to tell other people about their greatness. So hats off to Ms. Sue Hamer (a.k.a. Suzy Q). The world is a better place because of you and your doughnuts.
Suzy Q Doughnuts, 991 Wellington Street West
A box of 6 is $10. Well worth the price!
Clockwise from top left, Salty Caramel, Lemon Thyme, Blueberry,
Maple Bacon, Toasted Coconut with Kaffir Lime and Dirty Chocolate.