I have a problem. It’s a disease. I buy books. Lots of books. Right now, there is a stack of books on my night table that I am making my way through. There is a reading list on my phone, a full cart of books on Amazon, Better World Books and Thrift Books. I once went to a football game where the security guard looked through my purse and asked me why there was a book in it. I could, and I do, spend hours at used book stores and I have cancelled plans to stay at home and read. Although, to be honest, I say it’s because I’m not feeling well. (Don’t tell anyone my secret.)
Once I was well enough to venture out and get my life back together, my friend M and I decided to start a new tradition. Every weekend, that the both of us are in town, we would try a new brunch spot in a new neighbourhood. Brunch is my favourite meal of the day and Ottawa/Gatineau has a shocking amount of neighbourhoods I never visit. There are the obvious ones: the Glebe, Byward Market, Hintonborg, Westboro, Centre Town. But there are also New Edinburgh, Old Ottawa East and South, Manor Park, and Vanier.
So brunch. This post is about brunch.
So, we start our tour of these brunch spots at Wilf & Ada’s. We should have saved that for last. It’s a small brunch spot located on Bank Street and only has 13 tables. It is a cross between a cafe and fine-dining spot, with a small menu that features local ingredients. They strive to make everything in-house. When we got there, it was a 45 minute wait and if we wanted to, we could get a coffee next door at Arlington Five. But first, there was a used book store!
I convinced M that we should check it out. He was a little annoyed with the obvious clutter of the book store but I fell in love. Mere minutes into our visit, and I had a stack of books in my hand. As all hipster book stores know, they must have a section for used records and this one did.
There is some degree of organisation but mostly, there were just stacks and shelves filled with books. I was content to flit around the shelves, adding to my growing collection in my hands. Of course, my indecisiveness of how many books I can reasonably carry back to my car annoyed M. The answer was 10, in case you were interested.
With still 15 minutes to wait, we headed around the corner to the coffee shop owned by the same people as Wilf and Ada’s. This must have been the cutest coffee shop I’ve seen in Ottawa. It is gorgeous. Small amounts of seating. A long, low counter was off to the side and the walls decorated with art. And, as this is important to R, exposed brick throughout the place. And their coffee. Oh my goodness. M had a latte and I took an iced coffee back to Wilf and Ada’s. (I think their cappuccino machine broke that day.) This coffee was wonderful.
And so was the food.
As a vegetarian, I can’t comment on the eggs and sausage that M had, but he only had wonderful things to say. As for me, I ordered the tofu scramble and let me tell you, it was the best tofu scramble I’ve ever had. Even the dressing on the salad was amazing, the tomatoes so fresh, and their homemade salsa was to die for.
So, while we have continued to brunch it up in Ottawa, this is our point of reference. Will there be a brunch spot that tops this one? Stay tuned. I’m thinking no, but I would love to be pleasantly surprised.