Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Why not be a tourist in your own town?

One of the things I love most about having visitors from out of town is that I have an excuse to play tourist in my own city for the weekend. Kathryn was in town, which was a lovely break from the usual weekend routine (which too often involves me working out, running errands, and then crashing on the couch for a few hours with nothing but a Real Housewives marathon). Not that I don't enjoy a lazy day, but it's also nice to change things up. So Birdies, if you live in Ottawa and feel like having a little weekend staycation or treating yourself to some little indulgences, I suggest the following:

Step one: Caffeination

After a somewhat exhausting early morning workout (ok, so it wasn't a total holiday!) Kat and I wanted to put some pep in our steps for shopping. I am a huge fan of the delicious, bold coffee at The French Baker in the byward market (you may remember Brenda's ode to the chocolate croissants at Benny's Bistro, their restaurant). The tempting sweet treats and fresh breads are not bad to look at either.

Step Two: Retail Therapy

I tend to do the majority of my shopping out of town...not because I don't like the shopping here, but because long weekends and vacations tend to be the only time I have free afternoons to indulge in it. It's nice when friends visit and give me the opportunity to remind myself of the cute boutiques that Ottawa has to offer. I love Roadtrip for its trendy and affordable fashion - brands like BB Dakota, Kensie, and Jack by BB Dakota are among the racks. The selection never disappoints and it's a nice contrast to its big-sister boutique, the pricier Trustfund (my favourite place for party dresses!).

Step Three: Love Local for Lunch

I almost fainted with joy (yes, I love food that much) when I saw that Murray Street (one of my fave restaurants) opened up the charming lunch spot and deli, Murray's Market, just around the corner. Whether you are looking for some charcuterie (the selection of local meats and cheeses is impressive!) or a cozy lunch spot, Murray's is a great choice. Our sandwiches were delish, not to mention the ham and cheese muffin top we shared for "dessert" (incredible).

Step Four: ...of course there had to be a dinner involved.

After some relaxation at home (ok, so maybe the Real Housewives were involved after all) and a walk with Doggie to work off the above-mentioned muffin top,we got ready for a late dinner at Side Door, the new small-plates restaurant and lounge brought to us by the owners of 18. Side Door is fairly new but has already become known for its tasty gourmet tacos - I am still dreaming of the bajan cripy fish - and flavourful asian fusion (white tuna sashimi, a green papaya salad and black cod were some of the other plates we tried). The subterranean setting and cool decor (featuring a chandelier made from empty clear glass bottles) made it the perfect setting to kick off our girls night out.

I'm ready for another staycation anytime!

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