Sunday, August 02, 2009

After-Dinner Snacks on Dalhousie: Shawarma and Bubble Tea – June 18, 2009

After our Ottawa Dragon Boat Festival volunteer orientation session, Christine and I were disappointed to see that the food vendors weren’t completely set up yet. Lame. We decided to head downtown for some quick snacks.

Since Kingston doesn’t have a shawarma place I enjoy, I was ready to sell my soul for a proper spicy-salty-sweet-spicy-savoury-sour-spicy wrap. Just thinking about it again makes my mouth water.


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We settled on getting something from Marroush, one of my favourite shawarma-eries in Ottawa. It’s a small place, strategically located to sate the hunger pangs of the drunk clubbers and bar-hoppers pouring out into the street after last call. Hordes of obnoxiously loud people descend upon these tiny little takeout shops. It’s scary. To avoid this scene, don’t go looking for food downtown after 1:30 AM if you’re sober. It can be a traumatizing experience.

Anyway, I digress. Christine and I went on a Thursday evening, past dinner time, so we had our shawarmas in about five minutes. No crowds to fight off, shout over, or shove over in order to get our food.

When the man behind the counter asked how I wanted my shawarma, I enthusiastically replied, “All-dressed!” But then he continued to ask me if I wanted each topping, which puzzled me.

“Onions?” “Yes, please!”

“Hummus?” “Yes, please!”

“Hot sauce?”

At this point, I was confused. “Yes, please! But why do you keep asking me if I want each topping after I asked for ‘all-dressed’?” I asked. “I like everything on my shawarma!”

“Because no one actually means ‘all-dressed.’ Once I start putting on the toppings, people start getting upset about hummus or hot sauce. No one ever wants the hot sauce,” he told me. “You’re the only person to ask for ‘all-dressed’ and then actually eat an ‘all-dressed’ shawarma.”

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We all laughed about it, but then we realized he wasn’t joking. Three or four more people came into Marroush (separately) while Christine and I were eating, and all of them ordered their shawarma “all-dressed.” Sure enough, while the man asked them if they wanted onions, hummus, and hot sauce, each customer modified their order. One of the orders were so particular that it totally defeated the purpose of ordering an all-dressed shawarma to begin with!

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Judging from this picture, I think my shawarma had pickled turnip (the hot pink stuff), pickles, lettuce, tomatoes, onions, hummus, sweet sauce, and hot sauce. There might be something else, but I think that covers it. I just know that I like my shawarma all-dressed, with garlic and hot sauce. When I’m feeling frisky, I ask for sweet and hot sauce instead, which is what I had here.

This totally hit the spot. Hot pita from being in the sandwich press to heat it up, fresh toppings, lots of sauce and stink. I could have died then and there and would have been happy.

Christine customised her wrap, since she doesn’t like all of the toppings. I’ll have to wait for her feedback on it, if she remembers.

Bellies full of stinky, chicken-y goodness, we walked a little further down Dalhousie for some bubble tea from Bubblicity.

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I guess I was feeling pretty good that day because I didn’t order my favourite—large lychee iced green tea with pearls. Instead, I ordered a regular strawberry iced green tea with lychee jelly. It was interesting, but way too sweet. It would be nice on a hot summer day, biting into the lychee jelly, because the jelly doesn’t weigh you down the way boba (pearls) would.

Christine may have ordered the classic black tea latte with pearls, but it could have easily been an almond black tea latte. Ah, the pitfalls of posting about food almost two months after the fact.

This was one of the most successful food adventures we’ve had because we were happy with everything we ate. I guess it wasn’t really a food adventure since we visited places we’ve already been to, but sometimes, it’s just comforting to eat what we like, crave, and know what to expect. Who says routine has to be boring? I only wish things like shawarma and bubble tea were within The Diet....

~ * ~

Marroush International Shawarma
160 Rideau Street
(Rideau and Dalhousie)
Ottawa, ON
(613) 321-6990

Bubblicity Tea Shop
379 Dalhousie Street
(Dalhousie and Rideau)
Ottawa, ON
(613) 562-8388

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