Tuesday, March 17, 2015

It's Tea Time at the Rideau Centre!

A couple of weeks ago I found myself walking through the Rideau Centre on my way to a client's office downtown.

I stopped in for a cup of tea and check out one DavidsTea's (50 Rideau Street, Ottawa) newest stores.

I walked into the store, near the Rideau Centre's Food Court entrance to find three DavidsTea employees behind the counter working on different customer tea concoctions and one employee working on the shelves.  The shelver greeted me with a smile while welcoming me to the store and said if I had any questions feel free to ask! I politely said I was here for a cup of tea and she guided me to the counter where one of her accomplices would serve me.

I waited at the counter for a minute and was greeted by yet another overexcited "I need to restrict my caffeine intake" DavidsTea employee. I placed my order with her for the "Tea of the Day".

The Order: 1 Medium Size "Secret Weapon"

With so much pep, the employee whizzed around behind the counter grabbing a cup, filling it full of hot water and tea, taking cash and my "Frequent Steeper" card.

When visiting DavidsTea I normally go for the "Tea of the Day" special promotion for a couple of reasons. The first is the ability to try different teas and to keep things interesting.  I really don't have a particular preference for teas so each cup is a flavorful surprise and I get to learn which blends I prefer vs those that I do not.    The second is pricing, at $3.00 per cup as opposed to $3.25 I save $0.25 plus applicable taxes.

The tea was a normal regular taste.  Nothing secret really about it, it was plain boring tea with no special flavoring. This was not my favorite.

Overall, DavidsTea continues to be a favourite destination of mine when I look for tea.  With warm and friendly staff at the Rideau Centre location, I'm sure to return in the future when needing,l as the British call it "a hot cuppa".

Sunday, March 08, 2015

Whoooooose There at Morning Owl?

A couple of weeks back, I had the pleasure of being downtown to visit a client to go over recent work my company had completed.

I had saw that the old Quiznos store at 139 Bank Street had closed and was undergoing renovation to a Morning Owl Coffeehouse. I had heard rave reviews about their other location on Rochester Street but, for whatever reason, never went there.

I ventured in a lunch time on a Friday after hearing about their specials on Twitter and was interested in their Turkey Club Sandwich with perhaps, them being a coffee house, a cup of coffee.

The new location at 139 Bank Street has a modern looking coffee shop interior with a counter overlooking the sidewalk at the front and a few small tables inside.   Along the right hand side of the narrow store is the main counter where the food is ordered, prepared and paid for along with the coffee products.

I waited in line that moved fairly quickly to order with one of the two employees behind the counter who were preparing the food.  From there I gradually moved forward to the cash to order the sandwich (again!) and coffee.  Everything, except for the sandwich ordering, seemed somewhat smooth as the coffee came quick and, after a return back to the two friendly ladies prepping food, I got my sandwich.

For $10.06 including tax (or thereabouts) I had a turkey club sandwich, which seemed to be regular bread sized, and a cup of coffee.  Not great value wise but what about quality wise?  Only one way to find out...

I sat down at the front counter overlooking the sidewalk.  All the other tables were full of downtown office workers enjoying their lunch time.  The sandwich was the first victim.   The bread, if you call it that, was a tasty artisan crunchy layer that was like a bready pie crust.  Not bad, but I wasn't sold on it totally.  The rest of the sandwich tasted like it was "cared for".  The lettuce and tomatoes were noticeably as fresh as could sourced for February in Ottawa.  The mayonaise was noticeable but not overbearing.  The turkey was excellent.  A pretty good sandwich with only one change I would make, perhaps some locally sourced old school baked bread that is more bread like and less artistically inclined?  Is that so wrong?  It probably would sell well considering the pubs around this place only really don't concentrate on the freshness aspect as well as Morning Owl seems to.

The coffee was exquisite.  Fresh tasting with a decent decadent taste to it. I'd probably return to Morning Owl Coffeehouse if I was in the area again.

Overall, Morning Owl Coffeehouse is not your local Tim Hortons.  Freshness and quality is top of mind instead of volume and cost effectiveness.  Don't bother entering the door looking for cheap items as you will leave empty handed.  But customers can expect quality prepared food that seems to have that old school local business touch along with decent service.   That's really "whoooooooose at Morning Owl!  People who care!

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