I had some free time between shifts at work just before my mini winter vacation in December and decided to use it to go visit R.L. in Ottawa!
Obviously, we got to baking right away. I had brought some vegan baked goods with me but one cannot do with only one cookie for oneself – one must make a massive batch of vegan gingerbread cookies to meet one’s cookie needs.
We spent the evening snacking and watching a hilariously bad holiday movie before calling it a night! The next morning we decided to be good to our bodies and go for a run in the snow – this may have felt bad at first, but it was quite refreshing to start our food-centric visit with exercise made more challenging by the wintery conditions.
Following some snacks post-run, we headed out to one of R’s favourite vegan spots in her community, Grow Your Roots Cafe.
We had some super-yummy glazed tofu and a veggie burger split! We needed to save room for our next stop(s), after all, so sharing food was a theme.
It look a long time to reach a conclusion on what to eat at Little Jo Berry’s Coffee & Eats, but once we did we were quite pleased. Two flavours of vegan ice cream and a marble cake with ‘nog-infused icing! I think we would have been just fine without the very-sweet ice cream, but we couldn’t resist their dairy-free holiday flavours.
The rest of the day looked a lot like a typical Ottawa visitor’s day: Parliament, market, museums.
I think my favourite part of this day – far surpassing my soggy sock situation – was visiting the Tea Store! A family-run business selling DOZENS and dozens of loose-leaf tea varieties encased in hand-painted jars with their names and tea types. There are some aspects of a place that convince you that living there would be very doable, and the Tea Store was definitely that place for me in Ottawa!
After a long day of adventure, we roasted chestnuts (my first time trying them) and had tea before a very welcomed bedtime.
My final day in Ottawa began with a boxing cardio workout (we are a fun time, really!) to get our bodies excited about one of our biggest plans for the trip: VEGAN HIGH TEA!
We arrived at the Vanitea Room excited and hungry, as well as a bit nervous that our reservation may not have been placed far enough in advance to ensure a vegan menu upon our arrival. However, our fears were unfounded and we began with black and oolong teas as we waited for our tiered goodies, which included many delicious sandwiches, desserts such as minty chocolate cupcakes, and perhaps my favourite (especially for a vegan item), onion and chive scones!
After more than satisfactorily filling our stomachs, we headed to a local library to grab passes for the Canadian Museum of Science and Technology! I learned what type of kitchen I am, flipped features of my face updated down, and even stood on the ceiling of a lab with R.
Country music to calm us.
More mild panic and strategizing about the most efficient way to grab my things and get to the bus stop in time.
Then we made it! With a beautiful sunset accompanying our less-than-speedy ride and a delayed bus arrival, I was able to catch a bus – later delayed again in the middle of nowhere – and make it home.
I am extremely grateful for the hospitality of my hosts and the opportunity to get an insider’s tour of the capital city of a land mass known to some as Canada.