Michael’s 39th birthday was fast approaching, and I thought it would be fun to spend a romantic winter night at the new Hotel Le Germain Ottawa, located on Daly Avenue. I just got back from my Yoga retreat in Costa Rica the week before, and thought it would be a nice way to catch up and connect.
Brace yourselves, Ottawa! I have an announcement to make that collides food with fashion and I need your undivided attention please.
Diner en Blanc is coming to Ottawa on August 11, 2016 and you need to be there! The problem is, it’s a secret. As in, I have no details about the venue. Also, I can’t promise that you can come. And, there’s no food to eat or tables and chairs to sit on. You’re going to have to trek it all yourself too. Do I have your attention now?
It sounds crazy, but Diner en Blanc is an old Parisian tradition that happens all over the world and brings together thousands of people to share a meal in the most elegant and unlikely way. Think of it as an all-white “flash mob picnic & dance party”.
I may not know much about the details of this event, but here is what I do know… and what you should too:
- Sign up here to register you and a guest on the list. There is a long coveted waiting list and it will be impossible to attend if your name is not on it. First come, first serve. So sign up! (Go now, and come back… I’ll wait for you…)
- Now that you’re signed up… Think all white, everything. Your clothes, your shoes, your table cloth, your menu, your cloth-napkins. No ifs, ands or buts! Violators wearing ivory, bone or off-white will be denied entry. Yes, it’s that strict. But it’s gonna look so nice!!!
- Yes, I said table and chairs. That includes, the right size bistro table and chairs, white table cloth, white cloth napkins (used to whip in the air signalling the inauguration of the party!) white cutlery, china, stemwear and your gourmet meal packed in your cutest picnic basket (white preferably!). “The table must be square, foldable, and easy to carry. The size must be between 28 and 32 inches (71 and 81 cm). The table does not have to be white as it will be covered with a white tablecloth.” Please read all the F.A.Q.s carefully for more precise details. There is no way I can get it all in this post! PS- I found some great table options at IKEA!
- Plan your menu. Something that will pack nicely and is easy to eat outdoors. For serious guests who are looking for inspiration, I have planned an all-white menu courtesy of Metro Ontario, one of Diner en Blanc Ottawa Sponsors. Don’t forget to bring a garbage bag to clean up after yourself!
- White wine and bubbles are the drink of choice, but all alcoholic beverages must be purchased in advanced. “You can also order your meal in advance. Catered meals and beverages are made available for pre-purchase on the e-store at the time of registration, up until approximately 10 days prior to the event. See your e-store for specific details and closing dates.”
- Plan your outfit and go all out, all white (white out! haha) This is a posh event, so bring your A game. Hats, umbrellas (duh! rain or shine event), fascinators, anything goes as long as it’s white! Wear comfortable shoes too, because there will be dancing and you never know where the event will take place.
- Patiently wait your turn to receive your invitation and R.S.V.P. without hesitation to secure your spot! (Eeek- I just got my email!!)
- Tell all your friends to read this post and do the same.
I’ve lived in Ottawa for just over 15 years, and by now I feel that I have experience most of what Ottawa has to offer, which is why I love discovering new places and things in the city. We tend to forget that there is a whole new place next door, waiting to be discovered! I vowed, not long ago, that I would try and get my feet wet, and learn a little bit more about the gems hiding away in Gatineau, which is why I am so happy to share this post with you.
I was recently invited to spend a fabulous VIP evening with the gracious folks of the Casino Lac Leamy‘s PR team. I almost forgot how much fun it is to party with the Quebecois! They have an immense passion for life and all things food, culture, music and entertainment. We chatted, wined and dined and had the opportunity to hear first hand about all the amazing experiences that the casino has to offer. From first class dining, to adrenaline pumping games and gorgeous views of the city, there is no shortage of amusement on the other side of the bridge.
This year, Casino Lac-Leamy is a sponsor of the RBC Bluesfest and a big part of their message is that your night doesn’t have to end after the concerts are over. So, grab a $10 uber across the river and keep the party going! No doubt you’ve heard the commercials. I suggested they organize a fairy ride to bring you there. Can you image how much fun that would be?!
The night started off with an exclusive boat ride on Leamy lake. This boat and tour is exclusively reserved for high rollers, as a way to thank their loyal clients. I was impressed, to say the least, and most of all flattered to take part in the entire thing. I had the honour of popping the bubbly and we toasted to a fun girls night out!
We then headed over to Arome Seafood and Grill, one of three restaurants located inside the Casino. We sat on the lovely terrace and had the tender 70 day dry-aged beef with lobster tail for dinner (YUM!) The appetizer was a crab and fish cake, and an assortment of sweets for dessert to end the night. It’s hard to tell in the photo (sorry bad lighting), but the sculptures on the tray are completely edible and made of sugar. We had a mini roulette table on our tray. The level of detail is astounding! All the work is done by an 84 year old confectioner who works full-time producing exquisite sugar sculptures all day, every day.
The image of the fridge (sorry to my vegans and vegetarians) is a one-of-a-kind cutting edge process of aging meat. Arome receives their beef aged at 35 days, and they age it for an additional 35 days: 70 days in total! The aging process helps to tenderize the beef and release different flavours you otherwise wouldn’t get in the meat. The fridge is openly displayed at the entrance of the restaurant and vigilantly monitored by the chefs.
Now we party! I’ll have to admit, after all that food, I was very sleepy and not in the party mood. But once we started playing in the Zone, my energy levels kicked in! The Zone is crazy! Like, you need a short attention span to survive. There is so much going on, but it’s so much fun at the same time. I played roulette for the first time and won a cool $43. Not bad, not bad! The hosts on the main stage are so much fun and super entertaining. It’s amazing to watch them go from one game to the other and keep up with the pace. I would fail at this job, I think.
Because mama knows when to cashout, we left the Zone on a positive note and headed to Alea night club, the angular dome on the second floor. I really wish I wasn’t a grandma that night. I totally would have stayed to dance, the music was awesome. (Note: don’t book a huge meal and go dancing on the same night… it’s not gonna happen!)
If you’re just scrolling through the post quickly, the least you can do is grab my tips on making the most out of your Casino Lac-Leamy Experience!
Try the Brazilian BBQ dinner on Friday and Saturday nights at Arome. It’s grilled and served on the terrace and only costs $37 for AYCE!! (All you can eat)
Get the girls together and experience 5 star dining like no other at Le Baccara. The prices and service are not as intimidating as you think.
It’s a $15 Uber ride from the Glebe to the Casino.
Do you have a boat? Awesome! Dock your boat at the Casino’s marina and walk right in! PS- it’s the only Casino in the world that has a marina directly attached to it!
If you like live music and cover bands, the party is always happening at Bar 7. Also, I saw a lot of cute boys… (where the single ladies at?)
You can now play “Win for Life” on a slot machine. There have already been 2 winners! (Can you imagine?!)
BRUNCH people, BRUNCH! If you love to brunch, make sure you call in ahead of time and book your reso at Arome. It’s supposed to be out of this world!
Treat yourself to a night stay at the Hilton, book your spa day experiences or lounge on the poolside patio.