Cookbook Adventure in Ottawa
In July, Don and I traveled to Ottawa for Canada Day. We weren't staying at the lovely Chateau Laurier, but we had a view from our hotel window.
Our Westin room was lovely, but I looked towards the grand hotel longingly. I've had the Chateau Laurier (now a Fairmont hotel) on my need to visit list, since spotting it in one of our old cookbooks.
Ford Motor Cookbook
We were of course traveling with our vintage Ford Motor cookbook. It's what we do.
I wanted so badly to grab the old book and head over to the classy Laurier Dining Room, for a little adventure. I thought there might be a chance they would still serve the Seafood Cocktail that was a featured recipe in the book.
Short on Time
But, we were celebrating the weekend with my sister-in-law and her dear friend. The 4 of us had lots of celebrating to do, during our short stay in Ottawa.
I was pretty pleased when Jane and Dick were game to head over for a drink at the French Gothic Hotel. As we crossed Rideau Street, we could see how the hotel was build to compliment the adjacent Parliament buildings. Conical turrets, dormer windows and copper roofs! Beautiful!
Into the Cool
As we came through the revolving door, a whoosh of cool air greeted us.
I'm not sure if they had air conditioning in 1912, when the hotel was built. We were grateful for it, that July day. We had come from Texas, expecting cool Canadian temps, but it was actually hotter in Ottawa than in Houston!
Marble, Tiffany and Chandeliers
I was a giddy tourist as we wandered through the lobby. I believe the chandeliers and hand moulded plaster decor were original.
Tiffany stained-glass... marble floors... I wanted to wander for hours.
We wandered a bit, while searching for Zoe's Lounge.
The flags displayed from the mezzanine, were a continuation of what we'd seen on the streets earlier.
You could look any direction and see red maple leaves.
They were hanging on poles and waving in hands.
We walked into one of the lovely sitting areas in the lobby. I had to wonder how many of those seated, were actually hotel guests and not just overheated folks who had wandered in from the street celebration.
I imagine the lobby atmosphere was not quite so casual, back when King George and Queen Elizabeth visited in 1939! (Important cookbook trivia!)
Zoe's Lounge felt like a cool oasis, after a day of wandering.
I was surprised there were no crowds gathered around the marble bar, at 6 pm.
Zoe's - a 1985 Addition
Zoe's Lounge was not around when the cookbook was printed in 1955. The glassed-in area was added in 1985, probably before our cocktail server was even born.
I failed to get a photo of our enthused young server, but she snapped a couple of us. She was surprisingly curious about the book and the the old recipe. (at least the book made it in the photo)
As much as I would have loved to have had a complete dining adventure at the Chateau, we just had a liquid celebration.
Since we weren't going all out with a meal, I went all our with a drink called, "Oh Canada!" For $17, I had a perfectly refreshing beverage with Ontario Vodka, Maple Syrup, Cranberries Peychaud's Bitters & Lemon Juice! Cheers!
A Good Start
The old cookbook may not have gotten a huge spotlight on our short visit to the Chateau, but it at least led us there.
We enjoyed the clean, bright, historic atmosphere, with some refreshing drinks. Best of all, we celebrated the iconic hotel with Jane and Dick! Next time, I hope we can go back for a meal AND an overnight!
The Dining Blog
This is a blog about Dining Adventures. Sometimes, I talk about food. Below, you can read how this started.
On July 4th 2011, I set a goal to try 50 culturally diverse restaurants in one year! (I knew that was possible, living in the Houston area) I spent the year pulling in friends and family to join me, on some unusual dining adventures. I met some curious people, tried some scary foods and explored places and cultures I never would have otherwise. Even though I met my goal, I learned too much to end my adventures in dining. I have continued blogging about memorable dining adventures of all kinds, near and far... and all the discoveries and funny things I've learned along the way!
Locations and types of dining adventures, are listed further down.