The BEST Burger Joint in Ottawa: Burger & Shakes

Well, I am cheating a bit, it is actually in Manotick Station which is just East of Manotick (crossing of Limebank and Mitch Owens); but it is certainly worth the drive!  You can click here to see it on the map.

I was heading over to Omer’s place for a jamming session, where I pretend to be able to play the drums, and I needed to grab a bite on the way.  I call Omer to ask him where to eat and he says “You have to try Burger & Shakes… its a couple miles east of Mantotick across from the high school.”  Since Omer is a big fan of food -as am I- I didn’t take much convincing for me to give it a try.

Sure enough, in the middle of nowhere, is Burger & Shakes, attached to a golf & mini-putt business which is closed for the winter season.  Its 8:30 PM on a Thursday night and there are actually cars in the parking lot.  This is a good sign…

I am pretty hungry, so looking up at the board I try and decide between the 10oz ‘Double Burger’ and the 7oz ‘Super Burger’.  I decide I don’t want a double, and order the Super with a side of poutine.

When the fresh (certainly NOT ever frozen!) beef patty is placed on the grill, I am shocked to see that it resembles a large pancake in size!  This is going to be a big meal.

While I wait for the burger to cook, I have a chance to talk to Ali and Zainab about their business.  They are clearly the sort of people that should be running a business like this:  Really passionate about what they do, and it’s very obvious they enjoy interacting -and getting to know-  their customers.  Ali tells me about how they get their top quality beef locally, pointing in the direction of the farm they get it from.  As our discussion continues, my patty on the grill shrinks from massive to just huge.  Ali asks if I want some steak spice, yep!

I get my meal and sit down to enjoy it.  Wow, what a great burger!  Not only the patty is good, but the bun is super fresh.  The poutine is also fabulous, with the large cut fries being perfecty cooked and also from potatoes of high quality.  About half way through Ali asks how I like it…. “Awesome!” I reply between bites.

Since I like to help send good businesspeople good business, I had decided about half way through my meal to do a blog post on this restaurant.  It was a testament to how good a sport Zainab was that she was willing to let me take the picture below of them after a long day at work.

Thanks to Ali and Zainab for the great food, and Omer for the recommendation!  I think Omer and I are going to make this part of our bi-weekly jamming ritual.  🙂

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Sam Roberts: Bronson Centre, January 30, 2008

As an early celebration of Clint’s birthday, we went to the Sam Roberts concert at the Bronson Centre.  I had lived next to the Bronson Centre my first 7 years in Ottawa, and had no idea that it was used for concerts.  Perhaps that is a new thing?  It turns out that it is actually quite a nice venue, with good acoustics.
It wasn’t advertised who the opening band was, but I was really pleasantly surprised to find out (4 songs in, when I recognized ‘Don’t Talk Down’) that it was The Stills, also from MTL (Sam Roberts is).
The Stills at the Bronson Centre Ottawa

The Stills at the Bronson Centre Ottawa

The Stills Set:

  1. … I missed the first two songs before I even realized I was listening to The Stills!
  2. ??
  3. Snow in California
  4. Don’t Talk Down
  5. Snakecharming the Masses  (introduced as the ‘f-ing masses’)
  6. Lola Stars and Stripes
  7. Panic
  8. Hands on Fire
  9. ??
  10. Being Here

They did an awesome live version of ‘Being Here’ which really ended their set on a high note!  This was a great bonus to the Sam Roberts show.

Sam Roberts at the Bronson Centre

Sam Roberts at the Bronson Centre

Sam Roberts Set:

  1. Love At the End of the World
  2. The Resistance
  3. Fixed to Ruin
  4. Hard Road
  5. Stripmall Religion
  6. Bridge to Nowhere
  7. Up Sister
  8. Where Have All the Good People Gone ***
  9. An American Draft Dodger In Thunder Bay
  10. Lions of the Kalahari
  11. Them Kids
  12. Brother Down.***
  13. ??  Not sure if this was just an extended ‘Brother Down’ “Got something to live for…” in the lyrics

Encore:

  1. Detroit ’67
  2. Words & Fire
  3. Mind Flood

Sam Roberts is GREAT live!

Mind Flood was an interesting choice to finish off the set.  I think it must have gone on for 10+ minutes in a very ‘psychalelic’ rendition that made me think I was at a Pink Floyd concert, pot smoke and all.

Sam Roberts is a class act, I was really impressed that at the close of his set he must have spend 5-10 minutes leaning off the state shaking hands with the front three rows of people against the stage.  This wasn’t your politician giving a quick hand shake to every person, but a solid handshake while the made eye contact and said something to each person (can anyone comment below on what he said?).  A lot of work, but I am sure each one of those people are a fan for life!

If you have any corrections on the set list, or other comments, I would be very happy to hear from you!

Transit Strike: A Silver Lining

I saw Ottawa Mayor Larry O’Brien in the Starbucks today, and I almost went up to him to say ‘Hi Larry, I know you are probably taking a lot of flack for the length of the transit strike, but I for one am quite happy about it!’.

I decided not to, for the same reason that I leave other celebrities I see alone:  I am sure they get quite enough of people coming up to talk to then when they are trying to enjoy some down time.

Before I get into my rationale for this statement about the transit strike, and draw the ire of those significantly inconvenienced by it (who I feel for), I want to state that I am pro-public transit, as long as it isn’t me that is using it!  😉

Some reasons why I am enjoying the transit strike:

  • Route 151, which runs right past my house every half hour, no longer ruins the peace and quiet with the loud roar of the bus engine (why do they have to be so damn loud??)
  • Lanes previously reserved for buses only, are now opened up to all traffic, allowing much greater flow of car traffic during off-peak hours
  • I haven’t noticed any change to my morning commute in terms of more traffic, or longer transit time
  • In a time when city budgets are getting strained, and tax hikes are imminent, it seems that one way to save money is not to run buses!
  • The taxi drivers, who until recently were under duress due to high gas prices, now have gas prices halved and more business than they can handle!  They should be happy with this as well!

Anyway, that is my take on the silver lining of this… may the flames commence…

Fall Blizzard #2 – Ottawa 2007

I think I can safely say that we have had more snow this Fall than we did all of last winter!  With a few days left to go before the official start of winter, we got another dumping, this time 40 cm to add to the previous 30!

I love winter.  😛

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